During the summer, I worked as an intern in the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control at ETH (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule), located in the heart of Zurich, Switzerland. This opportunity allowed me to work hands on with some of the coolest projects – I helped in the design, component selection, and dynamic characterization of a part of a new type of quadrotor vehicle. I learned how the fundamentals of controls and mechanics that I had learned in my undergraduate years were applied to performing a real life task – in this case, controlling a complex flying system with multiple degrees of freedom. I also created multiple tools to aid in system identification and task automation. The most remarkable thing was to see how amazing it was to control complex machines with simple concepts derived from basic first principles. To witness all the individual components of my work come together into a finished project was truly inspiring.
The exchange experience did not stop at just the lab; over the weekends, I explored the beautiful outdoors of Switzerland and climbed and hiked more mountains than I could count, and I even jumped out from an airplane! The three months I spent abroad were both rewarding and exciting. I worked with great people on an awesome project, explored the picturesque mountains of Switzerland, and had fun along every step of the way.