Monthly Archives: May 2006

First day of “work”

Today we were introduced to the people of the “contact dynamics simulation lab.” They have a huge stewart platform(picture) that they use to simulate the actual docking of systems in space. After some discussions with the engineer who was most familiar with the system, we have decided on a few topics to work on for the summer.

First, we plan on trying to find a closed-form solution to the forward kinematics of the stewart platform. This would mean you could plug in all the lengths the legs are extended and find a precise location of the platform.

Second, we plan to research a feed-forward system to make the platform’s PID Controller adapt to inconsistencies in the mechanics of each leg. Since each leg is slightly different from the other, small differences in each leg can have drastic affects on expected output motion. With an adaptive system each leg would not have to be characterized and calibrated before use.

Da Vinci Code google puzzle

To be as cool as all the other EEE guys in my classes this last month, I’ve been doing that Da Vinci Code puzzle on google. The thing finally ended, and today I get this box in the mail. Now I wait till friday to finish the finalist puzzle and see if I can win anything big.

So I got an internship at NASA

My freshman year I helped start an engineering club at school to make a battlebot. To advise the 12 or so original members was Mechanical Engineering professor Dr. Kumagai. Over the next years Dr. Kumagai taught me how to use a lathe, I attended his graduate CNC workshop, and I asked him for advice on numerous personal robotics projects. So Dr. Kumagai applied to NASA for a summer research fellowship to research Robotics and Automation. He gets a letter from the ESSRO(Exploration Systems Summer Research Opportunities; not the program he applied for) program, and they offer him a research opportunity. Along with the job, he gets to take a student intern with him for the summer.

So last thursday(april 20th), I run into Dr. Kumagai in the hall before my 6pm class. He tells me about the job, and asks me if I might be interested in it. I say hell yes, and he gets my phone/email/ect. The next monday, I go talk to him in his office, fill out a form, and he says he’ll let me know who he is going to pick by wednesday(april 26th). Tuesday night, I get a call from him offering the job. I jump for joy, and call eveyone I know. That’s how I got an internship at NASA

My new “rig”

So I finally broke down and bought a gaming machine. My laptop has been on the back end of crappy for a while now, but I couldn’t talk myself into getting rid of it. So instead of getting a new laptop, I got a new gaming desktop…..

20.1″ widescreen viewsonic
AMD athlon 64 X2 3800
nvidia geforce 7900gt 256mb
1gig dual channel ram
200gig samsung HD
DVD burner and spare DVD drive
cool blue lights.