2 Episode results for "Taco Copters"
348: Flop Onto the Bouncy Castle
"Welcome to embedded I am Ille- Co alongside Christopher White. Today we are going to talk about professional Taco copters. Well actually prescriptions delivered via drones in places where growth's aren't viable. I guest is Whitney Wong from ZIP line. Thanks for joining us. Thank you so much for having me. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? Sure. As we said. Hong I'm embedded software engineer at supply. Supply is start and we make high-speed fixed-wing drones that deliver essential medical supplies around the world. Joins a blind a year ago straight out of college, and I actually have a background in mechanical and aerospace engineering. Building robots sand. Really, excited to be here today. We are excited to ask about drones and. Some world travel. But before that, we want to do a lightning round where we ask short questions may watch for. And if we'RE BEHAVIORAL OURSELVES WE WON'T ASK WHY. Are you ready. Good To to complete one project started as. Well. In practice I definitely start doesn't but in theory I would definitely like to compare one. Do you have a favorite acronym. That's a good question. I don't actually have a favorite acronym, but I have at least data acronym cuts new. Okay it's it's one of those reclusive acronyms. It's very annoying. If, you could teach college courses what would you like to teach? I took this really amazing course when I was in college called transformations in art and engineering and it combined art and engineering, we've got to do a lot of really cool embedded. He projects and was really free form and yeah very creative So I would definitely like to teach a class like that. Drone. Or Quad. Copter. I guess Quad Copter is a subset of droned. Depending on your definition but. Said fixed-wing. So What is the silliest application you've seen? ooh. Twenty question i. I guess. One of the summers for my internships. I worked at a startup where we try to make an indoor drone. It was basically a quad copter encompassed in a ball and it looked like the death star so. That was pretty fun. Cool. Do you have a tip everyone should know. Yeah Don't be afraid to get started I definitely seen many of my peers. get really intimidated by Harvard projects coming from like same more pure software background but you know, don't be afraid to to just like get moving in and make mistakes and learn along the way. Okay. So tell me about zip-line. fixed-wing launchers. Give us the rundown. Yeah. So the technology is pretty cool but it seems kind of random men and a kind of strange If you look at it from like today's perspective just watching videos online how it works is actually we have a swing drones. They look like tiny airplanes. They an operator assembles these drums on a launcher, which is basically a high speed catapult. The operators hit a button and these drones catapulted into the sky at a hundred kilometers per hour. So these drones, then move across the sky and We actually have a service radius of about eighty kilometers, which is about fifty miles and when it reaches the final delivery site which is typically a hospital or health facility in any of the countries that we serve. It will open. It's payload doors release a package with a parachute attached to it, and that package will guide to the ground and the local doctors who requested the order will go in retrieved package. Are Jones will autonomously fly home and it will actually. Do something that we referred to as a recovery, which is essentially It doesn't have landing gear. So what it does is it has a tiny centimeter long hook. At the end of its tail boom, and there is a big trust structure where our original like launching location is so like the recovery system is right next to that catapult launcher. And on top of this big trust. Will be a a line essentially like fishing line attached across this trust structure. The line will snap up as the drone reports keep. Yes. Location at a sub centimeter level accuracy back to the ground station and it will engage with the line catch on. So it's pretty magical looking. How big the planes like? So I have A. Have a radio controlled plane that I have and it's got like a meter wingspan I. think that's I think of that as a big radio control plane this probably for to carry a payload. It is larger than that It's wingspan is about three meters long odd and the length is a little bit shorter than that but it's It's light enough that I could carry it and. An, pretty small person. So it was intentionally designed that way to make it easy for operators to assemble. and. The whole. Thing sounds like aircraft carrier Topgun like things. Is that what it looks like or? Or do I have it ruined my head. Okay. No, that's exactly what it looks like it's Not Sorry, it's catching it in mid air. It's not lie like trying to land on a runway and slowdowns. Yeah. That's right. So so does it spin around after catches the hook and it's still going? How do you make it stop? Yeah. So she could imagine to like a frame structures for the recovery system. and. Then there's a line in between the two frame structures and their that line is attached to two polls that swing back and forth. So the drone Hams in. It. Actually catch onto that line and it will swing back and forth and that line will pay out in pain according to the physics of pendulum to slow down the drain. Bat. Just like a bat was that. was that one of the. US was that one of the original ideas for recovery or what was the process of? Figuring out how to recover these reliably. He had there's a quint interesting history to how we came to the solution today so. It's started off very much like you said, inspired by an aircraft carrier. Since we don't have landing gear, we rely on. Certain like physics and other methods to slow down the plane and so originally, instead of these tall a frame structures, we had essentially two poles like a back to back and with the lion across does low to the ground. And then after the plane would come in swoop down low and catch onto that fishing line. There would be a bouncy castle in front of. Back. To back fishing bowls in there would lightly. Slowdown decelerating and then flop onto the this bouncy castle like big. Like. Some essentially. All Right Right Bounty Catholic. Yes. That's a great landing strategy. Have you ever delivered Tacos? We have not delivered talkers We actually from the inception of the company Always really been committed to solving high impact problems and thinking was really like a strong fundamental mission of the company to like always have a issue, the problem at hand and to continuously work to solve those problems that that on. The early days of our company like our founders were aiming to solve They did a lot of research traveling around the world. To place in Central America and Africa, and they would ask people like what are the biggest problems that you face and medical logistics was actually the thing that came up over and over again and it seemed like. A problem that was quite difficult assault, but also had such a dramatic impact on society since people were really being affected by just the lack of of medical access and these are people that if they lived in a different part of the world, would definitely survive. So Yeah we've been really focused on this mission specifically and there was a while which our our CEO's like we would never deliver pizza by plane. But you know as drone delivery logistics have really become increasingly popular in a lot of companies are racing, an scrambling to to get this actually. Customers I think we've definitely expanded our scope of of what we'd be willing to deliver but as of now, we are sticking to medical products. and. So these are like. Getting the right. Antibiotic. Or is this like blood or what kind of medical products? Yeah. So when we initially started off in Rwanda, which was our first. Location that we were stationed in. At the time there Logistics in. A public health care system was really suffering from a lack of blood supply. So we actually started off by delivering almost exclusively blood but the way our packages are designed they're a small like box, a simple rectangle and They can carry things like blood which are stored in pouches very easily, and so that is what we focused on very beginning. But since we've expanded to different countries and and taken on a lot more different products, we deliver anything from like Anti Venom to actually like vaccines and I think in terms of like. The logistics of some of these products. Cold chain of something that comes up over and over again in the healthcare system, which basically means like if you can imagine a remote health facility they may not have the equipment and the source capabilities to maintain products with short shelf lives or require like advanced refrigeration in order to store. So they actually rely on an instant delivery service such as the blinds. To actually receive these products that that need to be kept cold for a while anti makes a whole sent. Are. You needed to have it for just the right snake and it doesn't really last that long and it has to be kept in just the right environment and so I I can totally see but how long does it take I mean if I If I was a doctor in Rwanda N I called zip-line and said Okay I need this and we already had a relationship. I'M NOT GONNA. Assume. Setting up the credit card right now. But. I is it. How long does it take? So we have a system where we actually receive orders over what's up and so all these doctors can just send us a text message essentially saying, Hey, we really need this kind of product and so there's actually two types of deliveries we do one is called resupply in was called emergency. So we encourage health facilities to place resupply orders so that we can send the products were not like super backed up and they can get what they need for the week But. Of course, there's always emergency situation such as patient who comes in with a snake bite as you mentioned And it would take less than an hour on average thirty minutes from the text message being sent to the package getting delivered at that health facility. Where does this come from? Do you work with larger hospitals to be the providers or does zip-line? generate manufacturer suck blood. I. Don't know. Yeah we, work with. The National Center blood transfusion so they're actually like. Warehouse. In Rwanda and the store a lot of these blood and other medical supplies So we actually have a relationship with a lot of us like centralize locations where medical products are are typically stored, and before zip line came in actually a if hospitals in health facilities needed products from these centers, they would send a car over to pick these up. So instead, we actually now have our zip line distribution centers serve as central hub. So we basically place orders with these larger warehouse suppliers and they provide us with the medical products that we we request every week but also in addition to that Yeah there are incidents where we were unable to fly say like because of regulatory. Restrictions like late at night things like that. health studies have actually come to like supply warehouses ought to pick up blood. And other medical supplies in addition to that. There have recently been shortages in blood supply because of current a virus and other reasons. People stop donating blood quite as much So zip-line has been doing a lot of like community outreach in actually hosting blood drives to encourage people to donate blood. So I think zip line over the years has really played a more active role in these national healthcare systems that we serve in. So, one of the things that was interesting to me was that you have local operators. You're not doing everything from a a centralized place in the world. The people on the ground in Rwanda operate. Fairly. Independently, how do you find the right people? That's a really great question. We often say that the is that we have in country. Are Really overqualified like we have doctors serving in our fulfillment centers and we have engineers with with electrical engineering degrees, mechanical engineering degrees, working as flight operators, and honestly they've been so instrumental in the success of our company, the successive operations. There at the frontlines, they're the ones who are interacting with customers directly. They're the ones who are repairing our drones if anything. Goes wrong and catching failures the four. Happen or they actually caused damage so it's really rigorous recruiting process applying find these people but I think. After like zip-line has made a name in the countries that we serve and so people get really excited hub trinity to work with the blind. Operators play an extremely important role. So, as I mentioned, there's two different types of operators. There's home operators and there's flight operators. So the film and operators of the ones who are. Interacting with the hospitals in our customers and they're managing the packages packing them whereas the flight operators are. Paco like inserting the packages into the bodies of our drones they're assembling the bodies So there's actually like a pretty unique feature of our drones. We. Have what we call our US line replaceable units. So they actually come apart. So the body. The wings and the battery are three separate components, the trends. So every time we actually bring it to the launcher, the operators responsible for sampling, the three parts checking that the software and the hardware are in line and nothing looks off nominal and they're a raise fly so. in addition to that, there are also responsible for communicating with the air traffic control of whatever local equivalent of the FAA is in that country. And deconstructing the airspace mainly. And you went to who want to encode the operator training. What was it like? Yeah It was an amazing experience. So zip-line a pre pandemic. Encourage that all new employees of the company would go to Rwanda to see our operations live and it's one thing to see our drones liver on video. It's another to see it in person, but it's another to see it actually operational saving customers lives on every day and it was amazing watching these operators like move. So swiftly and they took their jobs so seriously Every little aspect of safety like if you're standing behind the operator and they're about to launch drone and you're not wearing safety goggles, they'll turn around and be like, Hey, we can't launch it. You have to wear safety glasses. So they are seriously like well, trained and Yeah. I originally went with the intention of. Preserving operations and and getting to know some people person but I ended up falling in love with the process so much that I just went through all courses and got trained to be a fight operator at the end And it was super fine like taking the exams and really. Understanding what the operators are going through firsthand and really like learning all the pain points that I think as engineers we often overlook we have our own goals and targets, but they're often not what really matters to operators. So I think having that experience of like. Actually operating in and getting to know what the product looks like into our users was really really important to a lot of design decisions that we make our work. How do you get sub centimeter GPS? Do you need? Four antennas on this. we have decay on our GPS's that's real time. So, we have a bay station which has its own GPS and We have another devious on drums. So we're actually sending corrections using the space station GPS, which we've surveyed its position, very, very accurately, and if sending that correction over to our drones as they come in for recovery. And one of the things that's always been a problem with drone companies is. They come and go and they come and they go and the drone suddenly are no longer available. but because it's been around for a while and you've what is it? Two? Hundred thousand fulfilment S- yeah. That's right. What's the hardest part of operations at that scale? It's definitely been challenging scaling up our operations over the past few years but I think one big advantage zip-line has company is that. We're we're kind of different than like say DJ I who releases one product after like probably like months or years of testing and development and bass the product that all the customer see and this they want interest on that than they have to like go through another cycle than released that product to to customers again. At supply, we are managing the entire I guess. In a way from the design process to the actual like service in the delivery experience, which means that we don't actually have to like cut releases of our hardware in our software we are constantly pushing updates. At every given point in time, and if we want to replace say a feature on the wing, say one of our sensors we can just push that update and then send all those new updates overseas and suffered suffers even easier. Of course, 'cause you can push those updates remotely. So I think this is really enabled us to figure out what kind of problems that we've seen the field and then worked on solving those specific problems in pushing out those updates so that our aircraft becomes increasingly more reliable over time, and there are so many problems that we fix over the past few years and the problems that we see today inexperienced most frequently look very, very different than they did when we started off and I, think it's really a testament to how heart the engineering team works in the process of. Continuous improvement basically. You talked about launch recovery. What does the the flight look like is mainly autonomous controller. Have Direct influence over say the. Controls of the aircraft or Camera view that kind of thing or is it more like? Just monitoring its location. Yeah. It's completely autonomous. So actually the role operators are only to monitor it's. Like location and its clemency in another health there's a series of checks that are constantly running on aircraft. We call them exceptions So it'll send exception if anything goes wrong and operators can can monitor a kind of status of bees, the aircraft in the sky but since a single operators actually responsible for managing up to say twenty aircraft in the sky at a single point in. Time we don't actually expect them to anything about it. End Aircrafts say one of the air data sensors is broken it'll turn around and fly back home without anyone prompting it to If there's a catastrophic failure it will automatically autonomously pull parachute which has its last line of Defense So if all else fails it will coal shoot and safely to the ground. How are you talking to her plants? What radio? As. We have multiple forms of communication. One is radio which is a two point four gigahertz. Radio that We only have access to within a kilometer of our base station. So this is what we call our line of sight radio and it's really important for things like recovery especially because we're sending commands those that sub centimeter level, a GPS location at twenty five hurts. So we really rely on this radio to to Get the location of that drone at really really high speeds. The radio is also really important for joins the talk to each other. If. There's two within the same airspace on it will actually run through a process called deconfliction and one will go will go higher avoid them prevent collision. However at farther locations in distances we can't rely on our line of sight radio. So we use cell and we have like two G. Three G. capabilities onboard our aircraft So we rely on sell to send telemetry back to the ground station odd about one hurts In addition to that if cell awesome fails especially in the locations that we serve cell can be really study, and so we also have satellite communications. And with the satellite communications, WE can actually reliably get information back from the aircraft but Lebron sees for satellite communication are much much higher. than. For Cell. For sure. And bad fails are are designed to fly by themselves. They know their destination at any point in time. So even if we can't tell where it's going or what it's doing, it knows what to do. Cool. That's A. Give, payload space. For All of those backup radios yeah. How do you? How do you decide on? The optimization for payload space versus. Backup Technology. Yes so zip-line has always. been a very. Problem Oriented Company. So the technology that we designed for a have hard requirements like at the police we have to serve. Our customers we have to. be, able to carry a reasonably sized payload. and. So starting with that requirement I guess there wasn't really a like much optimization to go from there because we had like this kind of one point three now, one point, eight kilogram payload requirements that we thought was reasonable. To serve our customers and to deliver what they need So building there like for every layer of communication and redundancy that we have these were all driven by external requirements so. We decided to communicate at high frequencies at short distances which informed our decision to include our two point four GIGAHERTZ radio. And then to be able to receive telemetry over longer distances. A cell was the obvious solution to that so. Our aircraft has actually evolved throughout the years based on all of these we requirements in things that we believe were really useful for our aircraft either to increase the reliability on our end or to perhaps meet the demands of whatever regulatory body is monitoring and imposing their own requirements on our aircraft. Regulatory Bodies Yes. So you operate in Rwanda Ghana and the United States. Missing, yes. Okay. That's right. Which of those is the hardest. In terms of regulatory bodies, the FAA definitely has the strictest and longest requirements Yeah, it's pretty interesting because the is used to regular regulating manned aircraft So as a lot of drug companies come into the space. We are actually hoping to write these new regulations for autonomous aircrafts for the future. and. There are a lot of hard requirements that are current aircraft one that's serving in Rwandan Ghana don't exactly meet up. To the standards of So we've been working with the FAA constantly trying to get certifications trying to make little baby steps towards gaining their trust and Demonstrating that we do have a reliable aircraft and that we can beat the standards that they require. Does it. Does it feel like too much like the phase just throwing up hoops for no reason. At the end of the day, the FAA has the interest of. People. Safety people on the ground safety. as much as possible. So. The there is no way you could say anything but. Terrible quashed. Actually, about your airframes. Are you starting to sell them to other people since you are getting some some traction with FAA and other regulatory bodies? Are where can we get an airframe? Can We? Yes. So as I mentioned before zip lines technology has been really reliant on the fact that we can move faster than we can make rations so quickly. So the aircraft that you see today look nothing like the aircraft's I mean maybe it looked like it but on the inside that didn't really anything like the aircraft of a few months ago, and in a few months, it's going to have new updates again. So Because, our aircraft is constantly evolving. We don't really have that like strong cutoff point where we're ready to serve or like. Santa. Customers on top of that as mentioned before we have this complicated launch and recovery system. So it's not exactly a system that can easily sold to other people and does require a lot of maintenance on the back end buyer engineering team So Kit exactly by it right now on the market. How long is it drone in service and what what triggers its decommissioning and is as you said, there were multiple pieces do they all get decommissioned at the same time or? Which one lasts longest Yeah because our drones are composed of hundreds of little parts in addition to those three main parts that I explained earlier we decommission every component according to its own life cycle. So the propellers are the ones that actually get the most wear and tear, and that has a very consistent cycle of being swapped out on to put in freshman's and and to make sure that it can last through a multiple deliveries but. As far as the other components go, we pretty much fly them until they have a serious failure and then will stop them out these aircraft are designed to withstand multiple years of us, and we are still flying hardware that we've made and built years ago So they're quite resilient and the purposeful design is actually to swap out components so that we save a lot on money and resources. To, money. I mean. Are these how how can you make a profit in areas? That you're trying to serve that may be otherwise. UNDERFUND underfunded. Thank you. That was a good work. Actually. As of a few months ago. Our. Operations in Ghana have become cash flow positive. So you know as full of perhaps like a more developed world We often have a perception that like you know these kinds of advanced technologies are really expensive and drug delivery would be impossible anywhere else because it simply like would cost too much to to afford but that's not true at all like zip-line we are really scrappy company and we've built our technology not to look flashy but to serve its purpose and exactly that. No more no less and I think that's really come to be an advantage for companies. Since you know I think the fact that Ghana is cash flow. Positive is a enemies example of of how like these efficiencies and our design and also like the dedication of operators in and serving our customers has been really effective and Yes we currently work with. Public, national, healthcare systems so be the government's our primary customer and the government has more money than any individual hospital or health facility or person on in. So we definitely depend on these larger governing bodies to provide the financial support for our system but it's definitely worked in the country that we serve in that there's been a real impact, they're. Having talked to listener in Ghana who has familiar with -cipline. It sounded like. They're pretty excited to have zip-line be part of the. Medical process have you gotten to be? Have you gotten to see that? Sorry like what do you mean specifically? You mentioned saving lives, but there's also this. Idea of building trust in the community so that when they see an aircraft. It's exciting. It's good. It's it's not scary. Yeah that. That's a very interesting point and I think people who've never seen supplying before There's kind of been negative light painted on drums that they're heavily militarized or you know there's no way they can do any good but. Yeah I think seeing experiencing. Living in that's especially true for the blind It's actually. A pretty interesting story about that. When we were first serving in Rwanda there was a mother who would see our drones fly overhead and she thought to herself. Wow. You must be crazy. She's watching the kids like get really excited over these flying aircraft, and of course, it's a really exciting to see but you know. As a mother she she was like A. A. NEWFANGLED technology. Was Insane. And actually she gave birth at a hospital and she had to undergo a C section During her surgery she started experiencing hemorrhaging and so she was bleeding severely of the surgery and the hospital that she was at didn't have enough blood to save her from that surgery. So the. Doctors Place in order for a resupply of blood. From Zip Line and supply drones came in they did their job they deliver the blood and the mother's life saves, and since then she said, yeah like I get what you're doing they're saving lives than they save my life and. So yeah, I mean it's common to have skeptics for any new technology that comes in. But as soon as people realise like what these drones are doing I think they are you know like very excited about it and they. that. These are not military drones they're here to save lives for you. What do you do zip-line I done a variety of things since I joined I primarily work on our testing systems. Especially, our hardware in the loop testers. So for anyone who doesn't know what hardware in the loop test system is It's basically a bed of avionics. So we have like essentially our our drone in our ground systems on table sitting in the office and We run all of our software through this hardware in the loop tester before it gets deployed to a real life flight so that if there are any errors or bugs in the code, we catch them before we actually take down a plane real life and. Yeah. It's We, we kinda describe it as a virtual reality for drones since as far as the avionics under the table are concerned, it's flying in Rwanda or or in the US for all concerned So yeah. And you mostly right software. Yes. That's right. But your background is in mechanical and aerospace engineering. How did you get into software? Yeah, that's a great question I. Honestly when I first came into college, I didn't really know what I wanted to do I, I love building things with my hands but I kinda wanted to do more of a robotics major. I guess but I could only choose one up three like between mechanical designs. So I went with chemical because it was cool. And I took some computer science classes along the way. So I didn't come into supplying completely fresh but. It was definitely a learning curve because it was the first time I had written code in industry and I think rating code for like a cool hobby or do we know like robot car is very, very different than writing flight critical software That actually gets flown around the world So there was a really steep learning curve coming in but. With a help in mentorship of my team and just the fact that they believed in me and. They were there to help me along the way. I think it's been incredible opportunity and incredible growth So I've definitely learned a lot since joining supplying about software. If for some reason, zip-line no longer existed which would hope that happens but. Where would you look for a different job? Are you interested in the industry or the application or the code or the flying? What's the cool part for you? I really liked the interdisciplinary aspect I although I do spend most of my time writing software. One thing I really love about supplying is the fact that like I have been able to cat and I do often touch the hardware. Nice. GRUDEN's grooves like I still am really physical with the work that I do but I also get the cool component of like writing software end getting that instant gratification that Mechanical Design Austin doesn't have since there's really long lead times between like your designed processing and when you actually get to see come to life life so I really love that intersection. So, if I had to choose different job, I would definitely continue looking for things in the robotics face and things where I can get my hands dirty. But also like you know improving in hone my coding skills. Is Weird to think of drone like a robot. I know it's a Thomas put. Robots have arms. Very. Limited, mental image of a robot. I don't think it's weird at all I I think everyone has a slightly different. Definition of a robot, it's kind of like how when you say like what's alien everyone has like the common conception of alien alien could look like anything right So yeah robots come in all different shapes and sizes and I think what makes a robot? A robot is the fact that you code it it has some autonomous element to it and it has some actuation element to it, and that last part is not even necessarily true but. In the case of drones. It certainly is true I mean, how else does it move We are controlling its control services, owners and I think having the ability to you know press the button in watch it just like move on its own is a really fascinating thing and unique property of robots. Have a couple of listener questions which some of them already asked but still. exploding lemur wanted to know if you're a flight controller is entirely homebrew or based on an open design like picks huck. Our Controller is entirely homebrew. We have our own guidance navigation control team and we have our own. Filters than things that really accurately determine our position that any point in time than what to do with that so Not. They slumped at. Laflin I asked about your telemetry and radio systems which we've sort of talked about. But the follow up question he had was, how do those choices scale with the number of vehicles? Specially two point four if you've got an operator. Juggling twenty are there multiple operators in that same area? We do have a few operators on the ground who monitoring but. Since operators are mainly there from monitoring the health of the aircraft on if nothing is going wrong according to the aircraft, themselves the operator like we basically have her own Ui and it's an IPAD APP on operators will pretty much just like. Overlook? Them. And if there isn't issue it will get escalated on the UI immediately operators ten can monitor health. So we found that what we currently have actually scales quite well to hundreds of deliveries that we have per day around the world. What are the future problems? Buddhist zip-line looking at next. So as we talked about earlier working the FAA is kind of the next target Is Looking at we really want to deliver the US and you had a recent partnership with. which really excited about an want to expand the access of healthcare another instance supplies that are really important for folks In the country and the world course. Suarez like the next big technology, our aircraft actually doesn't have perception on it It's flying around the world completely blind in a way So we rely on operators to deconflict airspace on their own. So if air traffic control or witness on an incoming aircraft they would have to command drown tither come home or to parachute land in an. Emergency situation but we are actively developing our productions stack to have our own aircraft's to detect other aircraft in the sky and that's definitely a big move for delivering to customers in the US and for our own sake in in Rwanda in Ghana to have operators not be the ones to to deconflict their states but taboo aircraft's do that on. Walmart are you doing medical from Walmart or is this where you start leaving the medical world? So our initial contract with. Walmart. Is With medical and Pharmaceutical Division we do plan on continuing that mission of. Increasing healthcare access to people around the world But if our partnership with Walmart goes low, we would, of course, be open to delivering all kinds of small parcels that currently get delivered in a big truck that consumes gas. And You know we want to get it to customers not same day but our Yeah. Where are you flying in the US right now? We are currently located in North Carolina, and we're doing small simple deliveries there It's just for P. in these Pandemic Times and really more than anything. It's there to be a demonstration to FAA that we can deliver reliably and to gain the trust in improve that relationship But as far as our walmart deal goes we are actually planning on having our first distribution center with Walmart in Arkansas, where their headquarters are located. I kind of understand why you might need this in in Ghana, Rwanda? Even if the roads are good. I mean. Maybe, I totally am. Ignorant and SNOB but I. The roads in North Carolina seemed fine. Why? Why do you need drown? It doesn't. I. Mean you mentioned the trucks and they're big but. It drone has to go up and then over and then down and then up and then over and down. But a truck goes house to house. Christopher's looking back I'm crazy to walk this back. Less crazy talk go coupon. Now. Let me let me say this week. Why are you going into areas where the infrastructure roads are good enough it makes sense to go in areas where infrastructure may not be as good but. Why? Is it. The. Cross. Why? Yeah, that's a really good question. Actually. People should be. And, yeah I think that's actually You know in early days, our company kind of market itself as like a solution to locations with poor road infrastructure and I mean, that's still hold true today We have like a big slack channel for our company and We share like really interesting videos and photos In one of the ones that always strikes me is like a health facility in Ghana It's right now the rainy season there, and this whole facility is literally in island It's surrounded on all sides by water and people have to wade through the water in order to get to these health facilities and they say without supplying, there's no way we could serve patients. Who are in need because trucks can't get to these locations and I think it's still like such a incredible light visual story for me as an engineer like sitting in us where I drive everywhere. Just, like a really great reminder of the kind of work supplying is doing, but there's something that Is like always missing in this picture, which is the like what is healthcare logistics actually in at such a big challenge and There's there's a trade off when it comes to healthcare logistics If you want to have health facilities in hospitals. Always have the supplies needed to serve patients readily stocked at any point in time. That actually means with products with really short shelf lives that there's tons of waste generated by these hospitals like if you think about it, you have to have blood and plasma for every single blood type in, and there's eight different blood types than They all have like a certain expiration date In, waste that something about like kind of the back of everyone's minds in America just you know gets thrown in the dumpster people don't really think about it but it's wildly inefficient and. I think with zip-line. Having a centralized distribution center with instant delivery can really help to reduce that level of waste and I mean it's a great solution for anyone. To adopt and the the statistics like. Basically say at all Br Wanda has significantly decreased. It's it's blood waste end increased its medical supply access. To of its people and its waste numbers are so much better than have in the US So. It's it's definitely a a I think that can help people and their folks who live in the US who live in really remote and rural places in in a time like corona virus where contact delivery have become more important than ever people who live very far away and who don't necessarily want drive in person and pick up products they can really benefit from it On top of that, there's also the vaccine delivery. Logistics nightmare that people who are following the coronavirus news often talk about as well People are saying that the vaccine that has developed will require. Something like some ninety like negative ninety degrees storage. In order to maintain and with something like truck delivery the might not really be possible to to deliver within that kind of temperatures and the kind of life shelf life span that these vaccines have So I, really think drone delivery will be instrumental in these situations. I think we tend to think of the United States is Very rich and connected as but. There's a lot of areas like you said, rural areas, tribal areas, and APPALACHIA. Regions that are very hard to access and don't have a lot of medical infrastructure. Than they might have one clinic for hundreds of miles and like you said, not stocked with with things that they need to have on hand. So yeah, I could totally see your primary mission being applicable almost anywhere. Totally, Agree Okay. So let's see. I. Have a question here that I think is appropriate and that is is zip-line. Hiring. zip-line is absolutely hiring We are hiring more than we ever have before in fact and. Including are embedded team. We are actively looking for people to join our mission and help solve really really interesting problems. Are you looking for remote or. Rwanda or Ghana or North Carolina or San Francisco. There you're pretty spread out company. What are you looking for people to be hired? We are actually looking for people in all of those facilities that you you named and. You can check out our website and archers page for up-to-date information. All the list is constantly changing and growing. As we hire more people and have more positions open so I think that's really the best source of truth for that information. I mean actually in like during coronavirus a lot of people working from home but a few teammate tonight have been going to the office regularly. You know we are building a fiscal product at the end. The Bang were we aren't stopping for anything. We deliver essential like a essential resource to people around the world. So yeah. If you want to work in person I think that is a really great opportunity to to work on something. Awesome. So you have opened fern embedded system software engineer and an embedded system software lead. If you interview them, what are you GonNa? Ask. Any Halloween. Yeah the point interview is is pretty fun in particular. We try not to ask questions that you would find unlike or or cracking the coding interview we really want to get a sense of how people will operate on a day to day basis. So often ask questions about like. How would you solve this problem? It's a problem that we have the other day. Yeah. Just like real world applications and you know being really safety critical minded as well. Or witness been really great to talk to you Do you have any last thoughts? You'd like to leave us with or maybe a story from? The. Field. I really think one of the most unique parts about supplying is like that we are solving real problems and the so many companies out there that are doing things for the sake of of being startup or or you know being entrepreneurial doing something flashy. But I just love the plan so much because you know like you can really see the impact that we've had And I think like there's a really great story that I love on that. That exemplifies this, which is when we were first launching in Ghana. We were all prepared. We had like a launch date bunch of media was to come over the president was to come over to witness this launch and We were all set up in rights. Go in the engineering team was ready to support and a few days before that launch date there was a truck driver who got in a very serious accident on and he was brought into hospital and he was in dire need. Of Medical Products at the hospital couldn't actually supply. So the hospital called up our distribution center which hadn't officially opened yet, and they said, Hey, like we know you're not open yet but we really need these medical products and could you deliver us and the hospital will actually have to be one of the first hospitals that we were planning on serving anyway. So we said why not and we actually sent them a delivery. So Definitely? Not just like for show thing. It. Really have a you know improved the healthcare systems and places we serve and I think that's just a really amazing thing about sublime. August has been Whitney. Long embedded software engineer at ZIP line. You can find them at flies zip-line dot com or see the Lincoln the show notes. You so much. Thank you to Christopher for producing and CO hosting. Thank you to rainy. Laughlin exploding lemur Andrey for their questions. Thank you to our Patriot supporters for Whitney's Mike. Thank you for listening. You can always contact us at show at embedded FM or hit the contact link on embedded at. FM. Quotes leave you with from Langston Hughes. Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly. Embedded is an independently produced radio show that focuses on the many aspects of engineering. It is a production of logical. And embedded software consulting company. In California. If there are advertisements in the show, we did not put them there and do not receive money from them. At this time. Our sponsors are logical elegance and listeners like you.
282: Tin Can Through a Wet Noodle
"Welcome to embed. I am ilise. Yo I hear with Christopher white. And I would really like to say that this week we are roving reporters get that job. It a little while. But our guest is actually joined us in the studio. A welcome to Lachlan Barker Lachlan, thanks for joining us over here. I thank you for having me. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? Yeah. So I'm let's see mechanical engineer by training and undergrad. But at the moment, I'm a systems engineer at open, our Lovie, we make small low cost underwater remotely operated vehicles. And I got started doing underwater stuff number of years ago working in the antibiotic supporting NSF science missions, deploying our vs instrumentation underneath the ice in the see. Working on an icebreaker at one point and then kind of miscellaneous contract related underwater things in between field seasons. Thought I wanted to get my PHD at one point. And so started doing that in Baltimore for a while. And that was in underwater navigation status donation decided maybe that wasn't the right move. And then came back out to California about eighteen months well about a year ago, and I've been back at opener v sense. I just I like navigation status to mation underwater Arctic these questions, but I forgot to do. Lightning round cool. And you've heard the show. So I'm not going to explain Christopher do. You wanna go first who would win in a fight penguin or an RV penguin despite the possibility of breaking federal laws if you answering the informative have you ever pet a penguin? No penguins care about our vs. No good in a fight between a roomba and an RV RV. What temperature is cold? Minus two hundred see favor me, it's sixty two. Have you ever personally lost an RV to the depths? No of your had one freeze in the ice. No almost had one. Stuck though? How close is real life to the abyss. Oh, they they touch. There's there's a there's a a a boundary there. Does it lead to monsters? I just leads to the unknown. Okay. That's boilerplate question. Yeah. Good answer. Everyone should know. Two is one in one is none that's mostly talking about spare parts. I've heard that mission critical things usually from military. It's true in the end Arctic as well. And magic. Oh, hey, open or AVI? This sounds like a company that is making underwater remote operated vehicles that are in some way open. Yeah. So we started in two thousand twelve Eric sack. Poland David Lang. And they launched a Kickstarter in the idea was that they wanted to make these low cost acceptable remotely operated vehicles. And so they started out with a kit that I launched on Kickstarter, and it was cut out of a critic sheet on a laser cutter all the electrical mechanical and software was hosted up and still is on the open RV get hub page. So in theory, if anybody had a laser cutter, they download all the files cut the parts out. You know, spin your own board all the gerbers schematics and everything we're up there. And then flash it with the appropriate software and the SD card, and you'd be up and running with a little arrow Lovie. So that's a pretty big barrier to entry 'cause you need a lot of tools and stuff to do that. So instead we sold the kits. And they were these little shoebox sized are overseas and one of the driving themes behind this RV was that. You could fit in a backpack. You could take it on an airplane. So we were beneath the the hundred watt hour limitation that you run into with with lithium batteries on airplanes. But you could literally just literally fitted under the seat of a commercial airliner, and then ticketing where you want. So. Open our transitioned for you know, we saw even with these kits. When all the parts were given out to or sold to folks, there's. It takes quite a bit of maker skill to be able to put it together well to withstand hundred meters of depth. And if you were very diligent you made through all the surfaces were good in. You had good glued joints. You could you could make a hundred meter Lovie. And it would do exactly what you thought it would. But it was also tough for a lot of folks because that that level of spending an entire weekend, and being very diligent detail oriented left a lot of folks out in for that ability to go and explore the ocean. And so we thought well. We should make something that you know, that anybody can just buy and then literally pull out of their backpack or out of the box that it comes shipped in and be ready to go. And so that's what motivated the creation of the Trident are Lovie and all the tried in our Lovie development occurred before I came on about a year ago. And so things were were just ramping up in an actual production when I joined last year, so so there's been quite copters in our see that whole field is kind of exploded. And they've got more and more sophisticated in the technology, and those is well known brushless Motors and the battery technology and the radio stuff, solid pants. How does an RV differ from that? What are the hard problems about going underwater versus going in the air? Yeah. So pressure and the corrosive in conductive nature of water, especially salt water are the big ones. The TRITON are Lovie is a it's an injection molded plastic shell and the entire shell itself is actually a pressure vessel in this kind of goes in contrast to traditional vs that have been made for number of years where you have slender goals ceramic, aluminum or other exotic material pressure housings, and then you build ferrings and chassis around them. So we've got this injection molded plastic that keeps all the pressure out. And then inside we've got a raspberry pi. That's what's doing most of the computing and mess message in marshalling for the system. Handful of sensors exceleron meters that's very similar to the the quad copters. Also lithium ion batteries again in that that under that one hundred watt hour limit perhaps some of it some of the really unique things I think are that we take the brushless Motors and they're actually immersed and insult water. And this was one of the really brilliant thing. Yeah. One of the really brilliant things that I think open our figured out early on was that, you know, instead of trying to spend all of this time and energy. And how do you keep the saltwater out of the motor? It's like actually if the Amel coating on the wires is good. You can put them in the water and they'll run just fine. And so that was like mind breaking all of a sudden, you know, you can take these little Motors just expose them to the water. And then you just have to worry about it. A little electrical pass through across your pressure Keith air. Yes. Couple of wires is so much easier. Keppel? Where's that don't move? Right. You don't need fancy shaft seals that have to deal with pressure differentials across them and all sorts of stuff. But unlike a drone that you fly the Trident is cabled, correct. We still first person view, right? I mean, I could wear a headset and be the tried. Yes. Fish. So if there's a high quality ten eighty p camera in the front, and it's tethered because our f- is is very quickly attenuated in water. It's frequency dependent. But effectively can you can say that you can't pass our f- through water you get into really low frequency. That's the game that the submarines play. But we can't do that and says a few bits per second. Exactly. If that. And so the, tether the batteries are all on the vehicle and we use the home plug av protocol, which is perhaps more colloquially known as eastern overpower. And so these little modules that you could plug into your the plugs in your house in it takes a a standard internet signal and modulate sat over over two wires ever. We have a single copper pair coming up from the IRO v and those tethers are either twenty five or one hundred meters long, and and we max out the bandwidth on the raspberry pi be that's the bottleneck. Actually, we could push over the, tether if we needed to. And so the hundred meters you mentioned it goes down to one hundred meters is this where the hundred meter limitation comes in. We've officially the are overseas are good to a hundred meters. And that's how long tethers are. So that's convenient way to. Keep them from going deeper, but the RV's have gone deeper with with special tethers, but you know, we can't not warranty past that. But we have taken him down to failure. And they they fail. Not insignificantly deeper than I guess. Yeah. Pretty significantly deeper than hundred meters. So we've got we've got plenty of buffer there. One atmosphere per every ten meters. So if we went to space, we would go from having one atmosphere two zero atmospheres if we go underwater a hundred meters going from one atmosphere to ten atmospheres. Is just a gas getting problem or is there more to it? So the gas getting typically in underwater stuff, we use o-rings which are distinct from gaskets, the we don't get any of the advantageous geometry that you would get from a Celinda coal pressure housing. You think about what a home scale propane tank looks like for example, it's a cylinder with with curved ends. And that's because that reduces stresses that occur. It all these very critical point Soares's is kind of funny shaped and. As a result. If you were to look at the inside of the Trident, the injection molded piece actually has all this very complex lattice that the engine years did a tremendous amount of work on to make this part withstand. Ten atmospheres which ends up being a approximately one hundred fifty pounds per square inch at one hundred meters. And and one of the interesting things is that we actually use. There's a big motherboard inside Trident, and we use that motherboard that piece of fiberglass F R four as a structural component. So these these lattices are coming down and pushing on the on the circuit board, we clear components away from where Lansdowne, but that PC board is actually in pretty significant compression to to help hold everything up was the reason to go that way instead of so Interco, we couldn't get the nice form factor that we wanted one of the motivators behind tried. It was it wanted to be this kind of nice transacting vehicle almost almost like flying that first person view you were talking about. And so it's it's actually fairly low and sleek has a very small frontal area, which is good for drag characteristics. So you can go fast. Yeah. Fast. Can you go? We can do about two meters. A second which is like Olympic swimmer. Michael Phelps speed. Yeah. It's actually pretty hard to control when it's going that fast. So I actually liked to pilot on the lowest speed setting because that's when you can get these, you know, really, gorgeous sloughing, videos and movement. Otherwise, it's pretty jerky. I mentioned finite element analysis. What kind of tools do you use to do that? I believe I don't know if they're using answers or just the built in solid works modules all that design work happened before my time. So I'm not quite sure. But one of the two. That always it was always such magic. Now. It's like commonplace. Amazing. Okay. So what sensors are in the bought its you've mentioned camera off. So we have camera. What else do we have? We've got a temperature and pressure sensor. So that gives you depth and water temperature doesn't the pressure sensor required. Have a whole the pressure sensor actually lives on the outside of the vehicle. It's buried up in the plastic. And then again, it's just a small electrical pass through. Into our across the bulk head, and then we've got. Three nine. But you know, we get a three axis compass gyro excuse me, compass orientational out of it. So on the on the heads up display we display tilt and Yaw we don't display role. But it's a, you know, it's nine axis gyro. It's doing fusion on board. So we just take the call turnings out can ask which one it's a boss. Oh, eighty five zero fifty five. Yeah. That's a good choice. Don't. Oh. Yeah. Sorry. No. We. We don't like the it's fine to say the with the boschman it's the same one we've used on the other vs. But we've had a really hard time with it that I'm you. We're not very happy with anybody had a good time with any. I am you impression. It's very difficult to work with and it's not because of the demand is hard. It's just a. They don't do. Great job, documenting stuff. Yeah. See I'm using the invent sense competitor to that one ninety two fifty year or one of the. About it. Now two zero nine four eight. Oh, that's one of the new ones have been looking at on actually. Yeah. It's pin mass. Okay. Yeah. You have to actually load the fusion system externally. I was trying to think to myself. Why the heck did they do that too? They could change the code. But also, there doesn't seem to be any documentation for that code that you load, and so it's like get the return. And you're like, okay. What does this accuracy flag mean? And it's nowhere. Actually, give you the fusion coda. They just give you heck's blob that gets loaded in they give you a heck's. Block must not change the heck's block. Keeping this part. Oh, yeah. Then I should stop saying mean, thanks. I do want them to help me. Okay. So it has a commute pressure sensor. Temperature camera anything else some some bright forward-facing LED's. So that you can eliminate in the dark and. Yeah. That's about it. Lasers. Sorry. Well, I mean. The the embar either the local research Monterey Bay area research institute has lasers on there. So that they're always ten inches apart with where ladies are. And they can measure things that way measuring laser scaling lasers. We typically call Scalia's. Thank you. You wanted the short? No like the lasers like the sharks. All right. Scare the fish yet. No. So the the two point eight kit has scaling lasers on it. And that's definitely something that people can put on the TRITON if they want we've got a pattern of. Threaded inserts on the bottom of the vehicle, so anybody can screw on an attached payloads if they want those have. Power connections as well or power something right through the bulk. Right. Right. But there's a fair amount of you know, capability that's plumbed in there for hackers. You know, that could could do some fun stuff. So on particular. So we've there's some folks in the forum who are plumbing out the Sweden's Diaz as the internal messaging and marshalling system. And so some folks haven't heard of that what it was Ross may be a failure analog deals operating system. Correct. Yes. DDS I think was. I'm not sure of its providence or creation. I think it's used a lot in NASA as well as military and defense applications, but it's a similar thing. It's it's a messaging and marshalling system. It's you can find tune a lot more in terms of quality of service. You can prioritize messages or keep messages in accuse that then get livered later on. But anyway, so that's that's the relying raising rose to no, but Ross to the Ross to messaging system is built on top of DDS yet. That's what I noticed. I'm waiting to find out if anybody is using Ross too. I'm excited to get you know, get in there. I've been waiting. I really want the introspection tools to come online before. I kinda make that dive. So that's what I'm excited for. Yeah. Wait, he was talking about things that people have done. We don't. You know? So I've seen some folks playing with piping out the quad turn-ins from the MU, which are which are published on the on the messaging system, and we have hooks in there on our get lab page, if you just go to get lab Ford slash opener Lovie, there's some sample code for a native app that will run on the vehicle. This would be the equivalent of a Ross node for for those with Ross parlance, and there's a wifi. We don't use the WI fi module inside the raspberry pi all the time. And so the idea was that people could bolt on payloads to the bottom of the V. And then use that wifi, and it turns out going back on my RF doesn't transmit through water. Very well. Just how far does too. You've got a little bit of water like maybe a little water interface between your two housing's. You can you can pass millimeters is okay. Yeah. Yeah. But if you really wanted to bolt something on and seal, it that would be even better, and yeah, because it's a raspberry pi it's it's running Lennox. The root password to vehicle might start with an open end with an RO v. Leave it to people to guess with that could be. Other. Yeah. Opposite r v ostrich are Lovie. Okay. So so payloads, actually, I heard you speak it a pilot. He's event and one of the things that kind of just I didn't understand before your presentation was buoyancy. Yeah, thinking, okay. So when you add a payload to a flying drone your battery goes way, down your maneuverability way down at all. I mean, it's it's such a cool idea to have taco copters, but it's not fishing. It's fine. But with with the opener, AVI, nobody wants to talk. Oh. Really as you flew through the air. What is hitting the talk air, hopefully, not bugs or birds. Tummy about hope buoyancy is important here. Yeah. Well, so I mean in theory, you couldn't get away with just putting something that's very heavy and negatively buoyant or very light, and positively buoyant on the vehicle, but then you're going to be fighting that natural tendency for vehicle to rise or to sink in the water. So to to keep your your batteries, happy and not drain the system, you wanna have something that's neutrally buoyant. So you can if you were to add a payload that is negatively buoyant and heavy maybe underwater at weighs one pound then you'd need to add some equivalent amount of buoyancy to making bigger plastic housing. So you could put a bit of air in there. Yeah. Or attaching external foam their different in the world of underwater vehicles. There's a whole set of folks who who just think about foam and buoyancy, and how do you make these foams that are going to not? Compress survive, many many hundreds of of PSI pressure, and then that's less dense than water. So if you tach that to your vehicle. You're you're affectively adding flotation to it. But they're compression is important. I we've been to the Mberi open house where they have the little styrofoam cups that you decorate. And then they take them to the bottom of the trench. And then they come back, and they're like little tiny there. So how do you? I mean that seems like a natural property of foam that it compresses. Yeah. So the use of the word foam may be a little liberal, but there's sin tactic foams out there. Some of the ones that are very good at grammar. Imagine foam like basically, taking poxy resin, and then mix in a bunch of microscopic glass balls that are hollow. And so those glass balls that are hollow or naturally buoyant. When you this is basically, what makes composites strong as it is you take a material, and you get smaller and smaller pieces of you, reducing the likelihood that you have a defect in a grain boundary or some other property that is usually where failures begin in these in these materials. So if you make them really small than they on average tend to be close to perfect whatever that means, and then you can capsule eat them in poxy and overall the structure is an incredibly strong, you can machine it on a mill or a lathe, which is great, but any good respiration. And then you can even do things like paint over them with ceiling paints or additional fiberglass. So they're actually quite quite hard. So this there's so much here. I mean, we've we've touched on math and Ross and foam, and how do you? It seems to big how do you even approach this? Yeah. It's hard. How did you approach this? How did how did you get into this? Yeah. So I got into it from a friend who I met at the ham radio club in undergrad. And he called me up after I was. Done with my mechanical engineering degree in and said, hey, have have you had your wisdom teeth pulled out? What a way to start a conversation. Excuse me. Have you had your wisdom teeth pulled out? Yet. It goes a great will join go to an article November. And I was like let me think about that for second. Yes. That was the only major criteria. So that that was the introduction and then actually. Met with Dr Stacey Kim who is the principal investigator for this this project, this was based at a moss landing marine labs not far from here. Just down highway one. And you know, it was interesting in that initial interview that I had with Stacey. She's a benthic ecologist. So she studies critters that live on the sea floor, and the interview questions were all about how you deal with stress and team dynamics, and this that and the other and I kept waiting when is she going to ask some technical questions? And then they never came. And then she was like, okay. Well, you know, you've got the job if you want it was kind of dumbfounded like, you don't even wanna know if I know like what an eye to see buses or something. And then after my first season down on the ice when you're living in working with the same people for three months. I was like, oh, I get it. Like, it would be having not the right skill set is is by far and away better than somebody who you just can't work with you know, and three months is a long time when you have to live and work with them six days a week. And it's gogo. Hey, say you are you living on a boat. Are you living in a tent tent article, see my cave solitude? Yeah. What's like working in doctor? So the the first season we were we were based out of McMurdo, and it's a summer population somewhere between eight hundred thousand people it's the largest US research actually largest research station on the continent down there. And it's like I kinda describe it as a small mining town. You have doctors small. Yeah, they're electrons and everything it takes to run a small town. Everybody's down there, and it's dorm style housing. And then there's a big galley. So the first year we were living in town and then commuting out to our field sites on snow machines each day, and we would pull sleds that had our vs instruments. So we would go out in the morning do our work and then come back in the following season. After the scientists looked at some of the initial data the seem to. Indicate that there was a strong. Diane signal in these animals, and that means that the they not not surprisingly have a difference in how behave whether it's neither day. Even though the sun is up twenty four hours a day that time of year, it's lower in the evenings. So you end up with less light making it down into the water. And so like jellyfish come up at when there's a full moon at night, and they feed at night high up, but then they go down during the day because they don't wanna be eaten by birds. Right. And so this is with krill and silver fish, and so we were looking at critters at the bottom of the food web. And so that season we actually ended up setting up an ice camp out in the middle of the. So this is is that freezes each year during the wintertime, and it's on average like about six feet thick. So it's it's quite strong, and we had individual mountain tents set up out there and then a food ten storage. Ten and like a communal eating tent. And so we would be out there for six days at a time. And then go into town, which was like an hour away on snow machine was about that farther commute, and then would do laundry and get a hot brench. There's brench served on Sundays, which was always real good treat. So like Murdo station. It's where you go for brunch. Go for anything probably. Okay. Camping on an ice blog. Saw summer rate doesn't that sound like a bad? I even worse idea than camping in ice boss during winter while is. Were there storms and stuff? Or is it pretty calm during the summer, generally? It was pretty calm. We hadn't we put in our camp the last year, and then within a few days had a big star. And we had the real bad storms come out of the south coming off of the Arctic plateau, and so we basically built our camp. So that it would be more robust against a storm coming out of the south. And then this massive storm just comes out of the east, and let's all of this snow on top of us, which is kind of bizarre. There's not typically a bunch of snow out there. And I think that's was doing large to the wind picking it up and transporting it rather than falling out of the sky. But for the next week, you know, part of field work was having breakfast in the morning and getting up and then digging out a portion of the camp for an hour and a half and then going out and doing the field work and then coming back in and repeating that until the place was dug out that sounds super fun. What do you? What do you mean by field wreck? Okay. So this wasn't the the backpack sized Lovie, the we we have been talking about the Trident, this was bigger and more and probably a little more effort. Yeah. So this was an RV called skinny submersible capable of under ice imaging navigation, and it's about four feet long torpedo-shaped weighs about thirty five pounds, and we can deploy through its largest OD. Outer diameter was eight inches. Have to drill a hole in the ice in order to get it down there. And that's how big you'd have to drill. Yeah. And so there's get it out. Yes. My question six, but you have to line it to the whole pitched the vehicle down, and then thrust down so that we basically line at straight up, and then the tether manager who's up at the surface gently guides it up and sometimes you'll catch the bottom fairing on the ice twice. And you're just gentle until you got it into the hole and then out she comes. So soon I eve dug out your your snow and you've drilled a large hole in the ice. Did you have to the day? Or did you do use the same one most days? Yeah. No. We do that every day and the holes were made in the ice using jiffy drill, which if if you've ever used a gas powered auger to dig Fencepost holes or something basically a lawn mower engine mounted on handles, and then we put the six feet. Yeah. Eight inch hole is not snow, and it's actually a tent the drill. But. Has ten inches. And so we had this, you know, gas powered drill in that would just was part of our field kit. And so we would we would actually have to drill a couple of holes at each field site one where the instrument would get deployed through and our instrument was we were actually using skinny as a tovia call to pull a larger sonar instrument that had an active. Essentially, an expensive scientific fish finder and a Fleur ometer. That was measuring the amount of algae in the water. And so we were running transects with this. But we would drill a hole to deploy that one for the ultra short baseline navigation head, which is an acoustic navigation system that we would lower down through the ice and then another one for taking water samples so it was typically three holes per site on a good day. We could not out four field sites, and they were all separated. So it meant some commute on the snow machines. So we would pick pack everything backup drag it to the next field site. Our days not quite that long. We did have some that were long, especially when stuff broke down within the pressure was on like, I don't even want to think about what the, you know, the hourly expense for having a person down at McMurdo when we're supposed to be doing science and the vehicles, you know, something short it out and the engine like try to fix it. The scientists like when's it going to be ready, and we're like, we're working? He didn't wanna lose it. So it's important that you fix it properly. Yeah. No shortcuts, or at least shortcuts with you know, extra belt suspenders attached. The water navigation is that as it just like sonar. I mean is it just Chirpin and everybody takes times. Do you need to find grain clock to do that? Yes. So there's there's a underwater. Navigation is a whole subject of research in and of itself here. Somebody was thinking about getting a PHD in. So I don't mean I don't know how much we want to do a deep dive. But essentially we have joke is. I mean is it like your life puns? I didn't even think about that. Yeah. I mean, so I kind of think about the navigation space as on the one side, you have a whole suite of sensors that you have that are available to you. I guess I should preface with underwater is a GPS denied environment. So we don't have any external source of position when we're underwater naturally. It's so weird, you know, like twenty years ago as humans we were like maps maps or fantastic, we're going to get from here to there. The only way to know is to go by and then we GPS really I'm just gonna shake this until it works. Tell me where. Without ever thinking goes to space and comes back down. And has this weird calculation of multiple things in space, and now you're under one or you don't even you don't even get this basic human right of GPS? Well, I mean, the fundamentally the way the way an external position correction underwater works, which is the same thing that well GPS can provide philosophy. But let's just talk about position for a moment. Is that your your GPS receiver is measuring ranges to a whole bunch of different satellites that are moving around the earth simultaneously? And then it uses all those different ranges with a known position of where that satellite is to back out or estimate where you think you are in the end Waterworld, we do the same thing, but using a coup sticks. So I an ultra short baseline system. The baseline refers to how far apart the receiving elements are. On your on your system. So it's essentially the sonar head, and it has a whole bunch of PA Zo. Transceivers packed into the head of it. And in most US L systems, it'll work by it emits a ping of sound. And that goes out and it hits the vehicle to vehicle has a corresponding transponder on it. Here's that ping. And then it replies back with chirp. And so if you know that round clock time, and you know, the velocity of sound through water. You know, what that ranges and the USB L goes even further and by having multiple piso elements packed into the head. You can do beam forming or phase delay estimation. To actually get an asthma and elevating estimate of where that signal came from. So then you've got range with the ball of Ps? It's not all in one plane in order to get elevated. You're going to need at least two plans. Yeah. Anybody who's into the shots butter episode? Yeah. It's the same thing. But Costa through water temperature the speed of sound through water depends on emperor. Yeah. And fish, more broadly density, the density of the water is. Yeah. Is a function of temperature and salt and turns out when you go really deep waters, actually, not quite incomprensible that assumption begins to break down that weird environment. Yeah. And so when you're when you're really making a deep dive into navigation, you'll actually look at these sound velocity profiles in the water. And this is a plot of sound velocity as a function of depth. And it's this kind of depending on what the characteristics are of the water. It can be this kind of convoluted shape and has a result you end up with the sound waves taking not a direct line through the water. They'll actually bend refracted and change. So they don't travel in a straight line as you're moving through these. Layers of water. You know, you could almost think of it is a as a finite model each five centimeter section of water slightly different velocity. Perfect. Yeah. Yeah. And just like we were relying on that in optics. It's the same principle the light travels at a different velocity through different materials in and then we shape those materials, and that defend defines where we bend effectively lights the same things happening underwater sound and saying things happen with GPS. They you if you're in a city it's much worse. Because you it gets reflections from the buildings and it's like echoey except in GPS ranges. And so how do you fix that? I mean, it's more than just knowing. It's there it's how do you compensate? Do you compensate or accept the error? I think it depends. If. My most of my work has been fairly mission driven. And so it's what isn't acceptable error for for the scientists using the system if it's okay, we'll then that that first order approximation, just call it fifteen hundred meters per second and call it good and anything else, we just don't worry about. But you can you can get really complex, and you can do things like there's something called a bell hop analysis where you actually simulate a water. Afterwards. No. But you you do a, you know, a numerical Ray tracing analysis of sound through water, and then you can put that into your navigation model. I haven't gone to that, you know, I haven't had to do that degree of engineering and modeling for for these navigation systems, I've talked to and worked with people who have and they've kind of said, you know, it it'll by a little bit. But you know, oftentimes, it's just not worth it in that. First order approximation is good enough. And wouldn't it be simpler to just have another station doing the pinging? Yes. Because I mean once you get four good location. Yeah. And so I just talked about ultra short baseline where you're you're getting that. Range and as Muth elevations from single unit, but if you have multiple acoustic instruments, perhaps they're spread out over order kilometers on the seafloor you typically refer to that as a long baseline system. And then you're measuring ranges against things that have known fixed location, and then you can use more traditional TDA time difference of arrival methods. Or even just finding the minimum or you know, linear is the system and then do at least squares on on your position. And then that tends to be pretty good at what was the neatest animal. You saw under the ice. I mean, did you see any of these giants see stores or jellyfish or weird things that shouldn't exist on this planet? Yeah. So one of my colleagues down there was a graduate student moss landing. He was in under ice diver. So he was going down and collecting samples and would put on dry, suits. And he showed me a video that he took a giant jellyfish. That was hanging out near the outfall, which is where the the treated water leaves the station. And I couldn't quite get the scale of the jellyfish until he started the camera looking at the outfall, and he was like the diameter of that pipe. Don't remember exactly it was like twelve or eighteen inches? Right. And then he starts panning up, and you there's just like multiple pipe diameters like mini pipe diameters until he gets to the Bella jellyfish in the tentacles were hanging on. So the tentacles jellyfish for like thirty feet long. And he said the the bell of that jellyfish was like six feet wide. I was just dump out like a jellyfish bell at six feet wide. I can't even imagine swimming next to encountering something like that in the water. Yeah. Yeah. Where are you ever tempted to do an underwater under is dive? I'm not a scientific divers. I couldn't just, you know, throw on a wet suit, and and go and do it. But it certainly seems beautiful the pictures that we would. Most of the time we were operating the R V down there in open water, and we couldn't see the bottom but closer to some of the edges when we could actually get down and see the bentos. Holy cow was phenomenal. I mean, the I never would have thought that there are so many critters living on the bottom of the ocean in Antarctica. But there see stars and picnic podium, which is kind of spider looking things crawling all over one another massive sponges. And I mean, it looks like a rainforest, but with you know, underwater critters, it's phenomenal nutrients come from is it all from the federal Clinton? You know, I'm not the right person to know that. No, no. But that's a good question. I mean, I should I should know ask you. That was just my way. I don't know. And I'm a little ashamed that I don't know. But so generally nutrient cycling in in the ocean, you you get upwelling where you get a lot of nutrients that are brought up from the depths. Whether though I'm not sure if those nutrients fundamentally come from the depths, I mean, I know there's lots of cycling, I know a lot of the iron in the ocean actually comes from desert's and wind picks up little pieces of sand and then deposits iron out across the ocean. So the Sahara desert actually does a tremendous amount for fertilizing the Pacific Ocean because that dust blows over and then lands out there. And that's, you know, oftentimes a limiting nutrient for things like algae. Gathers this interesting idea that you can dump iron filings into who's in order to western kurban put him I off topic. Okay. Let's see if a question for from Bailey. And I know the answer this one, and it is awesome. Have any animals attacked anyone's vis and what happens so there's a there's a video on on YouTube of an from an early Trident user, and I think they're operating down in the fairlawn islands with great white sharks. And the video starts out with the open the Trident sitting out in the water. And you see a great work, shark, come up and swim. And do what I was told was an aggressive get out of here kind of behavior. And then she comes back, and then makes another pass on the on the second pass. Bam just chomps down on the the are you have. This first person view. And so all of a sudden, you're literally like looking in the mouth of his great white shark at these teeth. And so she kind of choose it ferment, and then spits it out because clearly doesn't taste like anything. And so the the the shell is all scarred. But but it survived and they continue diving with the vehicle for the rest of the day. So. And so you bought it back. This video is amazing. I mean, it starts out third person. You see what happens? Oh, well, they lost their their thing. But no, no look inside of sharks. Now, it was kind of scaring have you had other things like that? Interesting animal encounters or or actually lost units to wildlife. No, I haven't we almost got a unit. Are skinny are obese stuck out in the ice when we were operating a little too close to the ice edge and the wind had rafted in blown a whole bunch of. Right. Broken up ice back to close to where we were working, and we took it out into the open water. And then the tether got tangled up in this rafted ice that kind of looks like rubble from building after after an earthquake or something. And so it was like four very tense hours of just trying to untangle this, tether, and we're thinking like, you know, at about our three we're like, well, we're going to have to go get somebody who knows how to dive. And who can like go in untangle this. You know? So it was just we're gonna need a bigger hole. Yeah. Well, that's what we started doing for like, we don't we didn't know quite where it was because we were out along horizontal range in the US wasn't quite working. So yeah, it was it was tense. But we we recovered the vehicle and the tether. Let's see if you could deploy our vs anywhere. Where would you take them? And what would you wanna look at? I think there's so many cool ecosystems out there, you know, in our own backyard here in the Monterey Bay. We have these phenomenal kelp forests which actually extremely difficult to. My customers get tangled. But the the life there is just phenomenal. Coral Reaser are obvious ones. And what I think would be so cool to be able to do with this. If you can. Livestream. These experiences over the internet, and I'm envisioning a classroom that gets ships like a big pelican box that has a bunch of VR headsets and the kids can all put these headsets on and the vehicle has three hundred sixty view camera. And so it's like miss Frizzle magic school bus, and you're getting a tour of this kelp forest or the coral reef down in Australia such kind of more of an experiential thing. But I would love I would also like to kind of embark on the challenge of like how how cheaply could we make in our Lovie or an av. That would go to the bottom of the Mariana trench. I mean folks from would woods hole James Cameron have have been down to the bottom of the Mariana trench. But could you do with ten thousand dollars of hardware? I mean, engineering time aside like what would it actually, you know, how could you get down there? And how could you do it? I mean, the pressure is. Is way more super way. To to deal with the pressure. But what are the other factors? Maybe you don't have to deal with the pressure. So you can oil fill electron IX, and you can have everything be pressure compensated. I don't have to put a human it. So yeah. But then you have to get in you need to find a need to be careful with your chip selection because things like crystals have little air cavities in them or Mems devices have air cavities that are open because the little elements in their need to vibrate. Even some memory devices have little air pockets in them. So if also that's not usually on the data sheet either. Yeah. No. I think you know, people people have businesses about doing pressure compensated electronics for for very specialized needs. So the the electrons is one thing. But I think I think you can get around that with just selecting the right stuff. And then you fill everything with oil and let it go to eleven kilometers of of pressure. So tethers if you wanted to have tethered vehicle, that's actually also pretty difficult. Really heavy gets really heavy and after. You know, depending on what the tethers made out of a lot of Oceana graphic. Vessels have a standardized. It's a point six eight inch steel braided, tether that got some copper and fiber on the inside of it. But I think those haven't done the math, but they become non self supporting after like eight thousand meters or something there's just too much weight and they snap. And so then you could the way some folks at woods hole got around. This was a head simultaneous unarmored fiber spools both on the vehicle and on a little depressing that live just below the water surface. So as the vehicle is descending. Your simultaneously spooling out an unarmored fiberoptic cable one in from the vehicle and one in from the ship, and you just let the current take that cable wherever so you've got, you know, easy gigabit calms down to the vehicle. It's not a structural thing. And then you build in backup, redundant acoustic systems and failure safe mechanisms Nala sorts of. Things. But then all of a sudden, you basically have a weightless cable that gives you calms, so okay, if we can do that on the cheaper. Maybe maybe there's another way to do it. You know, maybe do just make it a Thomas. Cameras the airspace dealing with Aaron pressure. Does get kind of interesting when you're thinking about cameras again because if you're going to the bottom of the ocean, I would think you wanna see what's down there to camera. Maybe twelve yeah. Yeah. Maybe that little doors down at the bottom. So we gotta find that. Remember don't take out the plug? Yeah. But I think you can also play kind of an interesting materials game there. You know, most of the time we use glass in our optics, which has a certain I'm not as well versed in this. But Snell's law is I think what determines the how the angle of light changes. And that's the function of. I think just the density of the material are actually remember what there's electro optic stuff to chemical stuff that that affects it. Yeah. Index factual Tara science. Yeah. Yeah. But I've been told by some people who've thought about this that if you if you make your lenses out of like sapphire, for example than the index of refraction between water and sapphire is roughly quivalent to that of Aaron glass. So all of a sudden now you don't need to maintain an airspace. You know in your camera or your lens or anything like that? So then you're then you're kind of in business. You don't need a pressure housing, which is an expensive part, and you still kind of have to figure out the tether calms part. But. Okay. This is from Stephen. And it's related what we're talking about. Now, what are some of the key a fundamental technology challenges that are currently limiting progress of our Lovie development, and he suggests calms bend with navigation positioning mechanical what do you what do you think is the most important? One of the things we haven't talked about is connectors underwater connectors are the the bane of mini underwater engineers existence, or at least I spent way too much time dealing with connectors. I've weren't military connectors. And I suspect that's a level of harder that's exponentially harder than the frigging military ones, which are so much harder than regular. Yeah. Yeah. And they're expensive. I mean, even even the lowest end connectors, you're like looking at one hundred bucks a pop raspberry pi thirty five dollars extra. It's just one hundred dollars for the cheapest one. Yeah. So if we can figure out a good way to make you know, those connectors that can transmit a lot of power, and you know, you end up having to trade off voltage in in current, you know, based on conductor Cise. Especially when you're going eight thousand meters. Yet connectors are big one. The navigation is also big one these navigation systems if you have hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend like you can build a pretty phenomenal navigation systems get laser ring gyros or fiber optic gyros, which are actually measuring the rotation of the earth and combined with knowing where the gravity vector is you can get a an estimate of true north. So that's how those compasses work, but those are like a hundred and fifty thousand dollar compasses can get five thousand but they're not that much better than men's. Yes, sydney. They don't have air. Boy. Gun gyrus gyros. And every like, I don't think you can you're not gonna have a north seeking a true north gyro, compass out of a men's device, I think that the noise floor is just too high. So yeah, navigation also tough one. Yeah. We kind of like figured out the the motor things like you can actually put brushless Motors as long as you've got good Amel coating line is you wash mafia get him out of the salt. Yes. They will certainly last longer. If you do that, we've done a fair amount of testing with not rinsing the Motors because we, you know, do these kind of rapid life cycle testing on on the on the Motors and may not caught being lazy at all. And they'll they'll still do quite well, the the abrasive properties. If you set the v down in a really silty environment, and especially silty environment that has lots of fairest material because these are permanent magnet brushless Motors. All of a sudden you start accumulating the black fuzz if you've ever dragged a magnet through place end accumulating in the motor. And then that abrasion is. Usually what kills you before the saltwater does? To another questions that I get from listeners spec wanted to know before going Tactica, why did you expect to miss the most? And once you were there. What did you actually miss the most? Let's good. It wasn't some light because the summer. I was expecting to mostly mich- miss coming from California. Like, lots of fresh vegetables all the time. And at the beginning of the season. When there's lots of big cargo planes coming in. We actually have a pretty good supply of what we call fresh cheese and those tend to taper off. But, you know, then it's okay. The thing. I ended up missing the most though was was sleep. I'm definitely like an eight to nine hours a night kind of guy. And when you're down doing field work that just doesn't happen. And so, you know, kind of get progressively more and more under slept is the season goes on. So that that's a hard one for me. But you went back for three seasons. Yeah. Yeah. It seems like a lot. What made you stop going back, the NSF grant ended, you know? And then it was like which I do. Now how about at school? What were you doing with the other months of the year while you were doing that? So I did a little bit of contract work for open. Our Lovie I worked as an intern at the Monterey Bay crime research institute at one point we had worked do in the off season, you know, making repairs and improvements to the vehicles themselves. And then a few other small contract things on an underwater platforms. What does it take to keep the robots working in Antarctica? Is it is it different than the problems? You're seeing with the Trident just making it work underwater. Yeah. So the the vehicles we had skinny skinny vehicles that we had down in Antarctica were a pretty complete prototype. Vehicle for it to be what I would consider production vehicle. We would have needed another spin on it and mostly we ended up dealing with. So there was not a good example is we didn't have very good strain relief on a hand. Handful of these underwater Connector's. There was just a little bit of residual strain in their that in dollar connectors, and they couldn't build in some strain relief. Yeah. Yeah. And so, you know, every probably on average like three or four weeks one of these connectors would fail. Just a little bit of water would start getting in. And the power bus on skinny was a three hundred volt DC power bus and a little bit of saltwater can go a long ways with three hundred volts. And so all of a sudden you end up there would be ARCHE underwater. And usually the symptom would just be that the vehicle would go dark because it would short everything out. And at one point we actually cooked a short it out. And then some that three hundred volts made its way onto the RS forty five calms bus and destroyed the the RS forty five transceiver that I had in there and spent hours trying to figure out what was going on. What was going in couldn't confined it, and then I had a dentist smear, and I'm digging around looking in the inside of the circuit boards are all kind of sandwich together. And what looked like a lightning crack through the middle of the eight pin dip in. Oh, I don't think that's supposed to be like that. And so that it was became a quest for like digging around for, you know, I don't remember what chip it was specifically, but I don't find his bare for that. Okay. Insider back in and hey, we're back in business. You know, see to the hardware and soldering. How'd you sought her attendant Turco? With a lot of patients and some thick skin like it's especially if there's a storm outside, and it's it's blowing but we had so in our field camp out on the ice. We had a small solar array with lead acid batteries. And if we really needed to we had some small gas powered generators if it had been cloudy for a couple of days in the batteries weren't up to snuff. But skinny it self was powered by a small portable kit, Honda one kilowatt generator that we then but through a standard ABC computer battery backup to to clean the the power up a little bit. And then we would up convert to two hundred and forty volts pass that down the, tether, so that we're not pushing a whole bunch of current over three hundred meter, tether. So boost of all to send it down. And then take it down to lower voltages on the vehicle, which is actually very common in our vis a lot of the professional ship, deployed RV's have like four thousand volt DC systems going down the tether. I mean that totally makes sense because then you have the high voltage you can have the super low current. But then when you talk about things like saltwater, it does seem like the compatibility the tradeoff there is I don't know. I'm not sure about that. Are you? Sure. I mean, a lot of people who are smarter than me. I think have also converged solution. So go with it. Okay. We'll ask you about methane seeps because you mentioned that that was a hobby in. I've never I mean, I have some strange hobbies nothing seeps was never one of what do you mean by that? So methane is a really potent greenhouse gas decomposes naturally in the atmosphere has a half life between eight and twelve years. And so it methane, which is C H four decomposes into carbon dioxide and water. But before it does that it traps a lot more heat than carbon dioxide, so depending on the time scale that you're talking about a lot of folks have kind of standardized over a one hundred year quivalent, but a a ton of methane is roughly quivalent too. Twenty five tons of co two over a one hundred year time period. So it's it's a potent greenhouse gas and people have been thinking and talking about this in relation to cows and their methane missions. And I've heard it rice patties as well as coal mines old oil and gas infrastructure, so those are kind of primary sources. And a good friend of mine who works in the climate space. You know, started thinking what are we going to do about? The Arctic people are talking about these positive feed left feedback loops that occur. When you have for example, melting permafrost, and then more CO two and methane gas emitted through the ground as a result. And then that induces more warming and more. Well, melting of the permafrost and turns out that there are some relatively large point source releases of methane throughout the world and large as in like, there's a there's a lake where were Claburn with some folks from university of Alaska Fairbanks, and it's in some parts of this leak kinda like a jacuzzi where there's bubbles bubbling out from the bottom of the lake except it's all natural gas. And it's you know, it's a lot of methane. So then the question is while. Can we do like solving the problem of plugging up Cal farts is pretty hard because there's many of many cows. And there they make on average a little bit per cow. So it's a very hard thing. But if you have large single point sources, that's a more tractable problem. You know, if you're goal is to reduce overall emissions. So working with a group of folks, and we're working on a device to to mitigate those emissions, and I remember driving through Montana many years ago, they had basically lit some of the methane seeps on fire. To partially offset offsetting or they were they were just burning off the fields. I thought it was partially to offset the emissions of the greenhouse gases. So that's actually that's done at landfills when the cap them with decomposition of the organic material you'll generate methane and some landfills will will burn that methane. And it's as I mentioned earlier it degrades into CO two in the fear is any better than. Yeah. So if you can just exceleron that transition from methane that's already going get released into the atmosphere. It's better if you can just shorten that that transition time. And then there was a better chance at the CO two will fall immediately out. Yes. Yeah. I mean, we combusted in theory. If you have perfect combustion, you end up with carbon dioxide and water. I was thinking this stuff they do and natural gas fields where there's burning off yet because. Yeah. Which is not for not for environmental reasons at all. It's. 'cause they're they wrote to do with. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, they're drilling like an oil well for Campbell. But they have there's a little bit of gas in there and the need to do something with you. They don't want just release it. And you don't want it to build up wrecked. Yeah. Yeah. Why should go back to the V that the opener of because that's technically why you came goes are selling these. But they're kind of expensive how much are they I think they're retailed for seventeen hundred dollars on open RV dot com. I was able to get a discount coupon code. So if anybody's interested if you use the code word imbedded, and I think will drop Lincoln in the in the show notes, but that'll get you off two hundred dollars in the in the star such show up at at checkout time. But on the grand like you didn't use to be able to get in our Lovie for seventeen hundred bucks. You know, it used to be that the lowest class was like one hundred grand, and then people started making them for thirty grand. And now it's like same order as a DJ. I drown kind of thing. It's a good comparison. Do people do people send you videos, are there places where I can look and see what people are doing with them. Yeah. So there's a an awesome initiative that we have going on in collaboration with National Geographic and the Packard foundation. The Smit Schmidt ocean institute called the C initiative, and these are we got a grant that allows us to give our Lovie out to citizen, scientists explorers people who are just doing really interesting engaging work. And so if you do a search for C initiative, you can see all these expeditions that people are going on with with the visas, folks, working on turtle monitoring. There's folks here in the Monterey Bay some people working in the Monterey Bay. Marine protected areas and using these are vs as monitoring tools, and it's a lot of really awesome stories. Yeah. And I'll point out since I searched for the wrong one. It's S E cricked not S E S O C is in visual initiative. As though you're looking through a camera at some amazing animal science engineering exploration initiative. I think Avas to that. Yeah. Science exploration education. This. It helps to have the website for an. My skills her second to just about everybody's what else should ask you. I mean, you have you have a pretty broad resume. And I I'm like, let's go back to navigation. Tuck about Kucic sensors talk about acoustic modems talk about Antarctica. Just what do you wanna talk about? I don't know. I mean, I feel like it's it's always fun to talk about like dream projects or the, you know, the things that you would want to work on if you were given a chunk of free time and money for prototyping in that sort of stuff. I've always been interested in trying to do low cost acoustics. It's a space that I know very little about. And so I'm sure there's all sorts of Gotcha. In there about you know, what makes it really hard. But I look at how cheap. Consumer audio equipment is like, okay. So we have pretty good eighties. Indeed as that, you know are good to like four hundred and forty kilohertz. So you can you can do anything in the acoustics range from twenty kilohertz and below okay. You know, what what could be done using consumer grade stuff instead of having to to go really really high up exploration for location. Yeah. I guess both for I for location, you know, some of the some of the other navigation instruments that that I didn't talk about our one of them is called a Doppler velocity, log, and this is an instrument that uses acoustic Doppler shift to measure, three dimensional velocity. So it sends out Ping's, and you can imagine when the ambulance is driving toward you the pitch of its siren is higher than when it goes past you, and that's due to Doppler shift, and we can use that same principle underwater to measure velocity of vehicle relative to the ground or you can also use the same thing to measure, water velocity. But the sound essence reflects off of little things in the water or the sea-bottom and so. And so if if you have a good philosophy measurement that goes a long way in helping you out with your navigation system because then you're not just relying on acceleration. Accelerations terrible measurement. I mean because we have one JV celebration on us at all times. And therefore anything else is tiny compared to that. Yeah. Yeah. So having having that acoustic Blasi measurement would be awesome. And also, you know, it goes a long way if you're gonna do not Thomas or untethered vehicle having that Kucic backchannel to the vehicle so that you can actually command it to come home, or you know, send a little bit of data back periodically. This is the acoustic modems town and have used a modems much a little bit. Yeah. I've used. Some let's see modem from Tri tech company based in the UK. And then I think that's only that's actually the only one I've touched touch, technically. But I'm looking at when the six hundred Baud, and I'm just like, yeah. I don't I don't I don't that's like I can speak six hundred baht. Yeah. I feel like I could chirp to it like our to d-2. It's just so weirdly slow I have my cereal port turned up to one megabit per second. Yeah. How do you? How do you live this way? You get very diligent about bite packing ones. What is the data that you actually want to send to the vehicle, and what is it that you need back? And what can you like what if you know? So there's in the underwater world, you have not only the problem of very low Bod rate, but you have highlight and see if your vehicle is one point five kilometers away. That message is gonna take a second to get to you. So you can't do really timing critical stuff over that much latency Owen, by the way, those sound waves don't travel in a direct line, and they might bounce off of the underside of the ice. And you might not actually give her get that packet. So I have noticed it does seem to be like talking into a tin can through a wet noodle to the other side. It's good analogy. It's not not exactly precision instrument there. Yeah. But I mean, there has I mean my sense is that there is. Tremendous amount of digital signal processing that has gone into these systems. And you know, you do have era correction, you know, when they try, and when they pack ties this data. So you do have some insurances there. And you can check your check some and and do that kind of stuff. So what else would be on your your just six give me a genius grant? I'm out do what I wanna do. I think another kind of selfish program is I would like to. I've always thought it would be kinda interesting to roller GPS from scratch. Like from. A little company that did that wrong. Rockets. I think he just wants to do feminist calculation on. Okay. Yeah. I just doing it in post grass or s q out because that will make a really good conference talk. Okay. That was not helpful suggestion. Yeah. It just seemed like I kind of tend to think about I'm also one of these people who starts a lot of projects and doesn't finish most of them. But most of them are like a it's a learning exploration. It's way for me to dive deep on something kind particularly that I'm interested in. And then once I've extracted that nugget, then I'm like, okay. I'm ready to move on. I've learned what I want to their see GPS that makes sense because it's so critical to navigation, and they have made so many amazing things possible. What's hidden in that code that? You just don't think about without doing yourself. Yeah. Yeah. For that. I don't think that's a good idea for me. For you. It may be awesome. It sounds hard. And maybe it is just like, maybe if I just did the math part of it. I would feel fulfilled. Maybe somebody will let you read their GPS. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. All right. I think we have kept you long enough since this is one of the first sunny weekends in long long time. Yeah. It's almost not cold for Christopher. I dunno. Honey, look. Have that up? It's probably on the border may be sixty one. He's still sweatshirt on a right? Do you have any advice for people who want to follow career path like yours? I would say, you know, especially if you're doing field, robotics and feel word patience is a really key thing to develop. You know, when when something breaks, and it will, you know, even the most stressful environment. It's you know, it's pretty keenum keep a level head and like be able to put your head down and and keep moving forward. But also, I guess also, you know, no winter to walkaway take a little break and come back and then get back to attacking it. So that and yet just be really curious don't hesitate to take a little bit of time and go on those, you know, kind of deep dives something that you're interested in because you never know when that's gonna come back in and be useful. Oftentimes, it is. All right. I think I may have preempted the my last question. But before we get there. I will remind people the code embedded for two hundred dollars off at the Trident store, if you are getting your own Lovie, please. Let me know and send me all your videos, borrow it can go check out the inside of the book is really. Giant octopus. Yeah. Did you the I really wanna go down to that concrete ship? She was living. Once the dust has settled a little bit at the office. Lachlan? Are there any final thoughts you'd like to leave us with? Oh, no. Thank you to just so much for having me on. This has been really fun. I guess has been Lachlan Barker systems engineer at open, our Lovie. You can find them it open our Vida com. Thank you so much for being with us. You. Thank you, also to Kathleen toot of pilot Santa Cruz for introducing me to Lachlan. Thank you also to Christopher before producing Anco seem. And of course, thank you for listening. You can always contact us at show. It embedded outta fem or hit the contact on embedded dot FM. And now a quote to leave you with. Yes. From Helen scales. She wrote I of the shoal, which I believe Christopher named the fish fax book before eighteen fifteen when Humphry Davy invented safety lamp, British Coal miners, sometimes went to work carrying a bucket of dead fish naked. Flames had the dangerous tendency of blowing up any methane that seemed into the tunnels so miners needed alternative lighting sources a bucket full of putrefying fish could apparently produce enough dim cold light for minors to CPI. I hope you enjoyed. That. Fact. I'm not sure I did. Emended is an independently produced radio show that focuses on the many aspects of engineering. It is a production of logical elegance and embedded software consulting company in California. If there are advertisements in the show, we did not with them there and do not receive money from them at this time. Our sponsors are logical elegance and listeners like you.