Archive for the Week 5 Category

A hope for tomorrow

Posted in Week 5 on December 4, 2007 by ava3

Not to be the black plague, but I feared for my future based on the lack of intelligence, creativity, and workmanship I believed my peers to have. Yet I found with the right incentive, there are many creative and dilligent minds. Everyone has a purpose, and everyone wants to find their purpose. Whether that may be to find the “cure” for cancer, create a robot that will then do everything for themself, or a superhero, our class alone provided intriguing, innovative, and intellectual projects that have opened my eyes to the possibilty of a brighter future.I would have to say my favorite presentation (sorry for the bias) was the “Transformers.” When you ask a five year old what they want to be when they grow up, and say a “Transformer,” anyone would giggle and laugh knowing that such a whimsical idea is to be expected. But what if it COULD happen? I liked that the presenter went out on a limb and cultivated an idea to put genomes into our DNA to put coils around our arms, and create us into machines. The presentation itself was also very intriging, where you could see the presenter was focused, determined, energetic, and related well to his audience.There were also other presentations I thoroughly enjoyed. The mockery of creating the rainbow rabbit was funny. But I was very impressed with ideas like “creating a picture from 1000 words.” I’m sure it has been SAID before, but the execution and creation of the program itself amazed me. I very much enjoyed projects that had an underining message, like the perspective house. Cures for cancer, and efficient robots were great ideas, but as a person going into phychology, I have a very analytical mind. I like the idea of toying with people’s mind and perception in order to make them think outside the box. They may gain more insight on the world rather than horses with blinders, a one track mind. This correlates with my project, the 24/7 sunrise sunset. It is intentionally made as a mockery of scientists and humans in general. Now I want to be a scientist myself, and am a human myself, so do not create bias against me – I am merely poking fun at reality. Mimicry is what humans are about, and rather than preserve what’s natural, we try to create an alternative that we believe will last. This only increases people’s lack of connection to the world, not finding time to relax and JUST BE, but rather living to work, living for new, bigger, better, shinnier things. So tell me, do you really NEED that new fancy robot? Do you NEED the video iPod, is your nano/mini/regular broken? What is this human craving for materials and to live forever – to cure everything? Maybe, there is not always a cure, but hopefully innovative ideas like ones presented in our class can create the new Renissance. Optimistic…I know.

Week 5- Blog-Kevin Schmidt-Mid term

Posted in Week 5 on November 11, 2007 by kschmidty30

I really enjoyed the mid term activity. I think it was a great way to learn the material without having the stress of cramming for some kind of written test. What I liked the most about it was that I could further research the topics that I am most interested in. Because, just like any other class, there are some topics that are more interesting to me than others, by doing a power-point presentation on a specific concept I could really learn a lot about that specific subject, as apposed to being a “jack of all traits and a master of none”. I also liked it because I could just let my ideas flow. There were no limitations on the type of creation I could come up with. I had an outlandish idea that I just went with because there were no limits placed on it. This is one of the only classes that I have been in that allows students to really think outside the box and express all of their ideas freely.
Although there were many good presentations, one that I liked in particular was the one on performance enhancing body suits. They are robotic suits that people would get into and be able to control. In class we talked a lot about robotics and I think that if we could combine robotics with people there are endless possibilities to what can be done.
To see more information on the blogs and projects please look at this website.

Biosphere- Edwin Chavez

Posted in Week 5 on November 5, 2007 by edwinc

The concept of Biosphere 2 is a very valuable mini-model for our planet, elucidating on our ways of life.  An even miniaturized version of a biosphere may be an effective way to examine how long-term space exploration may come about.  Living in a smaller biosphere can give us the perspective of how every action equals an equal and opposite action which allows us to feel how our daily life support system is affected daily at a microscopic level.  Our present technology keeps us comfortable and away from most of nature’s havoc and it made me realize how disconnected, , in overall, with our planet and its issues with global warming we are in addition to our should-be-symbiotic relationship with nature.

    It is interesting how the designers of Biosphere 2 carefully chose a variety of plant, animal, and insect species of which most were extinct (higher than expected: Of the 25 small vertebrates, 19 died out by the mission’s end). We can see how taking the mission on a longer run can deplete the species in a sort of dominoes effect.  Almost all of the insect species went extinct, including those which had been included for pollinating plants which in turn, caused a decrease in life-giving plants.  This was fundamental for the project’s success; improving upon the Biosphere 2 as a life containing orb can really make a difference in how we act upon issues on  our larger biosphere, Earth.  Also, in a lighter note, I find Biosphere 2 similar to the “Survivor” series; on how your physical and psychological energy drain out, thus uncovering your core values.  I think that the midterm was very challenging that can show the many positive attitudes over art, science, and technology.

Bunnies, Music and Computers…

Posted in Week 5 on November 5, 2007 by chrisbrackert

            I really enjoyed the tie-died bunny idea as I feel plenty of other people probably did too.  It was a well thought of topic for presentation because it was obviously something that (most) everyone in the class knows some background information on.  As someone who did not like the green bunny lecture, I highly enjoyed the amusing nature of this presentation.  Although I can not be certain, I couldn’t help but notice a sense of irony being presented in the idea of a tie-die bunny.

            Another thing that I noticed (and liked) about the presentations is that there were many that had to do with music and some sort of digital manipulation of visuals and/or sound.  I think this really reflects that amongst people in my age group, many have had their lives highly influenced by digital music.  Our generation is the first to be of a group that has easy access to computers and fast internet.  Illegal music downloading is such an easy thing for us, and as an effect, we have built these massive digital collections.  iPods and other mp3 players have further influenced the enjoyment of downloading more digital music.  It obviously makes sense that in an attempt to combine art, science and technology, we go for two of our biggest loves; music and computers.


The Midterms and Powered Exoskeletons/Super Suits -Daniel Waltrip

Posted in Week 5 on November 5, 2007 by dwaltrip77

I was somewhat surprised to learn that we were going to be performing presentations for our midterm. I suppose that it makes sense considering the innovative and somewhat experimental nature of the class. I enjoyed seeing the vast spectrum of ideas that everyone came up with, it was amazing that all the projects were different, especially with such a large class. This shows how many options we have in creating a new future, and what exciting new ideas it has in store.

As for the actual midterms, I thought that full body suit/exo-skeleton idea the most interesting. While some of that interest stems from the coolness factor of “master chief” in Halo or “Doc Oc” in Spiderman 2, such a development would actually be very useful in a variety of functions. A powered “super suit” would provide safety and cut down on the needed man power for countless tasks and situations. Firefighters could resist very high temperatures and not have to worry as much about falling objects when rescuing people from fires. Laborers could do more work with fewer men in less time. The police force and military could utilize such suits and modify them for combat. The list goes on.

Obviously, we have already made steps in such directions. The development of robotics and the increase in mobile, versatile computing power will assist in the development of these power suits. However, a major concern to consider is safety. If the suit malfunctions or break down, the user might experience great bodily harm, especially if it occurs in the middle of a strenuous task.

A while back, I read about a contest called “Tetsujin”, the world’s first exoskeleton weight lifting competition. Events like this are what will spur research and bring forth new innovations. Here is a picture of an average guy lifting 650 pounds with an exo-skeleton designed for the Tetsujin contest.

Biotech- Marco Anzures

Posted in Week 5 on November 5, 2007 by manzures

The integration of man and machine is probably one of the most fantastical and interesting topics of modern science. Image the endless possibilities of having a human beings capacity to think creatively and a machine/or robots power, precision and speed. The first application that comes to mind of man/machine integration is using robotic prosthetic limbs to replace human limbs. Promising research has pointed to the possibility that one day a child born without a leg or arm could be outfitted with a robotic one that will act and respond in the very same way a real arm would. It is mindboggling to see that the biologic and robotic interface is being challenged and broken with research today. A recent project entailed allowing robots to be controlled by cells in a petri dish. The cells acted to certain stimuli encountered by the robots and remarkable adapted to these stimuli even though they themselves weren’t subjected directly to the stimuli. This research is just one step in making the final brain/machine interface a reality. It begs the question are human’s internal wiring that much different than a machine’s? Another project that I found was one on the successful development of a computer chip the size of and aspirin tablet that when implanted into a certain part of the brain would allow someone who couldn’t talk for example a direct line of communication to a computer. Essentially that person’s thoughts would be transmitted to a computer and translated into written word. Here is the link to the article this came from if you’re interested: I just find this field fascinating in all of the applications it has and the many questions it can ask and answer as research continues to develop. Although we know so much about our bodies, there is still a myriad of information that is locked away about how our brains function. We take for granted the complexities of the brain because our unconscious use of it is second nature. It is through abnormalities in the brains functions that inhibit or amplify certain cerebral traits that allow us a view into what really makes our minds tick.

Midterms – Carlos Chorro

Posted in Week 5 on November 5, 2007 by cchorro

Even though i found this midterm particularly difficult and challenging I enjoyed the new and innovative 1 minute presentations. The hardest thing was crunching all the information into the given time and being able to show what you worked so hard on and know so much about in 1 minute. Despite these difficulties i saw some really fascinating ideas and would prefer this type of midterm to the usual 50 minute tests i take in my engineering classes.

I liked the presentation about the “fatsuit” and the issue of obesity. I always thought obesity was a problem and i definitely agree that a treadmill and a “fatsuit” would be a very effective way of showing society how big of a problem it is today. This project reminded me of the movie “super size me” where a man tracks his health over 30 days where he eats fast food every meal. They are very similar in the sense that the each user in each project actually experiences what its like to be fat and are very controversial and probably somewhat painful to watch. Heres a link to a clip of this video on youtube:

I also liked the DNA music presentation. The idea that something that microscopic and that scientific can be translated to something music is just simply amazing. But actually being able to do it and make it sound good too is taking it to a whole new level. I could see people paying for something like this just to see what they’re DNA would sound like. I know i would like to mess around with something that plays my DNA. To expand on this project, maybe it could be like an instrument where it has an input and output. Input a strand of hair and out comes the music? Just a thought.

The presentations similar to mine were very interesting too. Other people came up with the same sort of category which was using robots to make art. Although these concepts are far from possible these days, these ideas were interesting and helpful for me especially when i had to present my idea. Aritificial intelligence is not nearly advanced enough to create my project or any of the others for that matter, i believe it is still important for these ideas to be shared because thats how ideas for inventions stem and how some helpful things have been created. Overall I thought the midterms were a big success, presentations went well and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves and others’ creative ideas. I would like more of my midterms to be like this in the future.