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REU Experiences

Week 9: All Good Things…

This week was a whirlwind of a week! I spent most of Monday and Tuesday working on my poster for their undergrad symposium. At about 1pm on Tuesday the rest of the REU students and I had to present our draft posters in front of two of the NIMBUS Lab co-directors. It was a slightly stressful, but very helpful experience. With the help of their feedback, my poster got a lot better. I submitted my poster at the end of Tuesday and felt like a large weight was lifted as I had completed one of my final two deliverables for the summer. The other being the project report. On Wednesday, the NIMBUS Lab had a potluck lunch in honor of the REU students. It was very kind and also very very tasty. Turns out, the NIMBUS lab has some talented cooks and some very accomplished bakers. My favorite dish was the Korean BBQ Beef and my favorite dessert was the Oreo Macarons (they were so tasty!!!!). With my belly full of home cooked food, I went about submitting the Drone Copy Cat project code. I ensured everything was commented correctly, dotted my Is and crossed my Ts, and cleaned out the junk files. I then ziped up the workspace and sent it off to Siya so she could check it in to the SVN. I spent the rest of Wednesday and part of Thursday writing my project report. Sometimes when you write it’s like pulling teeth, other times the words flow like water. Thankfully, this week my experience was more like the latter and Alisha’s edits were invaluable. On Friday, we all took a group photo which was a lot of fun. I didn’t realize how expensive the ASTEC drones were when they were initially purchased! We got a lot of drones of varying sizes in the shot and generally had a good time.

I also volunteered to be part of the SRP’s commercial so an interviewer came to the lab and filmed me and a few other REU students from the NIMBUS lab. The questions really kicked off my reflection for the summer. Lastly, I was a participant in Siya’s study. I don’t think I am allowed to say more than that, but I had a blast being her participant. The things I did for the study were so much fun it didn’t feel like research.  

My wonderful and amazing lab partner Nina and I also took pictures and they were my favorite from the photo shoot.

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REU Experiences

Week 9

Last week was the deadline for our poster submissions so I spent the beginning of the week finishing up mine. I think it turned out alright, but right now I’m too afraid of finding typos to look too closely at the finished result. We also have a final paper to write so I spent some time last week working on that. Aside from that we had some time to do a few more experiments. We added a pump and some ballast water to our system so we could ascend as well as descend. We did a few test flights on Friday and although we were able to get the balloon to release water and helium when they were supposed to, all of our flights ended up passing their target by quite a bit and overcompensating when they tried to correct it. I think more tests are needed to determine if slower ascent and descent rates can fix this problem or if it is again possibly a complication due to the air circulation in the building. Outside of lab, I spent our last weekend in Lincoln going to the Lancaster County Fair and visiting the quilt museum and diary store on east campus. It’s hard to believe we only have two more days until the poster symposium and three more days in Lincoln. This summer has gone by so fast.

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Week Nine

Someone once told me that with writing, you only ever have a good draft; a final draft doesn’t truly exist. She was describing the feeling that a paper could always be better, but at some point, it needs to be done enough. The first time I ever experienced this was with art. For a painter, the piece can always be better, the details adjusted or the colors enhanced. I think this dilemma exists with any creative work and is best approached with a good iterative review process. It’s like minimizing a cost function; there may be peaks and valleys, but ultimately each iteration brings the work closer to where it should be. 

This week the first full draft of my project report was due. Early on in the semester, I spent significant time working on the literature review and was surprised to find that there isn’t a significant body of work that exists on UAV operator mode classification. So, I decided to spend time with research related to the general classification of UAV behavior. Similar to an iterative writing process, immersion in a body of research feels like it starts off with a broad net and a large margin of error. Much of the work I read was only tangentially related to my specific project but ultimately helped me position the work in a larger context. As I continue to iterate over my project draft and continue with the research, I imagine my net may grow much smaller, but also more precise. 

I was also reminded this week of the importance of adaptability in research. Last Friday, I realized my neural network was overfitting, something I hadn’t noticed until running a very large number of epochs. I was able to diagnose the problem and fix it (there was a class imbalance in the dataset, which I was able to offset with a weighted loss), but that also meant that I had to throw out my previous results and re-run all of my tests. I worked through the weekend and was able to get everything done in time for the final poster and rough paper draft! That said, I certainly plan to continue iterating over my paper.

In the lab this week, our lab administrators organized a potluck for the REU students – it was so great! We got to eat some home-cooked food with the lab directors and graduate students. We also had the opportunity to review our posters with the lab directors and give a two-minute overview. The lab directors gave us some great feedback, which was certainly helpful and confirmed that I need to practice. Outside of the lab, we attended a helpful presentation on giving effective research presentations. Again, we were given the opportunity to give one, three and five-minute synopses of our work. Next week, I’m excited to take the Part 107 Drone Pilot test and present at the final research symposium!

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Week 9: Wrapping it Up

The start of my week was dedicated to finishing up the poster. With the deadline quickly approaching (Tuesday at 5 pm), I felt the pressure creeping up, but I also knew that there was no possible way to rush machine learning. I finished my last training session at around noon on Tuesday and was able to get feedback from the professors on my poster before submitting the final poster. I sacrificed a bit of sleep on Monday night, but I’m really happy with how my poster turned out!

Since Tuesday, things have slowed down, and I have been wrapping up my work here at UNL. I have been formatting my code and packaging it nicely so that the NIMBUS lab will have organized documentation of what I was able to accomplish; I have been saving the dataset I created and leaving annotated files of the images; I have started writing a paper about my work this summer.

On Wednesday, our lab had a final potluck with everyone to wrap up the summer. The professor I am working with left very early on Thursday morning for a short vacation and Jake (a fellow REU student) is leaving on Saturday. With these goodbyes being said already and many more to come next week, I have been trying to wrap up my work at the Schorr Center Rm. 207 Desk #9.

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Week 9

This week was really experiment heavy. We ran multiple tests to try to shave down the various confounding variables that we think may be impacting our research. I read some more literature for my paper that hopefully better explain my thought processes when helping to create the new questionnaires. I really hope these questions actually work and better responses come in. We also presented our posters to our colleagues which was a really interesting experience. Things that our PIs noticed, I would not have even thought about. It was a really useful session. 

My lab partner leaves this week which is the biggest bummer of the twenty-first century. I hope he enjoys Germany and Italy as much as we are enjoying the small *incredibly kind* town of Lincoln, Nebraska.

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WEEK 9

Our penultimate week here. It is so sad.

At the beginning of this week, I was very stressful because all of the REU students had to submint the final version of our posters to printing it in the Pixel Lab and I was still needed to gather some data.  I needed to make some outdoor flight tests. Last week we planned to make it on Monday but wen I was in the lab looking for Chandime, he wasn’t. So, I send him an email and we agreed to make it on Tuesday but I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it and write the results on the same day but finally we did it  and my poster was ready to show it on our well known Tuesday’s meeting.  The critiques I received were very helpfull to develop the final version and get an on-time submission.  The rest of days I were working on my research paper. I send a draft to Dr.Bradley and Chandima and I am still waiting for feedback.

 

Apppart of that, yesterday the rest of ecuadorian students and me had an exit interview and after we were to the University of Nebraska State Museum. It was pretty cool, it has a lot of really amazing mammoth fossils and dissected animals.

And last but not least, yesterday we were to a fancy swimming pool with Dr.Daniel Linzell. That place is absolutely awesome and the weather favored the occasion too. The food there is also really good. I needed to try food that doesn’t come from the dining hall.

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REU Experiences

Week 9

We started running participants this week and collecting data. So far, we have run half of the number of participants that we wanted to. I have been entering the data from the questionnaires from these participants and past participants from the previous study into an Excel file. I learned that transcribing speech word-for-word is challenging because we often talk colloquially with a lot of fillers when thoughts are not fully composed.

The final poster was also due this week. Although I was not able to have actual results, I was able to talk about the previous study and discuss the results that I anticipate. Since the poster presentation is next week, I am now working on preparing what I will say. There was a very helpful workshop this week about flash talks. The workshop explained how good presentations are not very technical and can be understood by a large audience. One piece of information that I found helpful was to explain research as a story because this may help keep the audience’s attention.

I have also been working on my project report. I have been focusing on the abstract, introduction, related works, and methodology sections. Since the research question of my project changed, I had to discard some of my literature review. It may be a stretch with the time left, but I am hoping to be able to write something for the results and discussion next week as a good way to wrap up the research that I helped with this summer.

There was a potluck lunch with everyone in the lab on Wednesday, and it was a lot of fun to have everyone together. On Tuesday, I went on a bike ride and enjoyed ice cream from the east campus dairy store. On Thursday, I visited the campus bookstore and then went to Sunken Gardens. Since this is my last weekend in Lincoln (at least for this summer), I have made an ultimate-weekend list of all the things that have to be done with my friends, Adry and Xavier.

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REU Experiences

Week 9

At the beginning of our penultimate week, I frantically gathered my data and constructed my final poster. Monday and Tuesday were quite stressful, but I ended up with solid data and a poster submission. At our Tuesday meeting, Dr. Duncan and Dr. Detweiler looked through each of our posters and gave us some final advice, which was extraordinarily helpful. Today, I received confirmation that my poster was successfully printed, so I plan on picking that up this afternoon. This weekend, I will begin practicing my presentation for next week’s symposium.

For the second half of the week, Christina and I have been trying to resolve some of the issues that we’ve been having with NVIDIA Jetson Nano implementation. Getting the necessary packages installed (such as Keras, TensorFlow, Numpy, etc.) has been exceedingly difficult due to some unexpected errors. Beyond wrapping up our physical research, I’ve been organizing my data/code and started working on my final paper. I plan to have this paper completed by next week.

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Week 8

This week was very hectic and exciting. We ran an mturk study and got results back that showed the questions I created are working and eliciting the responses we are looking for. I’m really excited to see where this study is going and I’m hoping that we can continue to fine tune the questionnaires so that the responses we yield are high in agreeance and consistent among the participants. 

 I spent most of the week coding it, creating new questionnaires, and working on my poster. I also got to help out some of my labmates with their projects which was super fun and a really easy way to find out a bit more about their field of research. It was also nice to hear them talk about their research and it seems like everyone has a good grasp on what they’re doing and what they want to do in the future.

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Blog Post 8

Karissa and I had a slow start to our week – we finalized and tested all our electronics, and we made sure that we were ready to flight test once we got more helium. To be honest, I believe we could have tested earlier in the week, but we just didn’t have helium to flight test as the time. I felt like I wasted a lot of time when there wasn’t much time left anyway. However, on Friday we finally ended up picking up helium tanks so that we could finally test our control feedback algorithm and also collect data for our poster due tomorrow.

Since we picked up the helium so late during the day, Karissa and I ended up staying throughout the night just to test our code and tune our constant-values. Ajay ended up staying as well to help us out, which was really nice; Karissa and I hadn’t really had much of an opportunity to talk with/get help from Ajay after he came back from his trip a couple of weeks ago, so it was really nice to work with him again.

We tested a lot in the open space right in front of the entrance to the building, but we realized that we were overshooting the altitude with our current algorithm parameters. So, we decided to try again on Saturday. However, when Karissa and I tried to test in the same space as Friday night, we realized that the ventilation in the building was really screwing up our tests. So we actually ended up testing on the stairs leading to the second floor, which worked out pretty well. Throughout those tests, we were able to collect a lot of good data.

However, now that we have to work on our poster, we haven’t had time to run anymore tests since Saturday. Furthermore, we have a final paper draft due Wednesday, which means that we actually might not be able to test until Wednesday/Thursday which really sucks. To be honest, I really wish we didn’t have to write a paper because I really want to finish implementing the venting/ballast system so that we can make the balloon system go up and down. Maybe Karissa and I will just have to put in some extra work during the weekend. But at this point, I don’t think I’m really up for that anymore, especially since we don’t have that much time with everyone left. That makes me a bit conflicted on what to do because on one hand, I really want to finish the research Karissa and I came here to do. But on the other hand, I really want to spend my last weekend with people in the program. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

I can’t really believe that we’ll be leaving next Thursday – it’s definitely been a long roller coaster of a ride, but definitely it’s been a good ride.