Drexel ExCITe Center 🐉
Over the summer of 2015, I had the opportunity to intern at Drexel’s ExCITe Center in the Music Entertainment Technology Lab. I was supervised by Dr. Youngmoo Kim and the other Drexel STAR Scholars bouncing between projects to get a holistic experience with various advanced technologies including robotics, computer vision, smart fabrics, and digital signal processing.
The first project I was introduced to was called Dancing Drones. The basic idea was to choreograph a team of Parrot AR Drones to fly autonomously with each other in-sync to music. The STAR scholars working on the project setup cameras around the room to create a 3D environment to control the bots. The best part of this project was actually discussing with the students some of the fundamentals problems they had to deal with. One vivid example was dealing with the AC air flow in the building which would slowly drift the bot.
After this, I worked with the team behind the Humanoid Robot project (HUBO) as a collaboration between Drexel, MIT, Penn, and KAIST. For this project, we used MAESTOR, a ROS-based software interface that controls the robot’s movement and simulation. ROS was a steep learning curve, but after getting more experience with the documentation, I was able to control basic movement. Because of my experience in 3D printing, I spent a lot of time working with the on-sight printer. The printer was mainly used for replacing parts on the robot quickly and with a highly customized design.
Another project I got introduced to was a digital signal processing project with Max MSP. The 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 very insightful as I got to work with and talk to a variety of people involved in advanced projects.