Up to 150mph around the Texas Motor Speedway in a NASCAR Nextel Cup stock car. With a rev limiter, 43 second lap, average of 125.8 mph.

I’m driving and the instructor is riding shotgun.


Design an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle platform for future use in the AUVSI competition. This project will be under development by future senior design teams at the University of Texas at Arlington. We had a $800 budget, 5 people in the team and two semesters. Unfortunately our first semester was a summer term so we had even less time.


This is what we had from the previous team that worked on this project. After reviewing and analyzing their design we realized that we would have to throw a majority of it away. This design would never have been functional. We were able to salvage the previously purchased thrusters (not pictured) and the speed controllers that they built from a kit: This is our small cubical. Notice how clean it is even though the picture was taken in the middle of creating piles of acrylic shavings: Project management is fun. Here I have taken a page from Chip Foose’s work on Overhaulin’: These are the final renderings I did in Google SketchUp prior to building the sub: See what I mean about the mess? Wear eye protection when cutting or drilling acrylic! We did not have the budget to have a machine shop create our designs so other means were necessary. I was able to cut this ‘precision’ end cap using a plunge router with a circle jig and a $50 drill press. The black part is the o-ring that will press against the main body tube. The clear material is cast acrylic: Remember, when ordering critical parts, always order more than you need. This is how they arrived from McMaster-Carr. Can you guess what one we did not use? This is my PIC circuit. I had to buy the programmer pictured here because if we would have waited until we received the programmer we requested, we would never have finished the electronics. Basically all the tools used in this project were mine. And most of the tools used by another team in their project were borrowed from us too: Here we are testing our software and electronics before mounting them inside the chassis: This is a mock up with some of the electronics and tape to attach the front dome: Here is the main body of the sub during testing at 9 feet deep. We did not have access to any deeper bodies of water. The UTA pool denied our request to use their facilities. We did not get much if any help from faculty or UTA while we worked on this project. Here we have $2,000 worth of electronics inside the vehicle as we test it under water. Since we did independent testing we knew it would work. The wiring through the end cap has not been completed at this point, I will explain that later: This is our final product. It is sitting on a stand that uses a cold cathode neon light for ‘Ground effects’. I don’t know why the previous team made this purchase, but we had them, so from the start I decided to find a use for it: The only thing stopping it from being functional underwater is the need for a waterproof connector where there are currently just wires passing through the end cap. Near the end when we reanalyzed the connectors that we had from the previous team we noticed that they would not fit our needs. (Wire density, thickness and length) Suitable connectors were located but our professor decided that we could not use any of the remaining $400 to acquire them. Since it takes longer to get a product for free, as I did for most of our parts, we were not able to get them. However the end cap has the proper diameter holes drilled and tapped to accept them when they are acquired by a future team. This is the user interface on the base station. This initial telemetry includes data such as heading, pitch, roll and leak sensor status. Speed and direction of each thruster can also be controlled: This is our final presentation. Notice the tons and tons of documentation. While I only show the cool looking stuff in this post, a majority of our work was design documentation: Can’t forget everyone on the team, this project would not have been a success without them: While previous senior design teams got away with making an easy project look difficult just to make the professor happy, or easily passed the class with the bare minimum of produced work… we worked hard, openly discussed our project, remained honest and finished with an excellent product. We only used $400 of our $800 budget plus a few thousand worth of donated parts.

The project has an official website at UTAauv.org and since I have completed my part in this project, I no longer maintain it.

Out of all the companies who donated products I would like to thank these two companies for accepting my donation requests:
Tri-M Systems

Just as anyone else who has come across an issue that they deem important, it can be disheartening to see how many others decide not to get involved. While it can be true that they honestly don’t see how it impacts them, I don’t believe that is the reason for the majority of the disinterest.

I was watching the National Spelling Bee on TV (unable to spell any of the words myself) and came across this word:

Meaning: “Sadness over the evils of the world, especially as an expression of romantic pessimism.”

This description often plays a large role when I begin to stop caring since it is quickly followed by feelings of hopelessness. I guess the cause and effect relationship can be the opposite as well.

From reading other blogs, ranting publicly on the internet seems to be cathartic for some. However I cope better by understanding the situation sufficiently to create an informed decision so that I may pass my comprehension onto at least a few others. This at first may seem without purpose, but ultimately if enough people are properly informed on an issue and they each inform others, this exponential communication can change the future.

My only hope is that I am able to eke out enough wisdom to make the right decisions so that others place enough value in my opinions and cause them to want to listen.

To understand my views on the issue, please see my previous post:
Hall of Flags Diversity Display
The idea to clearly establish the meaning of the Hall of Flags is also mentioned here:
The Meaning of the Hall of Flags

I really believe that the Hall of Flags can be reestablished if meaning of the display and rules are agreed upon by the students. I have faith that those with and without Vietnamese heritage can come together on an acceptable solution that respects everyone’s beliefs. The following is an ongoing attempt that I am making to clarify the meaning and adapt the rules.

Issues so far:

  • Separate the Hall of Flags from International Week.

  • Clearly state the meaning.

“Hall of Flags”

The display highlights the vast diversity that exists among our college of engineering students and serves as a reminder that as engineers we are to make the world a better place for everyone.

A flag is hung in the atrium of Nedderman Hall for each of the countries our engineering students represent. In no way does it endorse a nation, their politics or policies and is solely the creation of the College of Engineering.

1. Any College of Engineering international student may request the hanging of his or her country’s current official flag.

2. Only one student request is required.

3. Once a flag is hung, it will not be removed.

4. There are no other rules or qualifications.

Just wonderfull…

But all is not lost!

Effort to restore the display:

Debate and petition site:

How I understand things: (in progress)

There are two independent issues: (Yellow Flag = Freedom and Heritage Flag) (Red Flag = Socialist Republic of Vietnam Flag)
  • International Week:
  1. This is organized by the International Student Organization.
  2. I fully support any changes that allow the use of the yellow flag.
  3. I have much more interest in the Hall of Flags issue.
  • Hall of Flags:
  1. This is organized independently by the College of Engineering.
  2. The yellow flag was never removed or replaced.
  3. As officaly stated, I’ve always understood and believed the following: "By displaying these flags, the university is not endorsing these nations, their politics or policies. We are supporting students and alumni who come from these nations. The flags represent countries of origin, not governments." Source
  4. The red flag was correctly added to the display upon request from an international college of engineering student from Vietnam unless proven otherwise.
  5. The politicians and those that motivated them are wrong in threatening to withhold funding.
  6. In regards to President Spaniolo’s actions:
    1. It was wrong for the President to not mention the politician’s threat to cut funding as the reason for the removal of the display. Source
    2. If at all possible, students should have been allowed to give input and decide on an action after the funding threats were made. Such as calling their bluff and applying pressure on the politicians.
    3. I agree with the choice to remove all flags if the only other option was to remove a single flag and destroying the non-political meaning of the diversity display
  7. I do not believe that it was the desire of most Vietnamese-American students to remove all the flags. However, there is no doubt that it was a cost that at a few involved individuals were willing to accept to remove the red flag.
  8. A diversity display of any kind can not exist as long as it is acceptable to not represent a group that is part of that diversity.
  9. I have no positive opinion of any communist government and I do not care about the red flag. In this country however, anyone has the right to believe otherwise. We also have the freedom of expression, the right to disagree and nothing protects us from being offended.

  • What I would like to see from the Vietnamese-American Students:
  1. Completely separate themselves from the opinions of individuals outside of UTA.
    1. Many do not have a full understanding of the issues, nor do they care.
    2. Many do not understand the meaning of the Hall of Flags display, nor do they care.
    3. They are using questionable tactics and are willing to win at any cost.
  2. Work with the College of Engineering to bring back the Hall of Flags diversity display:
    1. This will involve adding a complete description of the display in Nedderman Hall that includes the complete meaning and all of the governing rules.
    2. The new Hall of Flags display should unequivocally explain that the flags do not represent governments or politics.
  3. Once the students have agreed upon proper wording for the description and all the rules, the complete document should be accompanied by a petition of people who support it.

The removal of the Freedom and Heritage Flag from International Week. is acceptable as The removal of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Flag from the Hall of Flags.

I wonder what this is for:


Why do individuals believe that freedom of expression should only apply to things they agree with?