Engineer goes BOOM

-August 18, 2014

Some people say that engineers are humourless, but if you're YouTube phenomenon Mehdi Sadaghdar, that's definitely not the case. Mehdi plays (I think it's an act) a bumbling EE with a penchant for getting shocked, burned, or otherwise injured – repeatedly – in every video he posts. Which is not to say that the videos don't also usually include interesting EE content.

But, enough of the words. See for yourself, then continue reading EDN's quick interview with Mehdi to discover what makes him tick (hmm, perhaps in Mehdi's case, that's a bad metaphor).

I asked Mehdi about his day job:
MS: I don’t think my employer likes to be associated with me, so I'll leave them out! I am a full-time engineer doing electronics design and development. I have designed many products from concept to prototype, all the way to production, certification, etc. I am more of a designer and maker than a tester. But testing is never separate from a designer’s life and so I’ll deal with it. I am also a generally damaging person, which sometimes comes in handy. Especially while testing, when we need to find things to break a product, no weak point can escape my wrath.

MD: Do you think, typically, that engineers have a better or worse than average sense of humour?
MS: Sense of humour is a social skill which engineers tend to lack more than other groups, I guess mainly because they don’t interact with great crowds in their line of work. Their joy is to remember formulas, solve problems, and discover uncharted territories, so naturally, nobody else is there. And their nightmare is society! I always remember myself as a super introvert who hated to get out of the house and meet people, and liked to stay in a corner and just fix something. For some reason, aging is making me more open to people, maybe because I always enjoyed making people laugh, and that kind of pushed me to greater crowds and changed my nature.

MD: What are the worst shocks you've ever (really) received?
MS: I have been (really) shocked so many times, I've lost count. I have been shocked with electrostatic discharge up to 25kV, and 220VAC & 110VAC house power. All other shocks I've received were milder than those. I would say 220VAC and 110VAC were the most painful shocks I received – well over 10 times. I can’t really say which one (220VAC or 110VAC) was worse, probably because 220V was at 50Hz and 110V was at 60Hz, and higher frequency is more painful. I have touched 500-1000VDC, and those AC lines are still much worse. Stay away from them at all costs!

MD: How did you decide to start making videos, and where do you get inspiration from?
MS: I saw some of my other friends start making videos, like general facts and knowledge, and I found it fun. But I really started to make my own when I got my hands on an ESD gun, and made the “Don’t Worry, It’s Just ESD” video. I made a few after that. But the amount of viewers was pretty dormant for a while, and mostly were my friends and coworkers. One day, after six months, that first video went viral.
My inspiration is very much all the mistakes and pains I went through as an engineer. I try to remember them and show them in my videos. Also, I like to show how to design things. There are many things to design, and many things can go wrong; the main issue is to match them together for the best effect.

MD: Do you do your own stunts? (I couldn't resist asking something silly)
MS: Of course I do my own stunts! Nobody is crazy enough to do my stunts for me. And my videos don’t have multimillion dollar budgets behind them, so I don’t get to have spares. Electricity is my livelihood, so I know how to deal with it without permanently killing myself!

And for that we're glad.

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