Things that are awesome by Laura N. '09
being published, D-lab, and MISTI. Also cookies. But there are no cookies in this entry.
Well here are a whole bunch of interesting things, and I’m just going to blog about them all at once RIGHT NOW instead of putting them off until later (i.e. never). Ready, go.
1. I’m being published. For realz.
This is sort of weird because…well, I don’t have much interest in going into academia or research, so being published is just sort of generally interesting to me. I mean, I want to spend my life designing corn shellers for poor people in Africa, it’s not like being published is really in the same world, you know? Right now I’m just hoping the Peace Corps accepts me, and I really don’t think that sending an addendum to my application saying “Hey look! I’m published!” is really going to make a difference. It’s sort of like when Columbia accepted me but I was already so psyched about going to MIT that I just looked at the envelope and went, “Oh, that was nice of them.”
Okay, now I’m just being a snob. It also doesn’t help that the paper was well outside my normal field of study. So while I’ve been told that the IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference is a Big Deal, it’s not like I actually know anything about the IEEE.
Anyway, if you migrate over to the “Accepted Papers” section and happen to see a paper entitled ECall-compliant early crash notification service for portable and nomadic devices, rest assured that the third author is in fact yours truly and not some other Laura Nicholson from MIT. (True story, there’s actually a Laura Nicholson who is my year at Harvard. I was not blessed with a unique name.)
My influence is most clearly seen in the acceleration charts which made their way into the final paper. As a mechanical engineer, I was feeling a little lost when they asked me to create an emulator for the project. So I sort of threw something together and spent a bunch of time running crash simulations and plotting the results. I had no idea how to capture the data from Java directly to an Excel sheet (remember, mechanical engineer!) so it involved a lot of hacked solutions (ahem, copy paste). But when I showed the graphs I made to my coworkers, they were amazed. I guess they never would have thought of that. =)
Anyway, the point is, I know it’s awesome…but in my world, still less awesome than that time I was slashdotted.
2. I love MISTI.
I mean, first gave me my awesome experience in Spain. Then, they also sent me to Italy. (Blog entry to come, I promise!) Then, after I spent hours scouring the internet for employment opportunities last night and found absolutely nothing and finally went to bed miserable and depressed, I find this email in my inbox.
- Dear MISTI program participant,
MISTI publishes an online resumebook for our corporate partners interested in hiring MIT grads. If you are going to be on the job market in the next six months, we encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity. The resume book has been effective in helping MISTI participants establish careers with firms such as Motorola, Siemens, and UTC in Asia, Europe and the US . For a complete list of MISTI corporate partners, visit http://mit.edu/misti/partners/sponsors.html
I replied within 30 seconds. MISTI, I love you. Thank you for helping me find a job. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
3. My D-Lab project kicks your D-Lab project’s….
Okay, 99.999% of the people reading this blog don’t have a D-Lab project. But anyway.
6. Bamboo pencil maker- bamboo grows quickly, so using it instead of other types of wood helps the planet. Also, making useful things out of bamboo can be a good source of income for people in developing nations. This project is to design a device which turns bamboo into pencils.
5. Recycling plastic bags- into fishing nets. How cool is that?
4. Yunus Challenge– energy storage is a tricky problem. How creative can you get in solving it?
3. Chlorine dispenser- the current design for dispensing chlorine to disinfect dirty water could use some improvement.
2. Cell phone baby scale- malnutrition is a big problem for young children in the developing world. This scale would measure a baby’s height and weight and use Bluetooth or cell phone signals to send the information to a central database at the nearest health clinic. This saves mothers from having to walk hours or days to reach the clinic and have their baby weighed. The health clinic could send back messages indicating if the baby’s weight is of any concern.
And, by far the coolest project evar, which I was lucky enough to be assigned to:
1. Hydropowered lantern- imagine you live in Peru, and you don’t have electricity in your house. In order to see at night, you use lanterns which use expensive kerosene, produce irritating smoke, and pose a fire hazard. The weather is usually cloudy, so there’s not much solar power to be harvested, but you (and nearly everyone in your village) live only a few hundred feet from a small stream. You have a nifty lantern that you can just drop into the stream and let the running water charge it up for use that night.
I am officially going to spend the rest of the semester designing such a device.
How. cool. is that? =)