April 6, 2017

Over the last two months, there has been a whirlwind of activity in the Tabor Maker Lab. The team held our Mid-Grant Technical Review on February 28. The presentation started with a summary the factors impacting the health of buzzards bay followed by an overview of our proposed solution. Then, each group presented their purpose, the work they had done, problems they had overcome, problems they were working on, and any future work they had left. We concluded our presentation with a brief summary of the work we have left until completion. The presentation was a success.  The assembled audience was very impressed with what we were trying to accomplish and what we had already completed.

Sampler Team

Days from the completion of our sampler we had to let one team member transfer to another group to share his expertise with wireless xBee communication. The transfer, combined with some unfortunate computer malfunctions and a few unforeseen problems, threw a small wrench into our progress. The first problem that we encountered was the lack of a watertight seal between the rubber stopper and the PVC Niskin bottle. We solved this by dipping the ends of the PVC in Plasti Dip. The next problem we had was our code. For reasons we have yet to figure out when we transferred the code from one computer to another it ceased to work. After a few hours of troubleshooting, we re-wrote the code and conducted our final tests. Our final tests were perfectly successful after several months of hard work we have an operational sensor. Our next step is to integrate the code with the other teams and mount the samplers on the ROV.

Container Crew

After many tests we have water sealed the current sensor package. Although adjustments may be made to the sensor container in order to fit more inside of the package and new water seal will have to be made if the container will increase in size. We have begun laser cutting a container that will hold and protect the batteries that will power the ROV. Our main focus throughout the rest of the project will be finishing our containers and water sealing any packages of the ROV.

Sensor Module Team

We are the Sensor Module group. We have recently finished the final sensor module. There are a couple of tasks left to complete. The first is to obtain a tube where the sensor module will be fitted into and then attached to the ROV. The second is to attach the master power socket into the tube when we get it. After that, the group will have reached our goal.

Head of Research and Development

For the past few weeks, I have been doing research on how the Ardupilot controller works on an autonomous drone, and how a camera and a wireless controller can be integrated into the mission planner system. After successfully calibrating the drone and using the Ardupilot to control it, I have decided that it can be adapted to our ROV. However, I failed to get the first-person-view of GoPro to work on the drone. At the moment, I am starting fresh make a new GoPro FPV setup so that we can get live video and pictures from our ROV.

ROV Construction and Development

The above water ROV group has acquired a new member to its team. Justin has joined and is making great progress with his practical knowledge and experience coding. The majority of what we have been doing this last month is revising what we had already. We have now installed an improved platform for the electronics to sit on. The waterproof box that houses the electronics is now half constructed. We have 3D printed a new and improved reel, and replaced the wire which the payload will be lowered on. We have also 3D printed a new stand for the reel motor to sit on replacing the wooden one we had previously. We have integrated all of the navigation code and are ready to hook it up to ROV. Many of these improvements were prompted by the mid-year review.

Wireless Transmission Technicians

The wireless transmitter group has encountered many setbacks due to our inexperience in coding. We have successfully made two xBee modules communicating with each other through wires. Now we are trying to replace make the communication wireless. The fully-functional wireless joystick with xBee has been made. We are now working on the code of the receiving end.