Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Problems with my thesis

There is just something about electrocuting peoples tongues that brings people out of the wood-work. So, because my experiment involves inducing electricity to people I have to get a medical OK from the FDA saying that this is not a medical device. The problem being that no one in computer science has done anything like this before so I am more depending on my contacts in psychology to help me out for this one. There is so much documentation I must prove that this this thing is safe. I built in double fail-safes and fuses plus have resorted to only running the thing off of AA batteries to make sure there is no chance of an overload. So it is more a case of change this document and re-submit. This sentence needs to be here and re-submit. I kid you not, this bulleted list needs to be copied to the next page instead of just referenced, then re-submit. After 4 1/2 months magically I get an email for the all clear, 4 months longer then the previous record.
There are technical problems too. I am a computer science major. electronics are not my area of specialty. I have designed this thing as far as I can figure keep running into problems. I hunted high and low I finally found out we have a technical department to help build prototypes for research. The problem, since I am not funded under anyone else's research I have to pay for it myself. I was able to convince the professor that was advising me on my thesis to cover the consultation costs out of her research budget. I ended up making a deal with the electronics guy. Since he does not know software I will write the firmware for another personal project he has going on the side and he will design and build what I need and I only have to pay for parts. That's great since I don't have $1000, so around $300 for parts is much better. The only problem is that I don't need another thing to do on top of all the other stuff. I still have to write, you know, the thesis.

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