Friday, 6 February 2015

Sprint #1 reflection - Donal Murphy

Applied embedded operating systems
Sprint #1 reflection – Donal Murphy

As part of the applied embedded operating systems module, the class was broken up into separate teams. For the first sprint i was placed in a team with Sam, Dii and Tony. For this sprint the team was assigned to apply real time operating system services to the ARM mbed application board to perform functionality. This functionality was, to interface a sonar sensor to the mbed application board and based on the input data, position a servo sensor in accordance using pulse width modulation. The inspiration for this was to develop a proof of concept for a pixar lamp project. From the completion of this module the concept is to develop this entire class of electronic engineers and computer scientist’s communication, project management, and project meeting skills (public speaking); along with improving our technical skills.

In this first sprint, when we were initially assigned to teams, myself and Dii; being in the same class mainly stuck together and had conversations between ourselves as were Tony and Sam. This is a natural instinct that must be improved before entering industry. As based on a team project, many colleagues will come and go; so a good engineer/computer scientist should poses good interpersonal skills. I feel I should have been more welcoming to my new team mates. This would provide a better spring board to work on as it is extremely difficult to work with somebody that you feel you can’t talk to. On the technical side, as this sprint is mainly programming based, Sam and Tony’s natural instinct was to take control and push the project forward. This could be seen as a blessing that I had the chance to improve my programming skills utilizing Tony and Sams knowledge in the area.

Tony and Sam, coming from a computer scientist background began dealing with the programming side of the proof of concept, Dii and myself constructed the servos and brackets, developed the blog entries and provided input to any issues. Myself and Dii found observing Tony and Sam coding to be beneficial from a technical point of view. Step by step, through the real time operating system, the guys provided excellent descriptions and information on how the program code was executing and any questions myself or Dii had were answered with utmost professionalism. With programming being only a sub-division of the electronic engineering course and myself and Dii being far from experts in the area, Tony and Sams explanations and walk through of the RTOS program were extremely valuable.

Over the three weeks, the team gradually began to gel together, our work became more productive, our design ideas became clearer and our discussions more laid back. From this first three week sprint I have learnt to be more open in my conversations, to speak out if I have something to say as it could influence the project greatly. My project meeting skills need to improve as I become anxious as to whether I am saying “something stupid”. Some directions as to where I feel the project aim for is, along with the robo-relm software discussed in a project meeting, was for the inclusion of an infrared sensor to monitor a person within the room through body heat, thus eliminating background “noise”. Unsure of the technicalities, possibly have a PIR sensor mounted on the front of the robot to act as a “signal” within the RTOS to trigger the infrared sensor thread and monitor body heat, if nobody is present then jump back to the robo-relm software possibly in another thread to monitor objects, this being the case if an object is placed in front of the lamp bot with no temperature or body heat.

Keep moving forward.

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