Electronics and Microcontrollers

Steve Toth

Steve Toth,
Junior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 9 November 2014

No… I am not an electrical engineer. But being an Engineering Technology and Management student, I receive a good taste of electronics and programming. In the final project for my electronics and microcontrollers class, we are creating a robot that is completely autonomous. The robot will drive forward until it reaches an obstacle which is sensed by an ultrasonic sensor. At this point the robot will reverse and the ultrasonic sensor will turn left and right, using a servo, sensing for more obstructions and determine which direction to turn and continue forward.

Mini Electric Car

This project is based on an Arduino microcontroller which is a platform programmable in the C computer language. It can accept digital and analog input signals from components such as switches and sensors and then process this data to command outputs for components such as motors, servos and lights. All of this is powered by a pack of 4 AA batteries fed through a voltage regulator providing a constant 5V to feed the Arduino.

Although you could probably tell from my past blogs I am more of a mechanical than an electrical person, but I’ve really been enjoying this class and especially this project as I have been learning a lot about how many of the devices in our everyday life work that you don’t really think about.

Group Fitness Classes on Campus

Courtney Sterrick

Courtney Sterrick,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 8 November 2014

In addition to completing the homework assigned for classes, it is crucial to exercise and keep your body healthy. Over my time at OU, I have come to enjoy and participate in a number of the group fitness classes offered at Ping, our fitness center on campus. Group fitness classes are free to OU students and are offered Sunday-Saturday. Classes are led by OU students and include kickboxing, cardio dance, yoga, Zumba, cycling, hardcore (toning/strengthening abdominal and back muscles), and piloxing (a combination of pilates, kickboxing, and dance).

Of the classes offered, I most commonly attend kickboxing and cardio dance. Both are fun ways to burn calories and relieve stress. Kickboxing is a great workout where the instructor leads us through various series of motions throughout the 45-60 min class. In cardio dance, popular songs are choreographed to dance moves designed to make you sweat (similar to Zumba). Cardio dance is my favorite group fitness class offered. I really enjoy that while I am by no means a great dancer, no one cares; everyone is there to exercise—not to watch you make a fool of yourself!

Whether I attend by myself or with a group of my friends, group fitness classes are always a fun way to workout. I have also noticed that taking time to exercise helps clear my mind and makes
studying/completing homework assignments less overwhelming. Taking advantage of these offerings on campus lets you have fun and stay healthy at the same time.

Double Major: CS + VisCom

Rachel Fryan

Rachel Fryan,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 5 November 2014

This semester, most of the classes I’m taking are for my second major in the Scripps College. The actual university name is “Visual Communications: Interactive Multimedia” which is a mouthful so we refer to it as “VisCom” or “Interactive”. I started this major my junior year because I thought it would be a great complement for my computer science degree. Visual communications is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the study of how things are communicated visually and answers the questions like: Why do we look where we do? What makes us remember certain advertisements?

ALT

Most people don’t really understand what interactive is so I like to describe it as such: If you think of a website, software, or app, computer science gives me the knowledge to work on what is referred to as the back end. This includes all the coding, performance, and all the logical concerns of the piece. Interactive gives me the knowledge to work on the front end. This means all the design, aesthetics, where people are most likely to look and click, and user experience.

I love both of my majors so much and find both very interesting. It’s also interesting how there will always be a battle between the two in industry. For example, if a CS person creates software, the last concern on their mind is aesthetics, but you will have a completely opposite opinion if you talk to a designer. They want something to look cool and work no matter how long it takes to code. Either way, I hope to use the get the most out of my dual degree and have it help me land my dream job: a software designer developer.

My Favorite Restaurant in Athens

Lance Jackson

Lance Jackson,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 4 November 2014

Athens offers a number of unique restaurants that are exclusive to the city. From Big Mama’s burritos, to Kiser’s barbecue to Wings Over Athens, there is a wide variety of food options in the city of Athens that can be enjoyed.

However, one of these restaurants will always hold a very special place in my heart. That restaurant is Ginger’s Asian Kitchen, commonly known as Ginger’s. Ginger’s is a restaurant that allows the customer to make his or her own Asian bowl. Customers may choose rice, noodles or both to start and are able to choose between a wide variety of meats, vegetables and sauces to top off their order. For those watching their weight Ginger’s also offers different soups and salads on the menu. Sushi lovers should not feel left out either seeing that sushi can either be added to a bowl as a substitute for a meat selection or ordered separately.

Next, Ginger’s offers a delivery service that will deliver anywhere within a 3-mile radius, this is very convenient for us busy college students because it keeps us from having to take a break from our studies and traveling to the actual store to pick up our order. In closing, for any of those who might be visiting Athens in the near future or have never experienced the glorious food served at Ginger’s, I would strongly suggest making that your restaurant of choice the next time you are faced with that decision.

Water Treatment Field Trip

Nick Sparks

Nick Sparks,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 30 October 2014

Throughout the semester in my water and waste water management class, we have been in the process of designing a water treatment plant. During class we have learned all types of treatment processes and how to remove contaminants to provide quality drinking water to the public. We learned how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides the water quality standards and from the standards civil engineers are free to design the water treatment plant however they would like as long as they meet the standards.

There comes a time when learning theory in class does not teach you everything you need to know about water treatment. During our own design project, there were multiple times when we were doing calculations to determine tank size we questioned ourselves if our numbers made sense. Most of the time we were unable not comprehend how massive water treatment plants are.

As a part of the class and a teaching tool our professor organized a field trip to a water treatment plant in Lancaster, Ohio and a waste water treatment plant in Columbus, Ohio. Being able to see these plants in person helped us understand on how massive these plants are actually and help us realize that our calculations of our own design are acceptable.

Pictures provided show both the water treatment plant and waste water treatment plant.

Field Trip

Field Trip

Field Trip

Field Trip

Field Trip

Sightseeing at Halloween

Wilson  Taylor

Wilson Taylor,
Junior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 27 October 2014 -

This past weekend was Halloween in Athens. Prior to coming to Ohio University I had heard a lot about the event–both positive and negative. Being a junior, this was my third time experiencing the event. Quickly looking back, I can confidently say all three of my Halloween experiences have been positive.

In my first year, I was hesitant about heading uptown for Halloween. After being guilt-tripped by both my RA and roommate at the time, I ended up walking the stretch of the event, Court Street, with them. Once there, I immediately realized I had made the right decision–the atmosphere was simply amazing.

Now I don’t think twice about heading uptown. For me, Halloween is walking Court Street with a small group of friends while eating funnel cake, corn dogs, and being fascinated by all the costumes.

Each year I try to pick a favorite costume I’ve seen. This usually leads to conflict amongst friends, but I like to think I make the best choices. For my first Halloween, my favorite costume was a group of jellyfish. About fourteen people had on robes with bubble umbrellas. The umbrellas had streamers hanging down from the sides while flashing Christmas lights were on the insides. The group bounced up and down the street–-it was truly a sight to be seen!

Last year my favorite costume was a Toy Story army figure. The man who was dressed up as a soldier had his costume painted a uniform shade of dark jungle green. He lay down on the street perfectly motionless until a crowd had gathered; he would then leap two to three feet forward. He did such a great job I found myself questioning if it was even a costume.

This year, my favorite costume was a group dressed up as the Hogwarts castle from Harry Potter. My fascination with the scene was not only the detail put into the costumes but also the memories the scene brought back. I found myself remembering the wonderful times I had reading the Harry Potter series with my Dad in middle school.

Overall, Halloween in Athens is an amazing experience. If you approach the weekend with a positive attitude, a fun group of friends and respect for the community you’ll gain some awesome memories from the whole shebang every year!

SWE Conference 2014

Natasha Norris

Natasha Norris,
Junior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 26 October 2014

October 22nd through 25th, Ohio University Society of Women Engineers traveled to Los Angeles for our annual national conference.

We left around 3 a.m. Wednesday to catch our 7 a.m. flight from Columbus.

OU SWE at Columbus Airport

After we arrived in Los Angeles, we spent a portion of the day on Santa Monica Beach. We carried our luggage around the beach and caught received many stares.

OU SWE at Santa Monica Beach

Then we traveled to Pasadena. We were all exhausted by the end of the day…

Exhausted

By the second day, we were fresh and awake for our conference. The Society of Women Engineers annual national conference offers the largest career fair for engineers available in the United States. We spent the day at seminars prepping for the career fair on Friday. The seminars ranged from helping young girls learn about engineering to how to start a job in a new work place. At the conference, I was able to make connections with many other SWE chapters such as Ohio State and Cincinnati.

SWE Conference 2014

On Friday, we were ready to win over an interview at the career fair. OU SWE members interviewed with Northrop Grumman, Rockwell Automation, Turner Construction, Toyota, GM, Eaton, 3M and Halliburton to name a few. Some of us were even able to land an internship on the spot. I received internship offers from Northrop Grumman and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Friday night left some sightseeing time. We all traveled to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and had our group dinner at a nearby pub.

OU SWE at Hollywood Walk of Fame

Saturday morning we left Los Angeles with our souvenirs and exhaustion, but great memories we shared with our OU SWE members. But, let me leave you with an unknown fact in Ohio that only Californians know…

Water in a Box