For the last sprint, I am of the opinion that it definitely went better than the first sprint. Across both teams, a lot of work was accomplished. For my task of building the base, I am quite pleased with the result. I delivered what was asked of me, and bar a few small jobs to do on the base, the majority of it is finished. I enjoyed this sprint as I was able to contribute in a unique way to the lampbot. Using skills acquired over the last ten years or so, working with my dad and brother (building, tiling, carpentry, plastering etc etc), I was pleased to bring the base from a sketch on a piece of paper to an actual built object. It was a nice change of pace from electronics itself, and I quite enjoyed putting my headphones in, relaxing, and working away!
The mechanical team in this sprint worked to a certain extent. A lot of communication occurred between team members, with the exception of a few small issues. I think everybody more or less managed to get their designated task completed or very near to it. A point that I wish to make is that while the mechanical team had some issues, we are not mechanical engineers, we are electronic engineers and computer scientists. So from that point of view, what we managed to achieve is awesome! I very much enjoyed being part of my team because of such things as: decision making, technical discussion, problem solving and the general banter. As a team we were maybe not always coherent, but at the end of the day we all came together as a team, which is more important I feel than being able to deliver everything! For example, if Ferrari's F1 team had to develop a new engine, but with a team that had fights and arguments, it would never get done. As the saying goes "It is better to be on a sinking ship with people you like, than on a floating ship with your enemies". I think this applies to any team based project. If the team works well together, the work will eventually reflect that, and a few hiccups along the way are deemed acceptable!
As I had no real electronics based task for this sprint, I am going to detail instead the design and build of the base.
The initial designs were basically sketches on pieces of paper to determine such things as: shape, stability, weight, dimensions, portability, aesthetics, materials to be used etc. Upon decided on a design shape, the next thing to do was literally measure every component that would be placed inside the base to determine inner dimensions and configuration of where everything was going to go. After this was conducted, I decided to start the build.
I used my dad's workshop out in Dunhill to build the base. All the necessary tools required were out there i.e. table saw, jigsaw, router, sander, filler, drills, screws, you name it he has it! I first started with a sheet of 1/2 inch ply for the top section of the base as this would be the most difficult to build. Through using off-cuts as samples, I managed to work out which angles would work to deliver the "pyramid with the chopped off" or "trapezoidal prism" design (Thanks Shaun for enlightening me as to the proper name haha). These angles consists of 45 degrees for two sides, and 30 degrees for the other two sides (because they are compound angles you see). The top was then screwed together (had to use pieces of would on inside to get screws to bite). I then cut out a piece of wood for the flat section and fixed it in place.
Anyway, once I had the top section complete, I built a square box for the rest of the base out of 3/4 inch ply. This was a walk in the park as I only needed to square it up and then screw it together. Once these two sections were complete, I screwed the lid onto the bottom section.
Next I marked out for the screen, and routed that out to a depth of 9mm. I made a few slips with the router (couldn't use guard rail) but it turned out okay. I then cut a slot out of this to allow for cables etc.
I used measurements off of the speaker to work out where I needed to cut the holes for the controls, and the two speakers themselves. Once these were marked, I used a hole-saw and bored out the holes. A quick pass with the router on the holes was needed to smooth the sharp edges.
After a bit of filling and sanding, the base was basically complete.
Thoughts on next sprint:
For the next sprint, I have been assigned to implement a servo position controller. This is essentially used to input values from the camera i.e face tracking, and convert the X and Y coordinates into values that can be sent to servos to move lamp and head to "track" a person looking at the camera. I am looking forward to this sprint as it is back to the electronics realm, and I also get to use threads and IPC.
A final thought is to finish off the few little details on the base. It needs a door hanging for access, a bit of trim around screen when it is in place, lamp mounting on it, holes cut servos (if needed), spraying black and all electronics placed inside it!
JOE TUBBRITT BLOG #6