If you haven’t played laser tag before, here are some basics. You wear a vest that has blinking lights indicating sensors, which are usually located on your back, shoulder, and front. A laser gun is attached to the vest and shoots lasers (infrared to actually hit sensors, visible so you can see where you’re shooting when the fog machine is on), and you get points each time you hit someone’s vest. The laser gun also usually has a sensor on it, meaning you can get hit on your gun. Each time you’re hit, you’re deactivated for a short time, usually 1-5 seconds, and your gun and sensors are deactivated. After that time is up, you can start shooting (and be shot) again. You get points for shooting other players, and depending on the type of game, for shooting other teams’ bases. Some laser tag places also give bonus points for percent accuracy, or deduct points when you are shot.
At Ultrazone, every game is played with teams, rather than solo/everyone-for-themselves. There are three teams of around 10 people each, with each team indicated by different color lights. Each team has a base, which other team members can tag for 2000 points.There’s also one upstairs area that’s good for sniping people. We had six people total (turns out several people were out of town or just couldn’t make it at the time), so we were all on the same team, along with a few other people we didn’t know. Although we didn’t always do that well, it was lots of fun! The last game, we stayed together as a group and camped at one of the other team’s bases. The bases take multiple hits to score points and have a 30 second delay between different people shooting it for points. Additionally, each person can get points for tagging it only once per game. So we took turns tagging the base, while everyone else hid near the base and shot people from the other teams.
Some notes about Ultrazone in particular: For some reason the laser guns have a heat sensor requiring you to use both hands to shoot the gun, which is sometimes easy to forget. Also, there seems to be a very short period of time after you’ve been shot, but right before you’re reactivated, when you still cannot shoot your gun but other people can tag you. This is rather important, since it means you should leave and hide somewhere while you are deactivated instead of waiting to reactivate and shoot your attacker immediately. Also, it means you can get lots of points by following deactivated people and just repeatedly shooting their sensors until their sensors are reactivated but they can’t shoot yet.
I don’t have any pictures from laser tag, but here’s pictures of the turtles and turtle pond I mentioned in my previous post about the Dabney boat.
Almost a year ago now, I was just about to start my first Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at JPL. NASA had sent out an email to all of their summer interns containing a social media template to announce that we had been selected as NASA interns. Excited to show my NASA pride, I posted it on my Instagram story, unaware of what would come out of this small action.
Hey hey! We’re starting a series where I walk you through my best finds for food and drinks in the Pasadena region, and in the LA metropolitan area. Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, if you will (although, for copyright reasons we can’t call it that). As you explore your college options, I firmly believe that food and location are more important than your high school guidance counselor may lead you to believe. And I’m here to share my best finds from my time at Caltech with you.
Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to intern at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) under the mentorship of senior research technologist Dr. Xiaoqing Pi. Dr. Pi’s guidance and mentorship has been instrumental to the development and success of my internship at JPL, where I use machine-learning to enhance the accuracy and integrity of navigation and communication signals. In addition to helping me develop an understanding of atmospheric and ionospheric remote sensing and machine-learning, Dr. Pi has often offered his insights on how to improve my researching skills. Dr. Pi was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions regarding his research and advice for future student interns. I believe many students can benefit from some of the lessons that he has taught me:
The transition period to remote learning was a very uncertain time, especially for research and the Caltech Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program. Many hands-on projects had to pivot at the last minute to facilitate off-campus contributions. However, many Techers were able to take advantage of the research opportunities offered at Caltech and JPL to make the best out of remote learning and research. To paint a picture, I’ve interviewed a few talented Techers for some insight on what researching from home looks like for them.