Orson Rossetto, Mechanical Engineer


Cool Tools Show 310: Orson Rossetto

Our guest this week is Orson Rossetto. Orson is a Mechanical engineer, programmer, and traceur from Carnegie Mellon, and he’s the lead developer for Ethereal Matter, a company translating virtual reality into human physical interaction.

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Show notes:

Kershaw by Ken Onion [Chive or Leek – Serrated]
This is the Kershaw knife made by Ken Onion. There are two types of them that I like, one is called the Leek and one is called the Chive. The Chive is the smallest possible knife that you can get, that you can hold it in two fingers. It’s really good quality, very sharp, foldable pocket knife. It’s really tiny and it’s very easy to open. This one in particular is spring loaded. It has a little pip on the back side that you can flick open with one hand. The Leek is a little longer and it also has a serrated edge. So it’s good for zip ties and cable ties. Cutting open boxes, cutting wires, a lot of wire stripping. Pushing buttons and levering things. A lot of electronics, especially for industry and stuff have tiny little buttons on them that you can’t push with your fingers. You need a screwdriver or something else. It has a nice weight, it flips open in a very satisfying way and it locks and it’s kind of hard to describe how nice it is to use unless you use it, but it’s very awesome.

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81 Parkour Shoes
These are special shoes that parkour or traceurs use climbing up the sides of buildings. It’s a very safe pick in the parkour community safe. You want really grippy, rubber, you want a very light shoe and then you want one that’s flexible and the flexible is nice for standing on rails and stuff. If you can put your foot all the way over the rail and get a feel on for both sides of it, it helps with balance. So a light, flexible shoe and these ones have actually lasted me a year and a half.

Unity is a game making program. It’s free and it’s sort of become the standard in making games. It’ll do like AR/VR stuff as well. There’s a huge community of people using it and there’s a huge backlog of things that you can download. We’re using it for a couple things. We’re using it for part of our VR game. We’re also using it to physically simulate the the robotic arm that we have here. So we’re running physics calculations and doing motor control in the game engine just because it’s so easy and convenient. What’s awesome too is because it’s so easy there’s a whole generation of people that are making games now that would not have otherwise made games and so there’s this absolute explosion of Unity games out there. There’s subreddits about it and every day someone is posting some incredible thing that they’re working on and now it’s finally at the point where one person can reasonably make a whole game without also being a programmer and everything else.

Moleskine Classic Notebook
This is a really simple one — Moleskine notebook with grid and soft cover. I do math and sketches and writing out notes for my work in it. I have them all in the same notebooks, and because I’m tall, this one is big enough that I can actually fit it in my pockets and because it’s soft it’ll bend a little. And so it’s perfect for that. The dotted one is really nice because you can draw on it and use those dots for perspective or distances and they’re not so obtrusive that they ruin your drawing afterwards. I think it’s basically just the perfect notebook. It’s got the little clasp that holds it shut and I like having all my notes and drawings together because it’s easier to search my notes if I have my drawings next to them, and I can kind of catalog what day and when stuff was.


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