Ben’s Updates – Headway

First, an announcement:

Sharks.

SHAAKS

These specific sharks, not sharks in general.

That’s right – Dr. Weng has caught a few sandbar sharks for us to ethically experiment on in the future. They’ll come in handy about a month from now.

Second, with the advent of the summer, I’ve started to work on the Sharkduino project full time, eight hours a day, for real cash money. It’s been really fun so far – I’ve had a lot of time to work on things that I wouldn’t be able to get to otherwise.

So what have I been doing?

The tag we’ve been using has stayed largely stable in terms of features (although we’ll be adding a few new sensors soon), so I’ve mainly been re-organizing things to minimize memory use and maximize buffer size. My first task was to ditch my stupid (and honestly over-engineered) class architecture and just use C-style separate compilation. I was also able to move my debugging strings into PROGMEM to save a few bytes here and there.

My next step after this, though, is to move our datalogging from a (slow, clunky) text format to a (fast, efficient) binary file. That will be a lot harder; I need to make a new file format to hold the data and a script to convert it back into plaintext.

I’ve also started looking at ways to analyze the data we get – I essentially want to see what a shark is doing (eating, sleeping, mating) when. To do that, we need machine learning. Basically, we make a classifier out of a set of training data that takes features of our data (mean, variance, energy) and guesses what the shark is doing.  My current patchwork methodology is coming from a study on humans, which you can find here.

I’ll try to keep my posts short and frequent this summer. See you guys next week!

–Ben