So the other day I was reading an article on slashdot about Copenhagen Suborbitals, a group of amateurs trying to launch themselves into space with their own homemade rocket (from their own homemade submarine, no less!)
I remember back when CS was getting started - one of their founders posted on some forums I frequented - and being amazed by people who just made these really cool things. In the same vein I posted Carlos, the man who built a 20 foot flamethrowing exoskeleton in my linkdump post a few weeks back.
This got me thinking of MIT people who just kind of make these really awesome mostly dangerous things. There are, as you might imagine, quite a few of them! Unfortunately we do operate under some limits here. For example Massachusetts has some pretty lame rules about homemade explosives / launchers / fire / etc. I'm sure there are a bunch of students here who could build a giant flamethrowing exoskeleton to invade Boston but I am pretty sure it would not fly with campus police.
But if there is someone at MIT who falls into that mold, it's probably Charles Guan.
Charles will be graduating tomorrow with a degree in mechanical engineering. But he's probably best known around campus for being the King of MITERS, the main student hackerspace at MIT. Specifically, he's best known for things he's made at MITERS.
For example, lolriokart:
During my first CPW, at the MIT Professor Talent Show, Charles accidentally drove the lolriokart into an enormous bank of computers in front of maybe 300 parents (lol indeed)
I'm also a big fan of SEGFAULT:
Which, like a Segway, is a self-balancing scooter, but, unlike the Segway, accomplishes all of its balancing with hardware alone.
Anyway, Charles was fairly nostalgic on the eve of his graduation. So he made two more things:
An annotated timeline of everything he's ever made at MIT!
You can see more of everything Charles has made at his website, http://www.etotheipiplusone.net/, where he's posted careful documentation, models, and other stuff so you can even follow along at home should you be so inclined.
Congratulations on your graduation, Charles - and thanks for all of the dangerously awesome memories!