Over the summer, Emily learned a lot about the field of robotics through her work at Lisbon’s Instituto Superior Técnico. As a part of the Intelligent Robots and Systems group, she worked on a new independent project regarding the formation control of multiple drones. The short term goal for this project was to accommodate multiple micro-sized quadrotor drones with a motion capture system in order to create aerial shapes and move in formations based off of real time input from a joystick controller. In order to achieve this, Emily had to learn a lot about the field of robotics. As issues arose, she reached out to other people working in the lab and learned many features of the robotic operating system, the motion capture system, and the direct control of the drones themselves. With their help, she was able to finish out the summer having integrated two drones that would preserve their distance from each other while following real time user input.
Warm welcome to the lab
Emily had the chance to immerse herself in more than just technical work as her coworkers helped her experience their culture. Everyone in the lab was very welcoming and also curious about her background as well. As she wasn’t the only international person in the lab, the lab organized a cultural potluck where Emily got an authentic taste of homemade dishes. During lunch, her coworkers taught her Portuguese slang over an espresso at a nearby concession kiosk. Outside of work they showed her local delicacies at their favorite restaurants, how they celebrated Santos Populares in the streets of Lisbon, and some of the best hangout spots in the summer.
Eyes opened to culture and kindness
On the weekends, Emily took advantage of every opportunity to experience the rest of Portugal to the fullest. Starting small with day trips using metros and busses, she explored the castles of Sintra, learned to surf at the beaches of Costa de Caparica, wandered through the fishing town of Cascais, and discovered how royalty lived at Palácio Nacional Queluz. Afterwards, she expanded her horizons to further regions as she navigated Porto’s impressive bridges, admired the gorgeous grottos of Algarve, enjoyed island life in São Miguel, and soaked in the history of college town Coimbra. All the while, she stayed in hostels where she met people from all different parts of Portugal and Europe and learned about their interesting perspectives. This summer, Emily truly had her eyes opened to the differing cultures and genuine kindness of people from all over the world. "MISTI Portugal granted me a summer of daily adventures", Emily says. "From planned excursions to nearby castles to spontaneous discoveries of beautiful new views when taking a longer route home from work. Everyday I learned something new about the culture, the country, or myself."