An Unforgiving but Eventful April & May 2013th
Stuff stuff stuff.
Many things happened the past month and a half, and I really don’t know where to begin. All I know is that I’ve been busy non-stop since beginning of April and it only started slowing down at 5pm today.
Honestly, this has been quite the most stressful two months ever in MIT.
From classes, projects, PSETs, social life, organizing events, etc, It’s all have been very hectic. They say “Sleep, Work, Party, choose two,” and I always act as if I had all three options.
In all honesty though, I’ve been doing the “Work and Party” variant.
Today was equally hectic, but tonight I have a short break. I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. On Wednesday, absolutely everything will be turned in.
Now I shall reflect about two categories: Work and Social life
I know it’s been bad when I’ve been pulling 3 all nighters as a weekly basis.
April 1st, was my birthday. It was the beginning of a most painful month.
2.671: Guitar String Analysis Project
Essentially, the project was to find out what are the best strings out there in the market right now that will be the best fit with my guitar.
The entire experiment took ~15 hours as I had to redo it three times. Restringing 4 string sets + 10 experiments per string generated millions of data points.
The analysis took 2 all nighters to finish.
But! The report got a great grade and I couldn’t be happier with the poster:
They say that if you can explain something complex in very simple terms, then you have full understanding of the subject. I was glad that when I presented my project to bystanders, that they actually understood my project and found it very helpful for my endeavors!
The entire experiment, analysis, report write-up, and presentation ordeal just finished last Thursday.
The final report is due this Wednesday, and I’m almost there!
6.141 Robotics Science and Systems (RSS)
This class involved building and programming a robot that can autonomously navigate around the field, pick up blocks, and make the blocks into a structure..
My primary responsibility was to build an awesome mechanical device which sorts the blocks into a structure.
This was the robot CAD which took about two weeks to finalize the design.
The actual robot was finished last Monday (Notice how exact it looks like to the CAD model:
But was further changed due to a particular person in our group not doing their job. So the final mechanical design of the robot was finished last Friday:
Everything worked mechanically, and wouldn’t have been possible without my roommate Andres and my friend Alex’s help. (You too Nathan ^^)
However, this was the most frustrating and aggravating group project I have ever been involved in.
Our team was full of incredible technical capability: one person TAs and gives lecture for advance algorithms 6.046 (One of the hardest class in MIT). Another person had a lot of robotics experience, passion, and share similar interest as I do. My roommate is incredibly brilliant and one of the most efficient, practical, and fastest learner I have ever seen. And the last member was equally competent in mathematical theory, programming, and complex concepts.
However, one of these people was always too paranoid and always felt the world was against him. He failed to deliver and he ruined the final project for us.
He didn’t do his part, pushing the entire team into a rut. It was due Wednesday last week and it was pushed back to Monday this week.
I had to make a major mechanical change of the robot’s drive base overnight and tune the mechanical sorter with another all nighter. We were given five extra days to work on it, and still! STILL was not able to deliver the full capability that we wanted for our robot all because he failed to do his part.
During the presentation, after running the robot for 10 seconds, it picked up two blocks (the fastest anybody has done), sorted the blocks successfully, but overall failed miserably because it couldn’t navigate around the field.
We spent the next 30 minutes explaining my mechanical sorter. And demonstrating its features and how it was machined. I have some video of it working, but that’s a different post all together.
Although my mechanical design received praise from my peers and the professor, would have been so much better had the navigation part worked.
The only reason it didn’t was because one group member was too ambitious, stubborn, and more importantly did not deliver anything at all.
I don’t think I’ve ever been this angry at somebody. My roomates claim that this is the first time they’ve seen me visibly annoyed and pissed at somebody. Of course, I am never good at confrontation, so I never really blew up and mentally attacked said person. =.=
Personally, I really thought I would be ok after the final presentation, but I think left over rage is still in me. I’ve also ranted about this to almost everybody so I apologize if you’ve heard it so many times from me.
2.14 Feedback and Control Systems
Our final project was simulating the dynamics of a helicopter and controlling it via matlab. We submitted everything by 11:59PM on Sunday, so this is effectively done.
We ended up controlling the altitude of the helicopter and made sure it performed subject to disturbance forces. See screenie:
With this control block using matlab:
(Props to my ex roommate Matt Times who designed it).
This was was more lax and not so stressful… But I feel that it also could have been so much better. I can tell that one of my group members was not particularly happy at the final result of the project. I can tell that they were hoping for something more impressive when I first presented the idea a month ago.
I wish I had more time dedicated to this project. I really do…. I wanted to do more controls on the different axes, I wanted to try the non-linear controller the academic paper suggested.
I can’t help but blame that one person from 6.141 for taking up my time that would have been dedicated to this project, and no matter how hard I try to explain it to my group members, I know it just seemingly sound as a s bunch of excuses.
Still, it’s all said and done, and there’s nothing I can do about it anymore.
Alright. Time to recap my Social Life:
The month of April and May also had very memorable moments.
To start off, my friends from high school celebrated my birthday.
They treated me out to Legal Sea foods and bought me lobster. <3
We went chairing in MIT (you slide down on a huge slope with a rolling chair):
And hung out at the SigEp roof (one of my favorite spots in Boston as you get to overlook the Charles River and see MIT):
Middle of April was also CPW, so I had a lot of fun helping out ATS and hosting events. In particular, BobaFest! People stood behind tables and shot boba pearls at us. I helped Captain the event so I made gallons of milk tea and pounds of sweet boba pearls.
We also had Xifan Sunday as a brunch ordeal.
A day later I hung out with some of my fraternity brothers and my new friends!
A week later, I met up with old high school friends!
ATS had a huge shopping trip, so I became one of their primary laborer. :D
Then, as a finale, SigEp hosted my favorite event: Wine and Cheese!
This is me bartending since I turned 21.
Some of our delicious cheese and crackers:
An amazing life band:
And of course, how can I not enjoy it without my amazing and beautiful guests:
SigEp is awesome…
I was also glad I got to hang out with my family line in SigEp (missing Jyotishka, but featuring my little’s GF ^^). We are also in the process of converting Ray to asian status. Notice the cameras:
Thus far, has been my April and May.
I have been functioning under low sleep, but that will soon change as I have no finals, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. ^^