Team DelSquared-Our Summer of Code, 2018

Posted on by Sharmistha Swasti Gupta

Categories: blog and student posts

And…it’s a wrap!

September is approaching to an end and we still can’t believe how fast the last three months have gone by. This is Arushi and Sharmistha, from India, and we worked this summer on the Tessel project. The experience has been simply wonderful. Sitting for hours trying to figure out how to go about our first pull request, the weekly and monthly meetings with our team, closing the first issue we worked on, receiving the package with Tessel modules (and stickers of course!!!) - these are a few of the many instances that have made our summer a truly memorable experience.

Back when we first started working with Tessel, we were really really excited about being able to actually contribute to open source, because that meant collaboration with so many people around the world. The excitement hasn’t gone away yet, even as the end of the program approaches, and we intend to continue working with Tessel and mentor the newcomers. During this program, we actually learnt quite a lot about how such developments boards work. Before that, everything for us was like a black box. Feed code, and run the program. Not anymore.

After having delved neck deep into online resources, tutorials and repositories on GitHub, we have gained a lot of related knowledge on hardware, communication protocols, and even hardware. Here are some highlights of the work we did:

  • Worked on an ESP32 Hello World tutorial for Windows 10 and submitted a blogpost for the same. (currently under review)
  • Had a mini Tessel hackathon in which we tried to build a SoundBot of sorts. We controlled LED bulbs with live music and made them fluctuate in sync with the music beats. We used a Tessel board and an ambient module for the same. The blogpost is currently under review and would be out soon!
  • Figured out a way to build diagrams of the Tessel components using Fritzing and submit them in the required format. We really had to bang our hands for this one. It was proving to be pretty annoying :p
  • Worked on a few documentation issues, some of which we were able to close while others are under review or need to be updated. Learnt a lot about the I2C protocol as we had to browse a lot of online resources to learn how devices talk to each other using these communication protocols. We are currently working on implementing I2C to create a demo for communication between an ESP32 and an accelerometer module.
  • Worked with several APIs and softwares like Moddable, ImageMagick. We’re still exploring Moddable but it seems like a amazing tool for communicating to micro-controllers which are based on JavaScript.

## Looking Ahead

We intend to keep working on a few aspects of Tessel Reach and the Fritzing issues because we are pretty close to solving them. Also, we found a lot of interesting resources and tools that we can share with the people who are interested in working with Tessel. Some of the resources we found were:

  • Moddable API []
  • Working with Fritzing []

As and when time permits, we are thinking of writing a blog detailing a few approaches we have in mind, which future contributors to Tessel can use and achieve. We weren’t able to fulfil these in the limited time we had, but we would surely like to see these tried out or try out ourselves sometime we’re free.

This summer of code has had a profound impact on us, as we have learned not just the technical stuff but also working on real-life projects and working with people across the globe. Sitting down to summarise our work every week, and setting targets for the next week helped us and the mentors evaluate our progress, and we have progressively worked on the feedback we received each week, bettering ourselves. We have also started embracing unfamiliarity and challenges, as we learnt about many new things we had never heard of before, like Moddable. From being novices at understanding the technical intricacies, we have come a far way and we believe this knowledge will immensely benefit us, as we both want to pursue a career in robotics.

Last but not the least…(drumrolls)

A huge shout out to our amazing team!

We would like to extend a big thanks to the amazing people that we have had a chance to work with. For both of us, it has been the most supporting team we’ve seen so far.

Organisers (Vaishali Thakkar, Ana Sofia Pinho)

Firstly, thanks for the conference tickets! Yayy!

RGSoC has provided us with an opportunity to attend GoLab 2018, to be held in Florence, Italy from Oct 22-23, 2018. We are more than excited to attend the same and are very eagerly looking forward to the trip.

Also, Sharmistha says she’ll always remember her best birthday gift, which weirdly came wrapped up in a package saying “technical interview round” :P We really appreciate the efforts put in by you guys, to make the selection announcement special for each and every team. Kudos.

Supervisor (Bhumika Goyal)

Thanks for checking in on us, time and again. And thanks to you too for helping arrange our conference tickets. We always had a sense of security that if at all anything goes wrong, we have someone who’ll listen. Thankfully, it never came to that :P The group meetings have been a lot of fun too. Looking forward to that one last Hangout call with everyone, towards the end of the month.

Mentors (Kelsey Bresemann, Nick Hehr)

Thank you guys, for being the most chilled out mentors, and for being so responsive to all our queries (even the most stupid ones). Brihi and Shravika would always tell us that the Tessel project mentors were simply superb, and we couldn’t agree more. You were really supportive throughout, keeping our morale up with encouraging words. The weekly meetings were awesome and we learnt a lot from your valuable insights, not just about Tessel but also about not hesitating to reach out to others for help. Most of our meetings were with Kelsey, while the recent ones were with Nick. Hope we can meet Kelsey’s cat in our last weekly meeting :p

PS: I recently stumbled upon Kelsey’s treasure of travel blogs on Medium. Super excited to read them all. (Sharmistha)

Coaches (Brihi Joshi, Shravika Mittal, Ambar Pal, Siddharth Yadav)

We pride ourselves on getting the craziest of our friends to coach us. It’s been a hell of a ride. We have a common messaging group, and it receives an average of 50 messages a day, since the time of applications. Though most of them revolve around Ambar’s attempts to be funny, or Siddharth’s random “GOOOOO DELSQUARED!!!” messages, our coaches have been a rock of a support. Be it Tessel related technicalities (Brihi, Shravika), hardware issues (Siddharth), approaches and ideas (Ambar) or logistics (everyone), it’s been a great team. We know for sure that the group isn’t going anywhere. Looking forward to the daily dosage of spam messages, which can honestly make anyone laugh.

This has been a great summer people!

Adios! :)