Yesterday, Tamar and family went with me to a high school fair with a booth showing the Cupertino High School Robotics Competition. The task of the competition is to build a robot that can shoot discs and climb a metal pyramid. For Saul, that wasn’t enough of a challenge, so he is thinking about how he can equip the robot with vision, three-dimensional vision actually. He uses a Rasberry Pie connected to two cameras, which is connected to the robot. He also uses the distance between the two cameras and the angle at which the lense hits the focal to determine depth and hence distance of targets. Now he still needs to write the algorithm (c++) to get binocular depth perception (Querdisparität) but that shouldn’t be that big of a deal.
Not that big of a deal???

http://tinorobotics.org
impressive sponsors: http://tinorobotics.org/sponsors/

Another one of those random couchsurfing experiences:
My hosts needed to remodel the kids room, so I took the kids to the Adventure Playground Berkeley. Well rather, the kids took me.

The playground is located at the Berkeley Marina. Unlike most playgrounds, this one invites kids to build stuff. Actually the playground itself is build by kids. In order to earn tools like paint, hammer or saw, they can pick-up trash or find dangerous items that can be traded in for tools. Kids get in for free, adults too if they have kids with them. Thanks to Canaan and Taebin for sharing this experience. Thanks to daddy and mommy for packing a lunch bag 🙂

http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/adventureplayground/

They say on this island everyone finds what they need. for me this is true from the first moment setting foot on the island until now. i have two days left and i dont ask for more magic to happen. i found my home base in the valle with little directions. i found a bunch of people who became my family for the stay. i learned to sing mantras, i learned to play the didge, i was welcomed to wonderland the precious world of pan-o-rama, i saw a simultanous sun set/moon rise with my friends on the fortalezza,  danced with the valley until dawn. thanks to odin, birgit, davide, rebecca, hannah, anja, sky, bueffel, stefano, seppo, norman, twin, wilney, bernard, alex, stefan, martin, ben and many more for the past ten days.

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The nice thing of staying in an India Hostel instead of a Sheraton is that you don't need to go to the museum to get an idea of what happened when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005. I visited this area before in 2001, so I was interested to what extent the city recovered from the storm. Kenny, one of the guys working in the hostel said the first thing that indicated the magnitude of the disaster was the silence in the city. The birds were gone. All gone. Then the water came. Max sitting with us on the porch of the beautiful hostel pointed toward his knees: "the water went till here". You can also see it on many houses that there is a dark line 3 feet on the wall above the porch. The guys who actually remained in the house during the storm said that they fled from the water to the second level of the house. The problem was though that the storm removed the ceiling, so they had a free view to the sky.
After the storm was over, everyone was in shock. Kenny said the government didn't do nothin but the ones who really got their hands dirty were people sent from churches from all over the country. It took the hostel crew 4 months to get the hostel up and going again. In the beginning, it was difficult because there were just no workers available because everyone was fixing their own house. After calling almost everyone they thought of the pool guy and that maybe the pool guy could help. He came over, checked the pool situation and was positive that he could fix the pool within two days! Getting overly excited to have at least something fixed, they eventually decided that the pool wasn't first priority but just knowing that the pool could be fixed was the hope that things will get better.
We are sitting together, when everyone stopped talking, i feel special to share this moment with these people, smelling the flowers and listening to the birds of New Orleans.

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A little heat would have increased cozyness of the vernissage “Freiraum zeigt – zeigt Freiraum” in the Lukas church. But other than that, the exhibition didn’t loose atmosphere. I bet that for people who went to this church every Sunday morning, it must have been shocking to see what it has become: an open space for vibrant streetart and an artistic space to breathe. The space of the exhibition will be re-modeled for conversion in the coming months. This is a pity, because the exhibition will need to be removed. On the other hand, its inception resulted from conversion. So I guess we need to be okay with change. 

The exhibition will continue until 27th of March. Lukaskirche, Planckstr.115, Essen Holsterhausen: Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays  Opening hours: 18:00 till 22:00.

 

The guys from Twente came up with a nice way to let kids sketch and simulate scientific phenomena. We learn that if you combine two different gears, the smaller gear rotates faster than the bigger one. What it doesn’t show is that the torque of the bigger gear is much greater than of the smaller one. Which reminds me that I have to fix my bike…

Check out also the rest of their blog. But watch out (DANGER!): the site might include Dutch content.

http://modeldrawing.eu

Es war schön, dass sich die kritischen Stimmen nicht bestätigen konnten. Man durfte die Straße wechseln, man durfte auf den Gleisen spazieren, man durfte durch den Tunnel rasen, zu viel Bier trinken und spontan komische Dinge performen. Und tolle Afrikaner haben wir auch kennengelernt. Schön. Gerne nächstes Wochenende wieder.

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