Thursday, July 23, 2015

Low Frequencies and Solder Fumes

Somewhere inside UoC
Photo credit: Chathura Suduwella
Due to the nature of our research works, it's not enough just to sit in front of a computer and write programs that do certain things. Our work makes us to sniff solder fumes most of the times and sometimes it makes us to move out of the lab and walk all over the university. Last few weeks were so much stressful due to various challenging tasks we were facing. It's not easy but I think I learned so much interesting new things during these hard times. Among various things I was facing, two notable experiences are worth reporting for my future reference.

As a further step of our elephant infrasonic research, our guys wanted to do several field experiments within the university premises. It requires them to take the infrasonic emitter and detector equipment and move all over the university premises which is not as easy as it sounds. While moving we have to take data samples from the infrasonic detector at various places and we need to take note of the GPS coordinates of the particular location. Sometimes our infrasonic emitter stops functioning or gets stuck and sometimes our equipment runs out of battery power. Facing all those troubles, we have to keep moving all over. Joining with Chathura aiya, Poshitha and Waruna, I had a nice time in the field missing the lunch and a work day. Besides the troubles of experiments, we were happy about the outcomes of it.

First three units out of the production line :)
Second move is from the hardware side. Moving ahead of breadboards, we finally managed to
implement a much more usable wireless mote. It has extension headers to connect a USB ASP programmer board to reprogram the MCU without removing it from the mote as it was a very troublesome thing in our earlier version. First I tried everything on a breadboard and then started moving things into the permanent mote. Chathura aiya provided a great assistance in this effort and his confidence and ideas helped so much. Without his guidance, these little things will not be as beautiful and handy as they are at the moment. He exactly knows how to put things in the right position in order to make it smaller and look good.

A lot more interesting work is going on these days. I will try to write a brief note if I found anything worth telling to my future self. For the moment, this is it.

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