Week One – Impressions and Progress

The first week was slower than I expected. I was also expecting the research topics to be a bit more defined than they were, we got quite a bit of freedom deciding what we wanted to do. The campus is nice. Many buildings seem new or recently renovated. The lab we are working in is 67 degrees because HVAC is hard.
The only part of Menomonie I’ve seen in detail is the area around campus. There are enough places to eat. There is also a lake. I haven’t taken a close look at that yet. I probably should.

We are using the Kinova JACO2 robot arm for our research. This robot arm is intended to increase the user’s independence. The arm can be wheelchair mounted and is controlled with a joystick. The arm has six degrees of freedom and joysticks usually have two degrees of freedom. The joystick has fewer degrees of freedom than the arm which requires mode switching to achieve full control of the arm. This mode switching greatly increases the difficulty of using the arm.
For our research, we are improving the ease of use of the arm for eating a meal. We will use a camera and depth se
nsor to determine goal positions for the robot arm and then plan a trajectory for the robot arm.

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