The Wednesday Update: On Saturday!

Even though it’s Saturday night, I wanted to do a weekly update. It’s important to me to at least show progress or benefits of taking time off from work to progress my hobbies/education in one way or another. In the last update, I said I had a rough plan. Now, how well have I progressed with that plan!

Begin Robotics by Reading University

This is now complete and I really enjoyed doing it even though I have completed it before. The simulations tasks really get you thinking and I now even understand the maths in the motor controller example. I did have to take a little time out to get my head around it however this is all part of that plan.

Maths

So I have started relearning Algebra using Khan Academy, I have also been asking friends and family who know maths a lot better than me. This has really helped and I am starting to get the brain working again. At school, maths was my strongest subject by far.

Gwiz electric car

The Gwiz is back from the welder, I have done a few jobs on it and it is booked in for an MOT next Wednesday :). It did come back with an odd beep sound but that was just the door sensor being a pain

Arena

Taking a step back from trying to jump before I can walk, as mentioned I did really enjoy the simulations on the Begin Robotics course. So much so that I plan to set up a hardware (e.g using actual robots) version of it. I have a VEX Robotics competition area that I plan to put in the conservatory. This should allow me to do ultrasonics wall detection, light following, line following and even sending data between robots.

Conclusion

All in all, I do think I am making good progress so far!

Progress so far : I need a plan

So I have had my first Wednesday afternoon off and I did do some useful things (clear space for working, sell some stuff, do some online learning). However, it has become apparent I really need to focus on a subset of things and get them done. Already I have signed up for lots of online courses, and have a billion ideas. Usually, this would be good thing but context switching wastes time and I don’t have a lot of time!

So, initially here are the high-level objectives I want to achieve over the next couple of months from my Wednesdays afternoons.

Finish Begin Robotics by a Reading university.

To be fair I have completed this 4-week course before but I really enjoyed it and have nearly finished it already again. This is a great introduction to robotics. (ETA 1 week)

Maths

Next I think I need to improve my Maths, mainly Algebra and surrounding topics that are useful for robotics. Robotics can contain quite a lot of formulas from PID controllers to working out the position of things (kinematic) and this is usually the area I really struggle on. Khan Academy is my go-to place for this. (2-3 weeks)

Re-intro into Python and Kinematics
Next,
there are 2 other Future Learn courses I want to finish, another robotics one (again nearly finished but paused on the maths) and a really simple Python course which I should smash through. I have done a bit of Python in the past but it’s been a while. Python is the go-to language for AI & Robotics (2 weeks)

Do some practical
Once I reach here I hope to take a short pause from education and put into practice some of the stuff I have learned. I would like to get my Inmoov head talking with lip sync (Arduino wired up to a sound level meter) and I want to add some sensors to the GWiz car and see if we can get a picture of the outside. (2-3 weeks)

Burf.co

On a slight diversion, I would also like to update Burf.co to be a bit more useful/themed around my learning. Everything is a bit static and rather boring. (1-2 weeks)

End of year goals

Once I hit these, I think it’s then time to review and see what I want to do next.
By the end of the year, I would like to be more comfortable with Maths, general robotics and have a semi-complete Inmoov robot. I would also love to finish the Udacity Self Driving course I attempted years ago.