Week 9: Revelations
Week 9: Revelations Welcome to the ninth week of my Senior Project. This was the final week of my Introduction to Engineering Course. I spent Monday and Wednesday observing and facilitating the students’ final project. In particular, I took note of the time that the students had to present and helped set up their PowerPoint presentations before class. Many of the final products were very impressive, such as an exercise machine, a portable desk, and a biker’s helmet. However, the hardest part was actually grading the students’ work. All of the groups had amazing products and ideas, but it was difficult to determine whether one group had a better idea and presentation than another. In particular, it was kind of daunting to hold the fate of these students’ grades in my hands. The most important lesson that I learned from these projects was the importance of having presentation skills. Many of the students had great ideas, but they were not able to provide a simple PowerPoint or sufficient context to describe their product.
For my independent research project, there were no significant results that I obtained. However, I was talking with a graduate student about how I can improve my project. He provided me with a lot of input based on a similar project that he worked on. For example, he gave me a solution to a concern that I was having. This concern was about how people naturally walked with a cane. Users tend to lift their canes up and down because it is easier to operate that way (instead of having to drag their cane). When the cane is lifted to a higher elevation, then the ultrasonic sensor detects a different ground level; therefore, this higher elevation detected by the ultrasonic sensor may be assumed to be stairs instead of the ground. His solution was to attach hinges (like those on a door) to the cane; then, the ultrasonic sensor is attached to another side of the hinge. When the cane is lifted up to a higher elevation, then the hinge extends outwards (due to the force of gravity) and causes the angle of the ultrasonic sensor to be modified and still be detected that the person is on the ground, not stairs.
In addition, the graduate student advocated that I talk with a blind user, so I can get their input on the project. I decided to observe documentaries about how blind users were able to use their white canes to navigate around. I was completely surprised by these documentaries because I assumed that the canes were held and used vertically; however, the blind users tilt their canes downwards and move the cane from one side to another, so they can detect objects in front of them. This information will be significant in how I modify my cane project in the next few weeks.
For my research, I continued to shadow the graduate student. This week, I observed the cell samples to determine whether there was any contamination. The samples had grown significantly compared to last time by developing branches and connections between each neuron. It allowed us to determine that the cells were getting closer to being ready for testing their electrical activity. Afterward, I removed the medium from the cell culture and added a fresh new medium, so the cells can continue to grow. This allowed me to once again build upon my skills in using a pipette. Additionally, the graduate student continued to elucidate more information about how the experiment would be conducted. In particular, it was fascinating to learn about the experimental regulations of animals and the cellular properties of hippocampal cells.
For my independent research project, I continued to finish my final topic about alcohol impacting emotions. I discovered that alcohol has a vital role in controlling emotions due to a chemical called ethanol, which can cause relaxing and depressive feelings (Oscar-Berman &Marinković 2007). In addition, alcohol primarily affects the frontal lobe of the body, while other cortical regions of the brain tend to have less severe impacts (Oscar-Berman &Marinković 2007). Simultaneously, I have started to begin working on my outline. This outline is split into three parts: background information about how emotional processing functions, information about the impact of drugs on this system, and information about the impact of diseases on this system. I have started the process of converting my notes from the last few weeks into an outline. Next week, I hope to provide more information about my paper and what I plan to incorporate into it