Minions, Robots and World Domination
Ever since the movie “Despicable Me” was released, each member of my family has expressed an overwhelming desire to reign over an army of minions. Let’s face it — who wouldn’t?
With just a few minions around the house, imagine what you could accomplish. Doing laundry or cooking meals would be a thing of the past. A playing partner for Mario Carts or Just Dance would always be available, and willing to do “whatever is necessary” to beat your parents (or children, as the case may be). And, of course, if one weekend you ever felt the urge for world domination, the huggable band of one- and two-eyed, banana-colored goofballs could easily throw together a few nuclear weapons and a rocket-propelled delivery system for you to intimidate your neighbors.
Alas, however, minions are in very short supply in Augusta, notwithstanding our own downtown GRU. (Just for the record, if Minions are not selected as the official mascot for Georgia Regents University, it will be the most tragic lost opportunity for college school spirit and tradition since Admiral Ackbar was denied the mascot position at Ole Miss.) So what is an aspiring megalomaniac to do when minions cannot be found? The answer is easy — Evil robots.
Unfortunately, the production of an army of evil robots does not occur overnight. If the 10,000-hour rule is to be observed, many years must be spent studying, creating and maturing the necessary production skills. You must learn integrated circuits, radio frequency (RF) communications, digital logic, controller programming languages, 3D printing and host of other design and manufacturing tools. Each tool is designed to build and integrate the different components and subsystems, the totality of which results in a unified creation whose individual parts are indistinguishable and inseparable from the whole. If you want to own the capacity to reshape the world, you must first become a Maker.
Technology is the realm of the Maker. The Maker depends on technology as their primary tool to transform ideas into a physical creation. For example, 100 years ago, technology enabled widespread availability of oil paints in tubes, freeing the impressionist to create a new genre of art. Fifty years ago, technology enabled the widespread availability of electronic musical instruments, freeing rock stars to create new genre of music. Twenty years ago, technology enabled the widespread availability of microprocessors and network communications, freeing our whole society to increase productivity and awareness through the Internet. More recently, technology enables the widespread availability of circuit boards, RF transceivers, and small scale manufacturing platforms such as 3D printing. What will the visionaries do with these new resources?
More specifically, what will you do with them? How are you going to improve your life? More importantly, what contributions are you going to make to improve everyone’s life?
Are you interested in becoming a Maker, but you just don’t know where to start? Well, step one is kind of obvious — Google it! Try “How to become a maker”, and you’ll find several great online articles to get you started. Another great reference is SparkFun Electronics (sparkfun.com). SparkFun provides all the raw materials for Maker projects, and its website provides several pre-designed projects and tutorials to help newbies get off the ground. Finally, get involved in the local hackerspace. You already know about the theclubhou.se. Go check them out. Shout Out — We would like to give a big shout out to Exponent Design Works, LLC. This Augusta-based creative technology company won the initial ideation stage of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Apps for Vehicles Challenge. The smartphone application they presented, Fuel Economy Coach, teaches drivers good habits that will improve their vehicle fuel economy — saving the users money and decreasing the negative impact on the environment through reduced emissions. As one of only eight national finalists, Exponent Design Works was awarded a $2,000 cash prize along with access to industry experts to help further the development of the app. The design team is working feverishly on the next phase of competition to deliver a prototype app by March 15. Good luck! Until next time, I’m off the grid @gregory_a_baker. You Might Also Like: