A UROP’s view of EECS: Carine Abi Akar

Carine Abi Akar is an undergraduate in 6-3 and a UROP in the Humans and Automation Lab working under CSAIL Professor Missy Cummings.

Carine Abi Akar holds the quad-rotor, MAV, for which she has been working as a UROP in the laboratory of CSAIL Professor Mary Cummings.

Carine Abi Akar holds the quad-rotor, MAV, for which she has been working as a UROP in the laboratory of CSAIL Professor Mary Cummings.

Q. Can you describe your experiences in the EECS Department particularly as a UROP and how your exposure to both electrical engineering and computer science have been integral to this work?

Carine Abi-Akar: “Since September 2009, I have been a part of the MIT Humans and Automation Lab. My involvement has been contributing on the Micro Aerial Vehicle Visualization of Unexplored Environments (MAV-VUE) project. The research was conducted in collaboration with the Aerospace Controls Lab at MIT. The director of the lab is Professor Mary L. Cummings and my direct graduate supervisor was David Pitman, who completed both his S.B. (’06) and M.Eng. (’10) in 6-3 at MIT. The project involved creating a quad-rotor, the MAV, with the capacity of following the instructions a user would send to it via a simple handheld device, specifically the iPod, over an established network. The quad-rotor in return provided the user situational awareness of the unexplored environment by providing a video stream of its current location. The iPod allows the user to send waypoints to the MAV, change it’s altitude and orientation, and send special commands for small increments of movement based on the angle of iPod relative to the ground.

My contribution to the project has been in several different areas. At first, my role was to create the protocols for the experiment. It was important to create documentation for a step-by-step method of completing each experiment. Our experiment was extremely complex in nature and each role in the experiment required several pages of guidelines. Setting up the experiment environment was the next task. This involved creating an environment that the user would be able to discover without pushing the boundaries of the MAV. Objects of Interest (OOIs) and People of Interest (POIs) were also created so as to test the viewing capacity the MAV would allow the user to result in from the video stream of the environment. After months of testing, recording and finally analyzing data, my role over IAP was to modify the interface the testing operator would use during the experiment. This interface was the front end of a server that could override the commands a user could have sent. This work continued over into the Spring where I modified the interface for the iPod, making it more user friendly and in certain areas, more efficient. Also, I did some preparation work for the experiments that were to be conducted at a further point in time.”

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5 Responses to “A UROP’s view of EECS: Carine Abi Akar”

  1. Hey Carine,

    Thanks for the useful feedback on EECS. I’ve been thinking of minoring in Computer Science but I haven’t decided whether or not to take the plunge. I’m currently a Neuroscience major, but I’ve always been interested in Engineering. Reading about your experiences has made me lean more toward giving it a try. The quad-rotor MAVs sound really cool!

    - Pat

  2. Brian Carreon says:

    Hi Carine -

    Your little sister brought this article to our attention during class :) . It is great to see you doing amazing things with your studies! I hope that you are still enjoying and pushing yourself further with mathematics. Math is the highest level of learning, after all.

    It’s also reassuring to see that you are becoming successful at MIT, and I wish you all the best as you begin to think about your next step.

    My only question is….It’s clear you are working hard. Are you partying harder? ;)


  3. Carine Abi Akar says:

    @Pat: Pat, I was undecided for a very long time but found something that combined all my interests into one big project. Find a UROP! Neuroscience and engineering definitely overlap!

    @Brian: Math is above all Brian, you know that:) And if you know me at all (which you do), you already know the answer to your question.. Don’t give my sister too much of a hard time, she’s not as stubborn as I was (she’ll actually do the work you assign her). Take care!

  4. mohsen says:

    hi Carine i want get help for build quad rotor

  5. Budy says:

    it’s cool, woman in computer engineering