Summer Internship in San Diego – By Suddarsun Shivakumar

     This summer I was fortunate enough to get an internship in San Diego, California. I heard about this internship through one of my friends, Garrett, who is from San Diego but goes to school here at SIU. He put me in contact with whom he was going to be working, which was in the lab of a data analyst and entrepreneur, Mr. Eric Busboom. Mr. Busboom is the CEO of Civic Knowledge, a data analytics company.

      Mr. Busboom also has a robotics lab where I worked on a six-axis industrial robotic arm. This robotic arm was originally used by Kyocera in the 1990’s and had old pendant controls on it. This summer, my team and I digitalized the controls on this robotic arm.

We had to convert the pendant controls to joystick and keyboard controls. We also created simulations which were capable of recording the motions of the robot. During this process, I learned the distinction between hobby robotics and actual industrial robotics. Once I started the internship, I soon found out that I had to learn several new and advanced concepts to make myself useful in the internship. I had to learn advanced C++, advanced Python, the Robotic Operating System (ROS), and a V-Rep (a simulation software), none of which I had ever used in my other robotics projects. This took me more than just a 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM schedule. I had to work by myself to learn all these new concepts after work and dynamically integrate my objectives for the internship with what I was learning. Without my interest in robotics, I would have never found the passion to learn these.  The LDP helped me develop personal management skills such as time management, dedication, and perseverance, which were all useful this summer.

      By the end of summer, I had not only completed the objectives I set out to accomplish, but also made sure I had documented what had been done by our team this summer so that future interns have a reference. Overall, it was a productive and interesting summer!