Kevin Yu’s Internship Review

August 27th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

After working at XinCheJian for about 2 weeks, I’ve gained valuable experience in both work ethics as well as making working with basic hardware. Under the encouragement of my friend, William Kim, I started working at XinCheJian a while ago. Working as an intern, I had the chance to work with some electrical components I would have never came across as a high school student. I also started to learn Arduino and made a simple project out of the junk William and I had sorted out. Throughout the internship, I took great pleasure in meeting new people and talking to them about different things. This gave me an opportunity to broaden my horizons about the technological industry, which is the field I would like to work in after my undergraduate studies. I thank everyone at XinCheJian who has helped me with any problems I came across, but I want to especially thank Ricky. Ricky made sure I made good use of my time by assigning tasks and certain goals to reach by the end of the internship. He also suggested me to present on Wednesday Open Night, which is something I would never have thought to do without him. I will definitely return often to XinCheJian, but for now, I will have to be occupied by college applications…

-Kevin Yu

On learning Hydroponics at Xinchejian

August 24th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Bradford Hinkle writes: “I have absolutely no experience with hydroponics. I have almost no experience growing plants at all, even in the old fashioned way. I think the last time I grew something was in a 10th grade science class and I’m pretty sure it didn’t survive long. Why then did I jump at the opportunity to volunteer at Shanghai’s Xinchejian makerspace? Because I want to learn about technologies that potentially allow me to be more self-sustaining, healthy, and happy. Like most of you reading this, I live in a cramped inner city apartment and would like access to more fresh veggies. Sometimes the best way to do something is to do it yourself. I got in contact with Roger Mu, Xinchejian’s residential hydro and aquaponics specialist during an open night at Xinchejian and he talked me through the process. We agreed to a start date and I thought of some meaningful questions to help guide my learning process. With Roger’s help I want to answer the following questions over the next few months.

  • Can I keep a few plants alive and hopefully, get some nice veggies to eat?
  • What can I do to scale a home hydroponics system for yield and longevity?
  • Is the result or yield worth the time invested for the average person?

Answering all of these questions is the optimal outcome. Frankly though, if the only thing I get at the end of this is some nice jalapenos to garnish a salad with, I will be happy. I freaking love jalapenos. Roger already had some young plants sprouted and ready for transplantation. I like variety, so I went with a tomato, cucumber, and jalapeno plant. We filled buckets with Leca (Lightweight expanded clay aggregate). These small, porous clay rocks will act as a medium for the plants roots to sit in. The pores in the clay rocks allow the nutrient solution to wash over the roots and then easily drain out so as not to suffocate. image1 Once the roots were firmly in place, the next step was to get our shelves set up in the enclosure. It was a bit of a mess… image2 But once we cleared it out there was plenty of space. We then set up our watering system. Here’s an overview of the system and how it works. Basically, we filled a reservoir (bucket) with a nutrient solution (food for the plants). The water pump will rest inside this container and periodically pump the nutrient solution through the hoses to our plants, washing over the roots and flowing through a drainage system back into the reservoir. We didn’t have a proper hose outlet so I 3d printed one. (It’s nice find practical uses for my printer.) The pump is hooked up to an electrical outlet with a timer so we can easily set a schedule for feeding. Here’s a shot of the hose assembly. image3image4 Here’s a shot of my plants after running the hoses to them. image5 I’m excited to see these grow over the next few months. I’m excited to see what else I can learn about plants in the process. And, I am especially excited about jalanpenos.”

Yu Sun’s Intern Report

August 21st, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

During the past one month, I was doing a co-intern at DFRobot and XCJ. The one month passed extremely fast, bringing and end to my summer vacation. The intern in DFRobot and XCJ have different focuses.

In DFRobot, I spent most time learning Arduino, fixing bugs, and writing report. It gives me a more detailed picture of how work in real life looks like. By studying more sample codes and learning to read product wikis by myself. I have a better idea on how to write clearer code and instructions. People in DFRobot are also pretty cool and nice to talk to and ask questions to. More excitingly, I get chances to develop my own projects, and write tutorials to make them open-source so that anyone interests can try making them by themselves or modifying based on their needs.

While in XCJ, my role is more like a teacher. I gave three Arduino Beginner’s Workshops in series to help more people who are interested in Arduino. Although I don’t think myself as a teacher. For me, people who came to the workshops are more like friends and people who I can learn from. I encountered several problems that I never met myself when using Arduino. What’s more important, meeting new people and seeing that those people are enjoying things I like are pretty fascinating.

In all, I feel I make one of the smartest decision to reach to Ricky about 1 month ago. Thank you Ricky for helping me identify my goals and introduce me to DFRobot. And Jane as my mentor in DFRobot. Thank you for your trust and little gift :)  I will surely revisit DFRobot and XCJ when I am back to Shanghai in the future.

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