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Meet Our Interns: Part 2

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Meet Our Interns: Part 2

We want to expose every intern to what it takes to build a show-ready automation system. They not only work with the mechanics but with the electrical components, electronics, software, even the shipping and logistics. It is more than engineering,  CAD work, machining, or coding – we bring all those skills to play every time we take on a project. Our second intern is a perfect example of the melting pot of technical skills and theatrical interest that we love to see.

 

Meet Ross

After high school, Ross Berry’s passion for robotics led him to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Robotics Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he is now a senior. Robotics, Berry says, is a combination of the computer science, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering majors. “In high school,” he says, “I was getting into robotics club, and I was also getting really into theater. The two passions lived side by side until I found a way to combine them.”

At WPI, he further discovered that his path for robotics overlapped with his interest in theater, where he enjoys scenic work, lighting and sound. Instead of just knowing how to design electrical systems well, Ross says, “Robotics teaches you to take the knowledge you have designing electrical systems and to integrate that into software.”

 

Okay Google – Find “Creative Conners Internships”

Ross’s interest in Creative Conners started in the spring when he was researching internship opportunities. Ross stumbled across the website (Google is good). It was a perfect match for what he wanted to pursue. After e-mailing Gareth Conner his resume and an explanation of why he wanted to work here, an interview was set up and shortly thereafter an offer was made. Ross was a good fit for us and we were a good fit for him, sometimes it’s just that simple.

Will Code for Food

Early in the summer, Ross focused on electrical work, and then shifted into programming and coding. “Initially,” he says, “I worked a lot with prototyping changes to the Stagehand motion controller. Then I worked on improving our internal supply management program, and upgrading the Stagehand firmware.” Although he knew C and Java coding languages coming into this internship, Ross is proud of the Python knowledge he has acquired over the summer.

Ross was impressed with the range of experiences his internship offered. “Gareth gives all of the interns a broad taste of everything that happens.” His favorite project to work on was the web development experience he gained upgrading in-house supply software, Off the Shelf. “After working on Off the Shelf for a while,” cites Ross, “I think I’ve gotten much more efficient. It was really cool learning a variety of new skills.” He has also done lots of trouble-shooting on equipment and rentals needing to be repaired and checked.

Each day, Ross’s learning process was different and new. “Going in, I reviewed a bunch of tutorials to get up to speed. Gareth gave me easier projects at first, then ramped me up to more advanced stuff, offering his help whenever I got stuck.” He was never on his own but we don’t babysit either. Ross stepped up big time and several software projects benefited greatly from his work. Our internal supply software has never been zippier and some of Ross’ Stagehand coding has already been incorporated in recent updates.

A Nice Short Commute

Originally from Easton, Massachusetts, Ross commutes to the Warren, RI, office of Creative Conners. His internship has further developed his passion for theater and robotics, giving him cutting edge-experience that will propel him to the next level of success at WPI and beyond.

Ross was great to work with this summer. As the school year starts and he dives back into campus we know the past few months were smoother for us because he was here. We hope he had as much fun as we did working with him.

Spikemark 3.7.0 is here!

spikemarkWe have been working hard for the last few months to update Spikemark and we are pleased to announce that it is ready for prime time!  The newest version of everyone’s favorite automation control software includes a few additional features, updates the firmware on the Stagehands and squashes a couple of bugs.  Although we put the new firmware through its paces in the shop, if you are currently in the middle of a run we recommend holding off on the upgrade until your current show closes.

 

ADDED FEATURES:

Persistent Position.

With the newest Stagehand firmware installed, the current encoder position will be stored in the Stagehand – meaning the 9v batteries are no longer necessary to hold the position information.  This new feature is available for all Stagehands except the FX.  We added some behind the scenes magic which writes the position to flash memory after the position has been steady for 20 seconds.  Additionally, anytime the E-Stop is triggered the Stagehand will compare the current position to the stored position and write it to memory if it is different.

If you have a Classic or original Mini you will now see encoder counts on the display when jogging as well as rolling fault messages.

Persistent Position

 

CTRL-SHIFT-T.

We added a keyboard shortcut which will attempt to ‘connect to all stagehands’.

CTRL_SHFT_T

 

A New Stagehand FX Input Trigger.

We added a new Input trigger event to the Stagehand FX – you can now choose to turn on a given output.

Stagehand FX.ISO

SQUASHED BUGS:

  • The position scale wizard now accepts decimal values.
  • Inactive motors will now stay inactive after a network disconnect or faults.
  • Long-running time-delay cue links will properly become disabled in the event of an ESTOP regardless of parent cue status.
  • Stagehand FX Input triggers were not being processed correctly after Spikemark v3.5.1, this is no longer the case.

Download this upgrade now and start playing with these new features today.

 

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