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Building the Robot: Not Chapter 1 - Sure I'm Dead Inside, but Let's Do It

Building the Robot: Not Chapter 1 - Sure I'm Dead Inside, but Let's Do It

I might start saying that the year started all right.  I did some LSD, had a major mental breakdown from terrible holiday season with an ex-girlfriend and my friends at the beach.

After arriving back home I got into some trouble with her health issues. I decided(not in any way a rational choice for that matter) to not keep seeing her, may she be well today, I wouldn’t know.

In summary, I had just broke off a completely toxic relationship. I wasn’t feeling all that self confident and my friend (who I’ll call Cap) got me into competing with robots again.

So things started all right I guess. I was getting self confidence again, got good grades again, felt as if I could be a good engineer and stuff.

Such a cool robot…

So Cap got other people into this competition as well. The robot was supposed to move containers around a dock and to boats. All in miniature. Cap got another friend of ours who was too tired of competing and on the break of mental collapse because of it(I wish I was kidding). This friend I’ll just call the Red.

Red had read a book on Scrum and a phrase ressonated with him (“If your project sits on the head of one person, then the management failed”), such a phrase that he felt was the reason he didn’t like to compete again.

So we began talking about this new management style, I had read the book also and we were begining to be excited for the project.

Cap got Mom(another friend I’ll kindly ommit the name), Rock, and the Man(Boy, he carried the whole team on himself, but enough spoilers).

So the year began with a group of crazy dreamy-eyed people trying to accomplish in a year the best robot we as a team had ever built.

The Man focused on the 3D model and Mechanics of the robot. Mom would give support to work on 3D modeling, and on sensors. Rock would gather with Cap to work with the new hardware board BeagleBone Blue.

Me and Red would work on projecting the electronics of the robot, design, manufacture PCBs.

We started using Agile methods of organizing our work. By dividing tasks into different levels of dificulty, having daily WhatsApp follow up meetings in order to check for any bottleneck.

Soon the semester creeped in and we sometimes didn’t work for up to 2 weeks at a time. Maybe we didn’t prioritize the competition early on. Cap and I were on a complicated subject that required us to build RISCV processors(For those of you who don’t know what it is, it is HELL). Basically a project that one of our friends was doing as his graduation project in over 6 months. We were doing it multiple times over periods of 2 weeks.

It was indeed fun, and doing it has helped me pull myself up for a few days, my confidence grew a little bit.

Back to the competition, we were lacking behind on some of our tasks. Then, in paralel we were talking to some of the best professors in our college (that would work with us, that is my definition of “best professors”).

One of these guys was a young teacher, he had hooked up with my ex-girlfriend years before I met her. It was a funny situation to be in. I admired him, a lot, and I was both taking direct classes with him and being mentored in a project that could build on top of our soon to be robot.

Then, it happened, the robot was nowhere near where we wanted it to be…

On top of it, I was getting the feeling that I was becoming more and more dead weight again.