Another robot appears!
In the middle of the week we’re expecting some visitors that could lead to funding for our lab! Not that we need more projects, we already have over a dozen different projects we’re trying to power through and only three of us (including hospital-PI) to get them all done. Since we have so many projects, we’ve split them in half, literally. I’m taking all the lower limb projects and my labmate is taking upper limb. What does this have to do with the visit? It turns out, a lot.
The hospital lab is rapidly changing. It’s always changing, but lately it’s been more tumultuous than usual. We’re still looking for a new postdoc (hint, hint if anyone is in the neuroscience/ neuroengineering/ neurorehabilitation fields), we’ve got some new lab space being built out for us, big idea is spinning wildly out of control with all the possibilities it’s leading to, and we recently had not one, but two therapists join the team (one PT and one OT).
This visit was last minute, but since things have been moving fast and I’ve been proving myself as someone who can build just about any bit of equipment we need, I’ve been tasked with putting together a robot. Basically I’m the only one in the lab that can put the thing together and since our lab has been, well growing, we don’t have a whole lot of outside resources for this job at the moment.
The robot isn’t exactly a robot, but that’s what we’ve taken to calling it. I’m not sure I can share exactly what it is yet, but soon I hope. What I can say is that it’s a very cool piece of equipment that hospital-PI’s friend, who has the same name as I do, came from out of country to deliver to us. The problem is, it’s not finished, it’s only mostly finished. That’s where I come in, we need to take it over the finish line and get it ready to run for when the people visit in the few days.
Oh and we didn’t know about this visit until last week. So I’ve been rushing the last few days, in between experiments and what not, to put the damn thing together. The problem is that most of what needs to be done isn’t well explained. There’s a language barrier and I don’t speak Russian, so Russian Alex (what we’ve been calling him in the lab) and I need to communicate with each other through hospital-PI. He speaks english, just not comfortably enough to discuss things with me without falling into Russian and explaining the things we need to do to hospital-PI instead.
The good news is my work has paid off and I think (all things equal) that tomorrow we will have all the stuff done for final assembly. Tuesday we will assemble everything and Wednesday we will demo the robot for our guests. That’s the plan anyway and as we saw from the meeting I recently had, plans don’t always work out the way we hope.
Basically this is my regular reminder that you should never show anyone you’re good at something because then you’ll get asked to do more work…. wait is that the moral here? I don’t even know anymore. But seriously, I’m hoping once we have the robot setup I can get the thumbs up from hospital-PI to share. It’s really cool and I really want to share. I don’t think it will be a problem, but at the same time I don’t want to display something I’m not supposed to.
Instead let’s take a peek at some of my previous work!
I realize now that I have been so busy, I never thought to share why I’ve been so busy! Well there you have it. On top of the normal stuff, I’ve had to pull double duty to get this robot done. Mostly soldering things together, but some other minor electrical work and my own modifications to the device too. I really hope I can show it off once we’re done assembling it, it’s pretty awesome.