I had to use that title after reading Jordyn's post about being halfway done. I suppose I am also halfway through my Olin career, but surviving this past year signifies 60% completion of my undergraduate career. Scary.
It's therefore seems fitting that I have been unable to post an "end of semester" post in a more timely fashion. Yes, exhaustion due to school, packing, traveling, and heat (Tucson likes to hang around the 90-100 F zone this time of year - quite mild, actually) played their part, but I've also been rather busy helping out with my high school's end of year events, most notably senior graduation. It was very peculiar seeing people who were freshmen when I graduated get their diplomas: I officially don't know any current students at Sonoran Science Academy. Way to feel old.
But I did survive the semester! Don't ask me how I got an A- in UOCD, but somehow my team pulled it off. The photo is unfortunately too dark to see what we did, but our final product was essentially a directional megaphone that bikers can use to communicate with other individuals. We noticed that an inability to easily communicate with other bikers, cars, and even pedestrians was compromising many of the positive feelings our users experience while biking. There are already products that try and address this (radios, bluetooth headsets, etc.), but these are fundamentally flawed in that they require all participating parties to have some sort of device, limiting who and when our users can communicate.
The beauty of our product (after a long and arduous process of trying to think like marketing people, we decided to call it VoiceBridge) is that it uses parametric speakers to create a "laser beam of sound". This means that I can send a message across a crowded room simply by speaking, but only people in my line of sight will hear it. VoiceBridge uses the volume of the user's voice to control the range of the transmission, the same way that we modulate our voices to talk to those around us. This technology allows our users to send messages to anybody, not just people with a receiving device. This creates some difficulties, such as knowing whether or not a message has been received, plus the obvious possibility for abuse. However, we believe that the ability to communicate so easily (and in such a discreet fashion since the device integrates very nicely into a helmet and has no unsightly wires, buttons, boxes, microphones, etc.) is worth it.
Team Two-Tired at our final presentation
Stuff of History was never exactly stressful, but there was an awful lot of work to do in the closing days. German was interesting - I felt like my oral interview went extremely well, but having to study for an exam is something I haven't had to do for a long time. They both turned out fine in the end.
The Film Crew, posing for out photo, taken with a Polaroid camera. Oh yes, oh yes indeed.
But sadly, this is all that remains of Stuff of History. I think this was the first class I was in where everyone was genuinely sad that the class was over. Thankful that the work was done, but sad that we would not be seeing each other the next day.
DICEIO was rather frantic right up until the morning of expo. Such is the problem of a team project made up of extremely busy people. I doubt it was the most polished presentation ever delivered at expo, but we were all pleasantly surprised at the number of people who showed up. Not only was there a large faculty contingent, but also a large number of external guests. We weren't booed off stage and people seemed satisfied with the answers we gave to their questions, so we assumed that's a vote of confidence in our model. All the more reason to look forward to next year! If you're interested, there is a recording of our presentation, although the sound quality is sub-par.
Team DICEIO with celebratory post-expo ice cream. Tasty.
And now it's time to get packing again. I fly back to Olin tomorrow morning so that Sebastian and I can help with the I2E2 Summer Institute. Then after a week of that I'm off to Europe for a 3 week vacation through France and Germany. Oder durch frankreich und Deutschland, man koennte sagen. Highlights include the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a couple laps around the Nurburgring, and the Porsche Factory Tour. More to come over the next month.