The Magic Smoke, Sparks, Programming, And Wire

756 words - 3 pages

As the prototype neared completion, with the finalization of the wiring, the group around it grew. The monumental task of flicking the power switch seemed to be within grasp. The netbook booted up, the wireless router started broadcasting, and the Ethernet cable was attached, one end to the portable computer, the other to the robot’s brain, its cRIO. As I found myself holding my breath, along with everyone else present, the room was so silent that the dying of a gnat could have sounded like thunder on a stormy night. Given that we, as a robotics team, had all spent endless hours on this, we were all anxious to see it run. The mouse cursor hovered over the virtual, vibrant green “Enable” button. The mouse clicked, the sound so relatively loud that I, along with the rest of the group, flinched. With that click of a mouse, IT came to life. We fled for cover as IT jerked to life, and moved sporadically out of control. Someone’s hand, during the confusion the owner was not apparent, slammed down on the emergency stop button, hopefully ending the uncontrollable, wild rage of the robot. But it didn’t. Finally our coach dove, and managed to hit the main breaker switch, disconnecting the battery and ending the rampage. I wish I could say that I had been one of the few brave, strong people who risked themselves to stop IT, but I was only running like the many others, try to escape the monster. This was the season of magic smoke, sparks, programming, and wire.
As we analyzed the robot, trying to find, and fix, the disastrous mistake, we discovered that the ever-so-useful red and black wires were attached the inverse of how they should be. Because of this, the motor controller, known as Jaguars or simply Jags’, overloaded and began to smoking, a delicious smell of burning silicon and solder. A blue haze orbited the area, giving everything a special look and taste, an appearance of unreality where everything was covered in the blue fog and tasted of burning metal. This was just one of the legions of adventures I had with robots.
During our season, I had many adventures with robots, everything...

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