Sep 03, 2019 Linux

Linux Reflections from a Wind River Intern

By Jenna Camargo, Wind River Intern

This summer, a marketing intern by the name of Ranjan Sikand proved that Wind River Linux truly is accessible for use by all.

That being said, when the opportunity arose for an intern to work with the leading free open source Linux in the embedded industry, it made perfect sense that of the team of four interns, Ranjan was the one for the job. His prior exposure to the world of code and command line from his in-progress Computer Science minor from UC Davis combined with his enthusiasm to make the most out of his time with Wind River gave him the confidence to take on the project. His task? Use Wind River Linux to help build the code necessary to control a robotic arm capable of color recognition technology.

With coaching from mentor and engineer Ka Kay Acachoso, Ranjan got straight to work. He began the process by working with an incredibly complex Open Computer Vision library. By narrowing down the parameters of which types of objects and colors his robot would need to recognize, he consolidated the giant database into a static CV library. Similar to Wind River Linux, he was able to take this resource available for free and form it into a functional tool for his project. Once he had secured recognition technology from the library, he continued to work in collaboration with Crazy Hot Pot in Beijing to build out the code necessary to command the robot. While this process proved to be a challenge (as it turns out, partitioning a flash drive is much more complicated than it seems), determination, communication with the team in Beijing, and help from Ka Kay ultimately prevailed. The team also assisted in providing a patch that would allow his OS to recognize a camera. Once all of those preliminaries were taken care of, Wind River Linux came into play as a terminal for all of the files Ranjan and the team had curated. Despite the massive size of these files, Wind River Linux was able to package them all conveniently into a 16 GB package, easy to transport and sort through. Ranjan described the role of Linux as being a “perfect way to exhibit software capabilities because it is deterministic and easy to set up. It’s pure, reliable, and I would definitely use it again in the future.”

When asked further about his own future and what he has learned from his experience, Ranjan said that he “gained so much from this project because, most of the time in school, we as students are basically just handed projects to work on. This robot was something I actually had to build myself. That kind of experience really is invaluable. The challenges that arose from it pushed me that much farther to gain a better understanding of what I do. I also learned more about specific aspects of computer science, like C++ and the command line, and how to communicate with a team efficiently. Not to mention, experience with Wind River Linux will definitely set me apart from others as I move forward in my career. I’m really excited.”

There’s no doubt that Ranjan has a bright future ahead of him. As for the future of the robot, stay tuned: Wind River is planning on exhibiting its capabilities in an upcoming video.

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