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When I was going to CSUS I helped found a club, and one of my first few semesters there we started an event called the Engineering Expo. At the exposition, a show-and-tell for the schools engineering departments, there is a one-pound battlebot competition called Smackdown in Sactown. This year was the 5th such compeititon.
I drove Kevin’s robot, which I built for him, Emsee Frypants. I lost the first fight, but went undefeated after that all the way to the finals to win. I’m still getting familiar with my dSLR, so many of the pictures didn’t come out well, but others look fantastic. Can’t wait to take some more.
All in all, it took me five and a half years to get my Electrical Engineering Degree. To finish everything up I had to take two classes over the summer. They had to be night classes since I’ve been working full time since June, but they were easy GE so it wasn’t much of a problem other than the long days and commute.
Over the winter break, I took a winter class and worked a little. I was working for a professor on campus making an autonomous imaging robot. The class went fine, but the robot faced a different fate. The professor was applying for a patent based on the imaging technique that was supposed to be implemented on the robot. As it turns out, someone else had a similar patent that was awarded last year, which became the death cry of that particular robot.
The new semester has started, and I’m taking 17 units. Four EEE classes, the last engineering classes I’ll have to take, and japanese 1B. Also, right after the semester started one of my professors was looking for students with hands on experience to work on some biomedical sensors. I was familiar with his work, so I took the opportunity and have started working with him. The particular project I’m working on will be the miniaturization and optimization of a sensor to detect when children with cerebral palsy fall, and records it to an SD card. I’m only making $11/hour, but it’s great experience and I’m sure it will look great on a resume(which is getting pretty packed now-a-days).
Also, the robot that initially died over the winter break has been semi-resurrected. Instead of using the robot to implement the experimental imaging, he now wants me to continue work on it with the goal of making a remote-controlled video platform. Since I’m going to be working with the other professor on the biomedical project, I’ve decided to bring in another engineering student to work on the robotics project with me. It should be fun, and will take a lot of the workload off me this semester having another person working on it.
Overall, it should be a pretty fun semester. I’m taking three elective EEE classes, including a graduate class that is pretty interested(non-linear control systems).
A long time coming, I finally sat down in the lab the last few weeks and hammered out the main sensor circuit for our senior project. After experimenting with many filter circuits, amplifiers, and even wiring schemes, I finally got a circuit to amplify the signal generated by the eye to a usable voltage level(around 3000 gain, ~2V). Among the pictures in the gallery, you’ll see the seemingly simple circuit, Eric hooked up to it(he survived), and the oscilloscope output. The output represents the derivative of the eye movement, in that particular case, Eric is moving his eye left to right every second or so.