Every year, without falter, our lab goes through a “spring cleaning” (though almost never in spring). We rifle through the equipment we use, the cables we don’t, the desk space we have, and the people who have stayed through to the new academic year. There’s much that we deem fit to save for the upcoming year of exciting work, and twice as much that we find we may not use.
The challenge lies in deciding what to keep; more often than not, the age of the equipment factors in significantly less than one would expect. Input systems more than a decade old are still more interesting than some headset from a near yesteryear. Given our phenomenal yet still quite limited space in NYC, every item must be accounted for, judged, and stored or deemed for some other fate. At the end of the day, everything must find its place in our bustling lab, on one table or in another storage closet.
It’s very lovely, going through the tools we still use; even more fantastic to find some small part, some piece of an old system. Old memories of a conference installation, a demo that came to life 5 minutes before opening, a small connector that solved a months worth of engineering. It speaks to the history of our lab, our work, and our endeavours in bringing what we believe in to the world; moreso it reminds me of the friendships forged in our common goals and experiences, in the community that has come to life around our little lab in the heart of the city.