Showing posts from June, 2017

Photo Friday: Technology Helping Me Not Suck

Travel is something that my wife and I love, but then again who doesn't love traveling. In order to better document our travels we decided to invest in a high quality camera. We ended up getting a Canon Powershot G5X. This camera has turned out to be worth every penny.

This camera is amazing. 1080p, 60fps, it feels beautiful on your eyes. Besides filming and taking photos while we travel, we also film our judo competitions. The camera that our team normally uses for filming fights is not bad but the G5X blew it out of the water. 
Besides the great resolution, the camera is small and has pretty good battery life.  When my wife and I travel around, we simply try and take as many photos as possible. Better to have too many than not enough. One problem we have experienced is that the media files become enormous. We have had to actually go out and buy extra camera memory on trips before to accommodate extensive filming.

So here are some of my favorite shots we have taken in the past f…

Dr Dad: The Struggle of Being the Prof's Kid

Towards the end of high-school people always asked me one seemingly simple question, "What are you going to study at university?". For me it wasn't always as easy a question as I originally thought. My choice of university was pretty obvious with my father being a professor at my local university, the tuition reduction was sufficient that very large scholarships from other schools would need to happen before I would even consider elsewhere.  With my university effectively picked, now all I needed to do was pick a program. I had always leaned heavily towards STEM fields. Math, science and building things had always intrigued me since I was young. This helped me narrow down my choices down to an engineering discipline. 

By grade twelve I had selected either chemical or electrical engineering. At that stage it was a pretty even choice but I ended up going with chemical, the reason being that I wished to avoid having my father as a professor since he is an ECE prof. 

Flying High: UAVs, FPGAs and Ubuntu Come Together

This summer I have the privilege of working with a research team of students and professors at my university. As an electrical engineering student this has me over the moon since it will be hands on experience with industry level hardware and software design.

The goal of our project is hilariously simply to describe. We want to track insects using a UAV. Sweep a field, figure out where they are and then produce a report for the users. This does sound like relatively simple task but as with almost every design problem the devil is in the details.

Currently the design team is comprised of two undergraduate students (one of them being me), two masters students and two professors. One professor's specialty is electromagnetics and hardware while the other leans towards signal processing and communication. I am working one the signal processing and software aspects of the project.

At this time we are at a cross roads between which FPGA to use. The choice is split between a Xilinx ZedBo…

Machine Learning: Fight Smarter Not Harder

Brains are cool. Computers are cool. Over the past several decades people have looked at creating a computer "brain" and boy were the researchers successful. Neural networks, or as I like to call them "computer brains" have come a long way and are something I am very interested in. Being able to add abstract learning to a computer is strange. Being able to "teach" a computer has been done for the past years without a problem but for me to sit down and try to do it is mindbogglingly complex.

Sadly I haven't had much free time to write this week and so I will only quickly skim the surface and direct you to a great video to talk about the neural networks that I am going to be studying.

I found this guy on YouTube and think his content is great. I am following along through his tutorials. Here is a link to his video and to my playlist that I am slowly building about ECE topics that interest me. You can check the videos out here.

The tools he will be usin…

RoBeast: Using Arduino Research Application

Open source technology is a beautiful thing. Not only does it let me design more effectively it also allows me to purchase components at a cheaper cost.

In comes Arduino and every other knock off brand you can think of to claim the micro-controller market. Arduinos are fantastic devices. They are cheap, relatively powerful and easy to use. They remove a lot of the programming overhead that many ARM based micro controllers have. 
This summer I am doing research with a professor at my university. We are going to be building a UAV for insect tracking. In order to strip down the weight of the system, a grad student has designed antennas both the transmit and receive antennas to increase performance and decrease weight. 
One problem is that we are having a tough time measuring antenna performance. We have an anechoic chamber for conducting antenna testing but our positioning system is currently not working properly. It isn't a terribly complex system but there are some tricky bits tha…