Farmbot Update and the end of my Internship

Today was my last day at work and it was very sad to leave. The team is smaller than when I started so I have had more freedom to develop my project but there are also fewer people to play table football with at lunch!

As promised, I will talk a bit about the projects I have been working on in this post. These 6 weeks have flown by, probably because work has been fun (almost) every day. I have been developing the Farmbot project. A Farmbot is a robot which you can either make yourself or buy as a kit online which will plant, look after and monitor a bed such as a vegetable patch. My goal was to make a website on which you could manage and control multiple Farmbots in one place. The alternative is to use the official website which would require the user to remember lots of login details and this is also time consuming. I also had no knowledge of web design, ever!

I was told to start learning Django which is a framework in Python. It was very difficult and took me weeks to understand. Parallel to this, the company already has a Farmbot working in the south of the island on which I conducted testing on this the early stages of my project where my goal was to simply send and receive simple instructions and data to the robot. As the project developed, I was able to style the website (with some help), make the website intuitive and extend the control to multiple hypothetical Farmbots. I also started to add another page on which the user could make and edit sequences of commands which the Farmbot could execute one after the other.

In my fourth week, I had a lot of fun – I was allowed to leave my desk and start planning and making a new Farmbot from a kit. The kit was amazing, it fitted together so well it felt like an Engineer’s adult Lego set (picture below). This took a few days to build before I downloaded the software onto it and could see it come to life! The most rewarding moment for me was to see my robot respond to commands sent from the website I created. The next week, the website was published onto the internet so my friends could test it and watch the webcam with me working in the background online.

 

The website can be found by following this link (http://mygardenbot.stetter-itq.com) and an account is free to make, however most features can not be seen unless you own your own Farmbot. The website is in late development so forgive any remaining bugs! I attach some screenshots of the full website below.

It makes me very sad to leave because I have had a really great time working with the team. Even when my computer couldn’t run a few python scripts written in Linux making me hit my head on the table for 3 days was memorable, because the people around me were offering their help and advice. I’ll miss the tapas, the Tropical de Limon and the beaches too. Below is a picture of the team on my last day, they made it difficult to leave

My flight will leave tomorrow morning and I am quite excited to return to a country which is mostly cloudy but I’m also sad saying my farewells to the team and my friends. I hope I can catch up with the people I have met here one day and I urge them to come visit sunny Cambridge.

Thanks for everything – I hope I can catch up soon,

Robbie

Details about my project – It’s Sad to Leave

Hey, this is Martí again. During my last days in Gran Canaria I went to the south to discover a beach with dunes, in Maspalomas. The landscape was amazing! 

I visited Playa del Inglés, swam in the sea, sunbathed, and then walked for a while with my host family until we arrived in front of the dunes. They were so tall that it felt like I was in the Sahara. I still cannot believe what I saw.

But, I worked a bit too 😉 So now it’s time to talk about my job here. For my entire internship, I have been working on the Home Automation project. The main goal of it, as the name says, is to automate a house, which means to have full control of each appliance: interpreting data collected from temperature sensors, humidity sensors, presence sensors, luminosity sensors… and respond accordingly (opening or closing shutters, fans, lights…), as well as having an interface (probably a mobile app) to control it manually.

This project was linked with another one about the Face Recognition project, in which the main goal was to recognise people with a camera and show them personalised messages, tasks or other information. This was a project to implement in Hotels, and with the Home Automation project, we were also able to display the data from the sensors and control the actuators.

As I expected when I applied for this position, I’ve learned so much – mostly a lot of new programming languages. I have had to work with Java language for the Face Recognition program, and with C# to develop an application to connect both KNX devices (sensors) to the Face Recognition program. This was my first application, and I enjoyed this project a lot. I always loved programming and doing so confirmed it to me and I will definitely be able to use these skills in the future.

Now my internship has finished, but I have no doubt I will continue developing GUI applications (graphical user interface), as well as I will apply the knowledge and skills I have learnt to my Mechatronics degree and it will make my degree easier.

See you soon Gran Canaria, or “a reveure” in Catalan,

 

  

Martí.

‘Grand’ Canaria – Through a tourist’s eye

Hi, my name is Robbie and I’m from Cambridge in the UK. I am on an internship with the company for 6 weeks this summer working on several smart farming projects which I will go into more detail in my next post. I am studying engineering, and this is a great excuse to visit Gran Canaria!

I’m now halfway and I realise now I think I’ve landed the best internship ever! The work environment is very fun and there are lots of amazing minds to solve problems in new ways. It is nice to see the fast progress of projects as pioneering prototypes are developed.

I am living two streets away from Las Canterras beach in a traveller’s co-living space in Las Palmas. This means I get to meet a lot of similar people who are also struggling with the language, and have jobs doing similar things! This makes it very easy to relax when I return from work. Every Wednesday and Friday I will play beach volleyball or football at Arracavenas where everyone loves to meet new people.

 

 

So far, I have cycled to Tejeda with a co-worker (which I don’t recommend for a day trip, however the return journey was very fun – we had an average speed of 40kph) the trip took 10 hour in total, and papas arrugas fuelled us up the mountain. Below is a picture of Eric and I as we are nearly at the top of the mountain looking very tired!

 

As you can see, it was so rewarding- the views seemed to make every drop of energy worth it as we were able to see our houses in the distance, somewhere below the clouds. We stopped at the top for a very traditional Pan y Alioli tapas (bread with garlic butter) and a well-deserved beer.

We have also hiked along the north coast to Galdar, been surfing and experienced the old area of the city several times in the evenings.

I have been surfing on the beach but I haven’t been able to stand up on it yet – I blame the board, I think it’s too small for someone my height! I will keep trying though.

Other highlights include nights out in Veguetta. On Thursday nights, almost every young person in Las Palmas will travel to the old area of the city where a lot of bars will be open until 1am to serve mojitos and tapas (the mojitos are stronger and cheaper than what I am used to – beware). Some nights out in Veguetta have been very entertaining, however I think I should visit one time during the day to really appreciate it!

If the second three weeks of this placement are half as exciting and educational as the first, I will have learnt so much more that I’d have expected, whilst also feeling half like a holiday – I hope I can return in the future!

 

I’ll be back to write another post in three weeks to talk in more detail about the projects I’ve been working on here.

 

European Hackathon – Day 1

12 hours and 33 minutes are over now. 20 more to go.

It is an awesome lot of students. The enthusiasm is unbroken, and we all want to make our prototyp working.

Of course, it is also necessary to look after the personal health and eat some pizza.

We are working on the following projects:

  • Team CoolPanda: Realizing a prototype for an ice-dosing module
  • Team ÜMUN: working on a RFID tag mover flag
  • Team PIG: Prototyping a cup cleaning machine
  • Team NoUFO: Automate user input for higher producitvity

Stay put, to see the final result tomorrow.

 

FLL 2016 – Go Robot

Since Project Mi5 is all about modern education, we also support soon-to-be engineering students.

I was very lucky, that I could work together with this very ambitious team from the Gymnasium Ottobrunn: Go Robot. After their participation on the world final in South Africa last year, they continue to amaze. In a very successful pre-competition in Munich and Regensburg, they managed to qualify for the European Final in Hungary on March 19th and 20th.

They told me this (paraphrased):

“You have to work really hard to go to a final. But once you are there, you will learn from the best teams and make new friends from all over the world.”

This young team manages to make our modern media usage look immature: Have a look!

We wish you all the best! I hope you rock the final!

Best regards – Thomas

 

PS: You can also find more information on their website: http://www.go-robot.de/

 

 

 

IQS Design Study – Andres Garcia

We proudly announce a design study, made by the spanish university IQS under Prof. Andres Garcia. It is the university of our alumni team members Jordi and Bernard.

Students made a design study in order to make their ideas of possible modules more tangible. You can see a frozen yogurt machine, with a cooled yoghurt dispenser and a topping module. In another study, there is a dispenser of “disparillos” and other sweets to decorate the product. In video 4/8 you can see an animated dispenser with different toppings and a mixer.

All the Mi5 team congratulates the students at IQS for their great work. We hope to collaborate further on this topic, and would love to build a module together.

Keep up the awesome work!

Ps.: Please note that video 2/8 cannot be watched in germany, since there is a GEMA conflict :-/

Mi5.MUC Kick-Off Hackathon!

We want to get to know you!

For our next increment, we would like to invite new students from TUM, HM, HI and other universities to join us on our Kick-Off session.

First time, we will make an Mi5-Hackathon. As a basis for new ideas and developments, we want to use our existing demonstrator. Since it is already a unique platform to understand automation technology, we want to base your brainstorming on the demonstrator.

The Kick-Off will be on two days: Friday and Saturday, May 8th and 9th of 2015.

We divide every day in 3 steps. Friday:

  1. Get to know the demonstrator. Test every function, find bugs, hick-ups and see for yourself, how you could optimize the machine.
  2. Brainstorm and evaluate your ideas. Structure your thoughts and put them on paper. Show them to the other participiants and tell, what you want and can achieve on the one and half day remaining
  3. Find another person, or work on your idea by yourself.

Saturday:

  1. Sprint Review of the previous day. Tell what is your biggest challenge, and where you could need support.
  2. Continue developing and testing
  3. Integrate your solution in the demonstrator

The already existing Mi5-Team will also work on solutions, but will also assist any newcomer with the necessary knowledge of the existing technology.

We are sure, that it will be a great possibility to kickstart your Mi5 experience. Please keep in mind, that there are numerous possibilities, on how you could continue developing your own idea, or become a part of the Mi5 team: Working student, internships, being a part of a research project, funded by the BMBF (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (DE) / Ministery for Research and Education of Germany) are just a starting point.

If you want to join, please send us an email on the contact form below, or to me personally: frei@itq.de, or just leave a comment. We will send you the specific times and dates.

We are looking forward to hear from you.

Mi5 / Virtual Reality and Real ‘Steel’ side by side

We proudly present you our newest video, where you can see the configuration we used during the SPS IPC drives trade fair.

Side by side you can now compare the simulation in industrialPhysics and the real machine. Don’t get confused, it is not just a nice-to-have feature. It was essential for us, to use the simulation during the development for testing purposes of system-wide aspects.

You can see the following things:

  • No module is visible in the simulation. This means, that the module have not yet been initialized by the process tool, and no position is saved.
  • A virtual module is being initialized. The initialization works in a way, that the mover is passing a sensor (virtual/real) and the module sends back to the XTS a boolean value when the mover passes by.
  • The modules get initialized and, first the Cookie-Module, then one after the other appears in the simulation. Once a module appears, that signalizes, that they now are configured and ready to produce
  • You then will see an order in action.
  • Pay attention to the different colors that the mover is changing to. This is the virtual-reality-mode of the simulation, where a mechanic can see in which state the mover is in. He then would know, if it is save to touch or not.
  • Further you see, that one Cream-Module is missing in the simulation. It has been deactivated on purpose. But nevertheless the machine is able to produce any cookie without error, thanks to our modular approach.

We hope you enjoy the video. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

Industrie 4.0 – Business Day at VHS ENKG – 26. February

Mark the day: 26. February!

A business day regarding topics of Industry 4.0, the Volkshochschule Esslingen, Nürtingen, Kirchheimm, Göppingen is hosting a conference. In cooperation with the Fraunhofer IAO, the Stuttgarter Produktionsakademie, Fraunhofer IPA, VDMA and VDI, it will be a day, full of different events.

It is mainly divided into four topics:

  1. “Produktion und Technik” – Production and Technology
  2. “Strategien und Innovation” – Strategies and Innovation
  3. “Arbeitswelt/Arbeitsorganisation” – Working environment and organization
  4. “Qualifikation and Qualifizierung” – Ability and Qualification

We recommend you to visit the event and stay tuned on this topic. It is a chance, not only for us, but also for every participant to exchange thoughts and generate ideas about the future collaboration in this diverse subject of Industry 4.0. For Industry 4.0 has not stopped yet, it has merely started.

You can find the full schedule an further details under this link: VHS-4Business Schedule (PDF – 2.1 MB)

We are looking forward seeing you there!