Google, Making Ideas Come Alive
My name is Dean Tate, one of the newest Research & Development Interns at JBKnowledge, Inc. and a student at Texas A&M University. This week I wanted to inspire and give you a glimpse into how quickly ideas can be brought into the physical world, specifically using electronics. My passion for making ideas come to life through electronics initially started when I joined a research and development team at Texas A&M University called Mobile Integrated Solutions Laboratory.
While on the Mobile Integrated Solutions team I was able to develop many different remote controlled robots, rocket measurement payloads, and even a device that made it to the International Space Station! Under the leadership of our fearless and persistent professor, my team was able to bring these ideas to life within a strict deadline and budget.That same professor once told me how lucky I was to be in college during this day and age. He was baffled by the quality of projects that my team and many others were able to produce during our time at Texas A&M. He mentioned that all of the projects he worked on while he was in college were all theoretical and that no one had the experience or money to prove they worked.
We are in a generation now where rapid prototyping of ideas can be done in an evening. How would you react if you could search your idea in Google and see it unfold right in front of your eyes? Now, that is becoming possible. You do not have to have an engineering degree from a prestigious university or thousands of dollars in a development fund to bring your ideas to fruition. Rather, with a quick Google search and less than $100, virtually anything is possible.
If you have a great idea but lack the inspiration for how it would work, then check out some of the amazing technology projects on Instructables. Here you will find projects ranging from duct type RC airboats, hand gesture controllers, solar paneled tables, and even weather lightning bolt detectors!
Most electronic projects will include some form or fashion of programming involved which turns most people off to their idea immediately. There is no reason to fear though! Using electronic devices such as the Arduino, BeagleBone Black, or Raspberry Pi are so cheap now and offer a rich online community that make programming and developing electronic devices easy enough for even a non-techy person to pick up. Even if you do not know where to start on developing your new idea, these online communities have forums dedicated to project guidance and how feasible your idea is. Click here to check out one for the Arduino.
To conclude, I wanted to share about an inspiring project that Stephen Cram, our MakerSpace Manager at JBKnowledge, Inc., and a friend of his worked on. Over the course of two weeks they were able to bring their idea into the physical world by building a full body 3D scanner using an Xbox Kinect, drill motor, bike tire, and spare plywood. Within three hours Stephen had me fully scanned and printed out!
Next time an amazing idea comes to your head, give it the attention it deserves. Write it down and do a quick Google search about it. Be passionate about seeing that idea come to life because today, with a little cash, and a little learning online, anything is possible.