REU Experiences

SRP Week 8

Blog 8: Week of 7/31/18

            Andrew Brown again, and I really dropped the ball on the blogs this week. It is Tuesday and I am doing my blog for last Friday. That being said, the week went really well.

Last week ended with worries that I would not be able to implement the new controller on to the Crazyflie firmware. Dr. Bradley came in on Monday to check up on my progress. I started explaining to him how I was still unable to locate the controller in the code. He sat down to see if could find it, and to my chagrin, I realized at that moment that I had already seen the controller but failed to recognize it. There were more spaces between the function call and the definition then I had expected – very lame.

Thankfully, however, Dr. Bradley realized that I was going to be unable to make all of the necessary changes to the firmware and the crazyswarm workspace in time to get data for my project. Instead of having me pursue firmware changes any farther, he allowed to me to write the distributed controller using the Python library already proved by USC ACT Lab. This took most of the rest of the week.

At one point, I accidentally only applied the controller to one of the Crazyflies. The purpose of this controller was to make all of the Crazyflies converge to the same spot. This was before I introduced a gain to the code, so the Crazyflie with the controller was flying full speed at the other. Dr. Duncan came in and allowed as how it was probably a poor practice to test our expensive scientific equipment by crashing it in to one another. I had gotten so used to the Crazyflies being tough, that I had forgotten that they are also expensive and that the lab had invested a lot in them. From that point on I was much more careful with them. Instead of allowing them to crash into each other, I would grab one out of the air before collision and see how the other reacted. The other Crazyflie wanted to be at the position of the Crazyflie in my hand, so it would fly toward me. I felt like a matador in the ring! The Crazyflie would zoom toward me. I would hold the Crazyflie in my hand out to the side, and the one in the air would zip by, turning to look at me as it past and then coming around for another pass. This would happen until I chose to grab it out of the air or until it tried to turn to fast and fell to the ground – super fun to say the least!

On Friday I was finally able to collect data and spent most of the day writing a MATLAB code to parse this data. I stayed into the evening Friday and came back in Saturday to finish up. I stayed in the lab until about five o’clock on Saturday and then stayed up late to finish up my poster. When I finished, I sent it to Dr. Bradley for feedback and then went to bed. I had all Sunday free!

On Monday I spent all day crossing my t’s and dotting my i’s on the poster and turned it in at the end of the day. Now we are very near the end of our time at UNL. I have all week to work on my paper and to document my work in the lab for the next person who works with the Crazyflies. This summer has been an awesome experience, but now I cannot wait to go back to Sacramento and enjoy my last few weeks of summer with family and friends!

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