Do neighborhood animals dig up your flower beds or get into your trash? Rick Prescott created a computer-controlled "machine gun" to help deter local pests, including the two-footed kind that invade work cubes. Rick mated an infrared sensor with a Nerf-brand gun that shoots spongy "bullets" to create the Infrared-Seeking Sentinel. An Atmega168 microcontroller tracks a heat source and unleashes either a single shot or a fury of automatic fire. Zap, zap, zap. Take that, Mr. Dog.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.