Every month we interview a different teammember to give you an idea of how we experience this year. This month it was up to Sem, our software and electrical engineer. We pulled him away from his laptop to ask him the following questions.
Of course we understand that you are responsible for the software and electronics within the team, but what does that actually mean?
As you already said, I am responsible for the entire electronic and software system. I make sure that all energy gets in in order to ensure that the energy is distributed correctly in the boat. I am also involved in peripheral equipment, reading data, and the control system so that we can translate the data that we have in order to control the hydrofoils. Fortunately, I was allowed to alternate all the technical tasks by taking pictures, which I also like to do in my spare time.
All in all a fairly wide range of tasks. What have you already been able to do and what do you still need to do?
Until now I mainly made sure that the electronics in the boat work. For a sailing boat you need electronics and for a flying boat, in our case, you need software. From now on I will therefore focus more on the software of the boat. As soon as we can start testing, there is a lot to test in the control system. You start with a fairly basic system to see if it works. And once it works I can work it out further. There is always room for improvement in the field of software!
What do you like best about this year so far?
I think meeting lots of nice new people that you probably wouldn’t have met during your studies. In addition, it is very cool that you work together on the same goal. Together you have the passion to achieve a good end result, and although everyone has a different function with different tasks, everyone has the same goal in mind. Besides, you all experience the same thing, everyone is learning, which creates a certain bond. I also like that you learn a lot outside your job. At the beginning of the year I really had no idea what anodized aluminum was, and now I do but it has nothing to do with my job. Actually, there are too many things I like about this year, so I can’t really make a choice.
How do you experience working with different companies?
Really fun! Very nice to notice that not all companies work in the same way and that you have to communicate in different ways. You also see that companies are very enthusiastic to work with students like us who work at the top of innovation. Because you work with companies, you sometimes come into contact with very large companies that you would never have had contact within your life.
At the moment it is a matter of adjusting for everyone given the current situation. How do you experience working in this corona crisis?
This is nothing for me. For me, the best thing about this year was, that you have a common goal, and now this has disappeared a bit. Until September there are no more races while this was the main goal we worked towards. Thanks to today’s technology, fortunately, a lot is possible, and we are still able to keep in touch with each other, which is certainly important. And despite the fact that we are not really working towards a race anymore, it is nice to see that everyone is still motivated to get the boat working.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned so far?
In fact, everything I’ve learned so far is important, because I wouldn’t have learned any of these things during my studies. My job is actually beyond my knowledge, which has made everything new to me so far, and I think I can still learn a lot in this area. I especially learned a lot of hard skills, such as soldering and using the software program C ++, things that can always come in handy later.
What was it like for you to work with all kinds of people from different studies for a year?
I notice that it does not matter that people come from other studies, but that it is about different personalities. A lot of people think differently and it is very interesting to see those differences. This is very different from shorter projects and client groups where you do not have so many different personalities together, and you also don’t get to know people as well as you do now. This is probably also because you interact much more intensively during this project.
What has been a highlight for you so far?
The moment the boat was finally in our workplace and when it was wrapped. In principle, this has very little to do with my position and I have contributed very little to it, but that you finally see results is very cool. I also enjoy those very small breakthroughs that you get something small up and running. Little things you can celebrate together. From an engine that works to something very small, such as reading a sensor. Every small step brings you closer to the end result, slowly seeing what you came up with in the beginning.
And a low point?
Of course, a low point was that the reveal and the races had to be canceled due to the coronavirus. I was allowed to present during the reveal, and I was really looking forward to being able to present our boat for so many people. So for myself it was an extra disappointment that it had to be canceled. Even though I saw it coming in advance.
How would you like to end the year?
Together with the team, a beer and a flying boat. I hope that there will come a time when we can really close the year together and that it will not just go out without really closing it. This can be done by sailing a long distance with the team or just sitting together and looking back on a very cool year.