We're a little crazy, about science!

Another big iteration

Well I’ve barely got the second generation of my “big idea” done, in fact it’s not even completely finished yet, but I’ve already got plans for another iteration. There are several parts involved in making this happen and there are always ways to improve upon the design and create something better. So, with the first round done and tested and the second being completed, I’m already thinking about what to do next. Would it be too much to say it’s going to be… big?

So this will the third generation of “big idea.” The thing is there’s always ways to improve and I’m constantly looking for ways to do things better. We have a project that is coming soon (as in 3-6 months) that will be a huge chance for me to get data that I really want. It’s going to be the perfect chance for me and because that’s the case, I want to be sure I have the best equipment I can build. It’s not a matter of being frugal either, it’s a case of no one making the equipment I need. Sometimes being a trailblazer means making your own stuff.

That said I need to dust off my controls theory classes. There was a lot of hands on circuit building and what not, but that was undergrad and masters stuff, so a good 5 years ago or so now. All of which is not quite forgotten, but certainly not as fresh as I would like it to be. Thankfully the internet is a thing and I can quickly refresh on everything and I’ve already got the parts list together. Moreover, I have hospital-PI greenlighting the purchases. The cost is so negligible he’s debating about putting it on his own credit card, which I’m not going to argue if he wants to use his own money for the project.

I’m fairly sure at this point he’s sold on the whole idea and we’re frantically trying to make it happen. Right now, personally I’m just trying to find time to make it all happen. I mean between my PhD and work, I don’t have a whole lot of free time and big idea is unfortunately a “free time” type project. I’m not even complaining, I would do this kind of thing in my free time if I wasn’t doing it at work, but the problem is there’s no real free time to do the free time stuff.

Mostly because we have those big idea experiments (like the one on Friday, I did mention it was a big idea spinout project… right?) that are eating all my time. It’s just too much to handle at the moment and while I have no real rush to get it done, I still feel some pressure to finish all of this quickly. Mostly for myself, but also because I want to be the first to get to it and I would hate for someone to beat me to the idea just because I’ve been sitting on it. It’s been almost a year exactly and while we’ve made huge progress since the initial idea, nothing has been published yet.

Thankfully with this new set of experiments coming, I’m going to piggyback and collect the data I want from it (most likely, we’re still working out the details). Since that’s the case I’ve been making a push to get the semi-final, or at least the closest to final, big idea equipment together. Version three is really part of the first ideas I had for this design, but I had scrapped the idea because it was a lot of work and I wasn’t sure I would be able to pull it off.

After finishing the harder part of version two, I’m feeling a bit better about my chances and I’ve put the parts list together for everything to make it happen. It turns out that this will be easier than I had originally thought (who would’ve guessed), because most of the parts I need already exist, just not in the configuration I want them in.

I’ll have to design and order a custom PCB eventually, but right now since I’m just prototyping I have a rather large breadboard (back from my controls classes in fact) that will get to see the light of day again. I know exactly where it is too, it’s living in the back of my closet. How it ended up there is anyone’s guess, but after the move for my PhD, it’s been sitting there, judging me. I also have a ton of other misc electronics that will get to see the light of day again for this project as I start prototyping.

I’m excited honestly, I’ve never had the chance (or need) to make a custom PCB before, so this will be a learning experience, but also it should be pretty fun. There’s also the potential for some IP with this (IP is intellectual property), currently I have one patent and one pending (technically awarded… but that’s another post and that was a major spoiler, oops). This would “technically” belong to the hospital, but I’m fine with that because I would never be able to take it to market or anything like that.

Anyway so that’s the big news for the day. As soon as this goes live I’m sending the master list to hospital-PI and I’m going to try to find time to finish the other version two stuff I need to finish making. Things are coming along though, so I’m excited to see what comes next. The better the equipment gets, the better the data will be and the more we can do with it.

Semi-regular reminder that if you can dream it, you can make it.

2 responses

  1. Wait, controls circuits now?
    You’ve got me very much at a loss as to what this is. Haha.
    Sounds exciting, though. Best of luck.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 19, 2022 at 9:16 pm

    • Haha,yeah, we’ll it’s not a controls issue, but a lot of the circuits we built in controls apply to other applications. That’s about as much as I can hint about that one though.

      Liked by 1 person

      September 20, 2022 at 7:08 pm

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