Just got back from a business trip to Alabama. One problem with living on the west coast is that every time you go back east, you have to wake up far too early according to the home timezone. Since John and I arrived at our host's workplace at 8 am every morning, we met up at 7 am for breakfast and travel, which meant I was getting up around 6:15 a.m. --central time. My body thought it was 4:15 a.m.
It's obviously worse when we travel to Boston, which I did last month and which it looks like I'll be doing again in a week. Boston is on Eastern time, which means even earlier mornings. It wouldn't be so bad if I could then go to bed around 9 p.m. Pacific time, but the trials and troubles of integration trips usually mean I lie awake in the hotel bed with my mind racing 100 miles per hour, trying to think through problems and find solutions and playing out scenarios in my mind for how things could have gone better.
At least our most recent trip to Alabama was a success. Not the perfect success we could have hoped for, if such a thing exists, but a reasonable success. There's always so many variables we have no control over, and given our time constraints, there's often no time to implement the solution we want to.
On the last two days before the trip, I coded up a "follow" behavior. The idea was for the robot to use the laser range-finders mounted on it to track a person and follow them around. When we were out behind our building testing it out, there were a handful of people from our neighboring businesses watching us, and it was amusing to hear their conversation. "Do you see that?! That's crazy! It's following him like a dog! That is so cool!"
Sometimes I think I get a little jaded working with robots all day, and it isn't until I hear comments like theirs, or like the manager's at the company in Alabama, talking about how cool our work is, that I remember that it actually is a pretty cool job.