Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 7 - Getting some exercise!

After a week of sitting in lecture theatres we decided that some of the participants would appreciate the chance to get some exercise, and we were right! A bike trip to Walden Pond was organized by Gwyndaf Jones, a mentor at this year's conference and our bike mechanic specialist, and was attended by about twenty participants. There were two groups scheduled for the trip - one who got the train a portion of the distance and the other who decided to ride the full twenty miles. The teams arrived together to Walden Pond amidst a tremendous downpour of rain and were quick to get out of their clothes and into their swim gear. When I asked Deepa how the trip went her one word response "Awesome", was echoed by a number of participants who thoroughly enjoyed the day out, even despite the torrential rain and thunderstorms!

The biking crew get ready to leave the dorms

Deepa and Gwyn lead the charge!

Ariel Phillips had then planned a trip around Harvard and Harvard Square but had to cancel due to the thunder, lightning and rain. However, we did promise them we would re-do this outing at some stage during the conference.

The participants then made their way back to the dorms to set themselves up for the coming week. Concept selection, experimentation, entrpeneurship sessions, guest speakers, presentations and project design are all packed into Week 2 so there will be plenty to keep them busy! The organizers then met at 6pm to discuss week 1, the all important participant evaluations and the plan for Week 2. This was by far our longest meeting to date(5hours!) but we felt it was necessary as we really wanted to make sure that we addressed any issues raised by participants in their weekly evaluations. We also ordered pizza for the meeting's mid-point so that helped keep the masses(there were 19 organizers present) happy!

Overall, the feedback we received from the participants was extremely positive. All who completed the survey said that they felt very welcomed by the organizing staff and were thrilled to be working with people from such diverse backgrounds. The design activity was also a particular highlight for many of the participants, as was the balloon team building activity! However, Some of the African and Indian participants were uncomfortable with the level of air-conditioning used in some lecture halls as they were. We are working on attempting to solve this problem and also have taken into consideration comments teams have made about the mentor process.

All in all though the positive feedback provided a timely boost to the organizers, as we realized that our hard work in the preceding weeks had really paid off. One participant's highlight so far was "learning about a device I never thought I'd have the opportunity to work with" and I feel this dissemination of information, skills and technology is what we want IDDS to be all about.

So with their batteries recharged for Week 2 the participants had an early night after an action packed weekend. The first week of IDDS can be definitely be put down as an unqualified success and hopefully we can make the week's still to come even better and actually get down to creating technologies! As Anil Gupta put it, "if we decide not to live with a problem we will decide to solve it" and we hope that the participants can adopt this approach and keep up the huge level of commitment and energy that they have already shown to date.

The aerial shot of the group at Killian Court(notice the perfection that is D2)

The group all together on the steps beneath the dome


Pat said...

Would someone please forward this to Amy Smith.

I have designed and a 4775 member newsgroup supports at an all purpose machine tool meant for rural areas of developing countries.

The MultiMachine is an accurate all-purpose machine tool that can be used as a metal (with threading) or wood lathe, end mill, horizontal mill, drill press, wood or metal saw or sander, surface grinder and sheet metal "spinner". It can be built by a semi-skilled mechanic using just common hand tools. For machine construction, electricity can be replaced with "elbow grease" and all the necessary material can come from discarded vehicle parts. It can be built in a closet size version or one that would weigh 4 or 5 tons.

It can be used for building and repairing water and irrigation pumps and farm implements.
Building steel-rolling-and-bending machines for making fuel efficient cook stoves and hundreds of other products.
Rebuilding vehicle parts.
Providing "hands on metalwork training on student-built MultiMachines that they take with them when they leave school.

We have also designed and built a drill that can be totally and easily made from wood (except for the bit). It can drill a 1" hole in steel.

Pat Delany
Palestine, Texas

durga said...

Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.

Hand Tools