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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Exterminated!

So I've been doing this project for uni where I'm in a group with seven other people and we build a Dalek, which has to detect an infra-red or audio signal from the "enemy". And there's 12 teams building them. And then at the end the Daleks are all tested and one reigns supreme. Well, the FINAL SHOWDOWN was last Thursday, and my team won! We built the Best Dalek. A pretty common claim to fame, I know, but still.

Photoez:

Guts.
The guts of it.

It's a boy Dalek.
The final product. The pencil case on the back is there for balance; the entire weight of the thing is supported by the drive shaft by which it rotates, and the whole damn thing started to bend so it ended up a bit... wobbly.

The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny.
Only these five Daleks (of the 12 built) actually worked, so we put them in THE ARENA OF DEATH (or rather, extermination) in a gladiatorial battle royale. You'll notice that only two have the requisite toilet plunger (as required by the design objectives). The rest are failures. Ours pwned their silver arses. Note: The dude in the photo isn't in the middle of standing up or anything. He just looks like that.

The proof is in the pudding. Just kidding! That's corn starch.
Here is the record of our conquest of the Daleks. (We are Group 10.)

Our lecturer who was running the testing brought a CD player and played the Dr. Who theme song every now and then. It was pretty cool.

So... what else is new...

There was a Kellogg's promotion a while ago, where 1 in 3 boxes of Nutri-Grain had an "MP3 speaker" in it. If the TV ads were to be believed, you could plug it into you personal media player and suddenly your kitchen would be transformed into a deafening rave. Like a bull at a gate I stampeded towards the supermarket eager to get my hands on this instant party of a device, picked out a box of Nutri-Grain (using my patented "shake the box to see if the prize is in there" technique) and hurried home, eager with anticipation of a virtual Led Zeppelin concert in my very own home. I plugged it into my MP3 player, hands a-shake with excitement, and queued up some Zeppelin. But to my utter shock, I could barely hear it! I broke down in tears, wondering how Kellogg's could live with themselves for such unconscionable deceit and betrayal of my trust.

Well, no. I knew perfectly well it would be barely more audible than a pair of headphones lying on a table, because I'm not an idiot. The thing doesn't even have any amplification. So why did I get it? Well, I needed cereal anyway, for one. The other, more important reason, is the possibility of making something like this:

r0xx0r b0xx
I basically made this because building it seemed like more fun than studying multi-variable calculus. It's basically just a microphone, amp and speaker, using a couple of left-over op-amps from the Dalek, and four 1.2V rechargeable AA batteries. Not exactly hi-fi. In fact, it sounds appalling. I might add a 6.5mm phono input and use it as a travel guitar amp (with "built in" distortion). That might be kind of cool.

Also: I was watching this cool video of a dude soldering on the International Space Station (with interesting results), and found this hilarious exchange in the comments:

konxpyro (1 year ago)
can you give instructions on how to do this?
and you should prob wear a mask right?

wackyvorlon (10 months ago)
Kind of requires special equipment. Like a space ship.

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