Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 16- On a personal note

I intend to use today's blog post for a more personal purpose, but I'll briefly summarize today's bot progress. With the mechanics from yesterday in place, today I set out to program the servo controlling the mechanism. It was a relatively simple program, but after hooking up the battery, controller, and NXT, the servo wasn't budging! I struggled with rewiring for a while, until Mike came over and offered the friendly suggestion of flipping the servo wire in the controller so that the colors yellow, green, and black lined up with "YGB", rather than the other way around...well, we all make little mistakes like that. Now the servo is fully functional. Here's a small video of it in action! (Note: because the program hasn't yet been completed or connected to the Vernier sensor, I have to manually put in values, leading to the long pause in the middle of the video)

video

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I came to this internship trapped at a fork in the road. Amidst the whirlwind of college touring, selecting, and preparations, I realized that I had fallen in love with two schools, and each led down a different path of the fork. There was Connecticut College, where I could pursue Environmental Studies, and Tufts, where I could pursue Environmental Engineering. Although both incorporated my passion for the environment, the two directions were vastly different!

Knowing that I couldn't walk down two paths simultaneously, nor attend two undergraduate colleges, I had high hopes that this internship would help me determine which path to choose. And I believe now that it most certainly has.

My mother recently shared with me that both of my grandfathers had dreamed of becoming engineers, but neither had ever gotten the chance. Some of their engineering blood must have been passed down to me, because I too love the innovation, the mathematics, the process, the problem solving, the everything! I find myself constantly at work on my projects as the hours slip by, and enjoying every minute of it.

I'm a little susprised myself, as I was initially skeptical about the idea of engineering. I've previously considered myself partially anti-technology, due to my affinity for the "old world" of little farming villages and candle lighting. This internship has opened my eyes to the positive possibilities of technology; how it can be the source of innovation to truly revolutionize the world for the better.

I'm infinitely grateful for this internship, and the understanding it bestowed up me. Although I don't intend to specifically pursue robotics, the opportunity to experience engineering in this setting allowed me to understand the environment, and to see if it was (to use a common college-touring phrase) "the right fit" for me. After my time in the CEEO center, I feel I truly understand what I want to do, and where I want to be. So then, down the path I go, merrily singing along the way~

2 comments:

Bill said...

Really cool post! Good luck with your next steps. And remember that there will be many more forks ahead. Many smaller, many bigger. It was cool that this internship helped you with this fork!

Someone you might enjoy learning more about (if you have not already) is Amy Smith. She is an MIT engineering professor who has used her work and her student's work to dramatically improve the world:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_B._Smith
http://d-lab.mit.edu/news/general/amy-smith-one-worlds-most-influential-people
http://d-lab.mit.edu/about

Chris said...

Awesome - now to work robotics into it