Devin - Fail Early, Fail Often

Devin Willis checking in! I have had a busy couple of weeks being a camp counselor; helping kids learn to program virtual reality games. Now that my summer camp responsibilities are over, I have been able to focus on my project.  So, my project still needs to be smaller and cheaper. I think the optics need to be improved too.  Based on these observations and decisions, I will begin experimenting with new research, materials and tools.

By now, I understand that when working in the field of science and engineering there is no right or wrong way to accomplish something and also,  it is impossible to get anything right on the first attempt. I have learned to be very patient! If 3M scientists are anything like me, they are motivated just by the fact that a problem exists, it does not matter what the problem is; I will start thinking about ways to solve it or improve it.

The black box picture below may not mean much to anyone else but it is super exciting to me!

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I have made some solid progress on the XY table that is in the photo and found ways to build it for less money using slightly different materials. During this process I was able to use a new high-end resin printer called the ProJet MJP 2500 that we have at my school. I can hopefully use this printer to create other parts for my project.

Probably the biggest accomplishment for this week was my progress on the optics system for the machine. In my first prototype design I didn’t spend much time on the optics and just added a camera, a tube and a microscope lens to the machine framework without realizing that the optics are an integral part of the machine. So in this design I’m starting optics early...so I can fail often.  I also found that I can simply use a Raspberry Pi v2 camera instead of an expensive camera to capture the images of the slide. This is another reduction to the cost of the machine. So after several failed attempts, I am closer to success.

Signing off,

Devin Willis