From January 2013 to January 2015 I worked as a test and measurement co-op in the instrumentation electronics group at Draper Laboratoy (for a total of 15 months full-time, and 8 months part-time during school semesters).
During my time at Draper, I worked on two major projects: one an in-ear drug delivery system, and the other a network of accelerometers distributed across a structure. In this position, I learned countless technical skills and was a trusted and reliable team member for all of my projects. A bulk of my work involved designing and testing embedded systems, on both the software and hardware level.
In-Ear Drug Delivery
As part of the in-ear drug delivery team, I was relied on to design, implement, and test a micropump controller board. The final printed circuit board is pictured below:
I was able to build this circuit board all the way from the rough schematic to the layout and microcontroller coding. The end system allowed lab technicians using the micropump board to program their own pumping routines and schedules that would then run through the course of an experiment.
For the distributed accelerometers project I was involved with, I was tasked with testing the distributed network system at many different levels. I was trusted with testing each discrete accelerometer and their analog to digital converters using both MATLAB and LabVIEW. These accelerometers were then distributed across the Green Building at MIT (below) via a mesh network which I helped test and debug.
Technical Skills Acquired
Some notable technical skills I learned at Draper on both the in-ear drug delivery project and the distributed accelerometer project include the following:
- Schematic design
- PCB layout design
- Microcontroller coding in C
- Scale factor, linearity, noise, and other testing for MEMS accelerometer systems
- Heavy MATLAB and Excel use designing, implementing, and analyzing these tests
- Empirical research and data analysis via MATLAB and Excel
- LabVIEW VI design
- Extensive use of lab equipment such as DAQ’s, oscilloscopes, power supplies, shaker tables, isolation tables, and soldering irons.