Engineering Open House

I had a nice lunch with Eric at Lai Lai on Green Street on Thursday. They have good Chinese food and Eric enlightened me about Germany, from the size of beer they serve to the prominence of skinhead groups, when he studied there. D: I made reservations and bought tickets and stuff for my arrival. I get into Frankfurt at 10am on Saturday the 28th, and then I’m staying at a youth hostel (eine Jugendherberge) until Monday morning when I take the train on to Dessau.

I cut my own hair on Friday, losing about 4 inches to even up the bottom. Then I went to EOH for the afternoon.  I talked to the people running the “blue detector” —I picked Friday to wear my blue sweater, so I was popular— and was not particularly impressed by the next-door SIGGRAPH group, although their animation’s storyline was at least cute. I guess RIT spoils me in that respect, but I have to give them props for the effort! Then I met up with Mo, Noam, and Nicole and we walked around until Yuzi called me up and we checked out Siebel Center and Beckman until closing time. There was a guy using brainpower and an electrode cap to draw on a computer screen, and we saw the 3D printer and a high-speed/slow-motion video capture (which was pretty cool). I forgot to get down to where the MatSE people were, but they usually have good stuff.

Grant Imahara of Mythbusters
Grant Imahara of Mythbusters

In the evening, my family went and saw Grant Imahara of Mythbusters fame, as invited by the U of I. It was sweeeeeet! He was waaaaay better than either of the Bill Nye talks I’ve been to! He’s done a lot of glamourous electrical engineering for special effects, so we heard all about that. From roboticising/upgrading the innards of R2-D2 to building and driving the Energizer Bunny. And working at ILM, he’s worked on Jurassic Park, the Matrix, GalaxyQuest, and Terminator in addition to doing a lot of work on the new Star Wars movies. He also ended up fitting into the C3PO suit and doing appearances in that, and we got to hear all the gory details of how exactly it feels to be wearing it. In the end, Friday was a tiring but pretty awesome day. :)

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