Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Holidays from Block 4B!

The class is currently on a one week winter break. Worry not, research will be conducted during the time off from school. 4B spent their class time on Friday researching, conducting brief one-on-one interview with Project Manager Matt and PR Person Chris, and celebrating the holidays with a brief Secret Santa gift exchange. After the holiday, 4B will start pursuing the pro-active solution.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

2B update- 12/22/16

In the past few weeks 2B has been exploring alternative sensing solutions to the Kinect. David Ackerman has begun skill building with Arduino software to hone his programming skills. The rest of the building group has been researching lidar and we are currently exploring employing a small action camera. We have recently found software that allows us to access the live feed of the video.  
Exploring the live video feed
The fundraising group has been busy at work 
troubleshooting their holiday automaton. 
They also had the opportunity to meet with
 administration to seek approval for our 
Corporate Challenge Night fundraiser in March.
 We hope to complete more research over the 
holiday break and return with a definite path 
we feel is the best to pursue. Happy holidays! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

4B Contact Committee

At the last meeting, class 4B continued to discuss research. The class also revised a letter written by the Contact Committee addressed to an expert in the trucking business. Here is that letter.

My name is Erin and I am a student in Mr. Gallagher's Engineering Design and Development course at Saratoga Springs High School. This class focuses on solving a problem prevalent in today's society.  This year, our project focuses on preventing fatigue related accidents involving commercial vehicles by ensuring drivers are getting the appropriate amount of sleep and following regulations regarding driving hours and breaks. Currently, we are examining the unreliability of logbooks and have a few questions that we are hoping you can clarify for us.

Are you familiar with how often individuals subvert the driving hour requirements and how they go about doing so? From our research it appears the logbooks are easily manipulated, and we are curious about the prevalence of this infraction. Additionally, who is placed in charge of overseeing logbooks, and are there measures in place to ensure truth of the logged entries?What are the potential consequences of being caught compromising the validity of the entries within these books? We have also been researching the implementation of electronic logbooks, particularly with the recently passed legislation requiring their use. Do you have any experience using these devices?How welcomed would technology that ensures the drivers are receiving adequate sleep be in the trucking industry, by companies and/or the drivers?Thank you for your time and consideration. If you have any potential resources and/or pathways you recommend we explore they would be greatly appreciated.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Presenting Research

Class 4B last met on Friday, December 16th. Class time was dedicated to presenting research and discussing the newfound information. The class learned that current trends suggest an increase in commercial vehicle accidents. In response, legislation is reforming and by the end of 2017, every big rig truck will be required to have an electronic logbook directly connected to the trucks internal system. This way, it will be more difficult for truck drivers to circumvent regulations on driving time. However, this does not guarantee that truck drivers are rested and alert. Currently, there is no sure way to test if a driver was fatigued at the time of an accident, thus not many drivers are convicted for causing accidents due to lack of sleep. This is where Class 4B sees potential for a solution, and their research is contributing to deciding whether it is possible to create a device that can track sleep accurately. This device could potentially be used by commercial trucking companies to protect themselves from lawsuits and to ensure that their drivers are making responsible decisions. 4B will continue presenting research on Tuesday.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

4B More Research!

At the last class meeting, class 4B discussed their options for methods of tackling the problem of falling asleep while driving. The class is currently researching the possibility of approaching the problem proactively. This means that instead of creating a device that reacts to a driver falling asleep, class 4B could combat the problem by accurately tracking sleep before drivers get behind the wheel. Whether this approach requires creating a physical device or not is one of the main components of 4B’s discussion. Each team member was tasked with researching various aspects of this new approach to the problem. The research will be discussed in class on Friday.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Class 4B Update

Following several days of testing existing technology and researching how to approach the software and hardware components of the project, class 4B convened as a group and discussed the course of the project. Currently, the class is drawn to the falling asleep while driving aspect of the problem. During the discussion, the class came up with two methods of approaching the problem: one reactive in nature and the other proactive. Tomorrow, 4B will meet again and continue the discussion. Each team member individually brainstormed the pros and cons of each of our current methods outside of class.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

2B update- week of 12/5/16

2B had a busy week. On Tuesday the fundraising group continued working on their holiday automaton, to be sold at Northshire Bookstore. That evening the building group had an important teleconference with a pair of robotics specialists from General Electric, We discussed possible alternative control systems to replace the Kinect sensor, its operating restraints proved to be too obstructive. Their input was incredibly valuable and we plan to research their suggested systems, including radar and laser line sensors, over the next few classes. On Thursday, with the holidays fast approaching,  the fundraising group enlisted the building group to complete the CAD work for the automaton before we miss out on holiday shopping season. Only a few parts remain and we hope to get our fundraising items in the store shortly. A special thanks to both Northshire Bookstore and to General Electric R and D for all of their support and assistance; we look forwards to continued relationships with both groups.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

4B: 12-6-16

The class split into three groups and continued researching and testing their respective aspects of the project. By the end of the meeting, all groups had uploaded their findings to 4B’s shared iMeet Central page. At the next meeting, 4B will come together as a whole unit and discuss the effect this testing and research has on the project. At the last meeting, project manager Matthew Chmiel and HR person Christopher Chang also finished conducting individual interviews with all the team members. The goal of these interviews was for each team member to outline their individual goals and contributions to the project. This will make the class more efficient and effective. Megan Varcoe secured 4B a presentation at Ball Metal, which will take place on December 20th. The purpose of this presentation is to raise awareness of 4B’s project.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

4B Update

Class 4B spent the last two class blocks researching and testing three separate aspects of the project. One group tested electrodermal technology. They ran tests with the recently purchased StopSleep device and researched the accuracy of electrodermal sleep detection technology. Another group worked mainly with the NeuroSky MindWave. The last group researched the hardware and coding component of the project. They explored the possibilities of using a Rasberry Pi or an Arduino to code 4B's device. All groups will present their findings in the next two class meetings.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Contact Committee Visits Ellis Medicine Sleep Center

On November 29, the Contact Committee toured and discussed sleep detection methods with physicians at the Ellis Sleep Center in Schenectady, NY. The sleep specialist demonstrated how to analyze and utilize brain waves, a technology we will implement in our project. The specialist stated that brain waves are the best option for sleep detection. The center donated electrodes, conductive gels, gauze and skin prep gels allowing us to start testing and reading brain waves.

- Dylan Bradley