The last couple of weeks on the project have been completely devoted to the first piece of assessed work, the Progress Report. Including such gems as a Literature Review, Project Plan, and Health and Safety Risk Assessment, this document is a must read. However, as much as I’d love to spend this entry talking about evaluating the severity of exploding electrolytic capacitors, I thought I’d make an effort not to put you to sleep.
RIG OF THE MONTH
Instead, I thought I’d talk a little about a few other things that may (or may not) bare some tenuous links to the degree, and indeed the project I’m working on.
This week, my computer won an award.
Yep, as strange as that may seem to some, it won “Guru3D’s Rig of the Month”. Designed to showcase PC’s that “really stand out”, the award celebrates a marriage of power-house performance and attention-to-detail modding.
First, let’s go back a step, I’d like to justify this as a hobby. I built my first computer when I was 10, before going on to spend many hours (and money) on rebuilding, overlocking, and watercooling (we’ll come back to this). This fascination with ‘how it works’ is arguably what lead to me choosing to study Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
This summer was spent working on two projects. By day, a summer internship with BAE Systems, by night, Project XOSKEL (this computer). But what makes it special? Why did it take 12 weeks to build? One of the more unique features here is that it’s watercooled. Despite water and electronics normally not mixing too well, in this case they do. By circulating cooled water around the computer, the processor and graphics card are cooled far more effectively than on air.
The other, and perhaps more time consuming factor, is the modding involved. This is basically an OCD-centric process which involves perfecting every component, and in turn the overall look, of the build. From individually braiding every cable, to painting the motherboard and hand crafting some of the metalwork, this process is long but (I believe) worthwhile.
And it’s this attention to detail that I’d like to be replicating in this Third Year Project (see, I told you the links were tenuous). I’m aiming to design a product which is as eye-catching as the aluminium and glass frame, as innovative as using water to cool the system, and as functional as the high performance hardware underneath.
If you’re interested, you can find out more here: http://www.guru3d.com/articles-pages/guru3d-rig-of-the-month-october-2015.html
Aside from writing risk assessments and award acceptance speeches, I also found time this week to attend an event called Silicon Valley Comes to Manchester.
The half-day afternoon conference, held at the University of Manchester and sponsored by Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) and the Manchester Growth Company (MGC), is designed to support the ecosystem for entrepreneurs and inspire future generations to innovate and create those disruptive technologies that will shape the world.
Headlining the event were introductory talks, and masterclasses from four Brits representing in Silicon Valley. One of which was Charlie Songhurst, a private investor whose CV includes Head of Corporate Strategy at Microsoft.
Charlie’s passion mirrored that of Silicon Valley, levels of enthusiasm that perfectly characterise what every entrepreneur should be. “THINK BIG. Shoot for the stars.” He spoke about how graduates in Silicon Valley are dreaming how to spend their first £10 million, and that we should do too.
Aside from the subtle hint of arrogance, I do like this mentality. Charlie’s enthusiasm and drive for success is somewhat inspirational.
I’m sitting in a lecture theatre full of fully capable students. 95% of Electrical & Electronic Engineers at UoM go on to work and/or further study within six months of graduation (Unistats 2012). But how many students will start up their own business? How many could? Everyone here has the potential to, but far fewer will. It’s this passion and drive of Charlie’s which we could all learn a thing or two from.
Every week I spend on this project, I convince myself a little bit more that this is a completely marketable product. There’s a gap in the market, I have a handful of potential USPs (Unique Selling Points) in the bag, and collaboration with SEERIH means there is real potential here to take this beyond just a third year project. Maybe I’ll start looking in the Aston Martin brochures then!
Well, that’s about all for this instalment. Next time, I promise I’ll get back on topic! I’ll leave you with one more quote from Charlie, which I quite like at least, “If you’re ever the smartest person in the room: RUN!”
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