Control experiment

The task was to use a specialist electro displacement drilling machine to drill 255 holes less than the width of a human hair in a couple of inches of copper. Could it be done? No one knew, it had never been done before. How was it to be done, again no one had a clue, in fact no one was sure it could be.
The problem was that the drill bit (a piece of fine wire) is eaten away as it drills the hole. Could it be made to last for all 255? The answer lay in being able to control not just the position of each hole, but the feed rate and voltage used to drill the hole, individualy for each hole. Simple though this answer sounds it took many iterations and trials (and some errors) to get to it.
Perfect for a scrum style development, and a success for the company!


Access it

The scenario was perfect for scrum. A small company, limited budget, needed to deliver some software to demonstrate its new hardware at a show. No real idea of what was to be done, how, or what it would look like.
So we arrive and chat, a few hours and many whiteboards later we have a digital camera loaded with ‘specifications’ (photos of the whiteboard), heads full of ideas and a list of things we would do by a couple of weeks time and a few bits of hardware.
Two weeks later we were back in the same room, the screen showed a ‘map’ of the building, the lock pictures changed state, the doors unlocked, a database contained all the biometrics of everyone on the project. Some more experimentation, more discussion but the basics of a lock control system were present and the next couple of weeks work were spit and polish for the demonstration.


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