The Telepresence Two (Week 2)


Week two started off even more productive than the week prior; I met my grad student who I’ll be helping out this summer and my principle investigator (PI) was out for the week. So, she (my PI), gave me what was supposed to be a fairly simple job: set up a ROS node to control this telepresence robot, herein referred to as the Ohmni, on our local network. In the beginning, I was filled with hope; OhmniLabs does refer to their robot as “open.” Don’t take this to mean “open source,” though. As I came to realize, when a company sells a development kit for a robot that costs more than that robot, their probably gonna put some work into making sure you don’t develop without that kit. Since I am writing to you from the future dimension of week 4, I can tell you that working with the Ohmni is a bit out of the scope of my expertise, which may be summed up by saying “I can make a Fizz Buzz program in over two (2) languages!”

Week two did end in a bit of a success, though. I had been trying to just get into the Ohmni that week; gaining super user was trivial, so why couldn’t I SSH into it? What am I to do? No file manager and weird permissions on downloads from the internet mean I don’t know how to download anything to help me out. This thing doesn’t even have commands for viewing file properties (this irksome property will bubble up next week). Giving up on that, I moved to the Android Debugger Bridge, since the Ohmni runs Android on the Linux Kernel. Bingo! Now I can install APKs, transfer files, open a shell from my computer (buh bye to using a touch screen to type commands into the terminal emulator), etc. But that was pretty much the end of my success for the week. As much as I’d like to be a #HackerGrrrl, I’m not. So finding my way to ADB and googling around for installs and tutorials took multiple late nights.

Well, not completely the end, I also passed my flight test on these little Hubsan drones. I’m not heavy into the flying aspect of drones, but I’m told making us interns “expert” pilots is important for a grad students’ research; so, call me Samuel, because here I am.1 

Beyond work, I play volleyball with my friends. There are sand courts by the suites (and pretty much every dorm, it seems). A few of us from Nimbus also set up two intramural sand volleyball teams. Our first game is next week. It doesn’t take long to notice how little free time grad students get. They seem to work as stacks: first in, last out. Personally, I’m not sure that’s a life I’m into having, even if it’s for a short time and especially if I can’t feel so passionately about my project that it makes up for the lack of sleep and the death of my beloved hobbies. I also ride my bike a lot. The trails around Lincoln are extensive, so it’s a great way to get out of the city, get a workout in, and feel a little more at home.

 

-Shannon

 

1. For this reference see the third chapter of Samuel in The Bible. I like to make my Catholic high school teachers proud.

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