Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Geeking with Gary

[Editor's Note: This has (almost) nothing to do with photography.  I do this from time to time.] 

In this issue:
  • A STEM Program on Steroids
  • Sony's new Image Authentication System
  • Grandpa's Inventions

A STEM Program on Steroids

For the past year I’ve been volunteering at an organization called Beaver Works Summer Institute, a nonprofit subsidiary of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  It’s an extraordinary program which challenges high school students to tackle subjects you wouldn’t expect high school students to tackle: Learning to program a quantum computer.  Building an AI-based personal assistant.  Building an autonomous vehicle.  Learning to hack into Internet Of Things devices (so when they grow up and become programmers they can know how to defend against these common techniques).  Things like that.  The program makes use of gifted expert volunteers from MIT Lincoln Laboratory to create and teach courses that high school students can clearly understand. 

The challenge I participated in had them building a prototype CubeSat.  And it was a remarkably thorough course; it included learning to program in Python, and introduced the students to orbital dynamics, the space environment, communications, power engineering, propulsion, thermal management, control systems, systems engineering, CAD software, and satellite development tools.  At a HIGH SCHOOL level!!  (As I said, gifted educators!)