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How I Know the Robots Are After Me

Posted by on Thursday, March 1, 2012 in Academics, College Life, Engineering, General Information, Student Life.

Earlier in the semester (MUCH earlier), I talked about my first day of Mechatronics class. I mentioned the kit we’d be working with, complete with Arduino micro-controller, circuit components, and other such tools. Each week in February (the kits came into the bookstore late), we’ve had an assignment involving creating or modifying code for the micro-controller and building/testing a simple circuit to accompany the software. The first two assignments went swimmingly (spent way too much time on the second one), but this week’s seemingly simple simple instructions led to a very frightening discovery:

The robots are after me.

Do... are... are there seriously robots like this? Whose idea??

After spending several frustrating hours testing and re-testing and re-re-testing my code and very simple circuit, I was forced to conclude that one of the components from my kit (a potentiometer) was faulty, In essence, the potentiometer should linearly change its resistance as a knob is turned from 0 to 10,000 ohms, being able to take each value in between based on the position of the knob. Mine would only either register as 0 or 10,000 ohms. SUPER!

I hunted down a friend on my hall who is also in ME204 and stole his potentiometer to test my circuit – everything worked fine! If the story ended here, I would simply put my malfunctioning component up to bad luck, and life would go on. However, as I tested my final code, my laptop told me it was unable to locate the USB (virtual serial) port where the micro-controller was supposedly attached. Huffing and puffing (“It’s right there, I CAN LOCATE IT, why can’t you?”), I reached to unplug the USB serial cable from the micro-controller, and was instead electrocuted by a nearby component on the board. (But seriously, ow.)

That's the one. Right there. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

My thumb and my dignity both smarting, my head reeling, everything became suddenly clear – The micro-controller wasn’t satisfied controlling small, simple circuits. It wants to control mankind.

I’m afraid.

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