Okay, so, what have I learned?

If you had asked me before I started this how I should approach a project, any project, or situation, or crisis, I may have done a little bit of research but after that, it would have been to just dive in. This method relies a lot on trial and error and can be okay in certain situations. However, a few steps I have learned this summer are universally applicable:

  1. Research
  2. Resources
  3. Math
  4. Execution
  5. Troll

Continue reading “Okay, so, what have I learned?”

Two Weeks to Go: Outdoor testing!

With only two more weeks to go, I have begun testing my work outside with my faithful steed (or dragon?) Rhaegal. And I’ve hit a snag, which is a huge drag.

My current implementation of the State Machine uses a Waypoint System to move from point to point within an arena. The problem is, due to fuzzy localization, the waypoints are usually shifting about a meter around their “actual” location. The shifting does not occur in the simulator, which I know, but I also didn’t realize it was going to be such an issue for precision driving in the real world. If I want the Rover to drive one meter exactly forward, it cannot. My current technique for managing this is just using some trig to generate a waypoint one meter straight in front of the Rover. However, it cannot drive straight, because to its perspective, the waypoint is always drifting. For example, if the waypoint is drifting to the left, it will cause the Rover to curve its path to the left to try and meet it. This is a major problem. Continue reading “Two Weeks to Go: Outdoor testing!”

A Lab Tour? Check it out!

For those of you who do not know, I don’t go to “work” every day… I go to the “lab.” I am quite happy with the lab. It’s a more comfortable working environment than I thought it was going to be. There is a ton of white board space (though never enough markers… or any sometimes, THANKS NICK!), plenty of seating, plenty of space for a desktop AND a laptop AND a notepad, power plugs everywhere, and table space for the Rovers as well! We are also conveniently located near the bathrooms and the water bottle filling station; although, my one gripe is the chairs. Continue reading “A Lab Tour? Check it out!”

Travel, Transportation, and Temporary Housing

The biggest struggle with this entire process so far has been the three Ts.  Okay, maybe not the biggest struggles, I don’t necessarily enjoy reading research for three weeks. However, due to the nature of a Distributed Research Experience for Undergrads, one may end up paying rent in two locations. Fortunately for myself, I was coming up on the end of my lease and was able to stay with a friend until it was time for me to fly out. Continue reading “Travel, Transportation, and Temporary Housing”

My research, my team, and my task.

For the first week, we focused purely on reading research articles cited by and cited within an article written by Joshua P. Hecker and Melanie E. Moses called Beyond Pheromones. This has been a great launching platform for learning about research in our field. We will be working on the Swarm Robotics platform that Moses and Hecker developed for NASA Swarmathon, and as such, this article gave great insight into their way of thinking. Going up and down the chain of research surrounding this one article also gave us a decent perspective into research in this field, specifically, how it is done, what some of the challenges are, and some of the obstacles my team will be facing. Continue reading “My research, my team, and my task.”

New toys!

Thanks to the stipend from my DREU, I was able to purchase some new toys: two PIs and a mini projector! There are a lot of cool things you can do with Raspberry PIs. You can have a media box, a gaming console, a small computer, you can control small sensors just like an Arduino! It doesn’t come with a monitor though! Hence, the projector!

Also, I think mini-projectors are so cool! The projectors are so affordable, portable, and of pretty good quality! Just like the Raspberry PI! Making these two components a match made in technological heaven!

Continue reading “New toys!”

Just because it’s not hot…

you might still want sunscreen.

It was my first weekend here in California and I decided to go on a hike! It was amazing exercise, it was amazingly dry (I brought water), the sights were so different than I am used to (which made for some amazing views), but it wasn’t all good… I got a little sunburned. Anyway, he’s a quick google stylized video of the photos I took:  https://goo.gl/photos/DhNBByLUeGxshPHB9

This is a fellowship, it is not an internship: Day1-14

You know, going into this… I knew it was not an internship, it was a research fellowship. Julie Hoover, Ryan Theurer, and I had yelled jokes about it as he had left the Geology (where we were diligently working on our HASP payload) this summer, Abandoning us to go to his internship at some no-name NASA facility. So, I knew I would be a fellow doing research and experimental work on the NASA Swarmathon platform. However, what I did not realize was that this was a RESEARCH fellowship. On the first day, it became stunningly apparent that for at least the first third of this 8 week stint, my fellow fellows and I were going to be doing a lot of research and annotated bibliographies, while doing very little actual programming.

Continue reading “This is a fellowship, it is not an internship: Day1-14”