Living the dream, working on a robot

My semester is full-time, but I’m excited about my courses. I’m very focused on the required Android development class, because it’s giving me some insight into how a mobile OS handles user-built apps. But also because it ties into another, much more interesting class. Dubbed ‘Applied Research’, this is an invite-only course with a subject that changes each semester based on the faculty’s mode du moment.

This year, it happened to be an excess inventory of Temi robots, which had been purchased by college managers without much of a plan for using them. Temi runs on Android, so it’s been a great synergy with the Android Development class. For example, we learned how to use a BroadcastReceiver to pickup Bluetooth signals, which helped us find nearby BT devices for Temi to connect and interact with.

Our class of 10 students is split into two teams solving two problems. One team is customizing Temi’s built-in tour functions to lead students around the college. My team is attempting to connect to Bluetooth devices to Temi. Our use case is have Temi follow a predetermined route through the halls of a hospital, connect to medical devices like the Shimmer3, and then (securely) downloading and passing that data to the appropriate medical staff.

Our greatest challenges have been transitioning from Java, which is taught at the college, to Kotlin; learning Android development as we see it in action for the first time; unpacking the Temi SDK; and discovering Temi’s quirks, like the time it moved too quickly over a bump and fell onto the tile, screen-first.

I’m personally very grateful to be part of this team. Robots and Bluetooth are two subjects that have always interested me, and now I have the chance to dive deep into each.