Early Years

Most of my work has been aimed at producing Proof of Concept Models. These are prototype versions of devices and tools. They are a bridge between pure theory and designs that can be field tested for experimental confirmation of theory or as an alpha test model of a manufacturable product.

This section starts with two projects I did when I was in my teens to make the point that reducing an idea to practice is something that has always given me pleasure.

The Self-Controlled Heart Monitor and Restimulator

(A cardiac pacemaker with telemetric monitoring and control)

I was 13. I had read a about negative feedback and it occurred to me that this idea could be applied to augment or repair biological control systems. I cobbled together a balistocardiograph from a cigar box and a phonograph cartridge. The phonograph cartridge output was amplified and transmitted to a remote (the other end of the table) site. The remote receiver output was sent to a measurement apparatus consisting of an RC integrator and differential amplifier and a meter relay. If the average movement of the heart (a convenient signal but not the only one that could be used) departed from the accepted range, a signal was sent to a receiver (at the location of the heart) causing a locally generated pacing signal current to be sent to the heart. I used frog hearts. It worked. I won a first prize in the NY Science Fair.


Microwave Instruments for Non-Contact Measurement of Plasma Temperature, Density and Velocity

When I entered High School my interest shifted. I built plasma sources. The best ones were an exploding wire apparatus and a novel arc plasma torch. I had procured a WWII surplus magnetron magnet and was about to use the power supplies from these two devices in concert with the magnet to accelerate the arc plasma. No pictures exist of the these devices. They won another first prize in the American Institute science fair. In my Junior year at Erasmus I told the head of the Physics department about my hobby projects. He responded with a letter to my parents suggesting this was a tad dangerous to do in my bedroom. My parents were already accustomed to such things. He also got me an introduction to a Physicist at Brooklyn College (Prof. Greene (SP?)) who, after a pleasant conversation, gave me a pile of old x-band waveguide components. I built three measurement devices using the waveguides (x-band interferometer for plasma density) and beer cans (broadband emission for temperature, s-band reflection doppler shift for front speed). I had to modify some of the waveguide components components with a hacksaw and a soldering torch I built to plug into the gas range burners. My parents never found out. These made it to Finalist in the National Science Fair.



Return to the Home Page