Ope Oladipo '17: Bridging fields to create something new

Ope Oladipo’s (ECE B.S. ’17) interest in electronics started at a young age, but it wasn’t until he moved to New York City from Nigeria as a sophomore in high school that he really started working with Arduinos, microcontrollers, and other devices, which cemented his interest in electrical and computer engineering.

“I like it when all of the parts work together,” he says. “The building part is fun. The researching part, putting stuff together, that’s actually very fun too. Just watching it all come to life, that’s just amazing. It’s something you did with your hands, you coded it, you constructed it, you put it together, and it all works. It’s really very euphoric.”

Oladipo is also a photographer, co-president of the Cornell Photo Society, photo editor and manager for the yearbook, and he works with the Cornell University Photography team. He bridges his interest in photography with his interest in ECE.

During the summer session after his freshman year, Oladipo worked with Senior Lecturer Bruce Land to build a device that would trigger the flash on his camera upon hearing a sound above a certain decibel level. “I was able to take a simple Arduino circuit and do something with it to create a particular photograph I had envisioned. That was pretty cool.”

For their final project for ECE 4670, Digital Systems Design Using Microcontrollers, (coincidentally taught by Bruce Land), Oladipo and his lab partners developed a motorized dolly for photography. They put a spin on the single axis dolly which usually only goes up and down by adding a robot that can move around and can even rotate 360 degrees. Their solution is a precise, stable dolly that can be adjusted via a Bluetooth-controlled app for getting specific angles, to rotate for panoramas, and works with most small cameras or cell phones.

When he’s not behind a camera or working in the lab, you may find Oladipo designing home automation projects. He’s created an app called “My Garage” that converts traditional garage doors into smart garage doors.

“You can close the garage door right from your phone,” says Oladipo. “It will also give you status updates to notify you if the sensor is working, or if your car is supposed to be there and it’s not. So if your kids take the car, it will let you know. It will also open the garage door automatically as you approach and close it behind you as you leave.”

Another app he created is called Zulu, which controls his dorm room wherever he may be. He can check the temperature in his room right from his cell phone, adjust the lighting, or arm a security system.

“I don’t really think its going to revolutionize anything, but I enjoyed creating these apps—they just make my life easier and are fun to use and demo,” he says.

What excites Oladipo about some of the work he does in ECE is being introduced to new technology and learning how it works. “With the iOS apps I built, I could see how comprehensive it can be to work with graphics. You actually have to do a lot more work than I ever thought. I think it’s really interesting to learn about the inner workings of things.”

Oladipo clearly works with the end goal in mind. “At the end of the day, if the project I’m working on is something I want to be associated with or say I’ve done, if it’s something I can be proud of, that is a huge motivator for me,” he says. “I enjoy when the end product works out well. Doing what truly matters to me is worth the amount of effort I put into it, even if it’s months of work for a single photograph or an app that few people might ever use.”

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