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Success! 7 of 10 dissertation experiments

One more time. Well technically it’s two days, but whatever. Today marks the completion of 7 of the 10 dissertation experiments I need to get done! Wow, things are moving quick, but maybe not quick enough considering I still need, you know, process the data and make sense of it all. But that’s tomorrow’s problem and I don’t have to worry about that today. Let’s talk a bit about how today went though!

One experiment a day is hard enough, but since I don’t have time for one a day, we’re doing multiple a day! Okay, “just” two in a day, but still that’s enough. Between setup, experiment, and teardown, there’s about five to six hours worth of work per experiment and we double that (not exactly, but close enough) when we do it twice. The nice thing about doing two experiments in one day is that the equipment for the second experiment is already setup so you can just get the rest of the stuff together and go.

The experiments today went well. There were some things that could’ve gone better, but we say that the experiment should take between 3-4 hours since setup with the person there is about an hour or so alone. Today we averaged just 2.5 hours with the participant and part of that is the people I’m teaching have gotten better at setup and part of it is us all finding our groove. Now that we’ve done this a half dozen times or so it’s gotten clear who needs to do what and when.

The new equipment has helped a lot. For those who are unaware, the first time I tried to run this experiment with loaner equipment, we took something like six hours to get it done and it was a nightmare. Luckily the person who was helping was extra patient with us since they worked in the lab too and knew how these things can go first hand. Having an understanding participant, especially when you’re doing it for the first time, can go a long way. Anyway, having our own dedicated equipment means I can troubleshoot and test beforehand. Currently no one else is using the equipment, it’s just me, so when I go to use it, it’s exactly how I left it. When you’re sharing equipment (or anything really) having it the way you left it is a big time saver.

So what next?

There’s still three more datasets to collect. I’ve currently have one (probably two) participants to fill the slots and that means I just need one more participant and I have until next Saturday to find one. There are plenty of people that could fill the slot, it’s just a matter of asking around and getting someone to agree. Right now the plan is to do one experiment on Friday after class and then collect the last two on Saturday, bringing our grand total to the 10 participants I need! It’s been a very long day, but I only need to do it one more time.

Assuming next week goes according to plan, I can then spend my time analyzing the data to see what we got. I’m cautiously optimistic it will go well, but who knows! I’ve done the best I could to maximize the chances of success, but we will see. With the DARPA stuff coming soon, I need to get at least a chunk of it done to see if what I’m attempting actually works or not. Obviously, I’m hoping it works, but knowing one way or the other will be good, even if the result is that it doesn’t work.

Now, I really need to take a break, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

But enough about us, what about you?

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