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How Cool Is That?

May 14, 2006

I love my job.

I love the opportunities that it gives me to travel, even if it\’s not to Hungary or Puerto Rico. I love the resources that it gives me access to, like 3D printers and object scanners and laser cutters. I love that I can get to work on public transportation, and work in a building that\’s not like every other building you see. And I love that I work in the public sector, where if the economy takes a nosedive I\’m not looking over my shoulder wondering if I can justify my existence to the beancounters.

One of the things I love most about my job, though, is the opportunity to work with really interesting people. Ohio State had a series of TV commercials promoting itself a year or so ago with the tagline of \”Smart People. Doing Really Smart Things.\” While its easy to be cynical about that – and I often am – every so often I run into people at OSU that remind me that there\’s more than a little truth to that description.

Two of the smartest people I\’ve met in the last year are Ken Rinaldo and Andrew Kudless. Ken is a professor in the Art & Technology department, and is currently featured on the front page of the OSU website for his spider robots. They\’re friggin\’ cool, and I recommend you watch the video. I helped Ken do a few early prototypes for his robotic leg joints, and it\’s exciting to see how the whole project turned out. Before the spider robots, one of his other projects was a wheeled \”robot\” with a goldfish in a fishbowl on the top. The robot would move around the room based on the direction that the goldfish swam – effectively giving the goldfish a \”wet suit\” to explore dry land.

The other guy is Andrew Kudless, one of the visiting fellows at the school of architecture. He\’s been one of the people this year who\’s really encouraged his students to push the limits of the equipment in our fab lab, and last week he opened up a show in the school\’s gallery to exhibit what he\’s done this year. If you\’re near Knowlton Hall for the next week or two, I highly recommend checking it out. He\’s big on structures built out of cellular automata and Voronoi surfaces, which tend to look radically different than a lot of architecture you run see. For more on Andrew, be sure to check out his website,

I admit it – I\’m a geek. But when you get a chance to work with people like this, it\’s hard not to be.

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