A Day in the Life / What I’ve Been Up to

If there’s one thing to be said about MIT, it’s that there’s never a dull moment. You hit the ground running and don’t stop until the semester’s over.

First of all, I remembered to participate in the annual “ADITL” — A Day in the Life of an MIT student. I took a total of 24 photos… Better than what I did freshman year, but still kinda boring compared to some photographers.

Anyways, my photos are up on the website here.

I’m taking some interesting classes this term: 6.034, an introductory AI class; 6.012, a circuits and semiconductor physics course; 6.111, a digital systems design lab; and a HASS class on energy usage in the US throughout the latter half of the 20th century. In addition to that, I’m a LA (lab assistant — someone who helps people out in their labwork and checks them off when they finish it) for 6.004, an excellent computation architecture course that I took last semester. My other main project for the semester is to help get Next-Make up and running. It was a group started in my dorm 2 years ago, when I was a freshman, whose main goal was to further the “Mens et Manus” philosophy of MIT; that is, to teach people how to take the theory and simulated design concepts they learn in their courses and apply them to real projects. One of the group’s first projects was to build a RepRap; the original founder of the group at the time had made his senior thesis to redesign the RepRap’s extruder to improve its accuracy by a great deal.

Unfortunately, the group fell into disarray the following year and there wasn’t much interested. Over the course of this past summer, while I was working on ACRIS, a good friend of mine was actually building a similar project, only doing his audio processing in hardware and a different lighting scheme. We began discussing our projects and eventually started thinking about whether we could revive Next-Make by starting a series of projects to create a completely homebuilt party lighting system for our dorm.

A small group of us began trying to revive the group and we now have quite a bit of interest, especially from freshmen who want to learn hands-on design skills. We held our first set of seminars (introduction to soldering and introduction to microcontrollers) last weekend and got an excellent response. So, in the coming year, we’re hoping to start a series of new projects and give many more seminars to teach students practical knowledge and skills.

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