REU Week 3

This week, I was able to start my project for this summer. Before, I had been learning how to use ROS, fly the drones, and do a few smaller tasks to prepare for the summer. Monday morning, I came in and had a clear idea of what I needed to achieve, so I started right away with integrating a new drone into the ROS system. My first project was to work with Crazyflies. These are very small drones that connect through a phone app to fly. My task was to integrate them into ROS so that they can be given a set of commands to follow, rather than someone controlling every move that’s made. This task proved to be the most difficult of all my tasks so far. Although many of the graduate students had integrated drones into ROS, no one has integrated the Crazyflies yet. I struggled a lot, especially because others couldn’t help me as easily as before. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were all filled with me struggling through the process. Siya was able to help me with a few of my questions, but I really had to focus on solving a lot on my own. I often felt stuck in the project. Tuesday night boosted my confidence, as a few of us researchers went to trivia night and placed quiet well. But I still came to work the next day to a system that was not working as I had planned. I was able to take a break every once in a while to fly Crash, as I was scheduled to take another flying test on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Dr. Detweiler gave us a talk on research and what questions to ask. I found it extremely helpful, especially for me since I have only finished one year of school and have not thought too much about graduate school. He explained what kind of questions labs like this one can research. There is a lot that goes into a research lab, and he helped me understand many of the components. After his talk, we all got back to work. By Thursday, I was still stuck on the same problem. Siya helped me set up with the VICON system, and I worked on that so long I forgot to take my flying test. We scheduled me to take it this coming Tuesday since Siya was busy a lot of the day Friday. At one point on Thursday, Ajay and Carl sat down for a few minutes to help me get around the problem I’ve been having. They finally fixed it and I was able to connect my Crazyflie to the radio. A lot of people from the lab went to the new Incredibles movie Thursday night. I think it was one of my favorite movies of all time. It is also nice to spend time out of the lab with the other researchers. Friday, I was able to spend all day working to integrate the Crazyflie into ROS. By the end of the day, I was extremely close to getting it all sorted out. As I was leaving, Ajay gave me a suggestion to fix the last little problem I was having, and I planned to try it Monday.

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