Sunday, September 26, 2010


HW 5 Due Monday Oct. 4, 2010
(Extended to: before class on Wednesday Oct. 6)

As promised from last HW: Recall that a project is part of the course, and this project will grow step by step throughout the semester. In other words, you will keep adding to it as we go along, so that in the end it will be a piece of work you can be proud of! Make up a tentative plan for your term project, which will be a paper, software system, combination, skit or musical performance or painting (if you are a fine arts major), or whatever it is. You may analyze the same topic as you used for your Delphi exercise, or change topics but include the Delphi results as an appendix or supplemental report. Also, answer the question, "What would be a good thing to do next on this project?"

1. Answer a) and b).
  • a) Recall "The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams." This was very applicable to this course because he was talking about the future...your future! (Actually, his kids' futures - at the end he said that was one of his head fakes, but that's ok.) Give at least one lesson, insight, or other interesting thought you get from the movie. Explain.
  • b) Consider what topic you would like to work on for a term project. In this course, we will develop the project incrementally with each HW, so that it matures as we go along and there is less risk of a mad rush at the end. You could use the topic you used for our discussion of the Delphi Method. Or you could pick another one. Either way, you can change your mind later if you like. For now, state your topic, and how sure you are about whether to do it.
2. Here are the topics we discussed for the Delphi Method. Many of these will likely become term projects, so let us become more familiar with them so as to be able to discuss them better and help each other more. The topics are:
  • Future of holography
  • Future of birth control
  • Future of robotic surgery
  • Future of online and virtual education
  • Future of aircraft
  • Future of computer processing of human language
  • Future of brain-augmenting chips/helmets/computers/etc.
  • Future of computers that have creativity 
The steps below will help start to familiarize all of us with these topics and enable some interesting discussions on them as we go forward.
  • a) (16 2/3 pts.) Find three useful Web pages or sites, one for each of three topics above, that someone investigating it would be likely to find of interest. They should not be wikipedia articles (though wikipedia can be a good place to find links to other pages). Similarly they should not be on the first page of search engine hits for an obvious query. That's too easy because the person doing that topic would surely find it without your help!
  • b) (16 2/3 pts.) Review them on your blog. For example, what is each about, what about it is interesting, what about it is not interesting, what do you agree or disagree with, why should or shouldn't someone study it, what questions does it leave you with, etc.
  • c) (16 2/3 pts.) Be prepared to briefly summarize your review(s) orally in class. (Handwritten notes to speak from would be good to bring to class. No slides. We may or may not have time to do all three, we'll just have to see.)
3) Apply TRIZ to your own topic:
  • a) (10 pts.) Pick a certain technology relevant to your topic. How could an implementation of it "branch out" and do other things? For example, pencils are a technology that "branched out" to also have erasers, storage bins for extra lead, clips for attaching it to a pocket, and so on. Cars now have air conditioners, play music, even have GPS devices for giving directions, etc. In the early days of cars, the idea of a car playing music would have been strange indeed!
  • b) (40 pts.) TRIZ also contains 40 principles for improving technologies (to find out more do a search on the terms 'TRIZ' and '40'). These are summarized in the course notes. Pick 10 of them and apply them to a technology relevant to your topic. What are the 10 possible future advances that you have discovered?

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