Initially, the task seemed to be perfectly possible. Henrik Lindgren and Viktor Uvesten applied for and were accepted on a six-week summer job at Newton Nordic, a company that was founded nearly 10 years ago, based on several degree projects within electronics, media technology and automatic control at LiU. The company then was called “Intuitive Aerial” and produced a flying camera. Viktor Uvesten Photo credit Charlotte PerhammarAfter a few years, it became apparent that its most successful product was camera stabilisation equipment, which they called Newton. It was used for TV recording and throughout the global film industry. The company changed its name and took on more employees. Newton Nordic is part of the Vinnova-financed competence centre within sensor informatics and automatic control, LINK-SIC, based at LiU with Professor Svante Gunnarsson as director.
Mårten Svanfeldt, technical manager at Newton Nordic and one of the original owners, probably believed, as did Svante Gunnarsson, that it would be relatively easy to build a mathematical model of the camera rig. It would be, he thought, a perfect summer job for two talented master’s students approaching the end of their education.
“Our task was to build a system model of the camera rig. Mårten wanted a mathematical model of how the rig moves. Different cameras have different weights and different positions of their centre of gravity, so the rig has to be set up carefully before it is used. It was this operation that our work would help to automate”, says Viktor Uvesten.
“Our supervisors thought it could be done by starting with simple conditions and subsequently adding parameters, such that the model became more complicated as the work progressed. But the high degree of accuracy needed made automation difficult. It turned out that it wasn’t as easy as we thought”, says Henrik Lindgren.
Henrik Lindgren Photo credit Charlotte PerhammarThey were able to use an experimental rig to test their models.
“We must have done hundreds of measurements, iterations, and – well – it’s a bit depressing when it doesn’t work”, he admits.
“But we gained excellent knowledge into how the system works. Our summer job lasted six weeks, but we probably would have needed six months to solve the problem”, says Viktor Uvesten with a laugh.
Both of them are even so fully satisfied with the summer job, and with the contact they established with supervisors Mårten Svanfeldt and Svante Gunnarsson.
“Both Mårten and Svante helped us a lot: both of them have broad knowledge and could answer anything we asked them about”, they explain.
“As a summer job it was amazing – it’s great to test your knowledge in practical work where there’s no textbook answer. And it was interesting to work in a company. I’m really looking forward to starting work, and the summer has made me sure that I’m in the right branch. I really enjoyed getting up in the morning and cycling to work”, says Viktor Uvesten, while Henrik Lindgren nods in agreement.
“And Mårten probably hasn’t given up on the idea, so I imagine there’ll be other summer jobs or degree projects here.”
This is something that Mårten Svanfeldt confirms:
“We’ll continue to work with this in the form of degree projects. Technically, it turned out to be more complex than we believed, and there are several interesting parts to look at”, he says.
Henrik Lindgren and Viktor Uvesten are final-year students on the master’s programme in mechanical engineering, specialising in mechatronics, and will soon start planning their degree projects.
Translated by George Farrants