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Education Intel Science Technology

A Look At Intel ISEF 2004 69

Posted by timothy
from the building-better-brains dept.
crl620 writes "Just this past Friday marked the end of the 2004 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF). This year's ISEF took place in Portland, Oregon with more than 1,200 participants. Over $3 million was given out and three grand winners left with $50,000. Winning projects include a homemade Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) and a brain-computer interface for the muscularly disabled. My picture diary of this huge event can be found here."
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A Look At Intel ISEF 2004

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  • damn (Score:4, Funny)

    by fresh27 (736896) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @11:47PM (#9192435) Homepage
    i made battery out of a lemon and some pennies, but i didn't get past the first round.
    • Re:damn (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      i made battery out of a lemon and some pennies

      It's all in the presentatation. Think of the scientific mileage Pons & Fleischman could have milked out of that lemon.
    • Then I went to the Reed College Nuclear Reactor which was a neat open-pool reactor. We got to see the core and also see a SCRAM where they drive control rods into the core.
      I hope he was wearing his metal cup shielding
    • Re:damn (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AKAImBatman (238306)
      Actually, I recently considered what it would take to build a go kart for the sky. My idea was to take a basic frame (like that of a go-kart), add blimp-like "pontoons" to the sides, and attach a lightweight propeller to the back. I figured that if I could get it to lift a few hundred pounds, I'd have myself a new way of getting to work. The problem came in when I did the actual calculations.

      To lift one kilogram of weight, I need about .4 kilograms of helium. This didn't sound so bad until I found out that
      • Re:damn (Score:5, Funny)

        by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 19, 2004 @12:17AM (#9192580) Homepage Journal
        Did you consider compressing the helium? Compressed gasses take up less space, so you would have needed a much smaller envelope.
        • Re:damn (Score:5, Informative)

          by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday May 19, 2004 @12:25AM (#9192604) Homepage Journal
          Did you consider compressing the helium? Compressed gasses take up less space, so you would have needed a much smaller envelope.

          I'm not completely up to speed on airship technology, but my understanding is that this presents two problems:

          1. To compress the helium, you need a stronger gasbag structure. Making the gasbag stronger makes it heavier, thus defeating the purpose of compressing it.

          2. Compressing the gas simply adds more gas for the same amount of displacement. Thus you've actually made the blimp or rigid airship heavier instead of lighter.

          Keep in mind that airships work by displacing air like boats displace water. The only reason that helium helps generate lift is that it adds structural integrity to the airframe/gasbag while being lighter than if it had been filled with air. The absolute BEST airframe is a complete vacuum. However, an absolute vacuum would require much stronger materials (1-1.5 atmospheres of pressure on the materials vs. a pressure of .01 atmospheres in a standard blimp). These stronger materials would of course be heavier and thus defeat any gains you would get by creating a vacuum.

          • Did you think about have the "airbags" be "vacume bags" and no not like the kind that you clean the floor with. Have them be EMPTY (all air/gases removed). That would make it even more bouyant!
            • Did you READ my post? I did say:

              The absolute BEST airframe is a complete vacuum. However, an absolute vacuum would require much stronger materials (1-1.5 atmospheres of pressure on the materials vs. a pressure of .01 atmospheres in a standard blimp). These stronger materials would of course be heavier and thus defeat any gains you would get by creating a vacuum.

              • DOH. That what I get for haveing read this on my PDA. I'm sorry I totally missed that before.
                • It's okay. It just came after a long string of people putting words in my mouth. Just yesterday, I had one guy complain about my use of "most" when I said "many", and another tell me that Diesel was more energy dense than gasoline when I had said "petroleum". I must be doing something wrong here...

        • by gatzke (2977)
          You are kidding, right? Trolling for a response?

          It is all about floating the blimp, the bouyancy of the envelope. The difference in density is what gives you lift in a blimp (or a boat).

          I assume you are kidding, you never know. I ran into a cashier at KFC that did't know how many were in a dozen, she insisted it was 6 in a dozen...

          • Re:damn (Score:3, Interesting)

            by AKAImBatman (238306)
            It's a common mistake. People tend to have the idea in their heads that helium is a magic anti-gravity substance. Once you point out their error to them, they tend to realize that they'd never really considered how it worked in the first place.

            In short, cut the guy some slack will ya?

          • You know, the joke is much funnier now that it's been explained. Thanks!
        • Re:damn (Score:5, Funny)

          by nacturation (646836) <nacturation&gmail,com> on Wednesday May 19, 2004 @12:44AM (#9192667) Journal
          Did you consider compressing the helium? Compressed gasses take up less space, so you would have needed a much smaller envelope.

          Even more efficient than helium, a really light particle, is a total vacuum which has no particles. To make an efficient lifting device, you can figure out the amount of total vacuum you would need to lift 250kg. Essentially, you would need the equivalent amount as the displacement of 250kg of air. For sake of argument, let's say this is 250 cubic meters. The beauty of this is that a vacuum, having no particles, compresses down to nothing. In fact, you could compress 250 cubic meters of vacuum down to nothing and store it inside the object you are trying to lift!

          This amazing technology was used by the Egyptians in building the pyramids and by whomever built Stonehenge. The object itself thus becomes its own lifting mechanism. Ever wonder why modern man has been unable to reproduce such engineering feats? They've been unable to harvest the power of compressible vacuums to move great masses. However, I have shared this new secret technology with you in the hopes that you too will build marvels of the Earth.

          The trick, of course, is not to store too much compressed vacuum inside an object or it'll just float away forever. King Tut was really pissed when the engineers first made that mistake!
          • So YOUR'RE the guy that came up with that lossess compression technique for randome data!
    • Re:damn (Score:4, Funny)

      by deglr6328 (150198) on Wednesday May 19, 2004 @01:10AM (#9192763)
      Some lame-o actually did this!! look at this kid's photo (second one down) of the project which he clearly marked "uncool" http://isef.syndetics.net/projects/ [syndetics.net]. The person clearly didn't even understand simple oxidation/reduction potentials of metals. How dreadfully embarrassing when juxtaposed with >a href=http://isef.syndetics.net/projects/C%20-%20La st%20Years%20Winner.JPG>this.
    • My STS project was a morning-after pill. I didn't place in the competition, but the sex made up for it.
  • I went to the site and opened 20-30 tabs to load the various images in the photo journal, but for some reason very few of the images have loaded. The ones that did load so far do look pretty nice, but boring...

    OMG, They all loaded eventually. Amazing.

    Netcraft says Apache on Linux:
    OS, Web Server and Hosting History for
    isef.syndetics.net
    isef.syndetics.net was running Apache on Linux
    when last queried at 19-May-2004 03:51:12 GMT
    • by Anonymous Coward
      First off get broadband. Every single page loaded instantly on my cable modem, and this is a good 30 minutes after you posted so I don't know what you problems are. Second this a science fair, what did you expect? Booth babes and explosions? This guys blog was meant to just show what some of the project were, not be an informative guide to them. Give him a break already.
      • Second this a science fair, what did you expect? Booth babes and explosions? This guys blog was meant to just show what some of the project were, not be an informative guide to them. Give him a break already.

        No, he was quite right. The pictures *are* boring. I would have expected to see things like hovercraft and pocket nuclear reactors. Instead we're treated to images of this guy's plane ride, his Starbucks purchase, a laser light intro that's only interesting while it's moving, and a Material Safety Dat
  • Tinfoil hat time

    A brain-computer interface for the muscularly disabled, this can only lead to bad bad things in the long term, especially with Intel owning the technology. At first it will allow disabled people to do stuff, then when disabled people are forced to contribute to society more they will be programmed to do more...

    Don't the Borg use a brain-computer interface to network their people together to become one?

  • Strange coincidence? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WoodstockJeff (568111) on Tuesday May 18, 2004 @11:56PM (#9192475) Homepage
    One of my clients called today asking me about home-brew STMs. There's a site that we found that covers where to find research papers on building them for around $2K...
  • hmm.... (Score:1, Troll)

    by terradyn (242947)
    Damn... so you're telling me that actually clicking on a link [slashdot.org] on slashdot could have made me 50 grand.

    Who knew???
  • I wouldn't mind one of them regardless of muscular disability.
  • That doesn't seem like a smart idea to be doing. A kid walking around photographing the terminals, the ticket reader and among other things. Post 9/11 I am surprised a security guard didn't tackle him to the ground and then have the FBI come in and question him for 9 hours. Sure he was just harmless ly taking photos but not a good idea to be taking photos of the equipment like that.
  • by Serk (17156) * on Wednesday May 19, 2004 @12:16AM (#9192577) Homepage
    Browsing through the pics I had one thought that kept going through my head:

    Cool! Someone even geekier than myself!!

    But than cold reality crept back, and pointed out that, while the taker of those picture might be geekier than myself, he isn't MUCH geekier than me...
  • by Richard Mills (17522) on Wednesday May 19, 2004 @12:34AM (#9192632)
    I participated in two ISEF's (1994 and 1995) when I was in high school. I think that very few events I have participated in conveyed the excitement of doing science and participating in the scientific community like those ISEFs have. I'm just about finished with my Ph.D. now, and of course I've been to plenty of "real" scientific conferences, but none have captured the excitement that I experienced at those ISEF's.

    If anyone involved in organizing the ISEF reads Slashdot, I hope they read this testimonial. Participating in ISEF was very important for me and many of the other students, and the experience really helped cement my decision to pursue a career in the sciences. Thanks!
    • What were your projects in '94 and '95?
      -F
      • Hi, Fred. I remember meeting you at both of the ISEFs I attended. Your homebrewed cyclotron was definitely the most memorable project. My projects examined fractal elements in topographic features. The 1994 project wasn't that great but the '95 project was more sophisticated.

        It's amusing that when I won my 1994 regional science fair (which enabled me to go to ISEF), I wasn't even there for the awards presentation. I wasn't really expecting anything, and anyway I was asleep, since I had stayed up for s
    • I've got myself roped into being a judge at next year's ISEF event in Phoenix. As I have been involved with the IEEE for many years and they have a $10,000 award budget, this is no typical science fair judging and I have a simple BSEE to my credit. Any guidance for my participation? Is the "gee wiz" factor a good measure or can the technical merits be the primary criteria?

      I saw several of the finalists on Lou Dobbs show on Monday evening on CNN. One of the students on the show was a Freshman!! I doub

  • by wombatmobile (623057) on Wednesday May 19, 2004 @12:42AM (#9192663)

    So many pictures, so few highlights, so little time.

    Remember when photography took 24 hours and cost real money per click?

    • I agree. I don't see why a person should think that others are really interested in recording what a person eats.

      The photos of breakfast, coffee, mountain dew were pretty superfluous, and didn't have anything to do with the presentation itself.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I, too, was at Intel ISEF 2004 and also went on the BPA tour! In fact, I think I know the kid who took these pics... Anyway, check out my gallery of the whole ISEF experience [nirv.net].
    • Hey I was just reading wired today and saw the new AI lab that Frank Gehry designed. So cool, and this picture of you and Rod Brooks brought back some memories for me too. In 1992 I was at the ISEF engineering project entitled Computer Controlled Robotic Crane. At one point during my life I ended up at MIT at the AI lab and always had a keen interest in listening to Brook's philosophy on robotics, so analogous to a biological model :) Its very cool that things like the ISEF are still going strong and that
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I attented ISEF in 2002 and my team won grand prize for teams in 2003 at ISEF (BEACON) and we were awarded a free trip to europe to display our project at the EU science fair. (we coulden't compete, we are clearly not in the EU). This science compatition is an excellent way to get yourself on the map and get your foot in the door with many professors at many universities. It also is one of the best way to make friends and learn that most science nerds are not as nerdy as you think.
  • I loved the ISEF (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Cyclotron_Boy (708254)
    I participated in 93, 94 and 95. I actuall won Grand award in 94. Those were some of the most fun times I had growing up. The projects really did vary in quality and dedication, but overall the experience is usually wonderful for anyone that participates. I met a number of physicists, and actually got a job at Fermi National Accelerator Lab as a result of my projects and the interest they generated. I actually left my PhD program and now work in the real world, but the ISEF really did introduce me to s

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