Reflection 6 – The End
Goodbyes Are Hard
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My name is Patrobas Adewumi and I have had the privilege of being the project leader for team 3Delta in our third year Engineering project – Pulse (Bicycle Innovation)
This is the sixth and last of the reflection series where I share my experiences; lessons learned, project progress and demonstrations. Please enjoy!
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” – Lao Tzu
This is the reflection series finale, and I will be discussing our project closure, what design changes we would make to improve the project and how the project has impacted me personally.
Demo And Future Changes
The moment of truth arrived on the day of our demonstration for the project. I was filled with excitement and anxiety at the same time. I was proud of our work but I also hoped that Profs and TAs would like it as much as my team did.
First, we did our demonstration to the TAs and it went smoothly except that our power bank was not getting charged while cycling (or spinning the wheels) as expected. The TAs were satisfied regardless since they could see the whole concept working together and we had videos of it working during testing that we were able to show them. Due to out tenacity and the fact that we wanted to make sure it worked when the profs came around, we were able to solve the problem in a short 5 minutes and invited the TAs to come see that our product indeed works as we intended.
Our second demonstration was to Professor Q.J. Zhang. It seemed like He loved our short presentation of the overall project and the demonstration of out working prototype. I do not know what it is with demonstrations, but it sure does not know when to have hiccups. Now, it was box Uno that was not functioning as expected for our demonstration, like the TAs, Prof Zhang gave us the opportunity to fix our problem which we successfully did after about 3 minutes.
Our final demonstration was to Professor Alan Steele. We were quite fortunate that everything went very well with the demo. We talked about potential improvements and how we have been able to work on a project from ground up, the benefits of that in our fourth year capstone project and ultimately in our careers.
The last two weeks of our project was sometimes frustrating, then exciting, frustrating and exciting and then exciting. Shortly after our last presentation to the class we were able to successfully get every part of our project to work, independently. The next and final step was to put everything together, making sure the whole project works together as we intended in our design
As expected, there were some challenges faced with putting together the entire component of the project together. From box Uno, the challenges were mostly in fitting all of the microcontrollers, soldered prototyping boards and the joystick all in a 18 x 6 x 6 box. As for box Dos, there were not a lot of problems encountered except for the AC to DC circuit itself, which was designed apart from the box.
After the successful completion of getting all of our circuitry, sensors and microcontrollers working together, we tested them simultaneously and fixed some minor bugs that crawled up on us. A major and recurring challenge was with out box Uno where we have the LCD display and our joystick. Several times, the LCD would not receive the input data from the sensors in spite of the fact that the connections were correct on the microcontrollers. We found that the problem was with the taped parts of the wiring.
Although, we have ensured to simplify our product with having the user in minf during the design process, we wanted to make sure to have a final product that was aesthetically pleasing for our demonstration, and ultimately for the consumers/users. In order to do so, we decided to spray paint the boxes with glittery black as seen in the Snapchat video below taken during our demonstration to Professor Zhang.
What Would We Change?
I enjoyed my time throughout the process of this project lifecycle and would not change the experiences had. It will be fair to mention that there was ups and downs in the process, but those moments helped shaped my experience in this project. And I have gained some valuable life lessons in the process.
As for the actually project (or product), there are a few changes I would make if I had to do this again. One major flaw was in the design of the packaging of our boxes to contain our circuits and parts. I know for sure, with better planning and possibly with an industrial designer on the team, that part of the project would have been a lot easier and more reliable. Another addition I would make in a beta/future version of Pulse will be to build an app for analytics and an overall increased user experience. With the app, the user is able to get more accurate and personalized data on the LCD display and would be able to monitor and track their development easily.
Furthermore, in a future version of the product, box Uno and box dos would communicate wirelessly to avoid using multiple cables and really to improve the overall ease of installation of Pulse for the user.
Impact Of The Project On Me
The whole process of the project has been surreal to me. It is with mixed emotions that we did our last presentation.
I have learned a lot from the project and I believe the lessons would continue to be invaluable to me in my future endeavors. Some of the important lessons I have learned include the value of teamwork, collaboration and leadership skills.
As a leader, I have learned the art of communication, being able to hold a conversation with people of different views, beliefs and ideologies can be challenging but also very rewarding. Through my position as the team leader, I was able to develop relevant skills in the area. Also, I was able to learn how to delegate work to teammates and the fundamentals on mutual respect in relationships, especially in a professional atmosphere.
Glad We're Done, Sad We're Gone
The past four months have provided some invaluable experiences and the opportunity to meet very wonderful people. I have made connections with people I would otherwise have not met and I was able to grow my network in the process.
I really want to say a huge thank you to my team, the entire class, the TAs and the Professors for making the experience such a wonderful one.
It was such a great journey and I am grateful for everyone that was part of the journey! Although, this marks the end of the third year project, it marks a new beginning of friendships and growth and drive for me in my professional life.
Thanks for reading!