I lived in Champaign, IL from 4th to 7th grade, and each year we would attend the University of Illinois Engineering Open House. I loved the projects and drank in the learning from the college students’ presentations. When I started my college career in 2005 I was determined to make a splash in my first year.
Over dinner, I pulled together a few students staying at the same dorm and convinced them to do a project with me. I raised $4,000 for materials, pizza, and Red Bull. We built the largest ever EOH project run by an all freshman team. We were the main event in the Siebel Center for Computer Science for two days.
Our project was based on the concept of Remote Warfare, like the drones you see in the news destroying terrorist targets. We used a gaming engine developed by Eric Iverson, and created a wireless control system so that actions taken in the game resulted in tanks making real movements on the demonstration floor. We used computer mouses to provide feedback on where the tanks were on the map, and what direction the lasers were pointing for “firing.”
The whole system took three teams: virtual interface, hardware implementation, wirelessncontrol system. We even made our own batteries, and our own circuit boards, and did our own soldering.
After months of research, design, all-nighters, and construction. IT WORKED.
Later, we were interviewed for an article published in Ingenuity Magazine (Download PDF).