Nosy Monster… & Pals!

The Nosy Monster was revamped and given a couple of friends for the occasion of the 2019 Thayer School of Engineering Open House.

Introducing: Nosy Monster,  Croc Dundee, and Later Gator

The idea of piloting a rover through a maze happened serendipitously last year, as a cobbled together Nosy Monster driven by relays was an extra to the booth I was running. I figured it’d run until it broke and that’d be that. It turned out to be very popular when I realized I could throw it in the messy room next door and send it “to Mars”. Kids had a blast and it was a huge hit.

I improved handling further this year by purchasing a few L298Ns. These things are the best thing since sliced bread. I still intend on documenting the build at some point in the near future. The rovers gained speed control, back direction, and much better turning.

Keeping with what we know works well, we built an actual Mars themed maze in a messy room

Test run

Fish lens giving a 3rd person view to better gauge obstacles

No pictures from the event unfortunately, it was just too busy.


I fell into a rabbit hole perusing Michael Fogleman’s awesome projects: the one which really caught my eye is Primitive which reconstructs images using primitive shapes. It’s implemented with a whole lot of parameters to play with, the results are captivating.

I scripted a way to have it infuse its magic into a short movie. I really love the results.


Original (yes dad is proud)


250 triangles


Abstracting even more: 50 triangles


500 ellipses


250 rotated ellipses


1000 circles


1000 rotated rectangles


1000 bézier curvesI love the ghostly quality of this one


The Wordiest Word

With Markov chain based random word generation, I essentially have tables of the probabilities for letters sequences. With this I’ve always wanted to know what the most English word was. The word with the highest probability of each letter following its predecessors.

I finally bit the bullet and produced it; well them, because it varies depending on the corpus & depth used. All in all it’s not that impressive, just kind of cool to know. I don’t know what I was expecting, some amazing word that would rock my socks off.

Without further ado, here they are:

Corpus Depth Wordiest Word
basic_english_words 1 st
basic_english_words 2 st
basic_english_words 3 struction
basic_english_words 4 statement
basic_english_words 5 store
unabridged_english_dictionary 1 prerererererererere…
unabridged_english_dictionary 2 press
unabridged_english_dictionary 3 press
unabridged_english_dictionary 4 preconcer
unabridged_english_dictionary 5 preconcertification