Infrared Makes a Great Presentation Aid

Hawk in winter imaged with a thermal camera

After I finished speaking about engineering I brought out one of my company’s gyro-stabilized camera gimbals. This one, in particular, has both an optical and false-color FLIR Photon infrared camera. The gimbal is able to autonomously track objects while they move and while the gimbal itself is perturbed by wind and other disturbances. The students thought that was incredibly cool as I tracked their movements using the optical camera. Then I turned out the lights and switched to infrared mode. My audience lit up like a Christmas tree under infrared and I was greeted with a resounding “cool…!” I had one of the students put her hand against a wall for a few seconds and the camera picked up the hand-shaped residual heat signature. I also had one student walk around the room trying to escape the gimbal’s gaze. He was successful but not immediately!

I have given presentations about engineering and technology to grade-school and high school students in the past and I enjoy it every time. I think I made a few converts on this run!

UW Engineering Open House – Little Red Hen’s Take

My husband's labTime for my take on my husband’s robotic fish and Engineering Open House. I had a really good time today! If Friday was the day for field trips, then Saturday was the day for families. I came to the open house today, Saturday, and got a kick out of observing the family dynamics of those who came. Some parents seemed to have engineering in their genes and wanted to share their interests with their children. Others were clearly bewildered by the technical questions their children were asking volunteers but were being good sports trying to feed the minds of their little Einsteins. I enjoyed watching Patrick field questions from adults and children alike, and my favorite interaction was between a father and Patrick. It went something like this:

Dad: So do you like video games? [Read more…]

Robotic Fish at the UW Engineering Open House

Close up swimming fishMy lab hosted another successful engineering open house exhibit today at the University of Washington. I’ve been working in the Nonlinear Dynamics and Control Lab at UW for two years now and I’m close to completing my masters degree. My thesis is based on a radio transceiver that I specifically designed to enable underwater communication between our three robotic fish. Today, my transceiver was used to demo our work to the UW community and visitors to the university. [Read more…]