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Blood donation

One of Olivia’s New Year’s resolutions was to donate blood for the first time. I have to say: she doesn’t have a good relationship with needles.

We had been postponing the visit to the Edinburgh Blood Donor Centre for a long time. But yesterday we finally made it and we went there.
As soon as we entered the building, her hands started dripping sweat. Literally, they turned into water taps - that’s how nervous she was.

Fingertip band-aid
The first "bite", required to check the hemoglobin levels.

I went in first and was done after 13 minutes. She didn’t show up, though. I was wondering if she had changed her mind… As I got out of the extraction room, she was waiting for me. She couldn’t make it not because she didn’t want to, but because her veins are just too tiny. Unfortunately, they are just not appropriate for it.

She was very brave for going there and wanting to give it a try. I had never seen someone so nervous having the balls to face their demons. Congratulations, Olivia! I’m sure you’ll find another noble New Year’s resolution to make up for this one.

Robotics weekend group kick off

On a different note, Vlad decided to start an off-hours group of robot geeks. The idea is to gather during the rainy weekends and do non-research-related projects for fun and for the heck of it.

Valkyrie's camera perception
Valkyrie took a picture of the people who showed up for the first meeting.
The right image is the respective depth component.

Currently, we are developing a controller interface for a gamepad and dealing with all the constraints associated with the foostep planner. The goal is to enable anyone to safely teleoperate valkyrie with a common Xbox controller.

White board with pseudocode
Some early drafts of the first side project.

We have other interesting ideas we want to try out and I am looking forward to keep up with these experiments.