Week 1 (May 29 - June 4)

I arrived in Providence, RI on Saturday, May 28. Our first day working in the lab was May 31 in the afternoon after we were moved into our apartment. On May 30, Memorial Day, we were able to do some sight-seeing in Providence with our mentor. We went with his family to a park and we also stopped by the beach and he showed us a few other well-known places in Providence and around the campus of Brown University. We would be working in the Thomas J. Watson, Sr. Center for Information Technology (CIT), where the Computer Science department at Brown is located as well as other technological services. There are lots of pictures displayed below.

In the lab, most of the first week was spent becoming familiar with the robots and the software that would be needed to run the robots. Dr. Jenkins showed us 3 different types of robots that we would be working on: the iRobot Create, the AR Drone Parrot Quadricopter, and the PR2 by Willow Garage. Also, Dr. Jenkins got all of the interns familiar with the Computer Science department at Brown and the robot labs that we would be working in. To begin, we had to download the Robot Operating System (ROS) and Ubuntu Operating System 10.10 along with a virtual machine player to be able to make the robot run from our own personal computers. There were also many netbooks that were available for us to use with all of the software needed already installed.

We began by working with the iRobot Create, a small robot similar to the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner but without the vacuum. Our first tasks were the first two assignments from Dr. Jenkins' CS 148 "Building Intelligent Robots" class. They were to get the robot to move using the keyboard to control it and to have it automatically turn after it hitting an obstacle, and the second one was to have the robot figure out how to become adapted with a Playstation 3 Move camera to recognize colors and Augmented Reality (AR) Tags. Dr. Jenkins also introduced several different projects that he wanted us to work on for the duration of the summer. The hardest part of this week was getting all of the new software downloaded onto our computers which took a lot of time to install on our computers and we faced many difficulties with different operating systems, virtual machines, memory and free space, etc. It was also difficult getting used to using the new ROS software, Python, and Linux, which I hadn't used before this internship.

Providence, RI

Downtown Providence

Providence Mall

Rhode Island Capitol Building

India Point Park

Brown University
Soldiers Arch on Brown's campus

Sayles Hall

The Brown Bear
The view of Brown campus from the 5th floor of the CIT


The iRobot Create

The PR2

The AI Lab where the all of the summer interns worked on projects

Here is just a quick video of me controlling an iRobot Create with a program that was already written called "teleop_twist_keyboard". It allows the user to use the keyboard to make the robot move forward and backward, turn either direction, and move forward and backward at an angle. It was also possible to increase and descrease the speed of the robot.