Animadversions.

The weblog of Joshua Drescher

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Today’s lesson is…

March 30th, 2005 · No Comments · Misc., Technology

…just because you’re a well-funded, brilliant child of privelege studying robotics at MIT, don’t go thinking a group of poor, misfit high school students from Mexico can’t hand you your ass.

“How’d you make the laser range finder work?” Swean growled. MIT had admitted earlier that a laser would have been the most accurate way to measure distance underwater, but they’d concluded that it would have been difficult to implement.

“We used a helium neon laser, captured its phase shift with a photo sensor, and manually corrected by 30 percent to account for the index of refraction,” Cristian answered rapidly, keyed up on adrenaline. Cameron had peppered them with questions on the drive to Santa Barbara, and Cristian was ready.

Swean raised a bushy, graying eyebrow. He asked about motor speed, and Lorenzo sketched out their combination of controllers and spike relays. Oscar answered the question about signal interference in the tether by describing how they’d experimented with a 15-meter cable before jumping up to one that was 33 meters.

“You’re very comfortable with the metric system,” Swean observed.

“I grew up in Mexico, sir,” Oscar said.

Swean nodded. He eyed their rudimentary flip chart.

“Why don’t you have a PowerPoint display?” he asked.

“PowerPoint is a distraction,” Cristian replied. “People use it when they don’t know what to say.”

“And you know what to say?”

“Yes, sir.”

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