Brennan Cain

Computer Engineering Student and Robotics Researcher

New lab, new state, new project

This week I shipped out to San Diego, California to take part in the NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates program hosted by the Engineers for Exploration group at the University of California, San Diego. I am part of a group of 10 undergraduates working on engineering research projects for the next 9 weeks.

I am working on a team of three to develop a stable UAV based off of the PYNQ Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) board. This work involves using Vivado High Level Synthesis (HLS) tools to develop Intellectual Processors (IPs)u00a0 that will run everything from sensor input and processing to control algorithms and motor pulse-width modulation (PWM) signals. The libraries that are made available by the PYNQ will also let us use python to interact with those processors and send high level commands as well as modify parameters on the fly (cause its a drone, heh).

In this first week, I have learned about the tools used to develop custom overlays for the FPGA, learned how to interact with the FPGA through PYNQ libraries, developed IPs to do addition and cross multiplication, and compiled a good numbers of papers to reference when working on the control algorithms and sensor drivers. My team has developed a work flow for us to implement. We believe this will be a good method but we are also looking into other methods.