Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Funny/Sad Moments

Part of learning to program a complex robot involves learning to debug programs that actually manipulate the real world. As a consequence "bugs" often have more impact than a simple error message on the screen.

Most these bugs are our fault, and so really have no one to blame. Once in a while there is one that seems to come out of the blue, and it took a while to find out what happened. Today, Ayelet tried a simple protocol that worked fine before, and it had dramatic results. I came in to check if this error was reproducible and so got it onto a movie (although a bit out of focus).

After some soul searching, finger pointing, and checks. We realized that the incubator was slighly moved when the FACS was being serviced. As a result the programmed position for lifting the plate was off, and thus the dramatic consequences.

Once we figured this out it was easy to recalibrate the position (we are getting good at that). Moreover, we had the incubator fixed into place the next morning. (We have had the request to do so out for a while, but now we made it clear this was urgent.)

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