Sunday, October 31, 2010

GSA Denver day one.

A day I'll always remember.  Kate, Lily, and I worked very hard this morning to get everything in its final place, and a year's worth of planning came to fruition.

We welcomed hundreds of delighted visitors from many countries tonight--here are a few images.

I'm happy to see the big Em4 model evoke such wonder and interest.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Driving the Em4 to Denver!

Kate and I are just a few hours from Denver now.  Today we passed Konza Prairie and the Flint Hills.

We shared driving this big truck with beautiful skies but a 20mph+ crosswind all day, pretty exhausting. (Here's Kate with our little travel companion, who usually lives in my truck, Ocho the octopus.)

But the big Em4 is snugly blocked in the back, and we couldn't be happier, tomorrow we set up in Denver and get ready to show it to the world!

And we regret not being able to hook up with Ron Schott in Hays, sorry Ron!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Off to GSA - Denver with a truck full of Em4 model!

Kate and I picked up a beautiful new Emriver Em4 at Sauer Machine in St. Louis today and are driving it to GSA-Denver, where thousands of geoscientists will see it.

We've been planning and dreaming about this for a year, and are very excited.  I'm so happy that my wife, wonderful companion, and best friend is along for this adventure.

And thanks to Warren Sauer and his colleagues for incredible machining, welding, design, and strong support of our work.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Our first Em2(x) model ships!

 After many months of research and design we shipped our first redesigned Emriver Em2 (which we call the Em2x at the lab).

We're in full production mode, all the kinks are out and we're building models.  And have a lot of orders to fill (thanks!)

We're prepping for GSA-Denver in the middle of this, and driving a truck out with one of our big Em4s.   We're all overworked, so it's hard to fully appreciate this milestone.

But seeing ideas that delight and educate people come to fruition like this is a wonderful thing.

Here you see me with Visna, world's coolest UPS guy, with the Em2's new box, just millimeters under the UPS size limits.

And Meriam expertly adding the handles to a reservoir (aha, a French word!).  And Lily working to finish a close range photogrammetry movie we'll show at GSA.

Then me testing a flow controller and later very tired, waiting for Visna.

We'll be shipping more units as soon as we get back from GSA,  If you're waiting for one, thanks for your patience, I promise it'll be worth it.


Friday, October 22, 2010

The new Emriver Em2s are in the house.

Today I drove to L.E. Sauer Machine in St. Louis to pick up our first production run of twenty.  Most of them are sold.

The boxes are beautiful, and weigh only 38 pounds (the old one was 65).  Here Lily does an easy two-handed overhead lift.  The other photo shows the supports.

We'll be showing these at GSA-Denver, and shipping orders as soon as we get back!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Stop writing "pencil for scale" captions!

You'll write instead, "scale in cm" like a good scientist should, because we'll be giving these to our friends at GSA Denver.

Mechanical pencils and waterproof field books will be around for a long time.  Here we have a pencil and centimeter photo scale combined.

Lily Hwang applied her photogrammetric/scientific/graphics skills to produce this.  Not easy.  Bob's Buick doesn't specify its freebie pencil logo length be accurate to 0.1mm.

Seems obvious, but I've never seen it done before, have you?

I'd love to laser engrave some nice Pentels or Staedlers. What do you think?

See you at GSA!  (And here's a link any field note nerd will appreciate; a blog dedicated to mechanical pencils. )

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ice bedrock, knitting, and LRRD internationale.

All our days are interesting, but today was extra special.

We sold our first Em2 model in Europe.

We tested ice structures in a model and it was a huge success.  Here Lily adds dye to a chunk of ice.

We began full scale production of the new Emriver Em2.

And by far the most important, Lily showed us the official LRRD scarf she's knitting and will sport at GSA Denver.

John Cotter, a professor at SIUC-Aviation who builds and flies aircraft (and has shot video for us from his ultralight) was here today helping us with production.  Thanks, John.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A strong first in experimental fluvial geomorphology.

I'm happy to report we've made high quality 3D measurements of channel form in our Em4 model using close range photogrammetry (CRP) in Ana Londono's lab at the Dept. of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at St. Louis University.

Working with one of our Emriver Em4 geomodels, Ana's student Tim Keenan and our Lily Hwang have produced some amazing first results.

CRP software uses multiple photographs to build a model of a scene. The camera positions are calculated by the software and don't have to be measured. Unlike other forms of photogrammetry, relative camera positions don't have to be measured--the camera can be hand held as long as high quality images are taken.

Software builds a point cloud and calculates camera positions automatically.  I won't mention the brand we used because we're hoping to find a company that will work with us--the software is not cheap (and rightly so).

Building high quality point clouds and surfaces-- accurate to <2mm in all dimensions -- is powerful stuff, but in our Em4 we can join that with color coded media to add information on surface particle size! The advance over current state of the art, manual measurement or laser scanning, is huge and obvious, and I'm pretty sure we have a strong first in experimental fluvial geomorphology.

The posibilities for research, teaching, and visualization make my head spin!

We'll be talking more about this as our project develops. Many thanks to our collaborators and to Andrew Podoll with SIUC geology who loaned camera equipment for the trial -- and Lily, she rocked, working two weekends in a row and overcoming many obstacles to get this done.

And we owe much to Neffra Matthews and her colleague Tom Noble with the BLM. Last year Neffra finished a fantastic publication on CRP that focues on its use at larger scales in field settings. And here's a short overview from she wrote. We'll have an Em4 at GSA Denver, and will be ready to talk about this work!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The new Em2 is in the house!

Today Lily returned from St. Louis with a set of supports for the new Emriver Em2.  Aside from a few minor details, after thousands of hours of work this new design is done.

Clearly Lily's very excited about this, and so am I!

The "horses" as we call them are beautiful; made from bent 1/8" aluminum, they weigh only 8 pounds (3.6 kg) each.   The parts are laser-cut, complete with an aluminum-friendly "emriver" logo design by Lily.

Though the model is only slightly smaller than the old Em2, we've shaved about 35 pounds off the weight of the box and supports, and the model will use 30 pounds less plastic media.

And the whole thing will be UPS-shippable, which lowers cost and hassle, makes shipping overseas much easier, and enables us and other researchers/teachers to easily ship the model to conferences and workshops.

The old Em2 was based on 20 years of experience and had a very good design.  We've now added several months of intense R&D work.  It's so cool to see this realized in laser-cut aluminum.  We hope to start shipping these to buyers with outstanding orders in the next two weeks.  Thanks for your patience, it'll be worth it!

Lily and Meriam (who helped me in the lab yesterday with calibration of the electronic controller) are sporting the our new T-shirt --we got a batch on Friday.

Katt Muskuna, an out of town friend of Lily's is observing her surfing in the top photo.