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[DPRG] Work with researchers?

Subject: [DPRG] Work with researchers?
From: Randy M. Dumse rmd at newmicros.com
Date: Thu Jan 7 14:58:21 CST 2010

Paul Bouchier said: Thursday, January 07, 2010 8:49 AM
> Hi Randy. Can you give me a pointer to the inexpensive IMU 
> you & dpa have used?

Hi Paul,

Not inexpensive, as you suggested here, but instead rather
"expensive". They're about a grand each, even with educational
discount.  

It's a MicroStrain 3DM-GX1. 
http://www.microstrain.com/3dm-gx1.aspx

My department bought several of them on my recommendation as we
were working on an intermediate follow on to the Intro Mini-Sumo
course, which was going to be a RoboMagellan level robot based
course. We ran a trial course as a lab. We also have some GPS
equipment accurate to a few centimeters no one has had time to
test out. Other things as well. Turned out it took more effort
than a semester would allow. So no student really ever made
enough progress to put the units into use. Pity.

But this is a good example of what I mean about researchers
always having a little something they need done that they may
not immediately have the students to deal with. Unfortunately, I
have to build my students up from square one, and so they have
to go through the whole idea of motion and sensing most of us
hobbiest have successfully already done, and then on to the PID
and Odometry only some of us hobbiest have done, before they can
get to integrating the advanced items, like GPS, IMU, CMU's and
sensor integration, etc. Since we don't have a Robotics Minor
program, they can't invest enough electives time to get to that
level. However, many of us as hobbiests have already put those
under our belt, and are looking for the next challenge.

I think I could talk my department into loaning out a IMU in
hopes of working code students could then follow and make the
remaining IMU's more useful.

Of course I haven't proposed the idea yet, and it might not fly.
But without someone willing to do some work on the IMU for the
pleasure of having access to it for a while, I can't really
bring that up. 

I work often with Dr. Huff at UTA. (His group won a national UAV
championship recently, taking off, flying and photographing a
route, and langing again autonomously.)I also haven't proposed
this idea to him, but will this weekend. I suppose he feels the
first loyalty to his students for opportunities, but he is
otherwise in a similar boat. At least he has a larger graduate
and PhD program, so he gets to work with students a little
longer than I can. But I've heard him complain about students
coming in, learning, then leaving without well documenting what
they've worked through. That's a frustration for him. He might
warm to a volunteer assistant as well.

We've already seen Red would like some people to help him with
Swarm technology. There might be a kernal of a working idea
here.

So that's the idea behind the thread. Are there advanced
hobbiests who are willing to commit to some amount of research,
so they can get to play with neat things, and maybe their name
credited in research publication for having done so.

Randy


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