Hello! Welcome to the technical section of my website. You won't find any direct links if you click to the rest of the pages dedicated to my photography (though I encourage you to take a look!) so if you need to get back just go directly to vincentpo.com/tech.
I'm an Electrical Engineer looking to combine my hardware, software, and interpersonal skills at a growing company and team . In my internships, projects, and classes, I've learned to be better on a technical level in software and hardware engineering, but I've also learned a lot about non-technical work too, like supply-chain management and product development.
Outside of class I also spend a significant amount of time developing my non-engineering skills, namely through TigerLaunch, an entrepreneurship competition I lead with a budget of $90,000 and national team of 32 and grew from one event to four across the US, and work as a professional photographer, which has taught me worlds about how to be a kinder, more empathetically aware person in all of my interactions.
Princeton University Class of 2018, BSE Electrical Engineering. Minors in Computer Science and Robotics + Intelligent Systems
Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics Class of 2014, Class President, Top in Class
Self-Localizing Micro-Quad Swarms and Applications in Search and Rescue
For my Senior Thesis in Electrical Engineering, I've begun working on a year-long project designing and building my own swarm of micro-quadcopters capable of flying independently and coordinating tasks. The first part of my thesis deals with defining and refining swarm behavior (how the individual members avoid each other, move together, and be aware of their own surroundings.) Subsequently, I'll be exploring applications in search and rescue, one of the most often cited uses of swarms but also the least researched. The goal is to work on a capstone project that best applies both my interest and love for hardware with original research in algorithm design and software, ultimately combining skills in areas I'm most interested in as well as those I want to learn more about, including circuit design, PCB assembly and manufacture, firmware programming, and control theory.
My goal for a final demo will be to create a UI for which someone can define a certain search area, and then, automatically, the team of 5-10 quads will begin searching for the target with specialized sensors (say, UV or IR) all while in complete darkness. The hope is to compare this with individual search times and show the increased effectiveness of using a team vs. just a single member, thereby demonstrating the immediate life-saving application of this project in time-sensitive search and rescue missions.
The bot in action
The small but powerful quadcopters I'm using to build my swarm; each weighs about the same as a slice of bread and is about the same size too.
I will be updating this page as I make progress.
Autonomous Car with Speed Control, Navigation, and Guard Capabilities
In Sophomore year, I worked on retrofitting a normal RC car with autonomous capabilities.
The "guard bot" functionality was a fun thing my partner and I added as a throwback to the Portal series of video games and its infamous turret bots. While patrolling, if the bot detects sound, it stops and, using a pair of microphones and our localization algorithm, shines a light in the direction of the sound, looking for proper ID, in our case a red card. If proper ID is shown, the light turns green and the bot keeps patrolling. If not, it sounds an alarm, apprehending the intruder.
(More than a few grad students freaked out at the sounds of Portal bots in real life; bad gaming memories I suppose.)
For the full report, including technical details and code, click here. I TA'd the class my Junior year helping my peers debug and fix issues with their own cars and robots.
Skills Used: C, Arduino, Python, PSoC Development, Debugging with Oscilloscopes, Soldering, Analog Circuit Design, Pixy Cam, Eagle, Laser Cutting
Shade, Electrical Engineering Intern, May 2017 - August 2017
Shade makes a highly sensitive and accurate UV sensor for patients with Lupus, an incurable autoimmune disease that affects ~1.5 million Americans. UV is a major reason for flare-ups, causing rashes, fevers, and day-ruining discomfort. Shade is the only medical-grade device available to consumers for sensing UV, and has thus far given hundreds of Lupus patients the ability to take back control of their lives by knowing what their UV threshold is and getting out of the sun before irreversible consequences appear.
During my summer at Shade, I worked on various projects in helping Shade to scale their manufacturing process. Summer marked the start of a larger marketing push (in coordination with the obvious connection between summer, sun, and high UV) and as sales increased so did the pressure to create reliable assembly systems. At their current scale, all of the individual parts are manufactured in other factories, but final assembly and packaging are still done in-house.
Glue Automation - An important part of the assembly process involves gluing the device together to ensure it does not ever open when dropped. When I arrived, this process was manual, slow, and required a skilled operator. I worked to automate the process to that it was fast and usable by any person without prior training. This improved the process by taking just 30 seconds with 99% yield, versus 90 seconds with 85% yield before when done manually by a skilled operator.
Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA) Studies - Glue is messy and slow, and so I looked into the possibility of replacing it with PSA from 3M inside the case. I went through multiple iterations of modeling in SolidWorks, laser cutting those designs, and performing a host of analyses on the reliability of assembly as well as ability to pass drop tests and visual inspections. (For legal reasons I can't show any of the designs since they expose the internals of the product.)
Product Marketing Materials - I had a chance to also work in a non-technical way by applying my photography and videography experience to creating new marketing and advertising materials, helping to increase sales.
Other Projects - I also worked on establishing an Acceptable Quality Limit (AQL) sampling scheme, analyzing defects in a MOSFET vibration motor circuit, debugging issues with high error in UV measurements caused by electrical unknowns on the circuit, and more.
Root Technologies, Co Founder and Hardware Engineer, May 2016 - December 2016
Root was a company that I started with a few friends at U-Penn starting in May of 2016. We made a $35 outlet attachment that connected to any window unit AC and turned it "smart," allowing the user to control their temperature at any time from any place and learning from the user's behavior to save money through temperature control automation.
I jumped between work on the business side of the company and hardware engineering, focusing on things from the pitch deck to our version one PCB and enclosure. Most of the technical challenges we encountered had clear answers and engineering precedent already, such as tracking energy consumption, integrating wifi and bluetooth capabilities, and accurately sensing temperature. My challenge then was putting it all together, and I soon found that our original timeline and goals were totally infeasible. Things like safety regulations (UL in particular) design-for-manufacture lead times, supply chain management, and consumer PCB design were all challenges I knew we'd need to face before starting but upon working in the summer discovered I had little to know idea at the time how to really make work. My experience lied in short term school projects, most of which was irrelevant or inadequate.
We stopped working on the company around December, when we all realized that we had dove into a situation none of us had been originally ready for. My biggest mistake was wanting to "start a company for the sake of starting a company"; it was cool, and with so little opportunity cost at the end of sophomore year seemed like the best move. But that turned out to not be enough to sustain us through difficult challenges that every startup faces, like funding and founder issues.
Still, the idea is something I wholeheartedly believe in, especially after living in Philadelphia and NYC for two summers. There are over 25 million window unit AC's in the US, and hundreds of millions more overseas in less developed areas. The potential for both environmental impact as well as financial payoff I believe are still enormous, so hopefully someday, when I've learned more to understand how to build this company again the right way, technically and non-technically, I'll return to it.
TigerLaunch, Co Director, May 2016 - Present
TigerLaunch is Princeton's National entrepreneurship competition dedicated to building student-founder networks at the University, Regional, and National levels. Some of the things I accomplished while leading include:
-Growing the competition from one event at Princeton with 40 applications to four events in Princeton, Seattle, Chicago, and NYC with over 300 applications.
-Raising and managing a budget of 60k in 2017 and leading a team of 17 at Princeton and 32 nationally.
-Increasing percentage of team returning for the next year from 27% in 2016-2017 to 86% in 2017-2018
-Coordinating logistics for events with total over 900 participants and travel for over 200
-Leading a sponsorship team for the 2018 competition and raising >100k
NavTalent, Campus Director, April 2017 - Present
"Recruiting" sounds like a weird space to work in as an undergrad, but NavTalent has brought a new spin on traditional tech recruiting. Started at Stanford in 2015, they've since grown to 12 campuses across the country, and that growth is fueled by NavTalent's belief that, rather than simply hoarding as many resumés or LinkedIn profiles as possible, genuine one-on-one conversations between students are the best way to find that elusive notion of "fit", to discover what a student's true experiences and goals are beyond what's simply listed on their resumé. It subsequently has the highest conversion rate of any recruiting firm for actual placements in its client companies (which come from the worlds top VC firms, like Sequoia, a16z, and KPCB, to name just three.)
NavTalent does this through campus associates, technically-minded students just like me who sit down for coffee or lunch with our friends and have awesome conversations. I help to coordinate so that we reach our goal of talking to every single CS or technically interested student in my Class of 2018. I also organize social and branding events, as well as VC and CEO talks on campus.
Princeton University Student Government, Class of 2018 Social Chair, March 2017 - Present
As social chair, I work with the other 2018 officers (President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary) to serve the class as a whole by planning events like study breaks and service initiatives, as well as representing the class to the administration to enact student-driven change on campus.
-Organizing the first senior class tailgate to rekindle spirit at Princeton Football's Homecoming game against Yale in November 2017.
-Leading a photo initiative to bridge the disconnect between varsity student athletes and non-athletes in order to promote a healthier campus culture.
-Acting as the student representative to the Senior Class giving and Historian commencement committees.
Freelance Photography, February 2016 - Present
I won't mention too much here; just click anything to the left to take a look at the rest of my site! I first started after my freshman year of college and have since been learning at an exponential rate; I shot my first wedding just one year later and have taken over 120,000 photos in the past year, and have made about $15,000 in revenue since beginning.
Designation Conference, Chief of Staff for 2018 and Director of Media in 2017
The Designation (DN) Conference was started by my friend Mihika Kapoor in 2017. Design is one of the most valued skills for companies in the world today, and DN brought together 100 of the best student designers from across the country to a one day, all expenses paid conference in NYC at the World Trade Center to learn from and network with top designers in industry and art alike.
As Chief of Staff for the 2018 conference, it's my job to ensure that communication between the director and sub-leads is clear and quick, as well as to act in full support and partnership with the director on major tasks like event vision, fundraising, high-level logistics, and student + executive relations. Some of my specific duties include:
-Leading fundraising of a >200k budget for event to be held in the same site as New York Fashion Week and a reception at the top of One WTC in NYC.
-Ensuring healthy and respectful team dynamics in the coming months.
-Establishing a new vision and direction for the conference given that, in only its second year, there is a lot to still be improved upon for attendees.
In 2017, as Director of Media, it was my job to ensure that there would be tons of high-quality photos, video, and audio documented for attendees and organizers of the next conference.
-Assembled a team of 7 of Princeton's best photographers and videographers making it the best covered BusinessToday conference ever (most only have one photographer). All photos and video on the site (http://designationconference.com/) were shot by myself or my team.
-Filmed promo video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYRnphhgOhw) and created other promotional material prior to the event.
-Managed all aspects of coverage conference-day, including getting headshots of all participants, recording all talks and workshops, interviewing participants and speakers one-on-one, and getting candid photos throughout the event.