Rocking out at Stata

The video shows my friends Hector, Hadrian, and I preforming a song Hadrian wrote. We rocked out for the various labs connected

MakerSpace Speed Limit

 As it turns out, a lot of research is taken up by the time it takes machines to do our work. When I write code for a program or design a part to machine / print / cut, it takes a while. When a deadline is coming towards you, often it takes a good sense of what parts of the project are most important and should be prioritized. This happens to everybody and nails home the idea that it's easier to think up a lot of good ideas compared to actually doing them.

Prefrosh Arrives

Today, a large number of the new class here at MIT have arrived. These individuals are the class of 2022. For the most part, many show the same curiosities and wonders that I  had when I was in that part of my life.

Today at 2:30, I presented on my auxetic robots at CSAIL. These robotics are able to shift their geometry. The goal is to create new standards in robotic geometry.

Lights and Action

 The blue glow given off by the strand seen here is electro-luminescent wire otherwise called EL wire. An alternating current electric potential of approximately 90 to 120 volts at about 1000 Hz is applied between the copper core wire and the fine wire that surrounds the copper core. The wire can be modeled as a coaxial capacitor with about 1 nF of capacitance per foot, and the rapid charging and discharging of this capacitor excites the phosphor to emit light. The colors of light that can be produced efficiently by phosphors are limited, so many types of wire use an additional fluorescent organic dye in the clear PVC sleeve to produce the final result. These organic dyes produce colors like red and purple when excited by the blue-green light of the core. From Wiki.
As a result, the HF AV signal can drive other strands of EL wire in series or parallel for similar loads.
The light seen here in EC courtyard is from NRL and draws about 1kW through a large incandescent bulb. Two are being used this week to light workers for the East Campus projects.

Tricycle Progress

 Many thanks to my new found, maker friend Gregory. We have made some progress on my big red tricycle. All in favor to the motor Gregory provided. The ESC we have doesn't quite work well with the transfer of motor information between the throttle and the controller which relies on pulse width modulation.

The motor usually drives up to 120V. We'll be driving it at ~60V because we can. Also, because it takes a lot of battery space (volume) to get that high of a voltage (DC) without a nice, big boost converter. Which we do not have.

As for braking, we have a small friction brake. This is similar to the friction drives. But less able to make the acceleration of the vehicle change.

As for lighting, we will be using EL wire around the frame. Brake lights and a headlight should be installed later on.

New Hall Mural

In the excitement following my hike two weekends ago, I painted a mural as shown with a friend. This mural is located two doors away from my room and depicts and warming sunrise scene in the white mountains. I am not a good painter but I thought this was quite nice compared to some more abstract pieces on my hall. 

Generally, a lot of murals are either made in the early 2000's or they were made in the last few years. I have an interest in bringing new murals to where there are no murals on my hall.

August Swapfest

 Once a month, a great event called Swapfest comes around to the Albany Street garage. This garage is located right on MIT campus and there are a bunch of vans, trucks, and cars full of cruft that show up for the picking. 

I was able to score a guitar for $5 (missing one string but otherwise fine) and a almost new helmet for $20. 

Later on, I helped make some large aluminum bracket spacers at MITERS with my friend Mason. A video of my final turning down to 1.575" is below. These brackets will hold onto a concentric ring structure. For East Campus rush, we build rides and the brackets will be used in such rides.

Tape over the TV

In this modern age, I am again fascinated; yet not entirely surprised by the fact that people are given stewardship over technology that they later do not treat appropriately. In the case of my dinner this evening at H-Mart. I went into a curry place. I got the pork-katsu curry. I found that the drink section on the TV menu was no longer there but not because it wasn't on the TV. The drink section of the TV was covered in a piece of tape. This seems ridiculous as the digital form of a menu would ideally make it simple to recreate a new digital menu and post that on the TV without the drink section.

Radio Station Cough Button

There's a button at WMBR, MIT student run radio, for the guests on a show to momentarily halt their input on the mic. This button is called "cough" for obvious reasons.

This button will likely be brought to completion with a relay switch in series with the regular, in-line input coming off the microphone to the Wheatstone-A500 main console.

Haircuts made easy

The term cruft at MIT can either refer in the present day to old technology left behind to be later reused for future projects or for old alumni.

The past tense verb "crufted" means to gather old tech and reuse it in a new way or to graduate and come back to see old classmates at MIT.

I crufted this WAHL clipper set so I can cut my own hair, other people's hair, or other people can cut my hair.

It seemed to work out well as I had a good friend remove my ducktail bits of hair on my neck last night with fine precision.

The Alpine Zone

 They call it the alpine zone "on top of the mountain area" because it is cold. They also call it that because the trees and wildlife there is very sensitive. One needs to be very careful not to harm the flora at high elevations.

On sunday, I climbed the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Particularly, Little Haystack, Mt. Lincoln, and Mt. Lafayette . We started at 2am in the morning. Headlamps guided our way past a waterfall in the middle of the night. It was quite the experience and unfortunately we didn't see the sunrise but it was otherwise a really great experience.
 I handled the winds by insulating myself in a trash bag. Probably could have spent $10,000 buying real hiking gear from some fancy store. But I'm young and still have my strength.

Rock Band at Stata

Unfortunately, I have not received the video from the event today I played at with my band. We had a great reception at the MIT Stata amphitheater at an event initiated by Daniela Rus. I have a UROP in their lab so it was fun to show off my musical talent and those of my close friends Hector and Hadrian as well. We played a four song set: The Bus Song, Fluorescent Adolescent, Freaking out the Neighborhood, and Looking like a Loser. We also played a bit of Can't Stop from RHCP and eventually played our song Waste. 

The Savitzky Golay Filter

 I recently started getting into a numerical method in an attempt to smooth out data from linear response detectors in an instrumentation experiment.

I think the Savitzky-Golay is a great analytical method for this sort of digital data form. Wiki link. From wiki " the purpose of smoothing the data, that is, to increase the signal-to-noise ratio without greatly distorting the signal. This is achieved, in a process known as convolution, by fitting successive sub-sets of adjacent data points with a low-degree polynomial by the method of linear least squares. " Which is good for the reactor data because we know how the curve should react along constant reactor power.
 Another method for smoothing is simply a moving average. (S.G. uses a method of triangular moving average to some degree by the way) There are various forms of moving average, but the idea is to take a window of points in your dataset, compute an average of the points, then shift the window over by one point and repeat.

Color Kinetics LED Panel

Recently I realized the summer is almost over. The prefrosh are coming into campus soon. I need to prepare cool things to show them. They won't be impressed by MOSFET oscillators or BLDC motors... They need sounds, lights, and color. So I am resolved to solve the problem of the currently not working LED panels on hall. A previous resident set up a bunch of Color Kinetics  boards in a waterproof, wooden box. is currently owned by Phillips, the electronics giant.

My current state with the project is sending noise over LAN cable to the LED controller. The board is 13 sections by 5 sections. At max capacity it draws a few kilowatts.

More info to likely come in the form of a project report. Bringing these LED's back from the dead will likely take more than a day.

Old Lambda Teardown

I think the best thing that happened today was my holstered multimeter. This development has helped me 
 make new friends around the lab and push into new layers of nerd-ness. I got around to cleaning my workspace around the DR lab's electrical rack equipment. I found some pretty nice power supplies that had the same blown diode problem I learned about the other day when I switched polarity on a BK-Precision PS. 

This is an old lambda brand power supply. Lambda is fairly well known around MIT for making nice power supplies but this one is definitely dated.

Melting Down Aluminum

I recently started up my metals forge again. The purpose was to make a few more aluminum ingots from scrap pieces from PSFC. I unfortunately video taped a cool video of aluminum squelching vertically.
The aluminum ingots will be melted down again in a few weeks and hammered out into a few neat tools hopefully. :)

Plans for the Coming Year

  In my last blog post I wrote "I have the potential to start March in a suddenly different place in life.". This turned out to be...