## Project Friday 2.2: let’s fly!

A little while ago we started with our second Project Friday; once a month (or so) we’ll lock some colleagues in a room with a couple of beers and a fun project. This project: give a drone a brain and an eye, so we can call itand make it do stuff for us. Why do we do this? Well, because it’s fun. and we learn a lot.

During our first session we mostly discovered how difficult it was to maneuver the drone around inside our office building. This didn’t put us off even a tiny little bit, we love a good challenge!

We’ve spend most of this session on thinking of a way we can use the camera on the bottom of the drone to make it follow a path we’ve laid out for it. If we put it simply: we want to make the drone to be able to follow a line on the floor. The first thing we did was create a line made out of white adhesive tape on our dark carpet. After that we held the drone above this line to take pictures. And then the thinking started… We had to make sure we took every possible deviation into account and thought of the best way to correct the drone if that deviation occured. Believe it or not, but this drawing helped us do that.

While thinking of every possible deviation and the correction that had to be applied for that deviation, we immediately programmed it into our Python script for the drone. As soon as this script was done, it was time for our first test flight. Which you can see in this video:

Ok… Not succesful yet. Enough work left for some more friday afternoons. As far as we’re concerned: bring it on!

## Project Friday 2.1: let’s fly!

After all the fun we had, while also learning a lot, during our first Project Friday “Artificial Intelligence meets Coffee” project We felt it was time for a second project. So this time, instead of giving an eye and a brain to a coffeemachine, why not try to do the same to a drone?! What if we could make a drone come fly up to us when we call for it and tell it what to do after it recognizes who we are…

Our second Project Friday was born!

You might wonder what Project Friday actually is… Well, that’s an easy one; once a month(or so) we’ll lock some colleagues in a room with a couple of beers and a fun project. Why do we do this? Well, because it’s fun and we also learn a lot.

To get started with this Project Friday, we first needed a drone! We chose for the Parrot AR 2.0 Drone, because you can easily connect this drone to your computer to take over the command.

Most of this first afternoon was spend on trying to fly the drone inside. Which, we found out the hard way, isn’t so easy! A few walls were hit and we did see some people running for their lives, but in the end of the day everbody, including the drone, survived. All is good!

We even managed do give a few commands to the drone from the computer. Although the effect of the commands weren’t as succesful as we had hoped…

What we’ve learned so far:

• flying a drone inside is difficult,
• connecting to the drone from the computer is easy,
• giving the right commands isn’t easy at all,
• we love being pilots!

## Project Friday 1.5: AI & Coffee – When you flip your coffee machine the finger

Everybody has those mornings when your mood is not as wonderful as always and your energy levels seem to be lagging, especially before you had your coffee. Those mornings when you just want to flip the finger to everything and everyone and tell the world to fuck off. When “working” on our A.I. coffee machine, we recognized this feeling and felt that it’s our duty to take this feeling seriously.

So, here’s what we did, we trained our coffee machine to recognize when someone flips it the finger. Thomas spend the entire afternoon collecting training data, meaning that he was just flipping the finger to his computer and looking for YouTube clips where people flip the finger. Which is why I quoted “working” in the first paragraph. In the picture below you’ll see some of our training data.

And the results after two days of training:

When it spots the middle finger, it serves a double shot of espresso. Now, we’re not claiming that it fixes your mood entirely, but sure as hell makes it a bit better!

Last session we’ve had our dr. Frankenstein moment, it was working. It was however on a dry run, we saw the buttons worked, but didn’t connect the coffee machine to the water. This time we did, apparently there’s still a little bug, as it decided to serve a cappuccino every 20 seconds.

## Project Friday 1.3: Artificial Intelligence meets coffee

Last Friday the third afternoon of Project Friday took place. In Project Friday we spent about once a month  an afternoon on something completely useless. Why do we do this? Because we can, it’s fun and interesting and it’s a good reason to grab a couple of beers. This Project Friday is all about mixing Espresso Machines with Artificial Intelligence: adding facial recognition to the machine so that you don’t need to push the button to get your favorite coffee.

In the previous afternoons (day 1 and day 2), we’ve installed everything on the Raspberry PI (which was quite a hassle), learned what relays were and how to use them, soldered the first buttons and were able to control these buttons via the computer. This Friday we set ourselves the goal to real time face detection on the PI cam.

As the weather was warm and sunny, we decided it was better to leave the office and reach our goal in a more suitable environment, somewhere we the Raspberry PI (and us) wouldn’t overheat. So we drove to my place and settled ourselves in the garden, brought a television outside, hooked up the Raspberry PI and off coding we went. An additional benefit was the BBQ!

Astonishingly enough, not only the Raspberry PI had trouble with the warm weather, so did your cognitive capabilities. The move didn’t make us more productive (but was still the right choice with this kind of weather). So progress was slow, and we were on half the strength as three team members were on holiday. We did had some success, we did manage to implement the pre-trained HAAR-cascades for detecting faces and our trained cascade for detecting your middle finger when you flip it. But didn’t get so far to get default face recognition in place. So we’ll leave that for the next afternoon!