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What's Your Biggest Achievement?

What do you consider to be your biggest achievement?

Yeah, that's a question you may be asked during an interview. I have been interviewed 6 - 7 times, but that question never popped up. So I thought I'll share what I consider to be my biggest achievement.

I was in 8th grade when the remote controller of our TV started causing problems. The technician told us to buy a new one. He said that the controller was causing problems because of some carbon layer. My dad bought a new remote controller and threw the old one in the trash can. I was sad to see my old buddy die. So I took it out of the trash can. I knew what I was gonna do... "I will fix it!".

I always had a keen interest in electronics. Every time a new gadget came into our house, I would open it up to see how it was made and eventually break it. I was fascinated by electronics gadgets. "How does this work! How can a iron rod send my voice!" These question bugged me during childhood. I hoped to find answers by opening things up. Though that didn't happen, I did, however, become familiar with electronics components. Eventually I enrolled for an engineering course on Electronics and Communication to find those answer. I did find some answers. But what I realized, people weren't there for finding answers.... But that's for another post.

I opened the remote controller but I had no idea what I was doing. Do realize that this was way before I got into the engineering course. I looked around and assumed that the integrated circuits, capacitors and resistors weren't damaged. "So the cause of the malfunction must lie in the buttons", I told myself. I figured that the buttons must have some kind of conductive layer on them that connects the two buses together when pressed. But this was just an assumption. I needed a proof before I could think of a solution. So I put a few drops of water on my finger and touched the two buses. It worked! Eureka! Now I needed to figure out how to bring back the conductivity on the buttons.Obviously water wasn't going to work as a permanent solution. I cut little pieces of copper and stuck them under the buttons with adhesive. But it changed the soft tactile feeling of the buttons. And after a few presses they stopped working. I needed to come up with something else.

I listed down the requirements for my next material.

  • It needed to conduct electricity
  • It had to be soft and easily applicable as a thin layer
  • It had to be available in the household or in shops at a low cost

So what's your biggest achievement? Let me know in the comments section below.

As I was thinking about the possible choices, I remembered what the technician said... "a layer of carbon" and instantly I remembered what I read in the Physics book. Graphite is a polymorph of carbon. It conducts electricity. It is soft (presumably easily applicable). I had found my material! But where will I find Graphite? And then, I remembered another lesson I had learned. The lead of a pencil is made out of Graphite. Pencils are available in any household. So I scrubbed off the lead and applied the dust to the buttons. And ta-da! It worked! It worked! I felt like I had made a new discovery. It was an amazing feeling; to fix an electronics device just by connecting the dots.


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