Today, the SPOCK5 photo book and aftermovie were released at the monthly Vrimibo Scintillae. Watch this aftermovie below!
This was the last day of our awesome study tour. We had only one thing planned and that was the party boat. Although, the weather was not perfect we still went out in to the bay of Hong Kong. After one hour of sailing we dropped the anchor.
Today we visited Macau, Macau is the gameling center of asia. But it hasn’t been for long. It formerly was a colony of portugal and served as a trading post. It stayed under potuguese contrul until 1999 this is one of the reasons why al signs and other writen text on the island are in Chinese and in Portugese. We took the TurboJet to the northen part of macau, where the old portugese city is located, there we saw the remains of the old church and the fortress. We where supposed to meet at 18.30 at “the Golden Peacock” a restaurant located in The Venetian one of the giant casinos. But every one got stuck in the trafic / misjudged the time needed to go from the northen island to the south or just took the wrong bus. But after rescheduling our reservation everyone made it there “in time”.
After a longer night sleep then the day before, the journey for breakfast began. This was one of the more challenging activities this trip. First getting to breakfast and obtaining a table took 20 minutes but when we finally reached the buffet everybody enjoyed it excessively. However to get to the lobby to wait for the bus was the real problem. After waiting 20 minutes for the elevator we decided to take the stairs but we found that the lobby could not be reached. So we ended up stuck on the 2nd floor, where we had to wait again.
Today started early. This would be the last day Shenzen which meant that we would travel to Hong Kong. However, prior to taking the ferry to Hong Kong Island we had our final company visit in Shenzen. Therefore, the alarm clock was set to 7 o’clock in the morning. Which would not have been any problem if we did not go to O! Garden. O! Garden was a pretty nice rooftop bar at CoCoPark which is the bar street of Shenzen. The cocktails and the music were pretty good. Within no-time the dance floor was ours. This all let to some short nights as the last of us went to bed at half past 4.
The day start again early in the morning. We will visit Han’s laser today. After 55 minutes with the metro, we arrived the metro station Fuyong. “The contact person was already waiting for us as well as a dozen motor drivers with a back seat. Reminded us of that awesome song from Gers Pardoel. The priorities of the contact person were clear from the beginning: ‘ladies first’. Could be because she was a lady herself but most likely she just new who run the world. – by Tara”
At 8 am we gathered in the lobby of the hostel to leave for the metro to DJI, the famous drone company. When walking from the metro station to DJI, we yet again found out that Google maps is not very reliable in China, causing us to be slightly late at DJI. This was no problem however, because our contact person, Jessie, was even more late, due to the very busy traffic in Shenzhen.
With the start of a new week in China, this Monday also meant the start of a new week of company and university visits. And for us of SPOCK, this day started early in the morning. With the bus leaving at 7:45, everyone had to wake up early in the morning. Luckily everyone had had a nice rest and enthusiastically greeted this new morning (not to the entertainment of some Chinese hotel guests which quickly gestured us to be more silent) and was packed and dressed in time.
It was around 06:00 AM when the members of SPOCK5 opened their sleepy eyes. Some woke up with a well known tune in their head, others due to the train personal barging in to collect the hangers. Shenzhen was still sleeping as the tired group walked towards the hotel. After leaving the luggage some used their time to eat breakfast with a lot of coffee while others used it to catch up some sleep at the same venue.
The 4th of August, a Saturday, started early (midnight so to speak), as most of us either continued their stay at the rooftop bar or went to some bar or club. Since this Saturday was the last day in Shanghai, we had to check out at 12:00.
For some, the combination of going out and the limited time in the morning proved to be a challenge. Nevertheless did Raymond, one of our supervisors of the last week, get quite some audience at his departure, just after the breakfast ended. He mentioned that it was a great experience. With a warming group hug Raymond said farewell.
Today, there was no official program for the morning and the afternoon, so everyone was free to do whatever they wanted to do during the day. Many people did wake up late and met each other in the breakfast area just before the breakfast ended at 10:30. Afterwards, there were many small groups of people that went to visit different places in Shanghai. For example, there have been people visiting the Shanghai aquarium, the old city centre of Shanghai, the magnetic levitation train to the airport, and more. At dinner time, we gathered together and joined the dinner buffet at our hotel. The buffet was a mix of Chinese food, other Asian foods and western food. After an hour of two, when everyone was finished eating, we went to the rooftop together to have some cocktails and enjoy the beautiful view of the skyline of Shanghai whilst dipping our toes in the Jacuzzi.
This day started on the 32nd floor of our Hotel Hyatt on the Bund, in the waterfront area in the centre of Shanghai. From this rooftop bar we could enjoy the view of the iconic illuminated skyline of the enormous city of Shanghai.
After waking up for the luxurious breakfast buffet (there was brown bread with cheese!) we were able to sleep some extra hours in the bus to Lingang Fengxian Park.
Today we began the day early by taking the bus from Wuxi to Shanghai. We arrived at Fudan University where we were given a tour of the only key state lab in China which is specialized in Integrated Circuit (IC) Design. Besides the (always interesting) high frequency equipment and we looked at the software solution used by the university to automate measurements of high volume port systems. This software solution is prominently used to quickly test the all the logic gates of a specific IC, a test which manually would be nearly to impossible due to the high amount of gates present in modern day ICs.
We ended the tour by seeing the students workplaces and offices, which was a nice look into the student’s life at Fudan University.
After a short night in the night train to Nanjing the alarm sounded early. We switched to the bullet train with a top speed of 300 km/h. It was a bit hard to find the correct platform, but luckily we found the correct platform exactly on time.
After we arrived in Changzhou, some breakfast was enjoyed on the station before getting to the bus. Two company visits were planned. First we headed to SKLSSL, State Key Laboratory of Solid State Lighting Changzhou base. We were welcomed by Dr. JiaJie Fan, who was really enthusiastic about his research. Some questions, about for example the efficiency, were professionally avoided. Still a lot of information was given. We were able to see some products they made. They forgot to mention that they arranged a fancy lunch, so we had two lunches.
After checking out of our hotel early in the morning, which turned out harder than expected, we departed with the bus. We headed for Huawei, a company that many of us only know from the smartphones. Calling Huawei a smartphone company would be an understatement to say the least. As we were welcomed by the local employees, we entered a futuristic environment full of white plastic and LEDs. The guides showed us how Huawei has a huge share in several software and hardware markets. One thing they were specifically proud of was their innovation in cloud technology. A demonstration later showed the power of their new innovations by streaming a video call and manually killing one of the data centres in their virtual network. The software detected this failure and the video call went on, impressively without any delay.
After some well deserved sleep after the Cantus Scintillae of last night, we had to make sure to be fresh and ready at thirteen hundred hours the next day in order to get to the bus that would bring us to the next cultural destination.
At the start of the eight day of the study tour, we were still in the train to Xi’an, in which most of us slept quite well after being cradled to sleep by the movement of the train. For me, this was quite familiar, since I traveled to China by train through Russia and Mongolia. Luckily, the beds in this train were somewhat softer than the one I slept on in a previous Chinese train. Our carriage woke up somewhat earlier than planned, since one of us found it necessary to curse us by ordering coffee for the next morning, which was already delivered ninety minutes before the train arrived. However, we will probably have to forgive Guido, since he has had some experience with a cursed roommate of his own.
This day report officially starts at 00:00. At this time we are at the Roots reggae bar by the water in Beijing ordering the 20th round of drinks. Some of us started playing along with the live band on stage. I leave the rest of the night to your imagination.
8 AM. Daan the cursed roommate jumps out of bed. A meeting or something… Not today for me. I snooze and quickly find my way back to sleep. 9 AM. Snooze. 10 AM. Snooze. I mean, I don’t want to excuse my pathetic morning behaviour but aside of the exhausting day before, me and a few others had found a nice bar the night before and had done the whole thing on 3 hours of sleep…
This fifth day of our trip was one of great adventure, as we set out on the quest to traverse China’s most well-known attraction, the great Wall. The day started bright and early and all the fresh faces gathered to step into the touring car that would take us to our destination in a few hours. This was also the first time we got to see some of China’s countryside, since we have only been in the city so far. The sun was shining brightly and the sky was clear when we arrived at the location, but something was off, as we seemed to be the only tourists there. When walking up to the entrance of a tourist friendly piece of the wall it became clear why: apparently because of the heavy rainfall of the previous day’s the section was closed as it was deemed to dangerous. But we came there to see some wall, and we would not be stopped by a little bit of water. Luckily there came a great opportunity to view the wall in in all it’s natural glory by the coming of an angel. And this angel came in the form of a 63 year old Chinese woman who was trying to sell us her merchandise. Apparently this woman could guide us to a different section of the wall, for a small fee of course. We agreed and so our true journey began. But this wasn’t your ordinary tourist road where everything was laid out for you, no this was a true hike through the bushes up the hill and not before long you could see 24 sweaty red Dutch students struggling with the Chinese lady in front, who did not seem bothered by the heat or the hill in any way. And through great effort, a lot of laughs and a few curses we managed to make it to the top where we had the change to see an original piece of wall and all the beautiful lands that lay around it.
Beep beep.. beep beep.. the alarm rings at 6.30, the earliest time of all days so far. The jet lag (read: karaoke lag) is still present but an hour later the group is gathered in the hotel lobby, ready to start the day. Today is our first visit to an university and everybody is looking particularly handsome. People are living up to the smart casual dress code; a nice dress or a shirt, suit trousers and freshly polished shoes with a matching belt.
On the third day of the study trip we visited the Beijing zoo. Around two ‘o clock in the afternoon we joined the usual crowdedness in the subway. Once we arrived in the north of the city we stepped into an underground shopping center directly connected to the subway station. This touristic center contained quite some souvenir shops and an assortment of fast food restaurants. There were different entrance fees for the zoo, depending on whether you want access to the panda area, which appears to be the main attraction. Nevertheless, there was a great variety of animals outside this area. After collecting all student cards we bought our tickets for only 9.5 Yuan per person.
Once inside we walked straight to the panda area. This was the nicest part of the zoo, and the animal enclosures seemed comparable to the ones in Dutch zoos. The pandas were busy doing what they do best: eating and sleeping. Both activities seemed most comfortable laid back against a rock and without paying any attention to the visitors with their prying eyes. One remarkable thing was the amount of information presented about the reproduction of the pandas in captivity. The first attempts to artificially inseminate pandas was done in Beijing in 1955, however the first baby was born in captivity in 1963. Even the young pandas are difficult to keep healthy, as they are very small and have underdeveloped immune systems.
After leaving the panda area we discovered a small canal in which speedboats raced past the quays. We took a round-trip in these boats and enjoyed the thrilling ride and cool wind in our faces. Encouraged by our enthusiasm the captain swerved across the canal and put the boat in some very steep turns. Some time later we discovered the massive aquarium which was unfortunately closed after 5 o clock, so we headed back to the meet up point where we ended the collective activities with a game of Jianzi. Afterwards, we split up into groups and went different ways to look for a restaurant.
Today, 22 July is our second official day of the study tour, and also our second day in Beijing. On the planning for today is a visit to the forbidden city in the afternoon and a dinner together. But before we went to the forbidden city, a small group of people went to the Lama temple in the morning. In this temple, which has nothing to do with the animal lama, but with Buddhish priests which are also called Lama’s, there were many golden statues of Buddha and other Lama’s. They also keep the record of largest statue cut from one single tree. Apparently, the people there thought that there was not enough smog in the air yet, because there were some big smoking fires in the temple. After the lunch everyone went to the forbidden city. First, we had to go through several security checks to enter the famous Tiananmen square in front of the forbidden city. When we reached the gates of the forbidden city, it unfortunately appeared that we were not allowed to enter it. When reading this, it sounds very trivial that one cannot enter a forbidden city. However, normally it is allowed, there is only a maximum number of visitors per day and we were simply too late. So instead we walked around the forbidden city, to the park behind it which had a temple on a hill with a good view over the forbidden city and the rest of Beijing. Next, we had some dinner together at a dumpling restaurant, where we (Tara) were allowed to draw our logo on the wall. In the evening, everyone decided to go together to a karaoke bar. Many people could not wait that long, so already in the metro we were singing quite loud, to the amusement of many Chinese people. The singing continued in the karaoke bar and lasted late into the night.
We have arrived in China today and for us the study tour has officially begun. From the airport we took the metro to the the main railway station of Beijing from where it was a short walk to the hotel. The hotel was located in the middle of an Hutong, a small, old and typically Chinese neighbourhood where narrow streets cross through residences, restaurants and a lot of tiny shops.
In the afternoon we got new Chinese sim cards with unlimited data so we could ‘Wechat’ all day. Afterwards we went to get dinner in a nearby restaurant. There we enjoyed some good Chinese food and and we sang and cheered with the staff and the friendly people of the next table.
On the 26th and 27th of May, we finished our case about power analysis for IoT applications. This is a small report showcasing what we can do as a case study.
T-Mobile is actively involved in new IoT innovations. One technology they are researching is narrowband IoT (NB-IoT). Because of the narrow bandwidth, the modules are very energy efficient. This allows for an efficient IoT application where a small battery could power the device for months. T-Mobile is interested in the exact performance of the NB-IoT modules. Is all the observed behaviour according to specifications?
Last weekend, the 26th and 27th of April, was the fifth case study weekend. During this weekend a lot of work was done on all of the cases, but the most notable event of the weekend has to be the SPOCK Reunion. On the Saturday evening we were joined by members of earlier editions of the SPOCK study tour, who organized trips to other countries like Japan and the USA. During the dinner and afterwards during the reunion party they talked about their experiences during their own trips abroad and the cases they did.
“Happy New Year!” Chinese New Year of course! During this Chinese holiday season, the 3rd study weekend of SPOCK has taken place.
Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival (春节: Chūn Jié) in modern China, is an important Chinese festival celebrated at the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. Celebrations traditionally run from the evening preceding the first day, to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month. In 2018, the first day of the Chinese New Year was on Friday, 16 February, initiating the year of the Dog.
In China one of its most spectacular scenes will soon start – “Chunyun (春运: Chūnyùn)”, the 40-day Spring Festival travel rush, the world’s largest annual human migration. During this busy period, SPOCK also ordered the tickets to China.
In 2017 – the Year of the Rooster – Chinese authorities expected the travelers to make 2.5 billion trips by land, 356 million by rail, 58 million by plane and 43 million by sea over the 40-day period.
While the average individual trip last year was about 410 kilometers, the distance from the Netherlands to China is 7507 kilometers (Our SPOCK members will make more kilometers!) However, the total travel distance is expected to reach 1.2 billion kilometers (745 million miles): the equivalent of eight times the distance from Earth to the Sun or a leisurely rocket ride to Saturn.
We are going to China!!
Today the board of supervision of SPOCK5 has given us a ‘Go’. This means that our first budget plan is approved and enough funds have been raised to start our journey. Now we can start spending the big money, such as ordering the plane tickets. For the past months we have worked hard to find sponsors, prepare for the travels and work on the cases. Now we have reached the point of no return all of us will do their best to make this studytour a success.
11 November 2017 is a big day for SPOCK5, the first study weekend was held! With blood sweat and tears our select group of diligent students toiled away at the cases so that they may one day afford the trip to China. The efforts included the groundwork to create a mobile quiz application in java, while other groups did research for internet of things applications or managed to reprogram an oscilloscope.
The new website for the Study Tour Technology Road is online, the #1 resource for students and companies about the upcoming Study tour by Scintilla to China. You can find up to date information on our participants, sponsors and our travels through China.