Category Archives: Technology

A light powered by gravity?

I wanted to share a video regarding a light that is intended to replace kerosene lamps in areas of the world where power sources are scarce and hard to come by. Enjoy the video above, and leave a comment if you would like to share an idea or reflection about the video or about another technology that is related, I would love to hear it.

Oh and before I forget I have a project Ive been working on for almost a year coming up on my blog, there will be pictures, videos, and some brief descriptions :))))))

Gravity pulls, and the lights glow, and the wisdom continues as I go…

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Humbled by a Compass

CIRCLES!!!!!

CIRCLES!!!!!

Electromagnetics…I left this class for my second to last semester because it had no post rec in order to graduate. Little did I know that I would be taking the class has turned more engineers to liberal arts majors then the promise of more then a 31:1 girls to guys ratio in every non-engineering class. I had a problem set due yesterday which I have been delaying for the past two weeks. Like a professional engineer I delayed the assignment to the day it is due. We are currently doing transmission lines. It is simply designing electrical power transmission lines that carry electricity from a power generator (the people you pay every time you turn the lights on) to your home. Now in order to do this some of the values that are used are not represented in a regular number system, thus there is an imaginary component to represent another dimension which is added to the regular numbers. Annnnyway to the point of this post. In order to solve some of these problems we can do most of the work by hand, but in order to simplify the calculations we need to use a compass…a compass, of all things to use in 2012 the last thing I thought I would need to do some homework was a compass. I didn’t have one so even buying one from the store on campus was an awkward experience. I asked for a compass and the lady responded from behind the counter and said “you mean the type you use when you are lost?” I laughed as I felt like I was a bit lost, but I replied “No the geometric one.” Fast forward to the library where I actually started to do the work and throughout the three hours I was using the compass with the “Smith Chart” (that is needed to draw the circles on top of the other circles (see the picture above)) I couldn’t stop thinking that this has got to be the weirdest thing for a passerby-er to watch. All I was doing was furiously drawing circles and writing numbers. I realized that the 3D graphing calculator,my laptop, and my cell phone must have been jealous that I was solving these problems without the help of them. Even more ironic was the fact that I was solving electrical problems without electricity. For the first time in a long while I felt like an engineer, like what I was doing should have been done in a medieval castle with a quill and that I was laying the groundwork  for future engineers…maybe I’m exaggerating, but still. The technology around us really makes us forget what it was like before the internet, and calculators. Not too long ago the calculations that we regard as tedious were being done by hand and with a lot less precision. To sum this up a bit I realized how grateful I am for the movement of technology and how it can simplify our lives. Im sending this post out through the air, then through a cable, that is reaching you all through a network of different communication infrastructures. Let me rewind a few hundred years and a I would be sending you all personalized pigeon mail. Enjoy your personalized birdmail messages, please leave a cracker in his beak, he gets hungry on his way home. :)

As I let my imaginary bird go, I keep a feather for wisdom as you know…

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Programmable Matter

Go Go Gadget Snooze Button! Good morning people, I slept almost ten yours straight and am in that weird state where I im so fully rested, I have become tired again (counter productive productivity).

Anyway these guys at MIT designed a motor to drive small independent objects that can drive the motions of an entire unit, allowing for basic shape making on a small scale.  This is pretty cool stuff, at school I used to work at an electro-optics lab where one of the main goals was fabricating materials that responded to electricity allowing for the storage of potential data on a light sensitive film of composite materials. Its a cool concept, but due to my impatience and the small space (I’m 6’3  almost 6’4…a brother needs so breathing room when in his green onezie and goggles)  I eventually left the lab to do my own robotics projects (dont worry avid readers I’ll be sharing those in the near future :) So the idea of making things smaller and faster and usable is very much the trend of the electronics industry now a day.

A few days ago I went in for an interview with a major corporation for an engineering rotational program and one of the “technical questions” that I was asked was where do I see technology going in the next 5 years? Well the real question is what truly new technology will come about to change the landscape of the trend we have been following for the past twenty years. A concept called Moores Law necessitates this change in technology in order for the marketplace of technology to change.

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/00/Transistor_Count_and_Moore%27s_Law_-_2011.svg

This is an example of Moores Law at work at the beginning of the invention of a new technology things progress rapidly, the success of the technology appears to be endless further pushing the bounds that were set up before it. But through the middle of the technology’s life span we see a slow down where the changes are almost periodic in a way. And lastly (and this is the stage we are in currently) you have huge “innovation” pushing the upper limits of what can physically be crafted by the technology. This decaying exponential is funny because as we reach this leveling off point its exciting to see what will come out of a high schoolers garage, or a major corporation’s R and D team, or even some new material that was found at six flags that seems to be the fusing of saliva and steel and it can be reprogrammed into the fastest hard drive imaginable (physically impossible but fun to think about none the less). The whole idea is that we are not sure of what will be the next technology but as someone of tries to keep up to date on tech hardware and programming I can say that we are pushing things to amazing limits that are bound by the laws of nature.

So next time you are picking up your phone to text or when you take that morning shower to wipe away the eye crusts (don’t lie eye crusts suck!) realize that there is a nerd some where who is sweating in a lab trying his best to make that next phone run off of your voice waves or have an shower head that can soothe the eye crusts away while providing enough water pressure to clean your body. At any rate I hope you can question more often because asking how does this thing work can be the most innovative thing you have done in a while.

As the robots of the future continue to grow, I’ll try to absorb some wisdom as I go…

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