REU First Week

Week #1 (6/4 – 6/8)

My name is Jason Finnegan, and I am a Nebraska native. Born and raised in the small town of Cozad, NE which is about two and a half hours west of Lincoln. Our town is most proud that we are built almost directly on the 100th Meridian. I grew up on a farm run by both of my parents as we grew corn and soybeans. I was a very stereotypical Nebraskan as I spent my weekends and summer in a tractor or in a field. Following high school I went to college in Hastings, Nebraska and attended Hastings College which is a small Liberal Arts college. I am majoring in physics with a minor in mathematics. I am very excited this summer to be a Husker and be able to work in the NIMBUS lab here at UNL. I hope to be able to apply some of the skills I have learned through my education along with learn new ones that will help me later on as I try to become an engineer.

The first week of the Student Research Program here at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln went by fast. Every morning was filled with informational meetings ranging from the programs on the campus to Title IX to what graduate school is like. All these got us ready for a safe and enjoyable life here this summer on the campus. We entered the NIMBUS lab which is better known as the Drone Lab. We learned about the basic parts of a drone and how these parts are utilized to make these machines fly. We then continued and strengthened our knowledge by building a drone ourselves from a prepackaged kit by DJI. After constructing the drone, software was downloaded onto the computer, PixHawk, of the drone. This software was obtained through a program called Mission Planner that we downloaded directly from the internet. After using this software to calibrate the drone and make sure everything was assembled and downloaded correctly, the ex-Navy helicopter pilot, Adam, of the group took over and tuned up the drones to allow for a smooth flight. Along with this, I had a very tough time downloaded ROS onto my computer as AJ said that it was because I made the mistake and use Windows. I was able to get it to finally work, with a lot of help from AJ by running Ubuntu – Linux on Virtual Box and putting ROS on this virtual hard drive. Finishing up the week, I am studying and going through tutorials of how to use ROS.

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