Lessons Learned

  • So far, we have learned to check for the availability of replacement parts before buying a breakable part. We crashed our drone and in the process snapped part of the printed circuit board (PCB) frame. The company will not respond to our emails asking if we could buy just that part, so we need to order a new kit for the same drone or start over with a different kit.
  • We also learned how vital communication and organization are to a project. Every single person, on every level must be kept up to date at all times. This includes the clients, professors, and students involved! Leaving even one individual out will likely lead to unnecessary conflict that detracts from the team’s productivity.
  • Air traffic interference is a legitimate concern. The primary reason we crashed our drone was not due to user error. To clarify, our flight controller had throttled the drone all the way down, but regardless – it still rose higher and higher into the sky.
  • Ordering tax exempt with a gift card limits the places parts can be purchased.

Austin Flanagan

Fall 2016: Air traffic interference is a legitimate concern. The primary reason we crashed our drone was not due to user error. To clarify, our flight controller had throttled the drone all the way down, but regardless – it still rose higher and higher into the sky.

Spring 2017: One of a project’s greatest difficulties is communication. There has been a vast amount of information generated within this project. We’ve had to pass this knowledge amongst ourselves, to our sponsors, and to our teachers. The difficulty was in ensuring everyone properly grasped the progress of our project.

Alyssa Holland

Fall 2016: Flexibility is a trait we’ve all learned. Every one of us has busy schedules and other obligations. But, to make this work we’ve all had to learn to be flexible and to give and take in reasonable amounts to get this project done.

Spring 2017: Time management has become more important this semester. We’re all in the last stages of our undergraduate experience and looking towards the next chapter of our lives. Personally, there were times when I was not wholly invested into senior design. I had to refocus myself to get this project done and juggled all my commitments in order to make time for this project.

Edward Li

Fall 2016: Something we’ve learned the hard way is to check for the availability of replacement parts before buying a breakable part. We crashed our drone and in the process snapped part of the printed circuit board (PCB) frame. The company will not respond to our emails asking if we could buy just that part, so we need to order a new kit for the same drone or start over with a different kit.

Spring 2017: The solution that came out of my lesson learned from last semester was to build a test drone which could be quickly and cheaply made. I learned how valuable this solution was as we continued testing our code. We crashed the test drone several times this semester and had to rebuild it twice. Each rebuild too considerably less time and effort which allowed us to focus on our code writing.Prototypes should never be underestimated.

Robert Pulatie

Fall 2016: We also learned how incredibly important communication is and how a lack of communication can disrupt projects. When everyone is on the same page, progress is made at a much more consistent and reliable pace. Communication prevents unnecessary conflict and allows discussion of ideas, some of which lead to incredible breakthroughs. 

Spring 2017: Developing firmware for any embedded system takes an extensive amount of time and prior experience/ base-knowledge. Our team desperately needed a mentor/ guide who had previously worked the MSP432. TI’s E2E forums were a great asset, but did not wholly fill that mentor role we were lacking.

Samantha Reeve

Fall 2016: Due to the scheduling our sponsors asked of us, we had to place orders almost immediately. We worked closely with the program’s financial people and during this process we learned ordering tax exempt with a gift card limits the places parts can be purchased. It complicated and prolonged the purchasing process.

Spring 2017: The mechanical team‘s progress was not relevant to much of the project if the electrical side didn’t work. This caused our progress to slow down since we knew that the drop mechanism could not be fully implemented this semester.

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