One of my favorite old movies is the "The African Queen" with Humphrey Bogart (he played Charlie) and Katherine Hepburn (she played Rose). In that movie, Rose asks Charlie "Could you make a torpedo?" and Charlie responds:
"A torpedo?...You don't really know what you're askin'. You see, there ain't nothin' so complicated as the inside of a torpedo. It's got gyroscopes, compressed air chambers, compensating cylinders..."
A couple of days ago, I received an email from an old co-worker about a project we worked on over twenty-one years ago. He was wondering if I still had the "class photo" for the project – I do (see below). It looks like a torpedo but it was really was an underwater technology demonstrator. I spent three years working night and day on that copper-colored front-section. It was this project that really beat digital signal processing, quaternions, and control algorithms into my head.
The folks on this project were some of the finest engineers I have ever worked with. Here is the class photo that shows both the team and our vehicle ready for launch. The rope around the middle of the gadget covers the recovery subsystem, which was a big balloon that would bring the demonstrator to the surface when it ran out of fuel or had a problem. This rope provided us some safety in case the bag inadvertently deployed while being handled.