Abroad visits

Selected students of our lab have the chance to visit renowned research organisations around the world. Those visits are not only an amazing experience for our students, but are also very sucessfull colaborations which resulted in publications. The following page lists our student’s abroad visits and describes the terrific experiences that our students made.

Dominique Rau Allard Pierson Museum and WAAG Society, Amsterdam
Markus Funk Yahoo! Labs
Lars Lischke t2i Gothenburg
Robin Goldberg Sheffield, UK
Miriam Greis InTouch Ltd., Lancaster

Dominique Rau – Allard Pierson Museum and WAAG Society, Amsterdam, Summer 2014

15BMo_fMP7d-_adc6O6zXxC-8n5Cw9oatWm2BSUTTiRedugnOoGSTYnBj9ZmhfeAQo_FY6SxdouTTbnDvIWApHMyzmwEomqOrHzNfX53UaaqYJMSdolnrkLwVJSVyg-apQWorking as a research assistant for the meSch-Project gave me the amazing opportunity to be sent abroad for 5 months. I chose Amsterdam out of two options, as I already knew the work that awaited me there. Prior to my stay in Amsterdam I already visited the premises, so I knew the people and the project already.

Although amsterdam people have a very distinct accent, their english was superb and I had absolutely no trouble communicating. The city sometimes feels like a huge village. Every thing is tiny and cute and makes it easy to fall in love with. It can be very difficult to find an apartment, but after extensive search on various sites I luckily found a place to stay at.

The WAAG society, where I worked two days a week, has two locations right in the heart of amsterdam. One includes a FabLab where everyday people are invited into a well equipped laboratory to build everything from microcontroller enabled devices to 3D printed prosthetics. To use the machines one has to only buy or bring their own materials but will be welcomed by a friendly staff and other design interns, who are alway willing to lend a hand. Here I continued working on the meSch project under supervision of very talented Taco van Dijk.

The rest of the week I worked at the Allard Pierson museum, where I took over a new project in cooperation v-must network. I worked with a young designer on developing a new iPad app. The goal was to give the new Keys2Rome exhibition a digital, storytelling component, where people get a personalized story, depending on their language and age. Users got a custom made rfid key-card and selected their narrative at profiling stations. From then on every iPad in the exhibition showed  after a key swipe selected digital materials like 3D reconstructed artefacts. I got to develop a key-reader (raspberry pi), help manage the ordering of china-manufactured rfid-cards, that made it barely in time and of course to write the iPad and server software. It was a great experience to be involved in every part of the project and although the time kind of ran out in the end. Fortunately everything was up and running on the opening date and the response was great.

Learning how to manage and execute a project from ground up was an incredible experience and I would recommend it for everyone who ever gets the opportunity. Amsterdam welcomed me with open arms and I would definitely go there again. I want to thank Prof. Schmidt and Thomas Kubitza for enabling this awesome opportunity.

Markus Funk – Yahoo! Labs, Sunnyvale, CA (Summer 2012)maku_yahoo_release

In summer 2012 I had the chance to do an internship with Yahoo! Labs under the supervision of Lars Erik Holmquist. It was my first time visiting the US and I had an amazing time there. Due to Yahoo!’s support, I was able to stay in the middle of San Francisco and take a shuttle bus to the valley every morning. Yahoo!’s intern programm is amazing. The Yahoo! UR Team was organizing an intern-breakfast every week in order to getting to know other interns. I had an amazing time there and made a lot of friends. I was even allowed to go to Los Angeles and attend to the SIGGRAPH conference, which was a one of a kind experience!

My summer-project was about creating a search engine for the physical world using image recognition algorithms. The colleagues at the lab were very helpful and supported me a lot in achieving my goals.

For all of you who are thinking about doing an internship abroad – DO IT! I had an amazing time there and I would love to return to the valley.

Lars Lischke – t2i Gothenburg (spring 2012)

In spring 2012 I asked Albrecht Schmidt about possibilities to write the “Studienarbeit” SG201730_1abroad in northern Europe. He made contact to Morten Fjeld at the t2i [1] Lab in Gothenburg. During the summer Morten Fjeld and I discussed possible topics for my work. In October I traveled by train to Gothenburg. They welcomed me very warmly. Together with my supervisors Morten Fjeld and Paweł Woźniak we formulated the topic of my „Studienarbeit“. I wrote my „Studienarbeit“ as a part of the DynamicDuo-Project [2] and was engaged with using phone-tablet-combinations.

During my stay I had my own desk in the lab. This created a very creative and communicative working environment. The mentoring by the working group was excellent in all professional and daily questions.

Even if it is very dark in winter in Gothenburg it is a nice city. Town, sea and nature offer a lot to explore and to enjoy.

[1]: http://www.t2i.se/

Robin Goldberg – Sheffield (January 2013)

UKs, happiest, safest and greenest city. Sounds like a good place to go? It was!
In January Prof. Schmidt offered me the chance to write my robin_goldbergdiploma thesis in Sheffield in the European meSch project. After a short Skype talk and some information about the city and the project I happily agreed and moved there at the beginning of April. With the help of Sheffield Hallam Universities housing service it was easy to find a place to stay for 6 month near the city centre and the university. But that’s just some formal stuff to show: It is quite easy if you really want to do it! So take the chance!

What is it like studying abroad? For me it was a great time in a great city with great colleagues.  I’ll tell you why in a second, but let me first tell something about my time in Sheffield. We were an interdisciplinary team with electrical engineers, product- and interaction designers working on tangible, interactive objects for cultural heritage sites. My part was designing and writing the software system to define and drive these interactive objects but I also got deep insights into the work of the others. Besides writing my thesis I had to negotiate with other European project partners to fit the design into the bigger system as well as doing tests on our local heritage site, a former Victorian cemetery. I also got the chance to attend two project meetings, in Amsterdam and in Trento, and meet most of the other project partners. We had lots of creative discussions, building and trying things, refining designs, writing papers, workshops with volunteers and site visits which made it a very varied time with many things to do and to learn. And, last but not least, I had the pleasure to work with incredible skilled and friendly people who taught me a lot but also showed respect and appreciation for my work.

So is it just about work and your thesis you may ask? Absolutely not! There were pub sessions nearly every Friday after work which where great to get to know more colleagues and meet very nice people as well as many other possibilities to see new places and meet new people. London, Liverpool, Edinburgh, the beautiful Peak districts and a Manchester United game in Old Trafford are just some highlights from what I did with my free time. And the food? Its not as bad as one might expect when talking about Britain, but it is in fact quite different, you really should love burgers, fish and chips.

I went to Sheffield because of the language, speaking it all the time is so much better than just reading or listening to it. But I came back with so much more knowledge, experiences and new friends that I just can sum it up as: Do it if you get the chance. Make sure you get the chance. And enjoy your time!

Miriam Greis – InTouch Ltd., Lancaster  (October 12 – January 13)

I study Software Engineering and in the context of my study course, I had to do an industrial placement of at least three months. When Prof. Albrecht Schmidt offered me the possibility to spend this placement in England, I happily agreed and never regretted my decision.
On the 8th of October 2012, I started working at InTouch Ltd. in Morecambe. InTouch is a small company focusing on mobile radio solutions and software for mobile workforce. The company is directly located at the west coast of England and from our office, we had a beautiful view on the seaside. I really enjoyed working at InTouch with my British colleagues and never felt like being an intern, but accepted as a full member of the team. During my time at InTouch, I worked on a lot of different tasks including the introduction of code reviews, the writing of process documentation, the implementation of a part of a web application from user interface to database connection and meetings with customers. I had a great time and learned a lot of new things.

During my stay, I lived in Lancaster which is a really nice British city. Lancaster has everything a city needs: an old city centre, a castle, a park with a Memorial, a river and a canal. On my weekends I loved going to the market and for a walk at the canal watching the kingfishers, swans and squirrels or visiting my favorite place, the Memorial, where you have a beautiful view over the city, the seaside and also the Lake District. Additionally, I visited a lot of attractions around Lancaster, e.g., a miniature village and a waterfall trail and spend days out at the Lake District and Edinburgh.

In summary, my time in England was just amazing. I learned a lot, met great people and gained priceless experiences. My stay in England from October 2012 to the end of January 2013 won’t be the last one, because I’m sure that I will visit my British friends and colleagues soon.

Based on my experiences, I can only encourage others to grab their chance and spend some time abroad!

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