Tag Archives: Big Dog

Haaaave you met Sean?


Mister Sean Moritz Klaiber. What a guy. What a guy.

You probably don’t know this, but SEAN actually stands for “Surreptitiously Eavesdroppey And Nosy.”

“It does,” says Sean. He’s got eyes – and ears – and he knows how to use them. He’s kinda sneaky. He knows everything about you. Yes, you. Everything. He was a failed government spy project; it turns out he was just too nosy for the government to control. So now, we’ve got him. Win.

You may have seen Sean hanging around M5. For you freshmen readers, he’s the dude that makes announcements often during the Engin 112 lab, and occasionally helps out during the lab. He’s got a long and colorful history, but lately he’s been running workshops at M5: EAGLE and toner transfer using the laminating machine, for DIY PCB awesomeness; intro to Arduino; magnetism and DIY inductors; Linux; and a “Hidden Sounds” workshop which dealt with identifying signals that are always present around us and pulling them into the audio range. Cool stuff. If you’re around on Thursday night or Saturday afternoons, be sure to catch his next workshop.

Sean currently plays the trombone and keyboard in Bella’s Bartok. “I write like, all the songs,” he says. All the good ones. They’re a pretty rad band, in my opinion. My favorite song of theirs is “Science.” You should listen to it. They’re also coming out with an album before New Year’s. If you’re around this weekend, they’re playing at the Iron Horse in Northampton the day after Thanksgiving. See their page here: http://www.bellasbartok.com/

So Sean, what are you plans for the future? “The freaking Bella’s Bartok album. And I need to take the GREs.”

The GREs? Are you planning on attending grad school, Sean? “I keep going back and forth, so it makes sense to just take them.”

Sean’s also working on DIY things for live music. Two of his current projects are speaker balloons (yes, balloons of the party variety that can act as speakers) and a plunger mic for his trombone, with effects.

So, that was Present-Sean, and Future-Sean. Now let’s talk about Past-Sean.

Sean grew up in the town of Northborough, Mass., which is just a little northeast of Worcester. By his own admission, his high school days were normal and boring, marked primarily by his preoccupation with music: he played the trombone in the school jazz bands, cello in the orchestra, dabbled in both electric and upright bass with his spare moments, and frolicked with the keyboard from time to time. Oh-so-normal and boring, by day. We all know that Sean was saving the world by night, utilizing his awesomely nosy eavesdropping powers to conduct secret spy missions for the good of all mankind. You should ask him about it sometime.

When he arrived here at good ole’ UMass Amherst, he decided on EE as a major: he was good at math, and he really liked music. It seemed the logical choice. In 2008, Professor T. B. Soules hired him as a staff member of the fledgeling M5 makerspace project. Much like how the responsibilities of the “M5 Staff Member” are largely unknown even today, Sean’s role back in 2008 was just as varied and mysterious.

His favorite class in his undegrad years was DSP, Digital Signal Processing. Why, you ask? The reason: Professor Kelly. “Really freaking informative,” says Sean. In the classroom, he wanders with a purposeful stride onto relevantly tangential topics, guiding students towards signal processing nirvana with the poise and skill befitting of a wise and experienced professor. His class is a masterpiece. It was fun. It was an experience, highly educational. Sean also just really enjoys signal processing.

For his senior design project, his group developed a physical therapy device called MAPT: Motion Analysis for Physical Therapy. It basically records and analyzes the technique of a patient during his or her physical therapy session, comparing it to a pre-recorded therapy sequence. The information can then later be viewed by a physical therapist for a more in-depth analysis. See their website here: http://www.ecs.umass.edu/ece/sdp/sdp10/soules/

He graduated with his UMass Amherst EE degree in February of 2011. Do you have any comment on this, Mr. Sean? “Magna cum laude, beaches.”

In the Summer of 2010, he designed the Klaiber1, a musical drum machine. The ins and outs of this machine were taught to Springfield middle school students during a summer camp program; they were introduced to the awesome world of electrical and computer engineering and had fun doing it. The children proudly built and took home the beat machines, with the guidance of Sean and his fellow staff. He repeated this summer camp the next year in 2011 with a new machine, the Spinning Drum Machine 1, which is based on a spinning disc and infrared light sensor concept. There was an article about Sean and the Spinning Drum Machine 1 featured on the College of Engineering site. Sick. Read it here: http://www.engineering.umass.edu/news/m5-marches-to-the-beat-of-a-different-drummer

Between September 2010 and March 2011, Sean worked with CASA, “Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere” located in KEB. Their purpose is tornado detection through infrasound, with the goal of tornado prediction to increase response time in preparation for incoming tornadoes. So here’s basically how it works: “All tornadoes give off pressure wave energy around 1 Hz, which is in the infrasound or sub-audio range. Lower frequencies can transmit great distances: infrasound around 1 Hz can transmit about 1000 km. It can be hard to pinpoint the tornado’s location, but through triangulation we hope to get pretty close.”

Infrasound – like dub-step? BWONGG wubwubwubwub BHOOOmmmm. Wubwubwub.

“Tornadoes created dub-step, yo.”