Taylor Made: A little light reading (by design)
As we move into the last few weeks of the semester, many of us are in the throes of work on class projects or senior design. The requirement that these designs be finished within a semester’s time makes for a hugely limiting factor or a great source of motivation, depending on your perspective. Meanwhile, many well-known designs have taken years to come to fruition.
Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard helped to design a hand-built electric car called the tzero (in reference to the mathematic term T0), which was running by 2004. Eberhard was known to take interns for a ride in the tzero, during which he would do a little trick. While driving slowly, he would ask each passenger to reach out and touch the dash; as soon as they tried, he would slam on the accelerator, throwing them back in their seat. This was his way of showcasing the torque capacity of electric cars, in which motors (commonly DC brushless or AC induction) drive the wheels. The tzero led to Tesla’s original roadster, released in 2008. Having now experienced years of design-induced evolution, the 2020 roadster is projected to achieve 0-60 mph acceleration in just under two seconds.
The idea for the Boeing 747 came about in the early 1960s, and the first 747 was christened for service under Pan Am in 1970. The 747’s size was unprecedented for the company at the time, so much so that Boeing had to build a new plant in order to assemble it.
The British inventor Richard Trevithick toyed with the idea of high-pressure steam being used to drive pistons. He was not the first to have this idea, but was able to experiment with it during a time when safe boiler technology was new. He created a steam-powered road engine in 1801, and came out with the first steam locomotive three years later.
Sometimes the semester can become more discouraging as it gets closer to finishing, especially if you find yourself still figuring out internships or jobs or your next move. If you feel like you’re facing a lot of opposition, remember that with the right combination of people, any good idea can be made into the great idea that succeeds. The more you put yourself out there and persevere, the more you increase your odds of success.
The manuscript for Gone with the Wind received nearly 40 rejections before a publisher accepted it. Star Wars IV was rejected by multiple studios, including Disney, before being financed by 20th Century Fox. The song “…Baby One More Time” (written by Max Martin) was offered to TLC before it went to Britney Spears. After a very early performance at the Grand Ole Opry, Elvis Presley was apparently told he’d be better off going back to driving trucks. Reports say that it took Col. Sanders 1,010 tries to sell his chicken recipe, and Sylvester Stallone 1,500 tries to sell his script for “Rocky” with himself playing the titular character. And, of course, there’s always Edison—while the extent of his role in the invention of the light bulb has been the subject of much dispute, he and his team still famously failed roughly 10,000 times before perfecting their version of the bulb’s design.
Hang in there and finish out the semester strong.