REU Experiences

Week 10

This was the final week of the REU summer experience. Over the weekend and on Monday, I was preparing and practicing my poster presentation. On Tuesday, we all got to practice our poster presentation. The symposium and banquet wrapped up the program on Wednesday.

As I am traveling back, I realize that I am excited to start the Fall semester and my final year of undergrad. I am looking forward to my new classes and the nice, cool weather. On the other hand, I am also missing the great people that I met this summer. It was enjoyable to experience life in Lincoln!

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.

REU Experiences

Week 8

I practiced flying and hovering the Hubsan backwards over the weekend so this week I was able to move up to doing so on the flamewheel. I have been practicing more flying the flamewheel and I was able to practice taking over and giving control to a computer with Alisha.

After much debugging, I was able to complete the python script to process the sample data that I was given. The code essentially came down to finding clever ways to extract needed information from other files to calculate and obtain parameters of interest.

I read a paper on how to determine the type of statistical test that is needed for a study. We decided to go with the Mann-Whitney U test. I started coding a python file to find statistical significance between modes of operation.

I made some edits to the AUMA script to become AUDMA, in which the participant only corrects a failure and does not have to report it. After practicing flying and the scripts, we ran a proto participant on Friday.

My plan for next week is to run actual participants and analyze the results to be included on my poster.

Last Friday, I went with my friend to her lab to do some plant RNA extraction. It was interesting to see a different research lab. It was very different from the NIMBUS Lab. Over the weekend, I also tried sushi for the first time.

REU Experiences

Week 7

On Monday, I worked on writing the code to move the Flamewheel from point A to point B in a straight line. The entire sequence of ascending at point A, going to B, coming back to A, and descending at A is currently coded to take 87 seconds. This time could be easily changed by changing the velocity at which the Flamewheel is moving, which is currently 0.15 meters per second.

On Monday, Dr. Duncan told me about a different test we could do on the Hummingbird, which made me feel more confident that I would get results and be able to discuss them. Previously, users had to report a failure and then correct the behavior. Since this is two steps, the plan is to now see timing and performance differences if users do not have to report the failure but only correct the behavior.

For the other days this week, I focused on writing a python script that would be able to process the data that is going to be collected from the study. I was able to write the majority of the script, but I am having trouble figuring out and coding the best way to see if a failure was detected, if a non-failure was detected, and if a failure was not detected. I have also been flying the flamewheel, and Alisha was able to certify me for all of the forward maneuvers in manual and pressure modes on Friday. I am going to practice flying the small Hubsan backwards before doing it on the flamewheel.

I have started making a draft of my poster. I was able to fill out the sections for motivation, introduction, and insert some pictures as placeholders. I also put some bullet points of what I envision I would include for the results and conclusion sections. I am hoping to be able to fill out my draft more in the next few days.

This past weekend I went to an outlet which was fun and did some exploring of campus with Andy.

REU Experiences

Week 6

This week I got some more feedback from my graduate student about my literature review and I made revisions to my literature review.

I have been working on writing code that will hover the drone at a specific NED location and move the drone in a straight line between two points. I found out that north actually corresponds to y and east corresponds to x, so I had to go through and make edits to my code. Today I finished my first version of code incorporating a time aspect into moving to a specific NED location so that the drone does not respond quickly to changes in position. In order to do this, I need to came up with equations that will change the desired NED location with time, such that the drone reaches a given position in a desired amount of time. I was able to work backwards from the starting and ending position I want to be at and the time I want it to take to go between the positions to figure out the velocity I need. The node that I am working on is subscribed to read the current position from the vicon, and use this to determine if it is sufficiently close to the target location. Based on if the drone is within a certain threshold, the velocities should be set to 0 while the position is held. The node that I am working on publishes an NED position, and NED location, and a yaw value in radians. Siya said she could test my code this weekend, so I am looking forward to seeing the results.

This week I played pool in a game room. I have also been playing some chords and fingerpicking songs on Andy’s guitar.

REU Experiences

Week 5

I completed the ROS project on controlling the turtlesim with the right joystick. I had to change some of the joy_node parameters from within the launch file so the turtle would continuously respond to the joystick inputs, even when the joystick is not changing.

I moved the content of my literature review over to Overleaf to use LaTex. I found a quick tutorial to get myself introduced to LaTex. I am working on making some revisions to my literature review based on the feedback that I have received.

My plan for next week is to learn more about mavros and ArduPilot.

This week we had a presentation on the process of applying to graduate school and writing a strong personal statement. I am going to start looking more into graduate programs that I want to apply to this year.

REU Experiences

Week 4

This week consisted of reading papers that relate to the project that I will be working on. I made the first draft of a literature review. It was very hard to find papers that compared different platforms, but I was able to find a few and discuss them in my literature review. I have already gotten some feedback to include pictures. I also need to become more familiar with LaTex to create a document.

I also learned how to fly the Flamewheel and did some practicing on it. To me, this drone has better stabilization so it is easier to operate than the Hubsan.

We had a presentation this week on how to judge a poster and what information to include. We got a poster tube, which I am excited to use.

REU Experiences

Week 3

This week I took my drone flight test for the Hubsan drone and passed. I also finished writing some code to have a joystick control the turtle. I am using an xbox 360 controller with one axis of the left joystick to control the angular z direction and another axis of the right joystick to control the linear x direction for the first version of the code. In the second version of the code, one joystick controls both the angle and then moves the turtle forward once the angle has been reached within a certain tolerance. In the third version of the code, the rotation of the turtle is either clockwise or counterclockwise depending on which direction is the shorter distance to travel. This version is not optimal though because the turtle will occasionally rotate in the direction that is the longer distance.

I started reading and taking notes on some papers about taking over control when there is an automation failure. I am still searching and trying to find a paper that compares different autonomous platforms.

We had a workshop on professional networking this week. There were some good tips mentioned about presenting yourself and composing sophisticated emails.

This past weekend I went to the farmer’s market and a store selling Nebraska merchandise. I am looking forward to going to the Omaha zoo and going rock climbing this weekend.

REU Experiences

Week 2

I finished my CITI training on Monday. On Tuesday and Wednesday I finished up the first section of ROS tutorials and practiced flying the small drone. I have gotten better at flying, but I still feel like I need more practice to get better, especially when the drone orientation is not forward. With a lot of online searching, I was able to turn a python code that moves the turtle in a straight line into a cpp file. It asks the user for inputs for the speed, distance, and forward/backward direction and moves the turtle accordingly. I also made a ROS package that has a node generate random numbers between 0 to 100 and publishes this on a topic that is subscribed to by another node. The next node then multiplies the random number by 10 and publishes the result, which is already printed using ROS_INFO but can also be seen by using the rostopic echo command. I am trying to get a hold of an xbox controller to use that to control the turtle as well.

We had a workshop on scientific writing this week that explained how writing goes through many revisions, and the first step is to just openly write. My plan for next week is to have a thorough understanding of the research that has already been done on this topic at the NIMBUS Lab and take some notes while starting to do my literature review. After taking some notes, I will draw some comparisons between different studies.

This past weekend I went to the Lincoln Capitol Building and the UNL State Museum and planetarium in Morrill Hall. The view from the Capitol Building was really nice and I got a good panoramic picture.

REU Experiences

Week 1

My name is Arsha Ali. I attend Oakland University, which is located in Michigan. I am majoring in electrical and computer engineering. I will be a senior in the fall and will graduate in April 2020. I am very excited to be a part of the NIMBUS Lab and to get exposure to drone applications. I am hoping to be able to programmatically control a drone to do at least some basic maneuvers. I have flown a drone before a few times, but I am looking to really improve my skills here as well. I am most excited about learning ROS and programming a flight path for my project.

This week I started going through some ROS tutorials. I was able to do a native installation of Ubuntu before arriving in Lincoln. After taking and reviewing some notes, ROS is starting to make sense to me. I flew the small Hubsan drone a few times, and I am definitely getting better at it. I also started doing some CITI training since my project involves working with human subjects. Adam also introduced us to FAA part 107 training and gave us a link and a video for practicing for the exam.

This week there were orientation sessions on different subjects in the morning. It was a nice way to learn about different topics and settle in to a new campus. I am hoping to spend some time on the weekends exploring some museums and becoming more familiar with the city. I am also looking to play some fun video games and card games with the other researchers.