Since last summer I have been obsessed with building my own parametric array speaker: a highly directional loudspeaker in which sound can only be heard in the path of the acoustic beam (see holosonics.com for an example of this).
After months of circuit designing, hunting down the right parts, assembling and testing my prototype I had finally accomplished my goal: a somewhat functional parametric array speaker. I have never been more proud of anything I’ve built.
I decided to enter my prototype in the New Venture Competition expecting the blow away the judges with this new and very marketable technology… This is where everything went wrong. 15 minutes before the competition began one of my function generators decided to completely stop working. I bolted across campus to Broida Hall desperately asking around for another. Apparently people aren’t very willing to part with $5000 plus equipment. By the time I finally got a function generator the competition was already starting and it was too late to install it. Needless to say, our team looked foolish telling people that my prototype (aka the pile of wires, IC’s, and other hardware) actually does work and it just won’t work right now.
We did not make it to the next round… Epic Fail