MIT is 150 years old this year.
As part of the celebrations, they had a big open house today. Every department threw their doors open, gave tours, and put on exhibits.
Chris spent a lot of the day helping to give demos at the Media Lab.
The rest of us spent some time at the site of the 2.007 contest. It’s changed a bit since I took it. This year the students are building robots which can run around a model of campus staging hacks. The robots are Arduino based and can do things like lifting a police car to the top of the dome, or blowing up a balloon in the football field. The final competition is next week, so it was nice that several students were able to take time off from last minute debugging to demo their robots.
Peter and I got a tour of the glass lab. A group of students showed how they make the famous pumpkins. Chris really wanted to do this back when she was a Freshman.
We also stopped by the the Course 9 hanger and the wind tunnel, where I used to spend a lot of my time.
We talked to several groups who were working on autonomous vehicles. This is one of the machines which competed in the DARPA Urban Challenge. One of the guys from that group also showed us a really cool forklift which would respond to voice commands. He was doing a lot of interesting stuff to make sure it didn’t spook people as it went zooming around with no driver.
Of course, there was lots of cool stuff to see back at the Media Lab. Like the cutting machines in the Fab Lab. The robots were a big hit with the smaller kids. Especially Nexi, who has a very expressive face and can maintain eye contact.
Tom really enjoyed the performances which were being put on by some of the extracurricular groups. One group was dancing to loud music in building 7, and then they all ran across the street waving flags. We also saw a big group with African drums and several members of the SCA.
It was really fun to see all of the cool things people at MIT are working on these days. Actually, that’s not right. We really didn’t even see a tiny fraction of all of the cool things. I don’t think that it was possible to fit it all into one day. But we really enjoyed the parts we did get to see.