This May marked the 6th annual FedEx Day! All five of our offices participated in this year’s event. This special day allows our employees to dedicate an entire day to a project of their choosing that they normally would not have time for. This year, projects ranged from planting a garden on the Chicago office’s rooftop patio to making many different types of applications.
Preparation for FedEx Day takes a lot of time. Each employee brainstorms what they want to do and gathers the proper materials for their project in advance. While some people catch up on internal project work they haven't had time to finish, most people choose to do purely fun projects. It's also a great way for employees who do not normally work together to collaborate on a project!
FedEx Day began in 2011 from an idea that originally came from a book called Drive by Daniel Pink that we read for the DMC Book Club. It's named FedEx Day because a tangible result is required by the next day. All five offices conferenced in the day after for a “show and tell” lunch to share what they worked on.
We kicked off FedEx Day this year with a delicious bagel and donut breakfast. Then everyone was free to get started on their projects!
The Houston office's FedEx Day goal was to improve their float game. After the Houston YOE, Peter and Leigh created a Bluetooth controlled Cooler Stereo system to be used on future river rafting trips. Since the Party Rock was claimed as DMC’s property, this DMCooler will represent DMC in style when floating the rivers of Texas!
In Boston, Lillian worked on updating the Boston front door slideshow. There is now a Gmail account providing an up-to-date photo library for the slideshow. This is useful in welcoming visitors to the Boston office!
Adam worked on creating a voice recognition system for the Boston office. He figured out how to incorporate cool features and functions into an office-wide voice recognition system. This system can be used to add food orders, schedule meetings, and other office-wide tasks.
DMC Denver got down to business really fast on FedEx Day. Sully and other members of the Denver team created a Siemens Drink Demo. They used Siemens hardware items to create a cool Siemens demo that is portable for mixing drinks, similar to Boston's Drinxperiment. Their project was very successful and they now have a “DrinkBot” to toast in the office!
Devon and Otto worked on a pool table vision system. The goal of this vision system is to automatically track pool balls remaining on the table. They wrote algorithms to find the color and patterns of the pool balls and the application can tell you what balls are on the table and where exactly they are. They look forward to improving the application in order to give updates on the pool table.
The New York team also worked on a pool table application. A projector is mounted over the pool table and projects lines onto the pool table based on the vision system. It can tell you what the best shot on the pool table is. The application uses brightness calculations in order to tell you which ball is the que ball, then it provides you the easiest shot of where to hit the ball and at what angle. It has great collision detection too!
Since Chicago is our biggest office, we had many different teams working on various projects. Molly, Heather, Natalie, and Stephanie created DMC Games to be played on the roof and in the kitchen. By the end of the day, they accomplished cutting the wood and painting pieces for a giant sized chess and checkers board. They also made a giant sized Jenga game. Stay tuned for giant sized Connect 4!
Many members of our Chicago team also worked to improve the rooftop garden. They brought it back to life, improving the controllers and overall appearance. Although the rain was a bit of an inconvenience, we were able to get the garden up and running as well as adding a new composter on the roof. Darren also created a new soil sensor.
Tim Jager had the opportunity to create an IOT Popcorn Machine. This popcorn machine is a fun demonstration of low cost IOT hardware that makes our popcorn maker post to Slack whenever someone is making popcorn. It also posts the estimated time it will be ready to eat. We’re all very excited about our incoming popcorn information!
Sudeep, Nikhil, Ji-hoon, and Aldo worked controlling a closed loop quadcopter with vision system feedback. They created a .NET application to send out demands to the quadcopter in order to control it. Although they don’t have full control over it, they are working on improving the application in order to improve the controls.
Lyndon worked on creating a .NET Project Creator application. He finished refining the simpler, leaner .NET template we’ve been developing and launched the WPF Project Creator as a click once app. This new application is much more powerful than the previous one and gets things running almost instantly.
Jesse took the initiative to come up with a new and improved coffee system. The core values of this coffee machine are to use good quality coffee, to use fresh ground coffee, to brew coffee properly, to store coffee properly, and to make it easy and efficient to do all of the above.
Stay tuned for more updates on DMC's FedEx Day 2016!