Daniel P Koch

About

Professional

I am a full-time student working on a master's degree in mechanical engineering at Brigham Young University. My research is on GPS-denied navigation and control for unmanned air vehicles. I think that the area where mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science all come together is an exciting place to be, and that's where I try to spend my time.

My areas of expertise include estimation and controls, mechatronics, and programming. I enjoy working on both the theoretical and practical aspects of these topics. Seeing how the math and theory translates into actual results is fascinating to me, and I think that the challenge of understanding, extending, and applying it is fun. Implementing those ideas on a real platform is also satisfying for me, which I do a fair amount of in ROS and on the Pixhawk autopilot for my research.

But if you really wanted to read about that, you'd probably just be looking at my resume. So let's move on to something more interesting...

Personal

I would say that I'm a pretty active person; I'd almost always rather be doing or making something than sitting around watching Netflix. Here are some of the things I like to do with my free time:

Moving

When I want to go do something, I almost always head outdoors. Being out in nature—feeling the sun, smelling the air, seeing the sights—invigorates me. Hiking and backpacking are my favorite things to do, but I also enjoy biking and anything else that gets me outside.

My favorite sport is racquetball. I also enjoy volleyball, Frisbee, and pretty much any sport except basketball. I've taken ballroom dance classes for several years now and have a ton of fun with it. Not too long ago I accomplished my lifelong goal of getting scuba certified, and have recently started training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Tinkering

I wouldn't be a true engineer if I didn't love to tinker! For me, learning and creating are two of the most fulfilling activities. Some of my nerdier interests include programming, web development (this site, for example), electronics, and making robots and stuff. More socially acceptable interests include woodworking and... well, yeah. I'm mostly just a nerd. Check out my blog to see what I've been working on!

Relaxing

When I want to wind down at the end of the day, playing the piano is one of my go-to activities. I've played since I was about six years old. My focus is classical music, but I enjoy some lighter stuff now and then too. In addition to the piano I also play a bit of flute, ukulele, and recorder.

My favorite form of more mainstream entertainment is reading. I'm a huge Lord of the Rings fan—yes, I've read the Silmarillion. And loved it. Other favorite books include Ender's Game and anything written by Brandon Sanderson. My favorite band is Dire Straits, and my favorite movie is Hook (which I also consider to be one of John Williams' best soundtracks).