First annual macrofab star wars christmas special

Circuit Break Podcast #46

First Annual MacroFab Star Wars Christmas Special

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December 16, 2016, Episode #46

On this episode, Josh joins Parker and Stephen as they dissect the technology behind the Star Wars Universe.
  • Part A
    • Vehicles of Star Wars
      • Tie Fighters: Twin Ion Engine. This tech exists but its super low power but efficient.
      • Hovercraft and levitation. Land speeders, Pod Racers, Repulsor Lift technology. Magnetic levitation?
      • Power: Fission batteries? A AA battery weighs around 23g. Convert it all to energy e=mc^2 and you get 2 quintillion Joules of power. 2,067,136,911,094,680,572 Joules to be precise.
      • 16 Teslas to levitate a frog. This consumed 4MW of energy according to the paper. A “common frog” weighs 22.7g. Compact car weighs about 1200kg. So that is 211,453 and some change MW or Joules per second. 8.4million Teslas.  This is 211,453,000,000 Watts. A Fission AA battery could power this for 9,775,869seconds or around 113 Days.
    • Weapons of Star Wars
      • Death Star
        • Cost of Steel alone would be $852 quadrillion which is 13,000 times the worlds GDP.
        • How much steel required to make it? It is 160km in diameter and they modeled the Death Star to have a density similar to a modern warship. Which gives us 1.08×1015 tonnes of steel. World wide production of steel is 1.3 billion tonnes a year which will take over 800K years to make enough steel.
        • Thats no moon. Speaking of the size. Earths moon is 3,474km. Smallest moon in our solar system is Methone which orbits Saturn with a diameter of ~3km.
        • How much energy would be required to blow up a Planet? Earth would require 2.24 × 10^32 Joules to blow apart the gravitational binding energy of the Earth if you consider it a uniform sphere. In 1 second the Sun generates 3.8 x 10^26 Joules. Which means in 589,473 seconds or about 6.8 days worth of energy. Gives a reason behind Star Killer Base.
      • Star Killer Base
        • Its not as silly as people make it out to be in comparison to a Death Star.
        • Energy gathered from a Sun? How would that work?
  • Part B
    • Weapons of Star Wars (continued)
      • Light Sabers
        • Elegant weapon for a more civilized age. Lots of mystical lore surrounding this weapon.
        • Force aligned crystals are necessary for their construction.
        • How would the blade be created? Plasma? Use EM fields to constrain it.
      • Blasters
        • They are not laser weapons! This is why the projectiles do not travel at the speed of light.
          • Gas cartridge and a power cell.
          • 400-500 shots per charge.
          • Gas can be mostly anything but typically is Tibanna – a naturally gas found on Bespin home of cloud city. The gas is created by Beldons huge gas filled creatures. Tibanna is also used as hyperdrive coolant.
  • Part C
    • Light Speed Travel
      • Faster then light travel in Star Wars is accomplished by transporting the vessel to near light speed and then jumping to a “Hyper Space” dimension where faster then light travel is possible.
      • In our universe an almost infinite amount of energy is required to go light speed.
      •  Possible if this “Hyper Space” is worm hole tunneling.
    • Prosthetics
      • Mechanics exist to make them work.
      • General Grievous.
      • Really great prosthetics but crappy looking trashcan robots exist in the same universe.
    • The “Force”
      • The force is actually the main character of SW. That’s why prequels suck.
      • It’s expressed in the Skywalker family as the balance of the force. The Skywalkers will be the unbalance AND balance in the force.
      • Fundamental problem with midichlorians – turns a mystic ‘non-scientific’ phenomenon into high school organic chemistry, but makes the force worthy of science or tech discussion.
      • Force as consciousness.
      • Is the “Force” possibility the control over dark matter/energy? 70% of the universe is supposedly dark matter/energy. Possible that The First Order from EP7 that they can control Dark Energy via the Star Killer Base and being able to stop light sabers.
  • Part D
    • RFO
      • What is your favorite Star Wars Character?
        • Organic?
        • Robot?
      • Favorite sound effect?
      • The prequels? Do they exist?
      • Why do some Jedi disappear after dying and others don’t?
      • What are we excited or concerned about most in the new Rogue One movie?
Figure 1: First Annual MacroFab Star Wars Christmas Special!

Figure 1: First Annual MacroFab Star Wars Christmas Special!

Figure 2: A Death Star topped Christmas tree.

Figure 2: A Death Star topped Christmas tree.

About the Hosts

Parker Dillmann
  Parker Dillmann

Parker is an Electrical Engineer with backgrounds in Embedded System Design and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. The following year he designed and produced an Atari 2600 video mod to allow the Atari to display a crisp, RF fuzz free picture on newer TVs. Over a thousand Atari video mods where produced by Parker from 2006 to 2011 and the mod is still made by other enthusiasts in the Atari community.

In 2006, Parker enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin as a Petroleum Engineer. After realizing electronics was his passion he switched majors in 2007 to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following his previous background in making the Atari 2600 video mod, Parker decided to take more board layout classes and circuit design classes. Other areas of study include robotics, microcontroller theory and design, FPGA development with VHDL and Verilog, and image and signal processing with DSPs. In 2010, Parker won a Ti sponsored Launchpad programming and design contest that was held by the IEEE CS chapter at the University. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Spring of 2012.

In the Summer of 2012, Parker was hired on as an Electrical Engineer at Dynamic Perception to design and prototype new electronic products. Here, Parker learned about full product development cycles and honed his board layout skills. Seeing the difficulties in managing operations and FCC/CE compliance testing, Parker thought there had to be a better way for small electronic companies to get their product out in customer's hands.

Parker also runs the blog, longhornengineer.com, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components.

Stephen Kraig
  Stephen Kraig

Stephen Kraig is a component engineer working in the aerospace industry. He has applied his electrical engineering knowledge in a variety of contexts previously, including oil and gas, contract manufacturing, audio electronic repair, and synthesizer design. A graduate of Texas A&M, Stephen has lived his adult life in the Houston, TX, and Denver, CO, areas.

Stephen has never said no to a project. From building guitar amps (starting when he was 17) to designing and building his own CNC table to fine-tuning the mineral composition of the water he uses to brew beer, he thrives on testing, experimentation, and problem-solving. Tune into the podcast to learn more about the wacky stuff Stephen gets up to.

Special thanks to whixr over at Tymkrs for the intro and outro!

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