In the style of a wikipedia biography, I'll begin with 'Early Life'. My name is Will Keyser, but you likely guessed that from the URL.
I grew up in central Iowa, spending many summers with family and friends in beautiful Green Lake, Wisconsin - a place I now consider a second home.
Growing up in this part of the country fostered my love of the outdoors, and although I have never been much for hunting or fishing - camping in all four seasons became one of my favorite activities.
As a teenager I played trombone in the high school marching band, something that (along with the local boy scout troop) led me to make some of my closest friends.
Between my father's career in IT, my grandfather's experience teaching computer science, and a school teacher of mine getting me into technical theatre - my love of engineering grew quickly.
By the time I had reached high school graduation, I was sure that I would pursue my own career in the electronics industry. Little did I know, life had other plans.
I began college at Iowa State University, studying Electrical Engineering. Although I only spent a few semesters there, ISU is where I learned so many of the fundamentals of electronics and circuit design.
An aerospace engineering club caught my attention early on, and I began flying weather balloons with other students on a regular basis.
This activity coincided with my interest in amateur radio, which flourished thanks to the Cyclone Amateur Radio Club (W0ISU). First licensed in 2014, amateur radio has become something I spend a great deal of my time enjoying.
I have a dear friend named Rich (AA0RR) to thank for that, but also my grandparents who were all involved in radio hobbies well before my time.
After leaving Iowa State, I continued to experiment with weather ballooning and radio electronics. For a few years, designing VHF transmitters for tracking balloons became a bit of an obsession. In retrospect, I think I used this particular design challenge as a way to build my skills as a PCB designer. After dozens of failed attempts and hundreds of small revisions, I finally made a balloon tracker I was happy with - a design I call TelemTrack. TelemTrack is based around an ATSAMD21J17 microcontroller, a ublox MAX8 GPS receiver, and an Si4063 ISM band transmitter. Each of these features temperature compensated crystal oscillators for reliable operation over large altitude changes. This board runs off a single-cell LiPo battery, and can transmit location data along with battery voltage, current draw, temperature and humidity, atmospheric pressure, and relative ambient light level. Onboard serial flash memory and USB interface offer built-in datalogging and flight configuration. This board also runs code capable of radial and polygon geofencing for automated frequency control and payload cutdown. You can see in the photo (right) a few key revisions of the TelemTrack design, from my first prototype to fly in a weather balloon to the most recent version. I consider this comparison to be an illustration of my growth as an engineer - my projects beginning as RadioShack perfboards and becoming 4-layer semi-professional PCBs.
Although I still enjoy tinkering with transmitters and ballooning kit, these days I find myself working mostly on theatrical lighting tools - a category of devices that first contributed to my interest in electronics. In particular, I have been working on a USB lighting controller for a friend who runs a summer camp. The idea behind this design is to be compact and fully computer controlled, but capable of standalone cue-based operation. The DMX512 interface is relatively simple, requiring only a microcontroller's serial port and a MAX485 (or equivalent) RS-485 transceiver. This allows the microcontroller to "speak DMX". The tricky part of the design was acheiving galvanic isolation over this interface, as plugging high-power lighting instruments into the DMX network and then connecting an expensive macbook to the other end feels like a poor decision without some degree of isolation. The RS-485 interface is relatively low speed (as compared to USB, etc.), so this isolation can be had using optocouplers and an isolating voltage regulator. Finally, came the power supply design - which consists of a single-cell LiPo manager, buck-boost 5V regulator (which supplies the isolation circuit), 3.3V LDO for the local electronics, and load sharing for USB-powered use and battery charging. Everything else is done in firmware, which is the development stage we find ourselves in at the time this page was written. I plan to update this page with photos once some of these projects are finished, but you and I both know hobby projects are never finished. Until then, feel free to email me if some of these projects interest you!
If you don't yet know me, you may be wondering why I left Iowa State's engineering program prematurely! That is because I, as many college students often do, elected to change my major.
After leaving Iowa State I studied nursing at a local community college, and subsequently at ISU's athletic rival - the University of Iowa. Shortly after graduating and beginning my career as an ICU nurse, a little something called COVID-19 came onto the radar.
I think the diplomatic way to describe my experience with the pandemic through the lens of the ICU would be 'an intensely challenging learning opportunity'. And learn I did! I now work as a cardiovascular lab nurse in the Kansas City metro area.
My professional interests lie in vascular access procedures, medical device ethics, and geoinformatics in healthcare.
I won't elaborate further on my work in healthcare on this little slice of the internet, but if you're a new nurse and interested in breaking into the cath lab / procedure nursing space - please check out my new website [BROKEN LINK - NOT YET UPLOADED] AngioNurse.com.