Internship @Drexel ExCITe Center

Over the summer of 2015, I had the opportunity to intern at Drexel’s ExCITe Center in the Music Entertainment Technology (MET) Lab. I worked under Dr. Youngmoo Kim and other Drexel STAR Scholars bouncing between projects to get a holistic experience with various advanced technologies including robotics, computer vision, machine learning, smart fabrics, and digital signal processing. The Dancing Drones project was the first project I worked on and was definitely intimidating in the beginning but I caught up to quickly. The goal was to choreograph a team of Parrot AR Drones to fly autonomously with each other in sync to music. We mapped the room with cameras to create a 3D reconstruction that would aid in the drones ability to maintain space with each other. We then used a computer vision module with the in-built cameras on the drones to track the “dancer” or user and created a “dance” configuration for multiple drones to takeoff automatically and fly. This was incredible project and I learned a lot from messing around in VirtualBox and finding simple bugs that interfered with the drone’s flight ability (improper body tracking, room airflow, etc). After this, I worked on the Humanoid Robot project (HUBO) as a collaboration between Drexel, MIT, Penn, and KAIST. For this project, I used MAESTOR, a ROS-based software interface that controls the robot’s movement and simulation. ROS was incredibly difficult to work with but after diving in I was able to control the HUBO’s movement at a basic level. Because of my experience in 3D printing, I mostly stuck to tuning the on-sight printer and replacing damaged/obsolete parts on the robot. Another project I worked on involved digital signal processing with Max MSP. My goal was to intake the digital output of Drexel’s Magnetic Resonator Piano (MRP) and create a light show that was coordinated to the keys, pitch, and vibrato played. The light would display as a LED strip over the keyboard. MSP was also tough to learn and incredibly frustrating in the beginning as I already had experience with Ableton and found the interface familiar but daunting in terms of functionality. MSP really allows you to manipulate every part of the signal which became more and more fun as I went along the project. Overall, the entire internship was immensely helpful and helped me develop my technical skills in software through advanced projects.