Friday, February 13, 2009

A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing

While I get up to speed on the projects currently in development in my group, I get to brush up my (non-existant) C skills and learn a new programming language to build graphical interfaces for lab equipment and stuff. I think the plan is to build up to the point where I can design some big fancy interface that's going to record all of our data and not explode itself. For now, I'm supposed to write a program that uses a serial port to send a string of data to a camera mount and moves it around.

Well, that's what I was doing. Then, in a moment of brilliance, I realized I could change the speed of the mount as it moves around, and now it plays songs. It uses a bunch of stepper motors to move around, and it hums quite a bit, which is possible to tune by changing how quickly it makes the steps. I am so proud of myself. My dad is coming down to visit in a few weeks and he is totally getting dragged into the lab to see. All the students I know that were in the building when I made my exciting discovery actually flocked in to the lab to see. I love engineers.

Some people would probably be mildly upset for wasting time while I was at work, but my supervisors were laughing so hard they didn't say anything, so I think I'm in the clear. I'm counting this as an "educational experience", I'm sure I learned something that will come in handy eventually.

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I tend to veer off on tangents. Pick your tangent from the menu on the right.