So, it’s been awhile since I’ve actively updated my blog or my youtube videos. Even my presence on UltimateComputers.net has gone down as of late. As many of you probably know, I’m currently in my sophomore year at Cornell, studying electrical and computer engineering. This semester has been a tremendous amount of work, certainly more than I’ve ever had to handle before. As a result, I’ve had to prioritize my time, and I had to make sure I didn’t start failing my classes just because I was behind on videos and blog updates.
But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel! I’m in the middle of finals week now, with three done so far (differential equations, electricity and magnetism, and computer instrumentation design), and two more to go (digital logic design and microeconomics). I plan to do some work on the ultimatecomputers.net site over winter break, including a needed upgrade to the forum software, some new features, etc. I also plan to start catching up on video’s and bringing TechBits back to life.
The Solar House Control System…
What have I been so busy with!? Well, in addition to classes, I took on a leadership position in Cornell’s Solar Decathlon Team. The solar decathlon competition took place during the first two weeks of October, so from the very first weekend that school started (in August) up through October, I basically did nothing but focus on getting our Solar House ready to display to the world. Before taking the home down to the international Solar Decathlon competition in DC, we first displayed it to the public at the Great NY State Fair. During the first 8 weeks of classes, I spent every weekend, and some weekdays in either Syracuse, or DC – hence why I had no time to make TechBits episodes… In addition to working on the home’s automation, electrical, and entertainment systems (see the picture above), I also gave tours, talked to the media, and developed the team website, along with Dan Strongwater (a Junior at Cornell who was on the team as well).
Upon the completion of the competition (see the results here), myself and a few others decided we wanted to continue the momentum from the team, without the restrictions of the competition (ie. only using solar power when geothermal, wind, etc are also clean and renewable). So, we formed the Cornell University Sustainable Design Team, and we are currently gathering support from all the colleges within Cornell. We hope to start designing a new structure next summer.
As if that all wasn’t enough to keep me busy, I also started research at the Cornell Computational Synthesis Lab after the Decathlon ended. I’m developing a sensor interface for a robot that scales and dismantles structures (see the picture above). The whole deal is called a “machine metabolism” – the robot is like an enzyme crawling around on a protein and reshaping it.
So that’s what I’ve been up to! I think next semester is going to be pretty hectic too, but I think I should have a bit more time than I did this semester… I look forward to getting back into some youtube videos, and UC.net soon!