Today: Bomb Tech

This week I have been going to Remotec in Oak Ridge for training on our Andros 6A. This company makes the robots that are most popular with bomb squads and the military. Its also the same company that made the robot that was first seen in Stargate.

Well our lab has one of the original Andros robots. Recently, we acquired another one that is a little bit newer (but still old). Part of the acquisition is training classes. I was already familiar with how the robot itself moves but these classes were good. On Tuesday we stripped it down (nuts and bolts) and cleaned it out. This was so we would leran how to service the robot ourselves. When we left on Tuesday, we had not assembled the Arm on it, because we were going to go over the electronics on Thursday.

Today we did just that. We went over the electronics and steps we would be able to take to figure out if we have a bad board or something else. It wasn’t very interesting, but we went through it. Once this was finished, we fully assembled the robot back to the way it should be and got some practical experience. I got the job of being on the bomb squad. A bomb was planted in a car and I had to retrieve it. Navigating to the car was quite easy, but once I was there, it starts to get a little more difficult. I had to open the car door using the arm and grip. Once the door was open, the robot had to be moved to allow for the arm to get into the car and retrieve it. I did it succesfully in about 6 minutes. I was told this was a very good time.

The last part of the training was learning how to make the robot climb stairs. It turns out climbing the stairs is actually pretty easy, but coming down is really were you can screw it up. We were all a little reluctant at first because its a $115,000 robot and nobody wants to break a $115,000 robot. All three of us successfully went up and down the stairs with the robot and successfully completed our Andros Training.

Pirates Win

In a rather impressive showing, the CSC Pirates made the girls of POG walk the plank tonight. The final score was something like 28-0. They really need to fix the scoreboard on field #2.

The more to come

I intended on editing the post from Saturday, but it was just too late and had to get some sleep for church. Anyways, this post will serve as to what should be in there. Friday night was a real late night. It started off with a devo singing songs that I haven’t sung in a while (some as long as 20 years ago!). After devo we decided to hang out at the CSC until the folks from Auburn arrived. They arrived at like 11:00. After talking for a while, a lot of us decided to go to ESPN College Gameday the next day.
ESPN College Gameday
Several of us showed up at the CSC real early Saturday morning. Both Ben and I brought our cameras. He brought a Nikon D1 with 80-200, F2.8 D ED lens. I brought my Canon 20D with 70-200mm F2.8 L IS lens. We were able to find a door that was open at Thompson-Boling Arena. Once in, we just went around the artificial barriers set up by the cops. A couple of cops saw us, but I guess they didn’t mind or thought we were legit since we had our cameras. We didn’t have any press passes or VIP passes, which must have caught the notice of the stage manager. Since we were acting professional, he let us walk around the stage, just as long as “we were on the ground”. It was starting to rain, so when it let up, we left. As we were leaving we saw Rocket Ismael and Charles Barkley hanging around. Oh well…

Back at the CSC, it was a usual Saturday during Football season. Watching a lot of games with the occasional ping pong tournament thrown in. I had a couple of chances to go to the game, but I was wearing a shirt that was Auburn orange and and Auburn cap. I know Tennessee fans, and we aren’t the nicest to the opponent. Especially after having a lesson in good ole fashioned butt kicking, so I decided I would stay at the CSC and watch it.

Shoulda Shot ISO 3200

Well last night was a good chance for me to give my camera a good ole test. The scenario, the CSC Pirates first intramural football game at 9:00. For those of you who are not aware of the CSC Pirates, they are the girls intramural flag football team at the CSC, this is their third year. Also for those of you that are not aware, the photographic conditions at the IM fields are less than ideal. So here’s the gear I brought: Canon 20D, Canon 70-200mm 2.8L IS, and a monopod. The monopod is key, because the lens is a little bit on the heavy side. The Camera was set on Shutter priority with a shutter speed of 1/400 or 1/500 (so as to stop the motion). This usually led to the lens always being at f/2.8. Most of the game was shot at ISO 1600, but I decided to try a few shots at ISO 3200.

I should have shot them all at ISO 3200… So last night and this morning, I was doing the post processing that is normal for DSLR. After adusting the Dynamic Range curve in Canon’s Digital Photo Professional, I ran some noise reduction programs on the images. Overall, I was more satisified with the ISO 3200 images than the ISO 1600. They both cleaned up nicely, but the effect given from the ISO 3200 images was greater, I think. Check it out for yourself in the gallery.

P.S. In case your wondering, the game was tied 6-6 for a while, but towards the end our girls lost it and got beat.