Hi, my name is Leonardo Georgescu. I departed Las Vegas, Nevada on June 1, 2018 and I will be coming back on August 10, 2018. For the duration of the trip, I will be staying in Daejeon, South Korea, and I will study at the Unmanned Systems Lab under Professor David Shim at KAIST, a world renowned research university. This journal will not only show my research progress, but also my cultural experience. In each entry I will be discussing the following:
First week in South Korea has been one of the most exciting weeks of my life. I not only focused on research, but I also had the honor to meet some Korean locals who showed me around Daejeon. The objective of this week was to get accustomed with the university, dorm, and Daejeon.
Even though I am not part of the Hubo Lab at KAIST, this is my photo of the week because I was extremely impressed upon arriving at their lab. Once we arrived at KAIST, our first point of contact was at the HUBO Lab. They were extremely nice, as many other Koreans, and helped us get settled into our dorms. Additionally, I caught the cold last week and needed to get some medicine from the pharmacy, but it was a holiday and the pharmacy on campus was closed. I reached out to them and they were quick to help me find a pharmacy around KAIST that was open. Also, later upon arrival they greeted us with some outdoor Korean barbecue. This was one of my first experiences with how friendly and helpful Koreans are. They were very quick to accept us in their group. It helps knowing that there is someone willing to help us if something does not work out. Their lab was also very impressive. Most of the things in their lab are manufactured there. They have someone who works only with the CNC machine. I was shocked by the number of Hubo robots they have. It was great being able to compare out lab in Las Vegas to the lab here at KAIST.
This is Professor Lee and I in front of the Donghaksa Buddhist Temple. Professor Lee is a professor at Woosong College teaching social issues. It was a great pleasure meeting him and being able to experience Korean culture with someone as knowledgeable as him. He is trying to practice his English while showing me around Korea. I cannot thank him enough for his kindness. I have learned so much about Korea from him.
Professor Lee took me to a Korean traditional restaurant. It was my first time experiencing this and I enjoyed every part of it. We had to take off our shoes and sit on the floor. The food was extremely delicious and the table was packed with a variety of vegetables and meat. The rice was served in a very interesting dish. This also let me firsthand explore true Korean food in the countryside.
After we finished eating, Professor Lee took me to the famous Donghaksa Buddhist Temple near Daejeon. I have always wanted to visit a Buddhist Temple, but I never had the opportunity. After parking the car, we walked up the mountain for 30 minutes and I arrived at this beautiful temple. The air was very clean and the atmosphere was peaceful. Professor Lee showed me some Buddhist prayers that I was able to partake in.
Professor Lee is very enthusiastic about connecting with foreigners and showing them Korean culture. I appreciate him taking the time out of his busy schedule to show me around.
Something very interesting about Korea that probably surprises many foreigners is that Koreans like to share. Whether I would go to a small seafood place in downtown Seoul or a traditional restaurant, Koreans like to share their food. In America we tend to order what we want from the menu and each person eats what is on his or her plate. On the contrary, in Korea everything is put on the table and shared between the diners. I think this is very important in creating a bond between the people. While eating in America feels more independent, in Korea it feels more group orientated. I enjoy going out and eating in Korea as it helps create better relationships with people.
Yu Hang and I went about our own ways and ended up meeting at a palace in Seoul. Before arriving in Korea, I was extremely worried about getting lost. In this picture, it shows both of us ending up where we wanted to be without getting lost. It's a little intimidating at first to be in a different place, but Yu Hang and I learned very fast. Our second day in Seoul we knew how to navigate around using the subway and bus. Obvious, the Naver app on the phone helped a lot. Even when we didn't speak the language, Koreans would do their best to help us around. I learned that I can survive even in a country that I don't speak the language.
I learned very much at the lab this past week. On the third day at the lab, the members took me for a test flight. A master's student it working on creating a deep learning program for collision avoidance with another aircraft. It surprised me how much equipment they have and how expensive it is. They flew the plane using high end military equipment and filmed it using a 4K DJI drone.
Of course, the purpose of my trip to Korea is to learn more about drones and RTK. One lab member designed a flight controller that they use for all the drones. Additionally, he programmed the software. I am surprised that they make their own products. I guess this is a very good way of having them really learn about what they're designing. I will be able to learn more about flight controllers from the people that made their own.
Last week I was able to learn how to use Autodesk Eagle to create transistors, op amps, and other electric components. Additionally, I was able to design a circuit board in Eagle. This is extremely useful to know since most of the things at this lab are made from scratch. Additionally, I would like to design my own circuit board and have it printed using the CNC machine once I arrive back at the DASL Lab.
I learned about flight controllers, and how they work. I learned the basic code programming for a drone using inertial measurements. First, I learned that a drone code has three main components to it. The first is for the controller to read sensor values, rotational rates and angles. Then we interpret what those mean by using time intervals. The second part is reading values from the remote control. The third part is the most difficult, and it involves processing the data to be able to create different flight modes such as stabilize, acro mode, etc.
Before coming to Korea, I was having issues with landing the RC fixed-wing. I spent a lot of time this week researching different methods to provide precise waypoints. Asking their advice, I was able to come up with a couple of plans for the skywriting project and how to get the best drawings on the sky.
One of my side projects is learning python and programming using DroneKit which allows an interface between a raspberry pi and pixhawk. I think this will be extremely useful in the skywriting project.
This week I will focus intensely on learning how to draw an image, interpret the image as GPS coordinates, and have them sent to the drone. Additionally, I will be working with a Master's student on getting the 50 drones to take off from one position instead of having them scattered around.
Being around these lab members helped motivate me to do more work. I am able to see their work ethic, as well as the interesting projects they are working on. I look forward to learning much more in the following weeks.
The focus of this week was integrating more into the lab, and working on a project. Surprisingly, getting used to living in the dormitory did not take very long.
I chose this as photo of the week because it accomplished part of my goal this last two weeks - integrating in the lab. The lab members are extremely welcoming and helpful, and they go out of their way to help me feel as I belong in the lab. The two lab members in the picture are Dasol Lee and Jamie. Dasol Lee is the lab member in charge of the drone swarm, as well as making his own flight controller and programming it. There were more lab members at the dinner, but I also wanted to get a picture of the delicious food as well. This was another traditional restaurant, and I had very good cold noodles. They may not sound good, but trust me, they were amazing. This dinner also helped us bond and get to know each other better.
Mr. Kokyungmo and his friend approached me on the street and asked me where I was from; they were very excited to find out I was from Las Vegas. I was surprised how well he spoke English. We exchanged business cards, and he wants to meet again to talk for longer. Unfortunately, I do not have a picture with him, but I will probably meet him this weekend. I plan on going out and meeting more people this weekend.
Towards the end is Inhwan Wee, a master's student in my lab who I am working with. The reason I chose to post this picture under cultural insight is to bring notice to the famous Korean chicken. I was so impressed how delicious it was, and how much Koreans care about the quality of it. I ate chicken at different places and it was the best chicken I have ever had. The chicken also comes in variety, so I could choose between spicy or with lots of cheese. I would totally recommend to anyone going to Korea that they try the Korean chicken.
I was impressed by the effort that the Korean government is putting into making the country more environmentally friendly. This is a parking lot to a park, and the cars are covered by solar panels. I would love to see more of these in Las Vegas because it would keep our cars cool, but also help promote renewable energy.
Again, I am impressed by how many parks there are, and how clean the Korean local government keeps them. This was a park next to the government center, and it was very well managed. I went to the park during the holiday, but it was still quite empty. Korea has many places to relax after a long day at work.
This was a forest resort south of Daejeon. It was very nice to sit down, eat some traditional Korean food, and listen to the quiet surroundings. The buildings in this picture are very traditional, as well as the design of the walkway.
Before coming to Korea, I was worried about getting used to the food. I had Korean food in Las Vegas, but I knew it was going to be different. I was shocked to see myself eat and enjoy Korean food. Actually, I want to always try different dishes. Even my Korean friends said they were surprised by how well I ate Korean food and enjoyed it. Apparently foreigners have a reputation for only eating burgers and chicken, so I am glad that I was able to show them that I like Korean food. I also learned that I enjoy trying different food, and look forward to trying different things.
The beginning of the week was mainly installing software - Linux, ROS, Python, Dronekit, APM Planner and OpenCV on my Macbook which proved to be quite problematic. First, I had to learn to navigate around Linux again because I have not worked with it in the past.
As I am progressing through this week, I keep thinking of new ideas for the skywriting paper. Dongbin, our lab manager, sent me an interesting paper title regarding path planning in wind fields. Obviously, to understand the paper I have to learn how an RC plane works. There is a book online that I found regarding fixed-wing aircrafts and the dynamics behind it. I spent a lot of time this week learning about the transformation from vehicle to body frame and MAV coordinate frames. These are very important concepts for the skywriting paper. It will also allow me to perform simulation in matlab.
My first project this week was learning some Python and getting an image into pixels so it can be transformed into GPS coordinates, which I will learn the next few days.
Here is my progress into the project. I am using Ihwan and Dasol's paper, “Button Filtering for Converting Image to Coordinates of Swarming Drones,” as reference.
This was the original picture I am using. The goal is to position the drone swarm to write UNLV in the sky. With this process I can take any picture and transform it into GPS coordinates.
The first step is using OpenCV to eliminate the background and only keep the letters that I am interested in.
After, I use the SLIC segmentation code to create the super pixels of the letter which will be the position of the drones.
The picture before is an SLIC image, and then I use the Canny Edge Detection to create better edges.
The next step will be to add the Button Filtering, which I forgot to do, and the pixels are not showing. There is a lot of future work involving this, such as developing a depth map and a color image to create an image similar to what Intel has created. This week my goal is to perfect the image drawing process, and learn how to precisely transfer these data points to the drone code. I believe that studying this can also help with the skywriting project since it's based on similar concepts, drawing in the sky. Instead of using the Mission Planner Waypoint Software, I would like to adapt this method for skywriting since it's more accurate.
More drones, approximately 300, will arrive in the next week, so Professor Shim asked if I could help in any way possible. I am more than excited to be able to learn from these lab members.
This week Yu Hang and I met with Sr. Fraser Stoddart at the Wiley Conference. He gave a keynote speech on how research should be done, and some really good advice. I think the most important thing he said was that sometimes we plan for research and while doing it we discover something else - the important thing is to always keep our eyes open for something that can come up.
I met many new Koreans this week. My lab manager, Sunggoo, took me to the open air concert I mentioned in the section below. His friend from Church plays the violin. After the show, she joined us for some delicious Korean barbecue. I had a great time talking to her and learning about her life. She went to school in the United States and then came back to live in Korea. The second image is her playing the violin.
I also had the ability to meet new people at the Church I attended on Sunday with my lab members. I met very many people who were extremely nice and welcoming.
This photo was taken at a park where there was a concert happening at the time. Actually, this is not the only concert or public gathering I have seen. I am surprised how united the family is in Korea; I see an entire family come out to watch a show and relax. Every park I have been to on weekends has some sort of show/performance going on. Public gatherings are very popular in Korea, and it's not hard to see some live music in some random park. Also, I was very surprised by the number of people at parks.
Before coming to Korea, many former IRES interns told me that there are many coffee shops. Actually, I am shocked how many there. Even in the middle of the forrest, or outside the city, there are so many coffee shops. No matter where I go I always find somewhere nice to drink my coffee. I think this shows the overworked culture in Korea - they constantly have to drink coffee to stay away. Coffee is extremely popular; I think it may even be the most consumed beverage in Korea
One of the lab members, Jamie, took me around town after church. This building was built in 1932 by the Japanese government to establish control over Korea. It's very interesting to learn about Korean history, especially how the country is affected by other countries.
I think this week I learned that I really can do what I set my mind to do. I learned some programming involving image processing, and it's amazing how fast I picked it up. The reality is that we can learn anything if we really want to and if we are surrounded by help. I learned that every morning I have to write down my goals for the day and make them happen. It keeps me going when I know that I am accomplishing things at a fast rate.
Most of the time this week was spent learning to use Python. My code last week was not the best, so they suggested something else to me, but it took longer than normal because of my lack of programming knowledge. I finally got the image to be converted to GPS coordinates to be used in the drone flight controller.
The first step is to use grabcut to eliminate the unnecessary background. The background was black, and the letters I care about are red.
This step involved using the SLIC segmentation to create super pixels.
This is the final image we want that will give us the coordinates of each individual drone.
The next picture shows the map using Matlab. This just tests the algorithm in python. Of course, the coordinates are still the ones used from the python software.
Additionally, one of my goals is to learn to do some basic path planning that will be useful for when I return. I am in the process of reading a book titled “Cooperative Path Planning of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles,” and the first step is to create a Dubins path. For this reason, I installed a drone simulator and QT program so that I can write the code for the drone and then import it to the simulator. I was initially planning to learn this by using ROS, but I have a macbook and I'm having major difficulties running Linux on it.
I just received an odriod so I will attempt to download ROS and learn. Many projects in the lab uses ROS to integrate algorithms.
I had to include this picture in my journal because I learned very much from experiencing the rain in Daejeon. First of all, after a couple of times in the rain, I learned to always carry my umbrella. Koreans always carry umbrellas with them when the rainy season comes. Coming from Las Vegas I was not used to all of this and it took me by surprise. Second, most of the people on the street go to cafes during rainy season and they are very crowded. It's a great way to meet other people. Also, before entering the building, there is a plastic bag that encloses your umbrella to prevent the water from making a mess on the floor. I have never seen that before. While I was enjoy the rain, Koreans were complaining how much they hate it and now, after many days of rain, I have to understand the reason.
I have met very many Koreans this week from all different places. First, I met some Korean KAIST students at an English meeting. They are all trying to improve on their English skills; it's very interesting meeting them because we can exchange languages and hopefully I will pick up some Korean.
Additionally, I met another post doc in astronomy at Chungnam University. She is my lab member's friend and he introduced me to her. She was able to take me to her lab and show me around.
I also met some engineers from Samsung and LG. Hopefully, I will be able to tour their facilities. One of the Samsung engineers is working on semiconductor designs.
I managed to end up at a Korean wedding and I can say that it's amazing. Weddings in Korea are generally faster, but they're much more exciting to be at. Maybe I am wrong, but I believe that they're faster due to their work schedule. Their weddings are not as strict in other countries but they do have fun.
The reason I am a hospital is not because I got hurt, but because I wanted to see what a Korean hospital looks like. It was very large, but I was surprised at how nice it looks. The upper level even had a little garden for the people to walk around. It did not look like a hospital at all.
I learned that I need to be in a busy environment to function properly. My dorm is a little far from the university making it a very quiet place, but I actually don't function well in this kind of environment. I like to be in a creative zone, somewhere with many boards and movement. I think best when there is a lot happening around me.
I also learned that I can work very well at night; I actually would come up with plenty of ideas during the night, which is a big problem since most of the jobs are during the day.
The amount of work has grown exponentially.
This is my work schedule with a lab member. We are in charge of designing a launching platform that will charge the 100+ drones, send data over, and be easy to carry. We created a powerpoint presentation and shared it with Professor Shim. The task is extremely difficult because many drones are involved and speed is very important.
Most of the time this week was spent on figuring out why an IC chip is burning. It's extremely difficult to come up with the reasons. We also spent time designing the container that carries the drones.
I also spent time creating the holder for the drone which will pull the drone down using magnets, and make the connection with the Pogo pins.
We will also spend time trying to build the drones since the PCB board is printed already.
The focus of this week was to transition to another project, as well as learn as much as possible regarding the micro drones.
I would like to say that being in Korea for 10 weeks is definitely not enough time. This week has been extremely busy for me, and I feel as if I cannot finish all my projects before I come back. Regardless, I learned a lot and I look forward to taking everything here back to my lab in Las Vegas.
This is my entire lab at the Outback Steakhouse in Daejeon. Professor Shim and the lab members were kind enough to invite me to dinner. This dinner is a great way to bond with the team, and they make me feel as if I am part of their family. I would like to thank them so much for their hospitality. They have treated me with so much kindness.
It's very interesting to see how the lab actually connects by going out very often. They usually eat dinner or lunch together very often. After all, they treat each other as family, which is a very important atmosphere to have in a lab.
Except for Dongbin, no one was ready for this picture. Dongbin was kind enough to come and visit Yu Hang and I. Also, he introduced us to his best friend who works at a thermo-fluid dynamics lab at KAIST. He shared some of the projects he is working on with us, and also told us about Korea. I had a great time with everyone; Yu Hang and I especially had a good time getting filled up with a lot of delicious meat.
This is the first picture I want to talk about because the food was delicious, and it's a memory I will never forget. I enjoy seafood, so this was the best opportunity to eat fresh seafood from the ocean. Jamie and Sunyou took me to a seafood restaurant to have traditional Korean seafood. It's the best seafood I have ever had in my entire life. It tasted so fresh, and there was so much of it.
The next place they took me was a seafood market. It was crowded and it smelled like fish everywhere, but I enjoyed seeing all the variety they had to offer. I wish we had a place like this back at home so I could eat more seafood, with a lot of variety, and at a reasonable price. This was located right next to the ocean, so I suppose fisherman bring in the seafood and then it's sold here at the seafood street market.
The reason I include this beach is because a couple of years ago this beach used to be covered in oil from an oil spill. Today, the beach is extremely clean. It's not really a cultural insight, but it's interesting to visit a Korean beach.
I have to bring attention to everyone reading this about the best dessert I have ever had. I am obsessed with Bingsu, a Korean milk ice sorbet. I always get this dessert at every cafe I go. I look forward to indulging as much as possible in this dessert. I am going to miss this a lot.
Unfortunately, I learned many things this week about myself, and I wish I knew them before. I am thankful I had the opportunity to experience Korea because it opened many doors for me. I learned about time management and what it means to be a researcher. Sometimes I like to complain about how much I work, but in reality, anything we want comes with hard work. I sat at my first lab meeting with Dongbin and saw one lab student have 7 current projects by himself - these projects are very difficult. We tend to complain or not understand the amount of work research takes. My lab members, not only get in trouble, but they pull all nighters on the road to research. It amazes me the amount of work they do, and how dedicated they are. It starts with a strong lab culture and dedication. If someone is not willing to put in the work, then him or her don't belong in research. I learned to not complain and do as I am told. If I can't do something, then it means I need to try harder and spend more time doing it. Also, when I start a new project, I have to learn to build everything from zero and not try to do things the easy way. Attending the lab meeting has taught me very much.
This is an example of a small optical sensor. My first new project is designing and integrating an optical flow sensor into these micro drones. The purpose of this is so that the drone can fly indoor and know its position. This technology is very useful, but unfortunately there are not many products out there on micro optical flow sensors, so I will have to learn to design my own. I don't know how far I will get with this project before I leave, but hopefully I can have enough done so the next person that will work on it will have an easier time.
Additionally, I received another side project and that is to design a net deployment mechanism for the drone. Hansoub, a lab member, is working on drone catching using a single point camera, but the current drone is too large of a drag. He wants to create a mechanism to launch the drone right before catching the other.
While researching, Inhwan and I are working on building the 100 drones for the drone show. They don't take that long, but there are very many to build. I am improving my soldering skills.
I am still working on designing a launch platform so that the micro drone can easily be charged, and it can launch easily with minimal human interaction. This project may have to be put on a standby until I get the electromagnets.
While this is not directly linked to my research, it was a great experience to learn. The plane in the image above is controlled from a ground station. I was able to sit in the control room, and see how they flew the plane while it was not controlled by the pilot inside the plane.
This was Inhwan and I working late at night trying to mount the ultrasonic beacons and correctly get the position of the mobile beacon. The reason this is my photo of the week is because many members of this lab do not go home or go to sleep until they finish what they are working on. We stayed up until two in the morning that day and we finally got it to indicate the position with very good accuracy.
I believe that this is a very good mindset to have as an engineer because problems may arise that need to be fixed very fast. Many of their lab members don't sleep at night trying to finish what they have started. This to me shows how passionate and dedicated these lab members are.
I unfortunately did not meet a new Korean outside of the lab due to the work. Instead, a new master's student joined the lab, and him and I went out for some Korean chicken. He actually taught me many things about the Korean culture, especially the work culture in the country. It was a great time learning about universities and all the projects he is working on. He is new to Daejeon, so I will be more than happy to show him around the places I have been to.
It's actually a very good experience to take the bus. Many Koreans don't have cars, but opt for the bus which is cheaper. Most students in America have cars at a very early age, such as high school, but in Korea most students take public transportation. It's amazing to see how on-time the buses are and how popular public transportation is. I feel as if it's shameful to tell someone in Las Vegas that I use the bus, while in Korea it is totally acceptable.
I am starting to like public transportation more and more because it's cheap and I can work on something else. I really dislike driving because it's stressful, and I have to focus on it for a long time. Taking a bus is also fun because I can do more sightseeing. I wish we had a better public transportation system in the United States.
Passion! I want to start off by talking about passion. I got very little hours of sleep this weekend. My friends back at home ask me how I am still alive and I reply with one word - passion. When we are passionate about something we can achieve anything we want, and we don't mind making sacrifices to get there. We know we enjoy doing something when we don't mind losing sleep over it. While I don't recommend this because it may be detrimental to our health, losing sleep has shown me what I enjoy doing. I don't mind sleeping 3-4 hours a night if it means I can do what I enjoy doing. I have learned what I am passionate about and how far I am wiling to go to get there. We can test if we are passionate about something by missing sleep over it and seeing how we feel the next day. If we are disappointed and hate it, then it's not a passion. I really enjoy working here, and feel as if I really do want to make a different in the very little time I have left.
Before I begin talking about my status, I would like to show you what Professor Shim wants. My lab is located inside the KI building, and he wants there to be a drone show inside. As you can see in the image below, there is a large distance from the bottom to the top and from side to side, so indoor positioning is very difficult to achieve.
The first part of the week was spending on finding new ideas about implementing the optical flow sensor only to realize that it does not work because it's limited by height. The plan was to do a pcb design of a small sensor and have it reviewed by an electrical engineer at the lab because I have very little knowledge of PCB design. Most of the time was spent learning and implementing. I did a lot of research on the type of MC to use and what parts. I studied the schematics of another optical flow sensor in the hope that I can use it as a guide.
The change of plan prompted us to go with ultrasonic beacons because the range is very high - 50 meters with 2cm accuracy. We installed, calibrated, and learned more about the system. The next step is trying to improve the accuracy of it to 2cm because it's not as great right now. This actually may be the future of indoor navigation since it's very accurate at a large distance. The only downside is that similar to motion capture, beacons have to be strategically placed.
This is the final picture we took that shows the path of the mobile beacon. It's quite accurate, but improvements can be made. The difficult part now is taking this and creating mobile beacons for 50 micro drones. The next goal will be to take on drone and see if we can get the position from it accurately.
Last week I designed a launch holder, and we tested this. The drone has no problems flying from it. I am now waiting for the electromagnets to arrive.
We also worked on the design of the cart that will carry all the drones. This cart has to be sent to a company so they can custom make it. It may not come before I leave but I will try to do as much as possible to help.
For my side project I worked a little on Matlab and learning about particle swarm optimization mostly to learn. PSO can be used to control a fleet of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. This is mostly a group of particles searching for the best course.
Additionally, we began building the micro drones. We have to solder and tape the GPS, which is very tedious work. We made 55 drones so far and we are waiting on the next package to arrive with more drones.
I would like to start off this week's journal by giving a small introduction. Most of this week was spent in Seoul and Incheon because of a workshop between General Atomics and the Korean Civil RPAS Research Center. We departed Daejeon on Tuesday and drove to Hanseo University, then drove to Songo International Business Center. After, we went to Seoul to travel during the weekend.
This photo is at the General Atomics conference. The reason we attended this conference was because Professor Shim is a director of some program that integrates UAVs, and a Phd student is working on a collision avoidance city that is part of the program. Actually, one of the GA engineers focus on collision avoidance. This trip was an amazing time to bond with the lab, my professor, and to receive valuable advice from the engineers at General Atomics. At this workshop I learned a lot how UAVs are integrated into society and the requirement for a vehicle like the predator drone to fly in another country.
Even though I don't have a picture, I met the parents of one of a lab member. They were extremely kind. They didn't speak english, but I still understood wha they were saying and Inhwan helped me understand. So far, I have met people at my lab or around KAIST, so it's a great way to meet a Korean family and learn from their culture. Meeting them was an amazing experience for me. They were extremely hospitable, and I thank them in so many ways.
This is budae jjigae and it's one of my favorite foods to eat when I am in a rush. It's extremely delicious and fulfilling. I am thinking about learning how to make it for when I come back to Las Vegas. The most interesting thing about the budae jjigae is the history behind it. It's a mix between American and Korean food because after the war Koreans used surplus American food and combined it with ramen and other Korean ingredients to create this delicious dish. It is still popular now.
This is my favorite city that I ever been to. Songdo in Incheon, Korea is made to be a smart city. It's very futuristic with large roads and many parks. It looked like I was on another planet. The city was very clean, and the buildings looked very futuristic. They even have a central trash system for the apartments so there are no trash bins. The only downside to this city is that it seemed lonely, but I think it will grow as more people begin accepting that type of living. I really enjoyed the city because this is the city of the future.
We went to the Korea Memorial Museum on Friday. This is the saddest thing I could ever see. They drew a representation of what seemed to look like a family during the Korean War. This is a very sad image because the child has to grow up in that condition with probably no food to eat. The mom probably is starving, trying to save the food so her children can have it. While not discussed regularly, there are many places in Korea that still remind citizens of the hardships they endured during the Korean War. The positive side of this picture is showing how developed Korea has become now. It went from that image to a growing economy with a lot of potential. Regardless, it's still very unfortunate and sad to look at the past.
It's very hot outside so many Koreans enjoy going next to the river for festivals or different events. This is at the Han River, and there are many food trucks here with loud music and happy people. It's a great environment to be in. Koreans enjoy going out to the park and interacting with others. Maybe I don't see this in Las Vegas because it's very hot.
I learned a lot from the General Atomics visitors. One of the most important things I learned from talking with them is to have goals set. It's extremely important to have goals and know exactly what I want to do. Life moves very quickly and if we don't have a goal we can end up in places we don't want to be. Since I have two years left in my undergraduate, I need to start thinking what I want to do after. Also, I learned that I am not the type to open my own business, so I would much rather work at a company.
My research has been slowed down a little by the workshop with General Atomics. Even though it doesn't relate to my research, I found the collision system employed by General Atomics to be the most interesting. NASA flew a predator drone in commercial airspace as seen in this video.
This is what they designed and it worked very well as shown in the video above.
Before going on to this workshop, I was able to get the IMU data from the mobile beacon based on the ultrasonic sensors. This is very important because most of the drone positions come from raw IMU data. The next step is to integrate this into one of the micro drone and set the position from the computer. Once we do that, we can add more drones and hopefully create a small image indoor using only ultrasonic beacons.
This is considered photo of the week because we were redesigning the launch pad. To me this is what engineering is all about - working in a team to find a solution. We were exhausted and we kept running out of ideas but the most important thing is that we didn't give up. Ideas were thrown out on paper and we kept debating them. I am extremely grateful that I am able to participate and make some impact on their project. This was a very insightful experience. Afterwards, we went to Dunkin Donuts to finish designing since we believed that getting some donuts would help.
This week I met 윤미 who was very kind as to teach me a lot about Korean culture. She has a degree in public relations, so she is very informed about the relationship between the US and South Korea. I would also like to add that she speaks English fluently, very close to a native speaker which was very impressive. It also made it easier for me to understand the difficult topics she was discussing. We discussed many things from how Americans are perceived in Korea to the different cultural acceptance between the elder and the younger generations in Korea.
I did not take a picture of this but I found it very interesting. The subways in Korea have numbers under the door (ex. 7-4, 3-8) and this tells them what subway car they should board so the transfer to another train will be quicker. The subways are very long in Korea and time is limited. Once again, this reinforces the Korean culture of not wasting time.
The picture above shows the entrance to the manufacturing “district.” It's very convenient because almost everything related to hardware is located there. One can laser cut, PCB design boards, buy any supplies they need, and request any service. There are many small shops located in one very large area. I believe that this is extremely convenient.
I would like to begin by saying that I lack artistic capabilities, but I managed to design something very decent. Koreans are into pottery making and ceramics. There are even many cities in Korea dedicated to ceramics. I decided to give it a try since I would definitely be stepping out of my comfort zone. It turned out to be very fun, but the entire time I was very focused. I suggest that other students in the future spend a few hours of their week to relax by doing something very fun.
I decided to give VR a try and I have to say that it was amazing. I had a lot of fun playing different games. VR games are very popular in Korea among young adults. I was surprised to see the long waiting lines. As a side note, my back was very wet from carrying a backpack in this high humidity. I am definitely now used to the Korean humidity.
This week has been very disappointing because we realized that most of the designs had to be changed once again. It is extremely frustrating when things don't work out the way they should. Nevertheless, I learned that one should never give up. Engineering is all about failing and constantly trying new ways to improve the previous conditions.
I learned that it's alright to fail, and that everyone makes mistakes. I usually don't like failure because I like getting something right the first time around, but life doesn't work like that. Actually, we finally designed something much better than our first prototype because we didn't give up.
This also correlates to my dislike of a software, Fusion360. Back at the lab in Las Vegas I was against using Fusion 360 and because of that I never learned to use it. Well, I had no choice in my lab here but to use Fusion 360. I learned it quickly and I began understanding it well. Now I enjoy modeling with it. Sometimes, I reach conclusions too fast without giving it a second thought. This is a very big mistake because I run the risk of missing out on many things.
The first project was to redesign the launch pad once again. We believe that. so far, this is the best model we have. I took the time to design one tray in Fusion 360. The only thing left is to order the parts according to the dimensions suggested.
The project involving indoor swarming has ended up being a problem. The beacon I originally intended to use is to heavy for the microdrones. Of course, another lab member suggested I use another company called decawave which makes smaller problems. The only problem, and the biggest problem, is that it uses two-way ranging which means that the more drones added the less range there will be. Another problem is that the maximum tested distance is 10m. We need something up to 40-50 meters. After getting familiar with decawave I realized that it's not the suitable option since I have a very short time left.
As seen above the first beacon suggested, using ultrasonic is too large to be mounted on these micro drones. The lab members suggested that I build my own drone and use the ultrasonic beacon to control its position indoors. I don't really know how that is possible in two weeks, but I will definitely give it a try and will do my best to get it done.
My goal is to finish this by Monday night so I can start using the beacon and send its position. This is a great way to get started on indoor drone swarm with larger drones because they're able to carry the beacon. I am also a little nervous because I have never attempted to fly indoors like this.
The two month time constraint is a big issue because there is a lot of research that can be done. For example, the best one is how to increase the number of drones in a 3d space, while increasing accuracy and range.
Yu Hang and I both had the opportunity to tour the DMZ and go to the JSA. The JSA was interesting to me because it's as close as I can get to North Korea. Additionally, the place always finds itself in the news and in movies. Seeing it in pictures is definitely not the same as experiencing it. The minute we got there we could feel the tense situation. It was extremely quiet, and not much seemed to be going around. We both got a lot of history from it, and I believe that it was one of the best opportunities for us. The place still continues to write history.
This picture is taken inside the DMZ and explains that nothing has been forgotten. The Korean War is still be a big part of Korea, and it definitely changed the course of history. I enjoy learning about how wars impact society.
We also went to the UN Memorial Museum that is dedicated to all the UN troops that sacrificed their lives during the Korean War.
Yu Hang and I accidentally ran into an outdoor concert on Saturday night. We didn't expect there to be that many people, but it turned out to be a very good experience since we got to see what an outdoor Korean kpop concert was like. There's always something to do in Korea on a weekend. Koreans really enjoy gathering outside even when it's humid and hot. Again, this goes back to when I was in Seoul and we went to the Han River where there was music and delicious food.
I think this week made me realize that it's sometimes good to go out and interact with people. Most of the time I spend in the lab or at school. Even when I finish my work, I still stay in the lab and just read articles and different papers. It's alright to do that but it can be exhausting if done continuously. Actually this little break really helped me. Even when I am back in Las Vegas I usually spend all my time in the lab, which is not healthy.
While waiting for the drone parts, I studied microelectronics. A lab colleague suggested I study the textbook because he did that and now he's very proficient at Eagle. It's actually a great skill to be able to PCB design because you change the boards in any way you like.
Additionally, I looked into our final project of creating a constellation with swarm drones. Me mentor has taught me a lot on how to take an image of the constellation and then translate them to GPS coordinates for the micro drone.
Towards the end of the week I finished building up my drone. This the completed product. The next step to finish my project is have the drone hold its position based only on the ultrasonic beacons.