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The Bridge Between Imagination and Reality

Ian S.

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“Take this,” my former robotics coach said to me. He passed a thin pair of translucent goggles, and put one on for himself. I placed the lens over my glasses while a student spaced three prisms in a triangle formation on the floor a few feet apart. Each side of prism faintly glowed in one of the primary and secondary colors. Within microseconds, an object materialized itself on the floor. Well, not exactly on the floor. It was projected on the goggles I was wearing. “Wow”, I gasped. Before me stood the latest product of the robotics team, Talon Mark IV. My head turned to the coach who was grinning. “Impressive”, I marveled. “Isn't this the holo-” “Yeah”, he interjected. “But, we use it differently. Back when you were here, prototyping took weeks. But this one only took days.” “Of course,” I replied. “We built everything by hand”. He went on, “Now, it’s so efficient to model the robot in actual size, and modify it in seconds. All ideas can be visualized and simulated, with no experience necessary-which is good for our neophyte engineers.” He snapped his fingers twice. “You remember this one?” The model morphed into a different, older robot-one that I knew well. “You guys actually put this in CAD? (Computer Aided Design program) I don’t believe it!” I exclaimed. “We were running out of storage in the bathroom” he began, “So I asked my students to model it before it got dismantled. That way, it’s never forgotten.”