Category Archives: Assignments

Magic in the Wild


At a local video game store, I found the Xbox 360 game “Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4.”  Here, the displayed message connects the concept of the Harry Potter stories as a world of wizards and witches with the experience one attains by constructing a fantastical world with Legos.

Magic in the Wild? (on my desk)

imageHere is the “Magic” Mouse, which my company has given to me. Its appearance(smooth & seamless) makes me always wonder how it works…but it does a great job, indeed. In this context, the word of “magic” means that you can never figure out exactly how it happens, I assume.

Magic at the Super Bowl!

I know I already posted but I got excited when I saw this. Axe find your magic advertisement during the Super Bowl! This add features quirks of different people to express individuality. The phrase “find your magic” uses the word magic to suggest something special that stands out against others.

Magic in the wild!

Magic Trackpad

I wanted a mouse for my desk so my dad gave me this (bad?) apple trackpad. I actually never noticed it was called a Magic Trackpad until this assignment. But of course Apple needs to distinguish it’s trackpad from others. I think the name makes sense, this is a very simple device that appears as if it doesn’t do much of anything. However, although it seems mundane, it does posses hidden qualities unknown until you use it.

Magic in the wild 1.


“Magic” in this case is being used in the original occult sense, not stage illusion, but also as a play on words from “Harry Potter”, mixing beliefs in the real and the unreal.

Final Project – Isa Sobrinho

Nanotech – Drones (?)

The idea was to create power balls that would follow your hand movements.

Initially we thought about using a kinect sensor and setting it up to track the hand and translate it to the drone using Kinect Core Vision.

Then we realized (Luke told us) about the built in camera in the drone and how to set it up to track your hand as if it was the ground, changing it’s position according to your movement.

Turns out, everything change, since the drone capacity carry weight was very restrict, and we used carbon rods + mylar to make the cover, but didn’t manage to stick with the LED’s.


Even though the drone did NOT obey me during the presentation, I did learn a lot from the class and am very grateful to have been part of it.

Power Balls / Magic Balls:

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Setting Up:

How to make it:

Rolling Spider Drone 

Luke’s exoskeleton

Milar laser cutter paper cover

Kinnect sensors

Magic and the Soldier Design Competition

This past Monday I missed class to make a presentation to a panel of nine judges including the dean of West Point and head of the MIT Physics department as part of the Soldier Design Competition. This program is run through the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies and pits teams from West Point against teams from MIT to compete for prizes, trophies, and the occasional defense contract.

The team I was a part of is building a hierarchy of drones that can be used to sense or image important battlefield information and relay it to soldiers on the ground or remote command-and-control facilities. The hierarchy includes a “nanodrone” less than four inches on a side, a foldable tricopter capable of carrying sensor payloads up to one kilogram, and larger fixed-wing drones will powerful radios for communicating information back to base.

The obvious magical analogy to make here is omniscience. Synthesizing biometric and positional sensor data from individual soldiers, visible and IR battlefield imaging, acoustic gunshot localization, LIDAR environment mapping, and any other sensing capability using drones as a mobile backbone gives troops and generals alike perfect situational awareness at all times. This is the message I alluded to throughout my presentation and stated explicitly on the final slide.

I also used showmanship techniques to emphasize my points. To demonstrate the small size of nanodrone, I brought one of them onstage. But unlike the other teams that hauled large prototypes across the floor, I carried mine discreetly in my suit jacket pocket. As I verbally extolled the small size of these drones, I pulled it out of my pocket with a flourish and handed it to the judges.