The Jan 2024 Update

Welcome to another Burf update, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year. I had hoped to do an end-of-December update but it just didn’t happen. I am trying to spend more time thinking and less time jumping around.

2023 Goals Review

Let’s review the last year as it’s hard to remember what I achieved. I am going to be harsh and mark anything that didn’t achieve much as a failure. I will also add in stuff that had been removed from the list as completed

Education

  • Goal 1: Progress with my MBA (80%, original target to finish by May 24, likely Jan, achieved)
  • Goal 2: Continue with self-driving courses (Completed! achieved)
  • Stretch Goal 3: Spend some time at Khan Academy on Algebra and Geometry (Failed)

Projects

  • Goal 1: Work on the electric motorbike project (Tested motor twice, battery issues, but achieved)
  • Goal 2: Finish the Inmoov robot and fix the issues listed above so that the robot can be demonstrated to people. (I fixed a lot of things on the Inmoov robot, however stopped for some unknown reason, the original goal was to fix it)
  • Stretched Goal 3: Decide what to do with Burf.co Search Engine, it’s getting a chunk of traffic but what’s the point/plan? (Updates were done however failed as did not find a reason to have keep the site)
  • Mobility Scooter / Electric Wheelchair, both of these made remote controlled. (achieved)

Life

  • Goal 1: Get Fit and less fat! 85-90KG (passed as did get to 90kg before Xmas)
    Goal 2: Load the Truck with tech and have it ready for camping (Paused till summer)
  • Goal 3: Carry on being a Governor (Ongoing, however, relaxing a little on this, achieved)
  • Stretched Goal 4: Get a shed and put lighting in the loft (Lights done, shed still debating)

Sub Projects

So, I did a lot of ‘playing’ last year and I did more with Arduinos and sensors than any other year however this did take up a lot of time.

  • Arduino with Potentiometer
  • Arduino with Hoverboard motors (2 different ideas, one blown up)
  • Arduino with Vex motors and sensors
  • Arduino with Matrix robotics
  • Improved grounding issue with Red Robotics Head
  • Updated Burf.co with Paging, image search, and file search
  • Controlled both Mobility scooter and Wheelchair with Arduino and PS2 controller
  • Lots of fixes to the Inmoov robot
  • Finally used the CNC machine
  • Played about with a Trigger 125cc trike
  • Tried fixing an Electric Scooter (Yamaha EC-03)
  • Finished reading https://medium.com/@maxdeutsch/how-to-build-a-self-driving-car-in-one-month-d52df48f5b07
  • Fixed a petrol generator
  • Did some welding
  • Designed some 3D parts
  • Built a robotic car for my course
  • Built an IOT house
  • Got another Gwiz
  • Got a Navara
  • Fired up a Chinese Lidar system
  • Finished The X-Files
  • Did a few random short Udemy Courses

I think there were a few other things to add to the list but as you can see, it is quite a big list of stuff that’s useful (welding, designing 3D parts, and learning Arduino), etc but it lacked direction and purpose.

if I look at 2023, I did do a lot of things, but none of them are as impressive as the 2022 robotic head, or fixing the Gwiz electric car. I think I will declare to myself that 2023 was the year of learning (self-driving course, MBA, and governor training for example). I also noticed that I did call out and try to focus last year, which clearly didn’t work as well as I wanted. I did start 2023 part-time (not working Wednesdays) however due to signing up for the MBA and governor stuff, this became pointless.

2024, is the year to focus

Terrible title but I need to do it. The issue I have is, what do I focus on as I have a backlog of items that I want to do? I think the best thing to do is list them below and put the pros and cons:


MBA
I am nearly done, and this has to be completed!

Maths + Math Diploma (COE)
I loved maths as a kid, but now I am terrible at it. Most of the robotics courses I want to take require maths far beyond my ability.
Complexity: High
Time: High
Value: I could do well and feel better about my abilities. I could really struggle
Dependencies: None

Self-driving course with robotic car (Udemy)
A fun project that will help me drive a small robotic car around a track (not virtual) and read road signs.
Complexity: Medium
Time: Medium
Value: It would help me with the self-driving mobility / Gwiz project
Dependencies: None

Udacity robotics course
A short course that I have tried a few times before, I really did want to do this
Complexity: High
Time: Low
Value: I would feel proud that I did this
Dependencies: Maths

Self-driving mobility scooter
This is about taking the theory of the other self-driving course and applying it to something bigger. I would need to set a definition of done before I started (e.g. what is the goal).
Complexity: Medium
Time: Medium
Value: I guess this depends on the goal, where would I use this?
Dependencies: could benefit from self-driving course with a robotic car

Robotic project using a wheelchair
I have always wanted to build my own robot! Now I know I have the Inmoov but it doesn’t leave my room. I want a create a robot that works in the outside world. The wheelchair base could be the starting point of this.
Complexity: Medium
Time: Medium – High
Value: Depending on the scope, this could be the main project for the year. I could take it places, make videos of it, etc. Use the same software as Inmoov or ROS 2
Dependencies: Maybe ROS 2

Gwiz
So this could be the next step on from the mobility scooter or a complete waste of time? It depends on what I want to do with it. Self-drive? Make a battery pack for it? Upgrade it.
Complexity: Unknown
Time: Unknown
Value: Unknown, but I did have fun last time. Would involve me insuring it, self-driving could be dangerous
Dependencies: could benefit from Self-driving course with robotic car + Self-driving mobility scooter

Electric motorbike project
So partly done, but I need to try and bigger battery, I guess I would put this to bed if it needed lots of work.
Complexity: Low
Time: Low
Value: Could be fun if it worked
Dependencies: None

Learn ROS 2
I have a ROS 2 (Robotics Operating System) course I want to do, I have used ROS in the past and it’s the industry standard for robotics. If I built a robot, it may use ROS. Previous ones I have built have. ROS comes with lots of libraries that would be super useful. A course that used ROS 2 + Arduino + SLAM would be super useful for mapping
Complexity: Medium
Time: Low
Value: This is something a Roboticist should be interested
Dependencies: None

Inmoov Robot
So the Inmoov robot mainly works, god knows why I have not finished this off, updated it, used MyRobotLab more etc. I have been watching the YouTube videos on it.
Complexity: Medium
Time: Medium
Value: This is something that would be great to show off and generate content.
Dependencies: Could link to Robotic project using a wheelchair

Burf.co / Hidden Web
Hmm, I seem to not be able to let this die, I mean the search engine part of the site. The blog needs updating to be themed more around robotics and R&D. I would have to put in a lot of effort to make it into a business to make money.
Complexity: Low
Time: Unknown
Value: It’s been plodding along for years, and it’s dated however I have lots of ideas for it, but all would require a lot of time and effort
Dependencies: None

Coursera AI course
Like the Udacity course, I have wanted to do this course for years however my Maths has let me down
Complexity: High
Time: Medium
Value: I would feel proud that I did this
Dependencies: Maths

Identifying a Path

Boy, that was a lot to digest (my head is spinning) and I think this is the longest post I have ever made! However, it is useful to see the dependencies and work out the right path to take:

  • Burf.co / HiddenWeb = Independent Project, no real goal, could be re-purposed for my robotics project as a backend
  • Electric Motorbike = Independent Project, short time impact, fail fast.
  • Maths Diploma / Math Khan -> Udacity course -> Coursera course = Learn a lot, build nothing but be proud that I completed 2 courses that I have wanted to do for years (or fail them).
  • Self-Driving Course -> Mobility Scooter -> Gwiz = Focus on self-driving vehicles which I did last year and make something that works in the real world.
  • Inmoov Robot <-> Robotic Wheelchair <-> ROS 2? -> Learn and have a lot to show for it. This could be a lot of fun and be something I could show off that I have designed and built.

    Key: -> Leads on to. <-> Could be linked and/or linked either way

Taking a moment to process

So I started writing this blog post on the 3rd of January and got to this point and thought, wow, I need to sit down and think about what I want to achieve, what can I achieve, and what I will enjoy the most as these can easily not be the same thing. Whichever path I decide to take, I need to set out goals and a definition of done for them. I think this is a good place to end this post, with the aim of in the next blog post declaring what I have chosen and what are the goals of it.

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