This past week I have been focusing on the speech components of the snackbot. I have learned to create a state machine for the speech and also to run tests using the state machines. The software still has a few bugs in it, but it still basically does what is suppose to do. It’s kind of cool being able to engage in conversation with the software even though it is a linear one. Jessica and I have also started creating maps of a few floors in Newell-Simon Hall. We get to use a gaming joystick to steer the base of the robot. The pioneer base of the snackbot uses a SICK laser that utilizes a mirror to project a light beam at a 180 degrees in what I believe are 1 degree intervals. It then measures the time it take the beams to return to create a series of points that can then be turned into a 2D map of its surroundings. We use these maps in order to make it possible for the robot to know where it is and where it needs to go.
In the past week I’ve learned how to do some simple graphics in wxpython. That might not sound like much to most people, but seeing as to how I didn’t know python at all when I got here, it something to me. As for the snackbot, which is name of the robot that Jessica and I are in charge of programming the behaviors for, we are getting ready to start out the mapping so that it can navigate through Newell-Simon Hall. We will start that after we finish our current tasks. My task is to write a speech state machine for Ric (the robot’s speech guy. It is written in lisp which I also don’t know, but am learning. I’m really excited because I can see that everything is starting to come together. It’s a pity that I won’t be here when it is completely finished, but I take pride in the fact of knowing that I had something to do with it. I would also like to take this post to acknowledge my friend, Candace Clay, whose funeral was today. She died in a car accident last Friday at the age of 25. My best to the Clay family.
Well, now I’ve getting to the point where I’m getting to do some actual python coding. Last Thursday I “busted my head” for 11 hours straight. Pardon the term, it’s just a saying that me and guys back home use for whenever we get a little too immersive. I only stopped for food, which took me about 10 minutes to finish, then I went right back to it. After finally going to sleep, I awoke early Friday morning (more like later Friday morning) just as determined. A lot of people in the dorms thought that I never went to sleep, because I was in the study room when they turned in, and I was in there when they got up. I hate to say that my body gave out on me that afternoon, and I still never reached my goal, even through the weekend. I don’t like not being able to finish what I start. I realize that it’s a part of being human, but it still makes me feel like a failure. Some say as long as you tried your best then your alright. I was brought up to always finish, even if your last, just finish. You might not make it as fast as the first, but you made it just as far. As crazy as they may drive me, I like challenges that maybe just a little out of reach. They show you what you really got under the hood and they give you a peak into your own soul. In that sense, I guess that really was my best. All I can do is take it as a learning experience, and use it for the future so that I’m that much more prepared for the next task at hand. Then, I’m already that much closer to already finishing that one.
I’m currently a computer science major working as a intern at Carnegie Mellon University, yes CMU. In my field CMU is the place to be hands down. I thank god everyday for allowing me the opportunity to bump elbows with people who considered leaders in their field. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still representing the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Golden Lions. I just know how to appreciate the chance I have to progress my education in ways that just aren’t possible where I come from. Speaking of where I come from, that would be Forrest City, Arkansas. I know most people haven’t heard of Forrest City, what’s funny (or sad) is that a lot of people around here don’t know where Arkansas is. Although, I should mention that if I pronounced it as Ar-kan-zas then that number would probably drop considerably, because they seem to know what I’m talking about when they figure out Ar-kan-saw is the same thing.
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