Week 13: Back to England

A Triumphant Return?

What happened to the updated from week 12? Well, if you read through the previous post, you’ll know that I said I was taking week 12 off. As you should have too.

Returning to England this week felt like some of the later episodes of the Simpsons, where there would be an arbitrary break in time and then there would be a dialog or a cutaway to imply that lots of exciting things had happened, but you would never know what happened. In some ways, that describes my time in Stord. It was an enjoyable experience to celebrate Christmas and New Years on an island on the west coast of Norway, but that is a post for another time.

With the change to 2019, it was time to head back to the UK for January. Happily, the trip back from Bergen was more how I like it: boring. That means I can focus on other things instead of worrying what is going to happen with my flight. Perhaps we take these things for granted, but having traveled enough, and having a bit of a scare two weeks earlier, I am pleased when things go as planned.

Things seem to be a bit calm around the university. I guess it’s a calm before the storm as there will be exams the next week, but the clamness seems to also include the commuter traffic. Though I wanted to start recruiting right away when I got back, it seems that it would likely fall on empty hallways and mailboxes.

So, I instead focused on a couple of papers that had looming deadlines. This gave me a chance to become reacquainted with an old enemy of a word processor. To keep things simple, let’s just say that I was not impressed with the provided template, nor the instructions for its use.

Towards the end of the week, I had a chance to visit Robot House again and make sure that everything was working. Indeed, there was no bit rot in the work that we had done. This gave us some time to improve the robot’s map and spend some time experimenting with the robot’s gripper arm beyond the disco work we had from before. Frankly, I was impressed how much heavy lifting (pun intended) the included software does. Our goal was to pick up a cup from the floor, and I honestly felt that this would never happen. But we got it to work. Here’s a video as proof.

Of course, this isn’t perfect. The code just tried to grab the first thing it saw and sometimes the robot sees different things first. For example, its charging plug is also something that it could pick up, but is obviously not what we wanted.

Still, we were happy we could pick up the cup and decided that was a good place to end the week.