03 May 2013

I'm Back!!! Here's What I've Been Up To:

Yup. It's been a while guys. 

3 months and 16 days to be exact. It's nice to be back. A lot has happened in that time. 

I didn't win MASLAB! But I learned a ton, and I may just blog about our journey and what we learned. I'm really proud of its ability to drive around to waypoints and come back to its start location using encoder geometry.

 I'm also proud of having designed and built the damn thing, because it had a solid mechanical design. Also, I learned how to weld! Will blog on all that jazz later. 

I build a quadrotor, and kinda got it flying! I still need to rework the control software and get it actually flying rather than kinda flying, but I'm close. Will blog about both the build and writing the control software really soon. 

I got an internship for this summer! My first internship ever!!! Time to experience this thing people call "the real world...". I will be really far away from where I'm used to being, at Aurora Flight Sciences in sunny Cambridge, MA. Really far. Like right behind the Kendall T stop, a few blocks away from MIT. Looks like I'm never leaving beantown =]. 
The company is a defense and NASA research and development contractor, with strong ties with and a style reminiscent of MIT. 

Here's their front desk of the Cambridge office! Yup, that's a jet engine converted to a desk. Looks kinda like Tony Stark's estate: fancy! I am hired officially as a Multi-Vehicle Controls Engineer Intern, and may be working on the above Skate project (Which has been in use in Afghanistan for a few months now) as well as other cool projects (Make a Blackhawk Helicopter safely land autonomously? YES PLZ!). I'm not sure whether or not this stuff is classified information, so this may be the last time I mention my work at Aurora 0_0. 

I took a lot of measurements inside an elevator for 2.671! In particular I used a barometer and accelerometer (Funny Note: Google's auto correct doesn't think "accelerometer" is a real word. Silly Google...) to characterize the performance of the elevator in the Green Building, the tallest building at MIT. Using this characterization I will be able to compare this elevator's performance to that of others. 
This class is equal parts amazing and frustrating. It's a lot of work, a lot of busywork, and a lot of writing, but on the other hand it's giving me a taste for the standards to which I will be held should I continue my pursuit of a career in research. Which is important to me. So I'll definitely be posting about my experiences here! 

What else... 

Oh! I've gotten MelonChopper (Which is currently the most popular project on my blog... which now has almost 12,000 views. Jeez...) up to mechanical snuff! LOOK AT THAT CUSTOM SPROCKET! LOOK AT IT, IT'S HUGE!! Now I just need to put together the battery pack, do some wiring, and convince Bayley to finish the motor controller or find (read: buy or beg for) my own. I'll get it done, folks. And I'll blog about finishing the mechanical aspect of this baby. Hell, I may just put an underpowered motor controller on it and take it out this weekend with the many other fledgling EV enthusiasts taking the 2.007 EV section!

This thing is supposed to be the prototype for my Bachelor's thesis! It's supposed to be a robotic hand that emulates the following robotic manipulator: 

Because I got super super hosed with 2.671 and 2.005 and a tough HASS class, and I was a lead in this semester's MIT Musical Theater Guild musical, The Wedding Singer,  I haven't done anything since making this prototype and going to the special guest lecture given by one of the senior designers of the Willow Garage gripper. Which is why I'm continuing the thesis through next semester. WILL BLOG ABOUT THIS, TOO! 


OH! I almost forgot!!!!!!!!!! 

It was donated to us by my 2.671 professor, Ian Hunter. He's a pretty cool guy. 
But the mill computer doesn't know what's going on with its drivers. I'm determined to get this thing moving by the end of the weekend, so we'll see how that turns out...

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