9/20/17

Today Daniel and I continued to do some work on the drone. He had previously made a pencil mark on the top of the frame because there needed to be one additional hole to attach the power distribution board. We looked around the Energy Lab for a while looking for a drill, but didn't find anything useful. Just when we were about to give up, though, Daniel found a Dremel tool with a drill bit, so we were able to attach the distribution board after all. After that, we went to go watch Ilan flying the drone inside the ELab. He actually spent a good amount of time flying the drone and got a ton of pictures for Zoe and Pikoi's model. They have been working really hard lately on getting that done and it is really coming along.

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9/18/17

Today was far too windy to fly, so I just continued shadowing/working with Daniel on building the drone. Daniel was mainly focused on installing the ESCs in the drone. The ESCs plug into the DJI motors that we have on the ends, and I learned that ESC stands for Electronic Speed Control. In the case of our drone, this relates to the throttle outputted by each motor. The role of each ESC varies as the drone uses different levels of propulsion in each motor in order to accelerate, bank, and turn. We also worked on the controller, trying to figure out how to connect it to the drone itself.

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Week Summary

This week was a very short week, with only two classes, but we did get plenty of opportunities to fly the drone. During Monday's class, we had very light winds and good conditions to fly the drone, although the lighting wasn't very good at all. Monday gave us all a chance to fly around and, at least for myself, to knock some rust off after a while of not flying at all. Wednesday presented some better conditions and we took advantage of them, flying the drone down on the lower fields and the lower part of campus. Hopefully in the coming weeks we can get some better lighting and some good clips to go along.

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9/13/17

Today we actually had pretty good conditions around campus, with slightly clear skies and no wind at all. Daniel, Chris, and I took the Mavic down to the lower part of campus to get some clips of the campus and of students getting out of class. It felt good to get back to shooting again and flying the drone around campus. On a separate note, Zoe has been emailing with our friends at Pix4D and was able to get a better version for the huge computer. We got a little look at her renderings of the inside of the ELab and they are looking great and really seamless.

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9/11/17

Today I was finally back in class after a week of absence. Dr. Bill is on the mainland for the next two weeks, so we had Aunty Tina as a sub for today's class, as well as for the rest of the two weeks. At the beginning of class, we went around the room talking briefly about our projects so that Aunty Tina could get an overview of each of our projects. After that, Daniel, Ilan, and I took advantage of the light winds on campus and took the Mavic out for a fly. There really wasn't much to photograph or video since the lighting was absolutely terrible, but I must say it was nice to get back to flying. Daniel and Ilan did most of the flying, but I did get a few minutes towards the end of class and it certainly helped knock some of the rust off. Hopefully these light winds persist and we are able to fly some more in the coming days.
P.S. Let's get the Inspires going boys!!

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Week Summary

Man, this pneumonia is really killin' me.

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9/8/17

I was sick.

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9/7/17

I was sick.

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9/5/17

I was sick.

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Week Summary

I am very excited about the progress that we have made in this past week, both on the drone that we are building and also on the Inspires. For the greater part of the week, we were putting work into this build-a-drone, and it has all been a learning experience for me since I have no background in any of the technical terms that Daniel and Ilan use on a regular basis. Getting to know the lingo, as well as getting some progress on that drone has been a lot of fun and hopefully, in the near future we will be able to actually fly that drone. In more exciting news, we finally got at least one of the Inspires working again! Phineas is back with us and fully functional, and I can speak for the whole drone team when I say that we are all very excited about this. Hopefully in the coming weeks we get the opportunity to fly Phineas and, more importantly, find out what in the world is wrong with Ferb so that we can have two functioning Inspires for the first time this year.

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8/31/17

Today Dr. Bill finally kicked our rears into gear and Chris, Daniel, and I really put our heads to getting the Inspires to work. We took both Phineas and Ferb out in the front parking lot of the ELab and started work on figuring out what exactly the problem is with either of them. In the end, we were only able to get Phineas to work, but we we're absolutely ecstatic and really surprised by how much more powerful the Inspires are than the Mavic (we've only been using the Mavic for way too long). First, we swapped out the gimbal from Ferb and put it onto Phineas. After that, we used the DJI app to install a firmware update to the remote before we could get it off the ground. We didn't really put much work into Ferb since his condition is condition is especially frustrating. All we can get out of that drone is a sequence of beeping noises that do not stop unless you turn the drone completely off. For Phineas, it wasn't much easier, as we had to swap out and change almost everything possible in order to get it going, even the iPhone cord on the remote. After a good half an hour of work, though, we were finally able to get him off the ground and fully functional!


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8/29/17

Today had decent conditions for flying, but our attempts were plagued by a lot of little problems with each drone. We went in to fly the Inspires, but found that the batteries were all dead. On top of that, we still need to do some more firmware updates for those drones. Next, we moved on to the Mavic, but discovered that the remote was dead as well. This is a problem that I encountered in Iceland the very first time I tried to fly my drone over there. It has proven to be tricky in the past as well, given that the Mavic's controller has significantly less battery life than those of the Inspire. The way I got around that problem in Iceland was by using the drone's "WiFi Mode", which enables the user to fly the drone using only the app, with virtual joysticks on the screen. This method, however, was extremely limiting and only allowed us to fly the drone about 100 feet away, and at very slow speeds. After our bout with the drones, Daniel and I went over to work on the drone we're building. Daniel saw that we needed to drill one more hole in order to attach the power distribution board with good stability, so he made a mark in that spot. I also took some pictures on this day of him making small adjustments to the distribution board.



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8/28/17

Today we had a long talk at the beginning of class, where Dr. Bill went around the room checking in with all of us about our projects. It wasn't a good day for flying at all, so the drone boys and I helped Sameer out with his hydroponics (or at least what used to be hydroponics). His grow operation had become overwhelmed by a massive amount of tomatoes and he and Dr. Bill had decided that it was finally time to pull the plug. We went outside and watched as they pulled more roots than I've ever seen out of the white hydroponics tower. Along with that came a huge amount of tomatoes and lots of water. What we did was help throw out the tomatoes and roots and moved the trash cans down into storage below the ELab. After that, Daniel and I went over to work on the drone we've been building. We had limited time, so all Daniel got to do was take off the power distribution board that we had on there. I did take lots of photos of him doing so, which I will attach below.



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Week Summary

This week was actually pretty productive given that we weren't provided with the weather to be able to fly. Instead of flying, Chris and I sort of popped in on Daniel and Ilan's drone that they have been assembling and we've gotten to know some terms about drones and electronics in general that we'd never heard before. This may be helpful in continuing with flying drones, and was at the very least a fun way to spend a down day. Hopefully in the coming weeks Chris and I get some good days for flying and get back into the swing of things.

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8/24/17

Today we met at the beginning of class in the MonLab to talk about our projects as a group and what kind of progress we've had so far, as well as what we have planned for the near future. After getting familiar with people's projects and sharing about our own, Chris, Ilan, Daniel, and I went over to work on the carbon fiber drone that we've been building. Today we spent the first part of class attaching the power distribution board to the top of the drone. Coming into this class I wasn't really familiar with any of the terms of the electronics used by Daniel and Ilan, but I was eager to learn. The distribution board that we attached looked like a two story building, with three boards separated by metal bars running up the side. After that, Daniel found another, way smaller distribution board, but it was a little late in class to take off the whole other board and attach it. Next class, I believe we will probably swap out the distribution boards and get to continue attaching things to the drone.


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8/22/17

Today was another short class period, lasting only 50 minutes. So far I've noticed that the 50 minute periods, while allowing space in the schedule to fit five classes in a day, really takes a toll, both on the student and teacher. It seems like the extra 20 minutes that we had last year really fit to the curriculum that most classes go by, even this school year. That said, we did get some more work done on the build-a-drone. We got the screwdriver kit that we needed from Dr. Bill at the beginning of class and got to work on getting the drone looking more complete. Firstly, we were able to separate the top plate from the bottom plate. Having this done, we were then able to get the four legs out and click them into place. These "legs" are the carbon fiber rods that go out horizontally, not to be confused with the two legs that come down as landing gear. Daniel and Ilan are very invested in this project, while Chris focuses mainly on video editing. I found myself sort of tagging along with Daniel and Ilan the past couple classes, just because of the weather we've been having. Hopefully for the next class, we can either progress further in finishing the drone building or, should conditions provide, actually fly for the first time this school year.



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8/21/17

Today's class served a bit more as an orientation for everyone new to the class, and in some ways to us too. For incoming juniors, or people who haven't done ISR before, I could imagine it was very helpful to just get a feel for their surroundings and to get to know the people who are also conducting projects. For the first part of class, we met in the middle room in the ELab. It was structured pretty much like the first day was, with us going around the room introducing our projects and Dr. Bill giving most people their first taste of the "elevator pitch". It was actually at that point that Chris and I realized that we have 5 drones at our disposal this year, with a sixth being built on top of that, which leads me to the second part of class. After our meeting at the beginning of class, Chris, Ilan, Daniel, and I started work on the drone frame that we had from last year and the DJI motors. So far, we have gotten the frame together, but realized that the top plate and bottom plate came attached when they weren't supposed to.

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Project Proposal

HPA Aerial Drone Project



Project Abstract:

For the 2017-2018 academic year, I would like to continue the Aerial Drone Project with my partner, Chris Whitfield. The purpose of this project, which was started by 2014 graduate Bo Bleckel, is to use drone photography and videography for a variety of applications that haven’t necessarily been implemented yet. On top of just general videography and photography, there is a whole new realm of possibility in 3D mapping.


Background:

This project peaked my interest towards the end of my sophomore year. I had spoken to former project members Jack Solomon, Juan Miche-Rosales, and Bo Bleckel about the project, and found myself very drawn in by the creative possibilities that come with the use of drones. Being a photographer, I saw this project as a way to expand my own work, as well as a means to advance our school. Initially, I saw a huge possibility to find new and unique angles of the HPA campus. However, it wasn’t until I started working on this project in Independent Science Research that I realized the additional possibilities that 3D mapping with drones brings. I have been working on the HPA Drone Project since the beginning of this academic year with my classmate, Chris Whitfield. In that time, we have gone through the lengthy process of learning how to fly a drone, learning how to capture cinematic angles with drones, and finally, creating digital content with the drones that we have at our disposal.


Purpose and Overview:

The sole purpose of this project is creation. Drones have proven to be a very useful tool in many ways, and we strive to take advantage of their usefulness in as many ways possible. The majority of what we create through this project is photography and videography. When people think of drone photography, they think of a picture taken from directly above the subject. The way that I use drones for photography expands greatly on this basic concept. I have found that, though the straight-overhead angle can produce some amazing photos, there are many more possibilities in closer angles. Getting a drone just above eye level allows me to capture an angle that is the perfect median between handheld photography and high-altitude drone photography. The video aspect of this project extends from videos of HPA to videos that showcase our island’s natural beauty from a never before seen angle. On top of photography and videography, this project has entire other realm: 3D mapping. By taking hundreds of high-quality still photos with a drone from all different angles, we are now able to put together a seamless, interactive map similar to Google Earth. A software program called Pix4D raw pictures taken with a drone and stitches them together to create a map. The possibilities of all of these implementations are what drive me to continue this project into my senior year, and then pass it on to someone who is hopefully as passionate about it as I am.


Tools/Resources:

The tools that we have here at the Energy Lab already are the tools that we need to continue this project. Already at our disposal are two DJI Inspire 1 drones, one DJI Mavic drone, four Inspire batteries, and four Mavic batteries. We also have helpful accessories like a controller hood for the Mavic’s controller, and three neutral density filters for the Mavic.


Outcome & Impact:

My inspiration and my driving factor behind this project is my love of nature and the ability to capture a single moment in nature for eternity. I have had a burning passion for photography for four years and this project is an incredible way to expand my passion into a new direction of creativity. Though I have become very experienced with drones and am comfortable flying in any environment that isn’t too windy, I feel that there is unlimited room for growth. With a backdrop like HPA and the beautiful island that we call home, I see lots of ways in which we can continue this project and still create content that we are proud of.


Legacy:

I began this project as a continuation of the drone project started here at HPA by Bo Bleckel in 2014. Chris and I both know that there is a legacy that comes with this project and want nothing more than to pass it on to younger students once we graduate. After five years of getting to know the HPA community, I know that there is no shortage of photographic talent and creativity. I believe that finding people to continue this project will be very easy, and I have confidence that it will be left in capable hands.


Questions: I have no pressing questions for Dr. Wiecking at this point.


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Year-End Summary

Original Proposal:

Aerial Drone Project

Background:

I first heard about the HPA Drone Project through Jack Solomon, who graduated in 2015. Jack recognized my passion for photography and asked me to at some point in my time here at HPA to take part in the drone project. He worked with his classmate Nicky Palleschi and 2016 graduate Juan Miche Rosales to make videos of the HPA campus along with student life here. In addition to this, they also used the Pix4D digital mapping software with the drones to create digital 3D maps of places around the island just by flying over them. This and the photography/videography aspect of this project really sparked my interest in doing this as an independent science research course. I will be working with my classmate Chris Whitfield and Senior Zack Gooding on the drone project this year and hope to add to what Jack, Juan and Nicky were creating in years past.


Purpose:

I will be working with fellow student Chris Whitfield to continue the HPA drone project. We will use the school's two DJI Inspire drones to create unique aerial video footage at different places around the island, and of course on the HPA campus. In addition to this, we hope to learn the drone's digital mapping software to create digital maps of these places as well. With the school ordering a new FLIR infrared camera system for one of the drones, we also hope to put this feature to use.

Tools/Resources Required:

-DJI Inspire Drone

-UHD Camera (ex. Panasonic UH4, GoPro Hero 4)

-FLIR Infrared Camera

-GPS Receiver

-3 axis gimbal

Impact:

We hope to have an impact on the HPA community by capturing footage of students and aspects of the school that make life here so special. In addition to just the HPA community, we hope to make an impact on a local and possibly global scale by sharing our videos online for anyone, including prospective students and parents to see. Having professional quality video on the HPA website can leave a lasting impression for anyone who might view it.

Legacy:

We will strive to leave a legacy similar to that of Nicky Palleschi, Jack Solomon, and Juan Rosales, while also adding to the work that they have created. As is with any other type of photography or videography, we will create our own distinct style of videos that will hopefully be recognizable as our work. We also hope to bring other students into this project in hopes of keeping it going even after we graduate. Students new to the project could add to the content we have created and come up with new ideas for usage of the drones.


Collaboration:

The functionality of this entire project is based around collaboration. I have worked for the entirety of this year with Chris Whitfield on the Drone Project in D period ISR. Chris and I have found that working in a team really helps the both of us out when it comes to flying, since we always have tips for each other. There is also an energy that exists when working in a team that just allows us to feed off of each other's energy and get the best shots possible.

Legacy:

Though we will be working on it through our senior year, Chris and I will have to start thinking about underclassmen who could take over the project once we graduate. This is a process that will probably start when the second semester of next year comes around, but I am already certain that we will find some great creative minds to the project on to, just as it was passed on to us. This project has become somewhat of a tradition here at HPA, and I want nothing more than to keep it alive for at least the next couple of years after I graduate.

Next Year:

Going into next year, Chris and I will have gained an intermediate to advanced skill set in drone flying. Though there is definitely more for us both to learn, I'd like to take our project more in the direction of video. I have been steadily taking pictures with the drones for the greater part of a year already, and I'd love to continue that, but would also like to start shooting more video and putting together more edits on top of that. I don't really know proficiently how to use Adobe Premiere Pro, other than putting together a simple edit with some music, but Chris has already begun to delve into that and will undoubtedly be on top of his editing by the time summer ends.

2017-2018 ISR Proposal:

Project Abstract:

For the 2017-2018 academic year, I would like to continue the Aerial Drone Project with my partner, Chris Whitfield. The purpose of this project, which was started by 2014 graduate Bo Bleckel, is to use drone photography and videography for a variety of applications that haven’t necessarily been implemented yet. On top of just general videography and photography, there is a whole new realm of possibility in 3D mapping.

Background:

This project peaked my interest towards the end of my sophomore year. I had spoken to former project members Jack Solomon, Juan Miche-Rosales, and Bo Bleckel about the project, and found myself very drawn in by the creative possibilities that come with the use of drones. Being a photographer, I saw this project as a way to expand my own work, as well as a means to advance our school. Initially, I saw a huge possibility to find new and unique angles of the HPA campus. However, it wasn’t until I started working on this project in Independent Science Research that I realized the additional possibilities that 3D mapping with drones brings. I have been working on the HPA Drone Project since the beginning of this academic year with my classmate, Chris Whitfield. In that time, we have gone through the lengthy process of learning how to fly a drone, learning how to capture cinematic angles with drones, and finally, creating digital content with the drones that we have at our disposal.

Purpose and Overview:

The sole purpose of this project is creation. Drones have proven to be a very useful tool in many ways, and we strive to take advantage of their usefulness in as many ways possible. The majority of what we create through this project is photography and videography. When people think of drone photography, they think of a picture taken from directly above the subject. The way that I use drones for photography expands greatly on this basic concept. I have found that, though the straight-overhead angle can produce some amazing photos, there are many more possibilities in closer angles. Getting a drone just above eye level allows me to capture an angle that is the perfect median between handheld photography and high-altitude drone photography. The video aspect of this project extends from videos of HPA to videos that showcase our island’s natural beauty from a never before seen angle. On top of photography and videography, this project has entire other realm: 3D mapping. By taking hundreds of high-quality still photos with a drone from all different angles, we are now able to put together a seamless, interactive map similar to Google Earth. A software program called Pix4D raw pictures taken with a drone and stitches them together to create a map. The possibilities of all of these implementations are what drive me to continue this project into my senior year, and then pass it on to someone who is hopefully as passionate about it as I am.

Tools/Resources:

The tools that we have here at the Energy Lab already are the tools that we need to continue this project. Already at our disposal are two DJI Inspire 1 drones, one DJI Mavic drone, four Inspire batteries, and four Mavic batteries. We also have helpful accessories like a controller hood for the Mavic’s controller, and three neutral density filters for the Mavic.

Outcome & Impact:

My inspiration and my driving factor behind this project is my love of nature and the ability to capture a single moment in nature for eternity. I have had a burning passion for photography for four years and this project is an incredible way to expand my passion into a new direction of creativity. Though I have become very experienced with drones and am comfortable flying in any environment that isn’t too windy, I feel that there is unlimited room for growth. With a backdrop like HPA and the beautiful island that we call home, I see lots of ways in which we can continue this project and still create content that we are proud of.

Legacy:

I began this project as a continuation of the drone project started here at HPA by Bo Bleckel in 2014. Chris and I both know that there is a legacy that comes with this project and want nothing more than to pass it on to younger students once we graduate. After five years of getting to know the HPA community, I know that there is no shortage of photographic talent and creativity. I believe that finding people to continue this project will be very easy, and I have confidence that it will be left in capable hands.

Questions: I have no pressing questions for Dr. Wiecking at this point.


ISR to a Stranger:

If I were to describe ISR, and my experience in it, to a stranger, I'd start off by giving them a good idea of what ISR is. Since so many school just offer the core science classes, many people haven't seen anything like ISR in other schools. From there, I would give a quick description of what Chris and I do with the two Inspire drones and the Mavic, ranging from still photography, to videography, and even scratching the surface of 3D mapping with Pix4D. The biggest struggle we faced this year was probably the first semester, since Zack wasn't the greatest teacher, and neither of us got much flying time. On top of that, we have faced the problem all year long of Waimea's erratic weather and wind patterns, especially at a place as exposed as the Energy Lab. What I am most proud of from this year is the fact that Chris and I have completed the year with a full body of work behind us. Even though we got a late start, we were able to make up for it and get tons of shots over the second semester.

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5/18/17

Today was our final day of class of the semester, so Chris and I just sat and sort of took a look back at the school year. I also continued working on my yearly summary for Saturday's weblog, and Chris put the finishing touches on his. I still haven't had my final presentation since when I went in yesterday after C period, there were 3 or 4 people who had to present before I could, so I went to work off demerits. Mrs. Petteys agreed that working off demerits was top priority, and we rescheduled for tomorrow at noon in the Energy Lab conference room.

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