"ECE 476 student masterminds, Vic Aprea and Paul Grzymkowski, have forever altered the fabric of teaching at Cornell University. Their groundbreaking efforts in vertical plotting technology have provided accurate graphical solutions for even the laziest of professors."
What was it about VP·SQUARED that gave it the edge needed to emerge from the veritable smorgasbord of potential microcontroller applications, you ask? Early on in the creative process, we considered a broad spectrum of possibilities ranging from military applications to domestic (i.e. cow) animal calls. Amidst this far reaching and diverse idea pool arose a somewhat less militaristic and perhaps less trivial (and perhaps less dangerous) application of the Atmel 8515 MCU: the vertical plotter. The most appealing aspect of the vertical plotter for us, perhaps, is the degree to which it bridges the cavernous gap between data and action. What we are trying to say here is that we thought it would be pretty cool to watch a free standing, non-rigid, gravity driven (i.e. hanging) device actually draw user-specified functions and shapes on a whiteboard. To us, the most satisfying thing about microcontrollers is not merely their ability to acquire data, but their ability to interact with the physical world by driving external devices like stepper motors. I'm sure we all remember our virginal encounter with a Texas Instruments graphing calculator. In undertaking this project, we were ultimately trying to recapture that feeling of utter visual satisfaction and the wonder of simple novelty. We figured, "if it was that cool on a little LCD screen, just think how cool it would be on a huge whiteboard!" In that respect, it's a straightforward extension of the good old American paradigm that "bigger is better," which ironically is the opposite direction that microcontrollers are heading. Hence, VP·SQUARED has the dichotomy of incorporating traditional values with groundbreaking technological advances into the uncharted territory which is vertical plotting.
The other aspect that drove us unequivocally forward toward the vertical plotter was fate itself. The first letter of each word maps directly onto the first letter of each of our names. We took this as a sign. It was eerily as though VP·SQUARED chose us, rather than vice versa. And so we took on the challenge, to boldly go where no mortal had gone before, into the realm of VP-space, the final, final frontier. For who are we to oppose the winds of destiny?...