Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Volta Cohort Pitch Competition

Back in March, our controller at Measurand mentioned a competition that I might be interested in: The Volta Cohort Pitch Event (https://voltaeffect.com/cohort-finalists-spring2020/). There was a written online application with a number of questions pertaining to your business. 15 applicants would be picked to pitch their business at an event in Halifax on May 13, and up to 5 of those would win investments of $25000 and become part of the Volta cohort where they would receive mentoring and assistance with their business. Last week an email arrived to say that In Nature Robotics had made it to the group of 15, although due to  COVID-19 the pitch event will be held entirely online. So Jata and I will have to figure out what to tell people about the company in a 3 minute online PowerPoint spiel. No problem!

Last week was also favorable for testing, although not at first. On Saturday I drove down to the same launching point as the week before, but it was much windier, and the current looked even stronger. While I was waiting for a GPS signal and making some adjustments to the protective cage, the GPS signal actually came through and the propeller whirred to life, knicking two of my knuckles. I had considered moving to a beefier more powerful propeller, but now I'm glad I didn't! Here is a short video recording of the current, which doesn't really do it justice:

I had wanted to try out some new software that had just been coded that morning. As sometimes happens, there was a tiny bug that ruined the entire test. I had forgotten to convert a heading variable from radians to degrees, which totally messed up the new algorithm to skip waypoints that the boat had already passed. So after the boat had struggled against the current for about an hour I gave up and towed it back. 

Sunday was much better. It actually would have been nice to have some strong wind and current to really test out the fixed software, but the current seemed a bit less, and there was scarcely any wind at all. It took the boat about 2 hours to go from the launching point down to a point a little beyond the Westmoreland Street Bridge, a trip of about 9 km. On the way it collected pH and temperature data, and took a number of pictures:

The route AMOS followed (I towed it upriver along the shore).

Temperature Data (with interpolation turned on)

pH Data (probably not accurate, I'm going to try cleaning the probe before the next test).

One of the planned pictures was this one of the Delta Fredericton.

Zoomed in shot of some guy in a kayak.

Nice shot of Westmoreland Street Bridge.

It took about 2 hours to tow AMOS back to the launching point, and since it was a nice day many people were out walking and biking. Quite often they would ask what I was towing and one lady even took my picture. I did my best to give them a short explanation; it was probably good practice for next month's competition. 😊

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