Week 2

Hey hey hey! Update: I PASSED MY FLIGHT TEST :)

Weekend: I learned how to charge the big batteries. AJ gave me an extensive lecture on battery characteristics and safety procedures. I flew my flame wheel more. Flying these make me nervous because they are much bigger than the little Hubsans. Bigger drone == Bigger crash. I was flying at one point and the drone started drifting closer to me, so I panicked and thrusted down completely. I crashed into the ladder, loudly. AJ laughed at me. After lab, we went to the gym where I was introduced to Sports day. On Saturdays, people from Nimbus would all go to the rec after work to play sports. We played volleyball, undergrads vs grad students. They owe us ice cream and chocolates now. I went to Omaha with my roomie and some other friends the next day and petted about a hundred puppies. Then we went to the outlet and bought matching flannels because why not?

Day 1: We met with the directors to learn about our research projects. Sounds like I’ll be working on collecting data from the sensors. I was told that we needed to have turtlebot running, complete the certification on research with humans, and talk to Ashraful about the drone project by the end of this week. AJ and Ashraful are my grad mentors. Time to go find Ashraful. After work, I went to the gym to swim. I have no idea how to swim, but I need to learn so I can go on the lake day trips.
Day 2: AJ gave me an assignment to write a couple functions in cpp to increment a number and multiply the number by some constant. I took Data Structures nearly two years ago, so it’s been a minute since I’ve seen cpp. I struggled for a few hours, then moved on to my human subjects research (HSR) course. That took forever, but I was certified by the end of the day so I left with some slight feeling of accomplishment.
Day 3: I WENT ON A FIELD TRIP TODAY! AJ and Ashraful took me and Jason to the field to run some tests. They even let us fly the big hexacopter. I found the best youtube tutorial for ROS. I learned all about nodes and topics. The video helped me install turtlebot gazebo, and it’s the coolest. My simulation had a bookshelf, dumpster, and some other random objects surrounding my turtlebot. I was running gazebo on my virtual box on my mac, so even though the screen said the real time factor was .99, there was about a 5 second delay (I think I know why it’s named turtlebot now). The next video was supposed to teach me how to publish and subscribe to whatever object my bot was closest to in the simulation. Okay, I lied. The best video turned out to be too complicated to I returned to the booked AJ referred us to. The day started at about a 10, but now I’m felling a solid 2. One of the grad students showed me the funniest video in regards to machine learning algorithms in bipedal robot control, so now I watch that when I’m sad, stressed, or bored. Here’s a link to 3:25 minutes of good laughs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hx_bgoTF7bs
Day 4: I learned how to 3D print today. Can you tell I’m doing everything I can to avoid time with ROS? Ashraful gave me a lesson in Solidworks. Then we designed a piece to connect the anemometer to the tripod because the current setup included about six layers of duct tape. A bunch of us went to see Incredibles 2 after lab. It was definitely a 9/10.
Day 5: I learned how to publish and subscribe today. AJ sent me home with about 500 lines of code to go over, so I could understand how the data packets were transmitted from the sensor to CSV files. I took Computer System Design last semester where I had to decode RS232 and USB signals by hand, so I’m excited to see how a program will do all the work for me. Hopefully we’ll take another field trip once I understand how the code works, so we can collect more data. In the mean time, I’m gonna go enjoy my weekend. See ya next week!

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