Update on Phil

I am getting excited for our first-born son, Phil, for his upcoming 10-day trip to Malta during Spring Break beginning on March 20th (the day after his 22nd birthday). Upon his return from Malta, he will be in his final quarter at Cal Poly, at which time he will be working as a paid intern for Oracle. I can't believe he will be graduating already this coming June and with very high honors if I may add. Please excuse me if I seem to be "bragging", I am just really proud of his well-deserved achievements. This is one of the great priviledges of blogging...I get to "sing my children's praises. He has 3 strong prospective employers at the moment (soon to be 4) with a solid offer from The Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division (NAWCWD), an organization within the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR).

This upcoming trip to Malta is another great endeavor to add to his list of accomplishments.

The Mustang Daily, Cal Poly’s student-run daily newspaper, features Cal Poly ICEX 2009 in today's front page article:

Engineers specialize robots
by: Chris Jagger
For a group of computer engineers at Cal Poly, spring break will be a productive experience rather than a week of rampant partying and relaxation.Through the International Computer Engineering Exchange (ICEX), a collaboration between Cal Poly's computer engineering department and various international partners, several students will be traveling to the small island of Malta to work on a robotic exploration project. "Since there aren't many opportunities for computer engineering students to study abroad, we've found international projects that people need computer engineers to do like robotics, exploration, archeology and stuff like that," said computer science graduate student Matthew Schlachtman.The team of experienced computer engineering students consists of Schlachtman, Michael Boardman, Justin Kuenm, Cory White, Daniel Hiranandani, Phil Phillips and faculty advisor Chris Clark. Malta has historically been under constant attack, so an underground system of caverns and wells was built to store a reserve supply for soldiers held up in fortresses for long periods of time. Because the cisterns have not been seen or touched for more than 2,000 years, the ICEX team will use two remotely controlled robots to explore them. The small, lightweight robots will fit into holes that people cannot access and essentially swim through the caverns, using sonar software to map them out. The company Video Ray provided all robotic hardware and the ICEX team specialized these robots to perform well under water."We've been working on our particular part of the project for the last three months," electrical engineering graduate student Boardman said. "That part has been updating the user interface, changing thruster controls, working on mapping algorithms and changing around the mapping interface so that it would be a little bit better than it was before for our trip."
The ICEX team is working in conjunction with an archaeologist who will help them find sites for the exploration. According to Boardman, archaeologists are want to see how well these cisterns are connected together and hope the Video Ray robots will provide reliable maps. To make sure the robots function correctly and all the software is to speed, the ICEX team received permission to test them in the Poly Canyon Village pool last Tuesday. They wanted the robots to map the pool as if it were one of the cisterns. "We just wanted to test everything out, make sure it all works and see how our maps come out of the pool," Boardman said.By the end of this session, they were able to deploy both Video Ray robots, read sonar data off of a laptop, control them with a joystick and gauge the overall functioning of the software. They also discovered a few minor problems. One robot was too buoyant and needed more weight to help it submerge under the water. They realized that the joystick controls needed minor adjustments.The ICEX team members said they are confident that the robots will be fully functional by spring break as they anxiously await their trip to Malta."It's been a tremendous experience just learning about robotics in a practical way,"Boardman said.

Go online to www.mustangdaily.net to see an audio slideshow.

1 comment:

Lauren Rabaino said...

Congrats to Phil and his job offerings! We love writing articles about great students with big accomplishments.

If you want to see the full-sized audio slideshow (I just realized it was embedded incorrectly on the website) it's at this link.

-Lauren Rabaino, online editor of the Mustang Daily