Building a testing platform for the Fusion Reflex

An interview with Lotte Schoonderwoerd – Mechatronics intern at Fusion Engineering

“It’s beautiful that we can create things with our knowledge to help others. “

Currently in her third year of her bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics, Lotte Schoonderwoerd has been an intern at Fusion Engineering the last three months. Her main focus is to develop a testing platform for the Reflex. She loves to create and has already become a valued team member.

When did you start at Fusion Engineering? How did you find out about the company?

Last April I was looking for a four-month internship position in Mechatronics. I am currently in the third year of my Mechatronics studies. Mechatronics combines mechanical and electrical systems and is used in various branches such as product engineering, control systems and robotics. In my search for an internship I came across Fusion Engineering and the company immediately appealed to me, because they are active in drone and flight control. The flight controller that Fusion Engineering designed uses technology that I have learnt about in classes as well, like control theory. One of my school projects involved making an UAV/hovercraft, but because of the coronavirus it ended up being simulated. Therefore, I was glad to find an internship where I could work with drone technology in practice and use knowledge from classes in real-life situations at work.

What are you currently working on and what do you find interesting about this?

I am working on a testing platform for the Fusion Reflex. This platform will be used to test the Reflex before it will be shipped out to customers, as well as for testing new software versions. The general idea is to automate the process in such a way that testing the Reflex doesn’t require an already built drone.

What I like about this assignment is that it will result in a tangible final product. The company can keep using the testing platform after I am finished. This makes the assignment feel more worthwhile to me, I think it’s beautiful that we can create things with our knowledge to help others. Therefore, I am very motivated to build a product that looks good and works well.

I also like to have a clear view on what needs to be done by the end of a project or assignment, and since this assignment is literally “create something new from start to finish”, it fits both Mechatronics in general as well as my personally preferred way of working.

What challenges did you encounter while building the testing platform?

One of the main challenges I encountered is the fact that the Fusion Reflex is an already existing product. Usually, when I am working on a project for school or a hobby project and I come across something unexpected, I can modify both ends of the problem (i.e., if the connection between a sensor and my script doesn’t work, I can either get a new sensor, new connection or modify my script to make it work). With the Reflex, I need to fix it all on my own platform since it is not to be modified, otherwise the whole fundamentals of a testing platform are gone.

Another challenge is the freedom to choose the components and layout of the platform. The Fusion team did have a few specific requirements, but other than that I have been given full control to design the platform in a way that I think works best.

Did these challenges have an effect on your self-development?

For sure, these challenges have resulted in my personal growth. Having more responsibilities also means I am learning how to decide things without having someone watching over my shoulder and tell me exactly what to do. Because of this, I definitely did make some mistakes as well, but I learned from those too. I am getting more confident that I can do things on my own without too much help, which is essentially part of the reason school insists on doing internships as well.

What did you learn in your internship at Fusion Engineering?

I have learned a lot during this internship at Fusion, and will probably continue to learn throughout the last few weeks of my time with this company. At this moment, Fusion is starting to grow bigger now that the first version of the Fusion Reflex is officially released. It is very interesting to see how a relatively small company divides tasks and gets everything done. It’s good to see that having a job doesn’t always mean doing the same thing every day, which is definitely proven here.