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Post-PhD Projects

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This is a collection of ideas for projects I would really like to look at completing the year after completing this PhD (one way or another). This is a sort of extension to a previous discussion Post-PhD random thoughts. Other than earning some money, I've had quite a few projects on the backlog for quite some time now.

Transport

I have a few projects related to transport I would like to explore...

Bicycle/Motorbike

This will enable basic transport from A to B. The intention is to take a rolling chassis, add a 1kW to 5kW DC electric motor and some recycled lead acid batteries. Part of the challenge with this project will be in building appropriate control circuits for the large amount of power.

Car

At some point I will really want a car, and I have been thinking about making use of my family's access to vehicles and re-purpose an old car as an electric car. Lead acid batteries are essentially free if I am willing to replenish them, so in theory the largest costs are already covered.

The challenge will be in the control circuitry, hence the want for the previous project of creating a lead acid battery based bicycle first.

Race Car

I promised a family member that I would help them build out some electronics for their race car, particularly ripping out tonnes of weight by placing LEDs in the lights, removing tonnes of the wiring infrastructure, swapping the lead acid battery for a LiPo and having dynamic spoiler control for traction.

Library

One thing I have found that I would like to have is a library. This would be dependant on me having a longer-term home, but seems to be a worthwhile investment.

Book Collection

One thing will be to collect books. Many libraries these days are shutting down, so finding books may not actually be so tough, even very good books. Another thing of interest to me is in collecting controversial books (books at risk of being censored) or rare books (books of risk of disappearing entirely).

Build Bookshelves

I've always wanted to build my own furniture and I believe a bookshelf could be an interesting project. They are as simple or complicated as we may want. One benefit with starting with such a project is that the cost of getting it wrong is somewhat minimized, it shouldn't be so safety critical.

Suspension furniture design

Suspension furniture design

One design I have always liked is the concept of suspension furniture, it would be very cool to build something based on this concept. The designs appears to defy gravity and really capture the imagination!

Write Books

It's one thing to collect knowledge, quite another to contribute it. I would like to begin the process of writing my own book. I should start small and slowly but surely expand the size of the projects over time. Writing is surely not easy, and I might not much be in the mood for writing after having finished my PhD!

Robotics

I have a few complex robotics projects I would like to continue and/or start...

RoboCup

Of course I want to continue with various research projects on this front. I have at least 10 years worth of research backed up for this now...

Dog

One thing I have wanted to build for quite a while now is a robot dog - not so much for the hardware challenge but the software challenge. A long term goal of mine is to build a truly intelligent agent, and a robot dog feels like a great platform for exploring such ideas 1.

The idea is that the robot dog would be fully autonomous in every sense of the word, with zero prior knowledge pre-built into the platform. It would need to learn to walk, to see, to interact, etc. Of course I would be playing the role of "evolution".

I think there are many open problems before fully intelligent agents can be realised, but I believe the biggest obstacle is simply being able to run large amounts of experiments and training significant amounts of data.

Devices

I have a few devices I would like to see built!

Laptop

I have wanted to build my own open source laptop for quite a while now. The chunk boi pro deserves to exist!

Backup Drives

I have terabytes of storage and am continuously running out. I want something secure, redundant and maintainable. Perhaps I am looking for some form of NAS? In any case, the idea would be to build out something fast with a petabyte of storage, enough for myself and everybody I would think to invite to store their data there.

PDA

I really want to bring back the concept of a personal organiser. The PDA project I think is a good step in this direction. I really believe the potential for such a device is entirely unrealised in modern times.


  1. It would be really nice to actually have my 3D printer for this: Build One