you're a student at Carnegie Mellon University, you should really
take advantage of the SURG
(Small Undergraduate Research Grant) program. Conducting
research as an undergraduate is a great idea because it lets you
explore an area of interest in depth and apply the theory you've
learned in your classes to a hands-on activity. Besides,
research is a lot of fun, and it looks great on a résumé.
up with a research idea isn't so difficult -- most people could
think of hundreds of ways to spend $500. The challenge lies in
writing a successful proposal. You can't just throw together
an essay and a couple of sketches and expect it to be accepted by
the SURG committee. In order for your proposal to meet with
approval, it needs to have certain key elements. Here's a list
of the things you should include when writing your research
Dan," you may be thinking, "aren't there other things to
consider as well, like project design, methods of approach,
feasibility, or background qualifications?"
All that really matters are the buzzwords. Lots and lots of
buzzwords. Consider the proposal a friend of mine wrote last
summer. We'll call her "Angila" to protect her
identity. Although Angila's proposal had no actual content, it
was so dense with buzzwords that you couldn't read a single
paragraph without encountering two or three. Naturally, it was
immediately accepted by the SURG committee.
case you don't know very many buzzwords, here's a list of a few to
get you started. As you are writing, pick words from the list
and insert them liberally throughout your proposal.
you're still having trouble, you may want to look at the sample
research proposals below.
a better blender.
Optimization and Enhancement
technology has progressed by leaps and bounds since the
1960s, but the ubiquitous household blender has remained
virtually unchanged throughout the same time span. The
traditional blender offers numerous opportunities for
improvement: input/output buffering attachments, intelligent
drink mixing agents, multi-user networking capabilities,
immersive interaction manipulation devices, and even
advanced "augmented reality" control interfaces.
In this project I seek to transport the blender from the
"June Cleaver" age to the Information Age.
of remote smoking deterrent.
Smoking Avatars for the Physically Challenged
smoking is unquestionably an unpleasant and physically
degenerative activity, it is unjust for people to be robbed
of their ability to smoke when they lose control of their
limbs. In this project I propose to design and
construct a robotic smoking arm attached to a hat which
would enable everyone to smoke freely, regardless of their
physical condition. No longer will people too lazy or
physically incapacitated to lift a cigarette to their lips
be forced to feel the violent pangs of nicotine withdrawal!
robot-arm-smoke-hat-enabled individual should choose to quit
smoking, they will be able to take advantage of the built-in
remote force-induced inhalation deterrent mechanism.
A remote control device, held by a friend or family member,
will be capable of transmitting signals to a small receiver
inside of the hat's main cavity. The on-board signal
processing circuitry will then relay instructions to the
array of servo motors throughout the robotic arm, causing
the hat wearer to be smacked in the face.
If you're really
lazy, but you still want to submit a SURG proposal, I have created a
solution for you. The SURG Proposal Generator
will take care of everything, leaving you time for more important
things, like Starcraft.