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When you say the words "Class Project," most folks flash back to tedious research papers, MLA-style references and boring talks about Shakespearian characters with Oedipus Complexes. In other words: BOOOOOORING. But school doesn't have to be a snooze-fest! Case in point: Penn State's Advanced Mechatronics class, which sounds like it may just be the coolest course ever. One enterprising mechanical engineering student went after his final mechatronic project with gusto and built a working, talking, tracking and firing replica of Portal's gun turret -- then put it up on YouTube for the world to see.
The project was originally brought to my attention in a Google+ post by BCCHardware's Benjamin Heide. I could tell you about how the kick-ass turret runs on MATLAB and Arduino and it tracks movement via RGB colors, but you'd learn all that by watching the video above and checking out the creator's Reddit thread, anyways -- both of which you should do ASAP. Would I help if it said the turret actually talks?
There still some upgrading to be done; the tracking guns are a bit slow and jerky, and the turret's obviously missing an exterior casing that would give it the full-fledged Portal vibe. Fortunately, the engineer behind the turret says he's already working on all that.
So, whaddaya think: does he deserve an A?