Visit to Toyhouse at Ningbo Polytechnic

January 10th, 2012 Comments Off

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We (Ricky Ng-Adam and Min Lin Hsieh) were invited by Professor Benjamin Koo from Tsinghua university to make a trip to Ningbo last Thursday to visit one of the university that Professor Koo is helping.  The Ningbo Polytechnic is located in the Beilun development zone. It’s a 3.5 hours drive away from Shanghai. Ningbo Polytechnic is at the top of the list of vocational schools in China, working hard to become an alternative to more well known brands in China with a focus on practical skills.

All universities in China have their own hotels, travel agencies, on-site restaurants with copious amount of food (always too much)… Impressive for foreigners that are not used to this level of luxury on campus! We visited the rest of the campus where they host many exchange students from Africa and elsewhere. We also saw a wonderful violin making studio (they have a store with price tags next door) and an absolutely HUGE CNC (computer numerical control) room that is used to produce mechanical parts of all size and shapes.

The main objective of our visit was to check out Toyhouse, a Hackerspace-type space located on the university campus and created by Professor Koo. As their name implies, as a whole bunch of toys (lots of RC copters). They were also recently the host of a quadcopter workshop. Afterwards, we visited a film studio fully equipped to produce entire movies literally across the street from the university in a large technology park.

During our visit, we and Professor Koo had a discussion about creating a new university program to make it possible for students to find their passion and be as desirable candidates as possible  to employers and investors when they come out of the program. Our suggestion is to build a project-centric program with guests hackers from around the world.

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