Archive for October, 2010

Status Update – 2010/10/16

So after some negotiating, I am now at a crossroad between two projects. The first would be the snake-bot and the second would be a humanoid. Personally, I find working on a humanoid to be vastly more exciting, so I’m trying to jump onto that project. However, green-lighting that project is currently dependent on whether or not a grant is issued. If there is grant money, then we can work on it, if not, then there’s no hope. The good news is that there seems to be a good chance that the grant will go through.

Thus, I may now be working on a humanoid robot. They say that it is fully built, so there won’t be much work to be done mechanically. However, as of yet, it cannot walk, so that would be our main task.

I talked to both my supervisors and they seem happy to let me switch over. Of course, if the funding falls through, I’ll be back on the snake-bot. Nonetheless, I am delighted that my supervisors are giving me the opportunity to decide on what I want to do. I felt kind of bad requesting to switch, because up until now, my supervisors and I have been planning on the snake-bot. To sort of jump off the plan, I was afraid they would think poorly of me. Fortunately, they were very professional and supportive of the plan. Though, now it seems like the snake-bot project is being push onto other students. It sort of feels like I’ve abandoned a project that really needs to get done. Nonetheless, after some careful thought, the humanoid project should have more potential and a larger impact on humankind in the future.  So, being able to participate in the field will be much more exciting. Also, I just have a profound interest in walking robots.

Since I am still at the crossroad, though definitely leaning towards one side, I am researching topics that relate to both projects. There are overlapping themes, and so by learning about those, I would be able to start on either project, once the money comes in (or not).

Status Update – 2010/10/02

This post is an update on my professional and educational activities. For personal updates, check out the blog.

So far, moving into central London has finally started to settle down. I’ve moved to an apartment fairly close to the engineering department, so I can have better access to my office and lab.

I signed a confidential agreement, stating that I would not divulge details on the projects that I’ll be involved in. This is to prevent the industry from potentially commercializing our ideas before we can take credit.

Nonetheless, there are a couple of projects that I’ve started looking into. The main project that I’ll most likely be working on will be a serpentine-like robot. The other two involve tactile sensors and real-time motion control.

I’ve started to do some research into the snake-like robot, from reading academic papers to watching video demonstrations. I am getting a good sense of how other groups have approached the problem. There are some pretty clever things being done, but there are still a couple of disadvantages to their methods.

For about the next month or so, I will be continuing this in-depth research into the field to gain an even better understanding of the topic. Then, I will likely begin writing a review paper on it.

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