September 30th, 2001


senior project frustrations

This is not a good day. First, I sat on my glasses. Second, my senior design project is a scary clusterfuck all the sudden. When it all comes crashing down, what do you do? Rant.

I'm working with two other people this year on a way to monitor conditions on a moonbuggy. It's a two person pedal powered vehicle designed by the mechanical department - it's their senior design every year, they break into teams and build these things. Every time a bike gets stolen around the tech center, there's this running joke that the moonbuggy team stole it for parts.

So anyway, being the geeks we were my friend Jaimee and I got to thinking about this last year: why not glue strain gages and speedometers to the things and sit comfortably at a LabView station 400 feet away watching what they're made of? Perfect senior project - device calibration, wireless transmission, user interface, all that. Other groups are doing interesting things to, but our project is the most fun.

We adopted Doug, too. He's a double major - picked up the math one along the way. Math majors are people who look really smart, but in real life they're kinda useless, in Doug's case he's just really geeky because he's got the EET thing going along with the freakish math thing... well, you get the picture.

So we find out today that the MiniDAT transmitter we were going to use costs about $3,000. Oops. We were thinking the whole project would be less than a grand. It's too bad, this thing was awesome: hook up devices, it translates their raw electrical signals and puts them onto a wireless LAN, where your laptop sits waiting with a DAQ (data aquisition) card reading the signal and showing what's up in LabView.

Now it looks like, to stay under budget, we'll have to translate our own damn signal and provide our own damn transmitter/reciever. Doug wants to do it with cell phones (?) Jaimee wants to use GPS (?), I'm for wireless LAN.

Yeah, we could have the data saved to a memory stick and load it on the PC later. But I really really don't want to do that, we are living in a wireless world and I am a wireless girl!

Goals for this week:
Become an 802.11 GENIUS! Yeah, that'll be easy.
Learn to write my own device drivers.
Wonder how Doug got in our group.