Josh Schertz


  • Robot Arm Part 6: Advanced Code

    Feb 5, 2020

    After a three year hiatus, I have finally(!!) completed the code that allows an Arduino Uno based controller to wirelessly control the Arduino Mega2560 based 5 DoF robotic arm. If you are new here, you can start the robot arm series at part 1. As a quick recap, I built... more

  • Debrief: The Vibe

    May 13, 2019

    In late November of 2018 I started a challenge of launching 12 startups in 12 months. I am doing this to get faster at turning ideas into working applications. A month after I start each project I will write a debrief describing how it went. Over the past 4 months... more

  • Debrief: The Space Resource

    Jan 30, 2019

    In late November of 2018 I started a challenge of launching 12 startups in 12 months. I am doing this to get faster at turning ideas into working applications. A month after I start each project I will write a debrief describing how it went. Last month I launched my... more

  • Debrief: The Contact Guru

    Jan 3, 2019

    In late November of 2018 I started a challenge of launching 12 startups in 12 months. I am doing this to get faster at turning ideas into working applications. A month after I start each project I will write a debrief describing how it went. Last month I launched my... more

  • 12 Startups in 12 Months

    Dec 6, 2018

    As of November 21, 2018 I have started a personal challenge of building 12 startups in 12 months. The rules are simple: spend a solid month building and marketing each startup, trying to get paying users to cover operating costs. Once the month is over, determine if the project should... more

  • Dockerize the pySecMaster

    Mar 4, 2018

    In an attempt to simplify the startup procedure for the pySecMaster, I've setup Docker for containerizing the system. The beautiful part of containerization is that I can now plan for the exact environment the scripts and database will be run in. Not only does this simplify the scripts I have... more

  • Cryptocoin Mining - Circa 2013

    Dec 12, 2017

    It is amazing to see crytpcurrencies finally becoming mainstream. I first got involved with cryptocoins in mid-2013, and started to mine them by that fall. I have so many stories of greed, scams and loose money. If you think today's crpto scene is crazy, you should have seen it back... more

  • Ethereum Mining on Nvidia V100

    Nov 7, 2017

    I recently found myself asking the question, "Can you mine Ethereum on an AWS instance?" When the ground breaking Nvidia V100 was finally added on AWS, I knew I had to test it's mining prowess. So how did it perform? Well, the V100 is currently the world's best Ethereum ming... more

  • Robotics Nanodegree Project 4 - Deep Learning

    Nov 6, 2017

    The deep learning project, also known as the Follow Me project, uses a fully convolutional network (FCN) to build a model for identifying a target person from a simulated drone camera feed. The purpose of the model is to have the drone follow the target person as they walk around,... more

  • Jamming Gripper

    Sep 1, 2017

    This is my first prototype of a jamming gripper. Jamming grippers use a soft rubber bag filled with a granular material that can expand and contract based on air pressure. The granular material is able to surround an object when pressed onto it. When the air is removed, the material... more

  • Robot Arm CAD Model

    Aug 29, 2017

    I just finished designing a Fusion 360 3D CAD model of the robot arm I have been working with. This has been my first large CAD project, and I'm very happy with the results. Not only are all of the measurements within 1 mm error tolerance (which for my purposes... more

  • Robotics Nanodegree Project 3 - 3D Perception

    Aug 14, 2017

    The third project of the Udacity Robotics Nanodegree focused on 3D perception using a PR2 robot simulation in Gazebo. The robot used a RGB-D camera to capture the color and depth of objects within its field of view. A SVM was used to train a model that was used to... more

  • Run Fusion 360 in Ubuntu

    Aug 9, 2017

    Updated: Nov 6, 2017 tldr: Autodesk doesn't make a Linux version of their Fusion 360 software, but you can run it within a Windows based VM (like Paperspace) or in the browser. Currently, the browser based Fusion only offers limited functionality, thus I use (and recommend) a Windows based VM,... more

  • Wireless Issues with Ubuntu on the Dell XPS 13

    Aug 6, 2017

    The Dell XPS 13 is a great laptop for running Linux on, however, it has some known issues with the wireless adapter Dell includes on the machine. The two general solutions include changing the wireless adapter, and dealing with the driver hurdles. Changing the wireless adapter isn't too difficult. For... more

  • Robot Arm Part 5: Basic Arm Code

    Jul 23, 2017

    Having finished building all parts of the robotic arm kit I bought (see part 1), it is now time to start programming the arm to make it do stuff. SainSmart provides a file with basic code, so I'll start with that. Provided File SainSmart provides this large zip file (162... more

  • Robot Arm Part 4: Controller Build

    Jul 20, 2017

    In the last robot arm post, I setup the electronics for the arm. In this post I will show the construction of the controller included with the 6 servo robotic arm kit I purchased. This controller has two joysticks that plug into an Arduino Uno, which will connect to the... more

  • Robot Arm Part 3: Electronics

    Jul 19, 2017

    In the last post I integrated the 6 servo robotic arm with the rotatable platform. In this post I will describe the steps required to connect the arm's electronic components together. Installing the electronics on the arm is a simple process. The only process required is hooking up the different... more

  • Robot Arm Part 2: Rotatable Platform

    Jul 17, 2017

    To continue this robot arm series, I will now add a rotatable platform to the basic robot arm I build in the last post. In addition to providing a heavy base for the arm, the platform provides a secure place to mount the Arduino that controls the arm. The platform... more

  • Robot Arm Part 1: Arm Build

    Jul 15, 2017

    The best way to reinforce new concepts is to use them in a project. Thus, to solidify my knowledge of working with robotic arms, I decided to get a DIY robot arm kit, and program it's movements using the skills I've learned from my last kinematics project. I will break... more

  • Robotics Nanodegree Project 2 - Pick and Place

    Jul 13, 2017

    The second project of the Udacity Robotics Nanodegree was the most challenging project I've done with Udacity over the past 3 years covering dozens of their courses. The project required writing the code to direct a simulated Kuka KR210 6 DoF arm to pickup a can from a shelf and... more

  • Iceberg Tracker

    Jul 3, 2017

    Billions of dollars worth of goods travel across the North Atlantic every year. However, climate change is causing increasing numbers of icebergs to drift into major shipping lanes, forcing vessels to drastically slow or take lengthy detours [1]. Current services for iceberg monitoring provide predictions on where icebergs are likely... more

  • Global AI Hackathon (NYC) 2017

    Jun 28, 2017

    This past weekend (6/23 - 6/25) was the first ever Global AI Hackathon, which was an AI focused hackathon taking place in 15 cities around the world with over 4,000 people attending. I competed in the New York City based event that was hosted at Hack Reactor's NYC facility. This... more

  • Robotics Nanodegree Project 1 - Rover Search and Sample Return

    Jun 1, 2017

    I have just completed my first project of the Udacity Robotics Nanodegree, and it was an enjoyable challenge. I have never had the opportunity to use and program so many mathematical concept into a single project before. I love how robotics combines the skills from so many areas into a... more

  • New Website

    Apr 28, 2017

    While publishing my last post I noticed that many parts of the website were not working. About a third of the images were no longer working, and many Javascript sections were very buggy. With all of these issues, I decided that it was a good time to upgrade my website... more

  • Help Me Vote

    Apr 21, 2017

    For the past few months I have been working on a politics website called Help Me Vote ( The goal of it is to help people make more informed decisions when they vote. I want to show people how closely their legislator's actions align with their beliefs and preferences. I... more

  • Solo Backpacking Through Europe

    Sep 4, 2016

    After two years of hard work, my cofounders and I finally launched our company last month. Having just passed our five-week mark, I can confidently say that we are on something big. To celebrate this, along with giving myself my first long vacation in years, I decided to go solo... more

  • Vectorizing Adjusted Close with Python

    Aug 27, 2016

    Adjusted prices are essential when working with historical stock prices. Any time there is a corporate split or dividend, all stock prices prior to that event need to be adjusted to reflect the change. For one-off projects, it is easy enough to get the current adjusted close prices for any... more

  • pySecMaster's New Matrix

    May 15, 2016

    I am happy to say that I have successfully moved the pySecMaster's database from Sqlite3 to PostgreSQL. The struggle was real, but the end result was well worth it. Most of the issues arose from the 'strict' nature of Postgres, which I discussed in my last post. However, I found... more

  • Database Big League

    Apr 30, 2016

    Having spent the past year using SQLite for the pySecMaster's database engine, I feel that it is time to upgrade to a more powerful database engine. I want to move the pySecMaster onto a database engine that can be highly customized along with having the ability to scale with a... more

  • Risk of Storing Live Data

    Mar 18, 2016

    Storing live data is a risky activity. The largest concern is that once the live event has passed, it is not longer possible to get access to that data. This means that if your data extractor has an issue, or isn't storing data that it should, you are left with... more

  • Over-Engineering the pySecMaster

    Mar 7, 2016

    I am very happy that I over-engineered the pySecMaster. What I originally considered a cool feature turned out to have saved me many days of intense methodology redesign. All I had to do was simply by change one variable. This all started when Ricardo and I were reviewing how we... more

  • 2 Years as a Programmer

    Jan 22, 2016

    January is the anniversary for when I first started my journey as a true programmer. To commemorate that, I want to write a few words to document this momentous occasion for perpetuity. I can say with complete honesty that I have never been happier with the decision to become a... more

  • Professional Citizen Science

    Nov 21, 2015

    I have been thinking a lot about citizen science over the past few days, revisiting many of the astronomical and cosmological projects that have been successfully running for the past few years. I wanted to checkup on the progress they have made, and learn where they thought the next few... more

  • Full Stack = Expert Generalist

    Sep 8, 2015

    Does your passion align with what the world wants? I believe I am fortunate to have a passion in all things tech, since that knowledge has a premium to it. This was reinforced after reading about the myth of the full stack developer on Medium. I say this because everything I... more

  • Icebreaker

    Sep 4, 2015

    Hello internet! I am writing this more as an blogger icebreaker than anything else. I know no one will read this, but that is okay. I have many technical blog posts that I would like to write, but something is holding me back. Maybe I am just convincing myself that... more