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WEEK 10

Departure day. I am so sad, yesterday I said goodbye to all my friends and Nimbus staff. All of us shared incredible moments and I strongly believe that our group “Unnmaned System” was the best ever. Especially, the Nimbus lab is AMAZING and I recommend all of you guys to apply for this program the next year. Personally, I am really motivated to come back to the States the next year for grad school.

This week finally we present our posters in the SRP symposium. It was a really good experience. In the beginning, I was scared to present it but after the practice presentation, I got the confidence needed to feel comfortable during the presentation.

FIG 1. Me presenting my poster

After that, we attend the closing banquet. That was our last dinner together with the “Nimbus” guys. I enjoyed the food and the rest of the event but I did not when we took the last pictures together at the end of the event.

FIG 2. One of the last pictures taken after the banquet

Finally, I just want to thank the people who made my participation in the program possible and all the Nimbus staff. It was glad to spend my summer with you.

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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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WEEK 8

Almost at the end of the SUMMER RESEARCH PROGRAM. I have heard that most of the REU students miss home and really want to come back but personally, I really like this country, especially Nebraska, and wanna stay here more time. Anyways, this week I was trying to fix the problem from the last week. For a strange reason when I try to take pictures outside, I lost connection with the drone. I wrote a different algorithm to take pictures with different tools. I prove it inside the lab, it worked pretty well but outside I just can take 3 pictures when I am near to the drone and then I lost the connection. It seems like an interference problem. For that reason, I decided to write a code that takes a picture every 10 seconds without the Xbee modules and hopefully I will take pictures on Monday morning.

In addition, I have been working on my research poster and project report. Dr. Bradle gives me feedback and I was working on that. Chandima suggests a completely different poster design, with new ideas, new graphs, and tables. I was learning how to use an image editor to draw really cool diagrams and organize pictures of my poster.

With respect to recreational activities, I’m still going to the gym in mornings and another physic activity after lab hours. This week I learn how to play tennis and we went to play soccer with my labmates. They think that I am very good. Since I have spent most of my available foundings I stopped to go to the movie theater and Walmart.

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WEEK 7

The day of the symposium is coming soon. It scares me a little bit but I think that the work I have done will be ready for the final presentation according to the deadlines. This week all the REU students have to present a Draft Poster. I have heard that some of the guys don’t have results yet but it is ok since this is supposed to be the first draft. In my case, I have something that I like to mention “pseudo results” because in my project I need to take aerial images of a lake but I have used photos from Google since I am still working on the system that will take pictures remotely. I have talked with Chandima and he told me that is pretty good so far. Hopefully, Dr.Bradley will think the same.

On Monday Chandima and I joined to Jacob’s military project test. It is supposed that on Wednesday militaries will check the progress of the project so all of us went to the field to check if everything is in order. The rest of the week I focused more on the design of my Poster. Honestly, I don’t like the template that it is supposed we have to use. So I decided to make some modifications. I have changed some colors and added the logo of my home university as well as the one of the nimbus lab.

Today Chandima and I raised early to go the field and make some tests. Chandima got an acceptable result but I can not tell the same about me. All the week I was refining my system to take pictures. Specifically, I was making some tests inside the lab and it works pretty good but when we tried to prove it outdoor, it fails. It was very frustrating for me. Apparently, there exists a power problem. When the drone is on the ground and regardless of whether the propellers are spinning or not, the system is able to take pictures successfully but after take off I lose connection with the drone.

Fig 1. Outdoor flight test.

Apart from that, yesterday I spend all night plying bowling to distract me a little bit. Keyla Person invited all the Ecuadorian guys to “ROUND 1” which is inside of “Gateway” mall.

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WEEK 6

I think this week has been to most productive one and really enjoy it because I was doing hardware  and programming tasks to tune up my drone. I was looking and testing several cameras to find out someone that works. And then I had to mount it into the drone together with a Raspberry Pi that I was working on the past week  that already has installed a software that allows me to take pictures remotelly using the command line and the wifi network eduroam. That is very useful to my project because I can control the onboard camera remotley using my laptop.  

With respect to hardware task, on Wednesday I was soldering some connection to supply power to the Raspberry Pi.

Since I was using networking to control the Raspberry Pi, I had to figured out another mecanis to send commands to from my computer to the Raspberry and was there when Chandime suggest me to usu serial communication via Xbee modules. To do taht I wrote some python codes that send the required commeands.  So far, I think that my drone is ready to fly outside and take amazing pictures 

Fig1. Civilian V1.0

On the other hand and for reactional activities, I went to the movie “Midsommar” on Tuesday with my labmates and “Yesterday” with the rest of Ecuadorian guys. On Wednesday I went to the Memorial Stadium Tout, I took very cool photos, and I have an appointment for “Day at the lake” tomorrow

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WEEK 4

Most of this week I was working on my Literature Review Draft. Apart from this, on Monday my graduate advisor and me, Pedro and Chandima were developing on-flied flight test. Even though it was no successful, I can know more about the flying drones in a programmatic way and the equipment required to do that. Chandima has a very cool checklist for the flying staff.

Like all Tuesdays, we had a meeting in the Research Topic meeting about data organization but before it, we took a previous meeting with the graduate students. There were pizza and cookies. I really love Nimbus lab’s meetings. In addition, on Wednesday all the REU students had a Mock Symposium workshop. It was very useful for me because I can see poster samples from other researchers. I already know how to make a brilliant poster. In the evening, I was to my first day of climbing. Even I had never been practiced this sport before, I was able to reach the top of a wall. It was exhilarating.

Finally, on Friday I was working with OpenCV and C++ for image processing task. In particular, I was trying to replicate the results obtained in a paper about shoreline detection.

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WEEK 5

Almost the middle of the SRP. I think that this week was the shortest one, maybe because of the celebrations of 4TH July. Anywise, reporting my work for this week. On Monday Chandima, Juan and I were on the field performing outdoor flights. Juan has a really cool DJI Mavic and I think that it is the more stable drone I have seen so far. On the other hand, the tests performed for Chandima was not successful again. I was recording all the flights. After the outdoor test, all of us went to Walmart for ice cream.

In the same way, for the next day I was working in the forms I need to fill for my home institution as well as making some improvements to my boundary detection method. In addition, we had our well know Tuesday’s meeting and after that all the staff of the lab were watching the football match England vs Unites States, it was exhilarating.
On Wednesday I started to work with hardware. Chandima gave me a Raspberry Pi and I have to install OpenCV on it and also run my code. So that was the task I was working from Wednesday to Friday, except Thursday because I went to see firework.

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WEEK 3

The third week ends. I feel more incorporated to the Nimbus Lab and I have started to fine-tuning my English. This week a tried to avoid the rest of Ecuadorian guys to challenge myself to learn casual vocabulary that my current friends use.

On Monday and Tuesday, I was working in the creation of a system to launch several python files, configure my ROS environment and close the command terminal automatically. After that, I started to spend my time trying to figure out the direction of my project. We take a meeting with Dr. Duncan about the literature review; we have to present a draft of it for the next Thursday. I was talking with Chandima, my graduate student, about a doable project for this summer and he told me a great idea. We were working to determine the optimal photo sampling height that a drone needs to achieve in order to detect lake boundaries as best as possible. Currently, that is our idea but we need to talk with Dr. Bradlye too. We have been sending emails to him but I think that he is too busy, his office is always closed. Anywise, I expect to talk to him next week. But to not lose my time I have been redacting my literature review draft using papers about boundary detection. Hopefully, the next week I wanna try to work in the assembly of a camera in a drone.

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Week 2

Francisco Quinga here again. This week passed so fast.
Monday I continue working in ROS tutorials. I had some troubles in the part about Client and Service since when I ran catkin_make command always throws me an error. I don´t why but my computer is not able to localize .h files so what I did is write the absolute path of my .h files in the include statement of my .cpp files. In the evening. My friends and I were to the Gateway mall to grab some sports equipment to start training in the recreational center.

I am working with another summer research program participant: Paul Fletcher and the grad mentor assignment to me is Chandima Fernando. During the rest of the week, we were working with Xbee’s , a wireless module. We were assigned to operate the turtle of the other one and vice versa using these modules and ROS. It was a challenging task because we need to read a lot of tutorials to configure our environments and install the Xbee’s drivers. On Wednesday we were able to configure our Xbee using XCTU software. Then we needed to figure out how to use serial communication to send messages wirelessly. After a lot of tries, we still were not able to establish communication between our computers but the problem was that one Xbee was badly configured and Chandima helps us with that problem.

Finally, at the end of the week, we achieved our goal after written some python files.
In addition, I was reading a couple of paper to understand better Coregulation of the physical and computational effector. I think this will help me to figure out the direction of my project.

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REU Experiences

Week 1

Hey folks, I am Francisco Quinga, a senior student in Computer Science from Ecuador.
During this first week I have been attended to orientation meetings, in Henzlik Hall, about interesting topics to be tailored to the life inside the campus as well as research concrens. Those were funny because there were a lot of stuff that we can get it if we participate in it. In addition, I have known a cuple of things about the other Reaserch Program Participants in the Unmanned System program. I have also been in meeting with the faculty staff of the Nimbus Lab.

In the Nimbus Lab I was able to fly a drone in a pretty good way. The reason is because my uncle tought me how to fly a drone in the last week I was in Ecuador before the UNL research programm started. I think that flying the Hubsan is very eassy because in Ecuador I was practicing with the DJI Phantom 2.

About my project, I will be working in the implemetation of algorithims for co-regulation in drones. So as, Dr. Bradley assigned me one of his graduate students to work with. He told me that the first task is to become familiar wih ROS (robot operating system) framework. For that reason, this week I have been working with ROS tutotials.

Finaly, I am really exited about the program and I spect to gain research experience as well be the coauthor of some paper. I already has a publication in Springer but I really wanna be part of a paper publications in conjuction with University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I think that this could meakes me more competitive with respect of other student.