It’s been well over a year since my last update. I apologize for that but in between school, life, and some really fun projects, I have some really promising progress to share.
On my last update for the Kinect, I left off with some LabView code that allows anyone to interface with the Kinect. In the time since it was released I have received lots of positive feedback from everyone, so I must first start out by thanking everyone and I hope it will continue to be of good use.
Since that time I worked furiously to develop an image processing algorithm to detect open doors/pathways enabling artificial intelligence pathway planning.
The only issue is in order to actually run the software on the iRobot create I bought to test it on, i had to either tether or set my entire laptop on the iRobot create. That isn’t an optimal solution especially for debugging purposes. Hence, the next step would be to design my own circuitry to resolve the problem.
Now, approximately 6 months ago, my good friend Gytis Baranauskas and myself bought ourselves a DIY CNC machine. While we have had many ideas and goals for the CNC machine, our primary goal was to create printed circuit boards. This would enable us to offload the USB host controller, the iRobot communication and the image processing into separate microprocessors and achieve a much smaller, lighter, cheaper solution then using a full-blown computer and all the complexities that come with dealing with supporting 10 different operating systems.
Our first experiments are consisting of creating PCB breakout boards for the USB host controller and a microprocessor in order to connect them to a breadboard and begin testing them and the functionality to use them.
We are making progress rapidly, and I will keep this site informed as our progress continues. If you would like to see more of our work, the gallery below features many of the things we have been able to do in the past year.
What a past 6 months it has been. Who would have ever known senior life was going to be this crazy? It seems just yesterday I was seemingly making my way through the passing crowds in between classes junior year and yet here we are again, senior year, except it has been a roller coaster ride from the start.
Between classes, homework, studying, college apps, personal statements, SATs, robotics club, MyBB, NCAAbbs and client’s websites, this blog was pushed to the back burner. Tonight I find myself, for what seems like the first time in a lifetime, with time to simply reflect on the past 6 months.
Ending Junior year, I started my summer job at ActiveVideo Networks again as the SQA Intern which was definately a really good experience. I also managed to visit Washington D.C., for my first time ever, twice. The first time being with my robotics team, attending the Global Conference on Educational Robotics (GCER) and the second time with my family for a short vacation and then a wedding down in North Carolina (a very beautiful state, btw!).
As always, I continued my development work with MyBB and IT functions for NCAAbbs. In fact, we made some significant changes, including opening up our development servers and source code to the public. As always we kept up with security and maintenance releases, and I even have some tidbits to share further down in this post. But back to the story first:
Senior year opened with a bumpy start. The AP Computer Science class I was going to take was canceled because they couldn’t find a replacement teacher (the old one had to take a leave of absence for the year). It practically ruined my chance for attending one of the UC’s (University of California), as I wouldn’t have an AP class under my belt, and in turn neither the extra GPA points nor the AP test. That dampened my mood quite a bit. Second off, my counselors (whom are hard enough to work with in the first place) changed my schedule 3 times consecutively, making me run around at lunches and breaks to find a teacher whom I could TA for and wasn’t already taken. I ended up as the Drama department’s TA, ironically enough, which was the last place I was expecting my academic life to turn towards. Surprisingly it has ended up being, thus far, a very intriguing experience; there are definately very interesting things to learn from a drama class.
Just as I was settling into my senior classes and classmates, SATs, college apps, and robotics club hit me like a 2 ton Honda Pilot. The next 4 months consisted of 19 hour days, frantic studying, club co-managing, eye-tearing 4 hour test taking and answer bubbling. Fortunately, I was able to get through most of it early. As for my friends, well, they are all freaking out right about now, realizing all the work they need to finish quickly. Fortunately I am able to help them out with answering their application submission questions, editing their personal statements, etc. I still have one last single SAT 2 test in December, but once that is done I am never touching an SAT test again in my entire life.
More significantly, in between all this, my robotics team participated at a competition called CalGames where we placed 1st in the end. Doubled with one of our team member’s birthdays it ended on an awesome note. (We are the teal shirts below)
(A closeup of our team during a competition game. Go! Go! Go!)
(I’m unfortunately hidden behind another team member)
The robot in action:
Now that you’ve seen all that, let me momentarily show off some of my work. As I became the lead programmer of the robotics team, I was given the opportunity to learn a completely new coding language, one which is called LabView. It’s an industry standard program that is primarily used in the programming of robotics or being able to control mechanical or electrical parts.
There is too much code to show and explain all, so I won’t even try. However, let me give you a general overview. This is the Robot Main.vi code which is the highest level of the robot and the central interface to all of the robots functions and executions. Following the flow of the code hierarchy, will be lower level functions. Each “Block” you see in the code is basically a “function” in programmer layman terms. The difference between this language and most others is this is by default a highly multi-threaded language.
So as you can see, the robot may only do a few things, but a lot of work goes into making it do those few things extremely well.
All in all I have had a terrific time on the robotics team, but in these dwindling economic teams we have had trouble sustaining the club. This year we are faced again with the challenge of keeping our club open and running. Our robotics club is by nature very expensive in comparison to many of the other clubs, but in contrast it provides an extremely rich experience that prepares the students much more for the real world experience in their various relating industries than any book or test can do. Our expenses for the club are around $19,000 annually (http://evhsrobotics.com/files/2009-2010/Sponsor%20Packet%2009-10.pdf – page 6). Most of the costs are for materials or registration fees to compete in competitions. If you can provide assistance or know of a company or someone else who can, please feel free to leave a comment below or visit our club’s website at http://evhsrobotics.com/ and we will get in contact with you! We also accept in-kind donations and negotiate with companies for competitive prices for various materials. We could definitely use every bit of help we can possibly get.
On a different subject, we are nearing feature-completion of MyBB 1.6. This means that within the next month we should see MyBB 1.6 in public beta and out soon after that. First though, we are going to make a maintenance release for the MyBB 1.4 series within the next couple of weeks. MyBB 1.4.10 will be the last release of the MyBB series, excluding any security vulnerability releases.
As I have reiterated over the past year, MyBB 1.6 won’t be as drastic of a change as MyBB 1.4 was. As MyBB 2.0 will be a complete rewrite, we are aiming MyBB 1.6 to have much less “behind-the-scene” changes than MyBB 1.4 had. This means that most of your plugins will still work with very little change (most simply the version compatibility indicator), and themes should be easily upgradable too. This will allow us to aim the of end the MyBB 1.x series on a great note and put it to rest in an honorable way.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to post any comments, questions, suggestions or concerns.
MyBB 1.4.5 was released a little over a week ago, and I have been monitoring the release and so far we’ve only had a few regressions pop-up. This release was a very successful release to say the least. It’s gone through:
A Private, 2-week, beta test
SQA Testing has proven to be a very successful team, spotting errors in fixes and code the developers have written. The private beta identified 19 new issues that were fixed for MyBB 1.4.5 and also confirmed 39 fixes (the fixes that weren’t already confirmed by SQA) were working and if not were fixed to work.
Not being under the pressure of having to make a release because of a security bulletin has made this a great release as well as it wasn’t “rushed,” unlike past released. We’ve also had a fairly decent staff restructure and things are running more smoothly now. A blog post on the exacts of the staff restructure will be made in the following weeks, on the Official MyBB Blog.
MyBB Team Positions
We’re always looking out for new potential. If you want to be on the MyBB Team, you just have to show:
You are dedicated and active to the project
You speak English very well and have good communication skills
You have good knowledge of how MyBB works and in the position you want to take up
If you don’t feel like we’re noticing you it’s probably just because we’re too busy making the next version of MyBB! So just shoot a Team Leader a Private Message to get their attention. Remember though, your chances are considerably increased if you stand out with the three suggestions listed above.