Saturday, April 11, 2015

April 11th Open House

Yet again another open house has come and gone at UConn. I was hoping it would go smoother than the last one back in October when the drone I use for my mind-control demos decided it didn't particularly like the carpet in C80 and thus wouldn't fly. I was right (well, sort of).

All seemed well as I arrived bright and early to ITE to set up with all my equipment. Finally getting the EPOC+ saturated and ready to go, I donned my nerd gear and tried getting it to connect to my MacBook with only a few minutes remaining before the tour groups would start arriving. Lo and behold... nothing. Panicking, I tried reconnecting, restarting the program, but nothing seemed to get all the sensors to go green. 

Fearing my new headset decided to crap out on the big day, I made a mad dash back to my dorm to grab my old trusty EPOC. Some visiting parents looked confused as they saw me sprint out of ITE like the building was on fire. Within record time, I got to my dorm, grabbed the headset, and ran back to ITE to quickly set up. However, in my panic I forgot the sensors of the EPOC were so worn out that the saline would only bead up and roll off, rendering the headset practically useless. In a last-ditch effort, I put the new headset back on and decided to try one last time.

Unfortunately by then the presentation had already started and I was scrambling to get everything configured. Sure enough, the finicky headset decided at the last minute to connect giving me only a short time to get ready. As soon as it was my cue to start the demo, I walked up to the front and center of the classroom and started my Java program. Despite my nerves, I was able to get the drone to fly with my mind and land -- all without crashing it into a wall or person. 

Many more tour groups came and went, all seemingly satisfied if not entertained by the demo. It's not everyday you see some crazy girl controlling a drone with her mind. However, the headset became unreliable more quickly than usual as it was thrown on my head in a rush so certain detections stopped working. Fortunately, this only impacted the very last tour group.

Overall, it was a rapid-fire open house, but it was generally a success. Hopefully I can improve on the demo for the upcoming Connecticut Invention Convention in May.

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