Arturo Rodriguez

Inventor, hacker, fixer, maker, engineer, technical intuitive


You see a human male of average height and weight, with a slightly muscular build beneath tan skin and tousled, short, dark hair. He looks to be about 24 years old, though his eyes make him look a bit older, and his sudden inexplicable grins make him look momentarily almost child-like.

He occasionally bumps into things, though out of absent-mindedness, not clumsiness. This is especially likely when he is tinkering with some small device that he produces from a vest pocket, or examining some new machine.

He is polite, but sometimes misses social cues. Many a young woman has left the library feeling insulted when their flirting questions were met with well-meaning but unappreciative responses.


Like most ninos, little Arturo took apart things to see how they worked. His father was a local handyman, and encouraged him at an early age, because Cuba had a culture of making do with the few things available and fixing them or re-purposing them to fill needs. By the age of five, he was helping Papa in his shop, reaching small parts, feeling for structural cracks and weaknesses in car parts, and troubleshooting radios for neighbors.

As a precocious ten-year-old, Arturo cobbled together his first car, a six-wheeled electric vehicle, and he constantly modified and upgraded it all through his school years, as his parents insisted that an education was his key to a better life. By the day he graduated with scholarship offers from several universities, his home-built car was had the features of luxury cars in the city, and many features tailored to his own needs, like a heavy-duty rear section that could hold passengers or haul large scrap. He gained quite a bit of local fame -and the nickname “Auto”- for his car.

Cal Tech opened his eyes a bit. It was one thing to master the technologies of his poor small town, but the campus had libraries full of sciences, maths, and technologies he’d never seen before. He spent hours at the library reading textbooks, then he started skimming them, because he lacked the patience for the slow over-explaining the texts resorted to. He saw the processions of equations, and could follow along. Staying in the library meant he could read the books and return them without having to check out dozens of heavy books only to return them the next day, absorbed.

He attended his classes less often, mostly because they went too slow. He showed up for tests and aced all of the technical and scientific ones. He struggled with English and History requirements, even though he went to those classes and put a lot of time into studying them; They needed a lot of memorization. His large notebooks for those classes were filled with many pages of things to remember for the tests, and while it was often easy to pick out what would be asked about, he still had to rote memorize the answers. It was laborious.
His math, science, and engineering notebook was a leather-bound journal that he kept in his pocket at all times, and had very little notes, more lists of things to explore or questions about areas that seemed to be missing from the materials. All of those classes just seemed to fit into and expanded a single model in his mind of “how things work.” If he’d studied psychology, he might have used the term “gestalt.”

He put the theory into practice whenever possible, making small gadgets or tools to help his work. He missed the large work space back home, so limited himself to small proof-of-concept builds that often were immediately dismantled for parts for the next project, or rebuilt again and again to make better, smaller, and into practical equipment.

As he started reading the research papers and sitting in on ever-higher level seminars and classes, he started getting the attention of the department heads, and certain outside organizations.

Auto never got to finish his degree program officially. By the end of his freshman year, he had almost engulfed the entire Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science libraries, journals, and research papers.

While he has work to do, what he really wants is to fill in the missing spots in his model of how everything works. He’s seen large unexplored or under-explored areas that should be obvious, but the best in their fields don’t collaborate with the best in other fields to discover those obvious connections.

Arturo Rodriguez

Boundless jplosier