When I began this project, I honestly had no idea what to expect. I have had advanced experience with computers, but only in using programs such as AutoCAD, Revit, and Inventor for architectural design and mechanical drafting. I possessed little knowledge in regards to computer programming, terminology, and communications systems. Therefore, I looked forward to gaining as much knowledge and experience possible throughout the summer.
As is evident by the "What I Learned" section of this website, nearly everything about this project was new to me, and in hindsight, I am quite amazed at all the knowledge I have gained. Farid was helpful, yet he left it up to me to learn a large portion of all the materials. This aspect of the project, though not very pleasing to me, was a rather large part of the project experience. Farid taught me how to teach myself; nevertheless, he was always willing to help me and teach me what I needed to know. This was especially prominent in learning the LabVIEW program, for I needed to just experience the program for myself.
This project, though titled "Programming Your Roomba," allowed me to experience much more than just programming computers; it involved learning about several different aspects of computer and engineering sciences. That is why I believe this was such a unique experience and excellent project; I received a little taste of the many flavors of science. Since I currently have no idea what I wish to study in college, this was the perfect project for me. I was able to see what it takes to create a computer program and spend many hours staring at a computer screen attempting to figure why the program does not work. I experienced the process of putting together a circuit board, and the burns from soldering wires. I spent several hours building and modifying a working arm of LEGOs, taking into account the physics behind it all, including different forces of the gears and the varying weights of the pieces. With all of this experience, I can look into my future schooling with a different lens, identifying what I enjoy and what I do not.
I am sincerely thankful for being able to work on this project. I would like to thank Dr. Farid Farahmand for giving up his time to work with me and help me throughout the project, and also the Sonoma State University STEM Summer Internship program and all of those that make it work!