Thursday, May 29, 2014

Flinders University of South Australia

Our group visited Flinders University, where we saw research by Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen and participated in a lab and lecture.
We spent the full day at Flinders University in Adelaide.

Flinders University is ranked in the top 10 Australian universities. While at the university, we were given a tour of the labs.

Pictured below is our group next to a meta-stable ion electro-spectroscopy machine. This allows the researchers to do experiments on a nano scale. The original machine was not so large, but over time, attachments were added so different aspects of the sample could be studied.

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We were also able to sit in on one of Dr. Paul Gardner-Stephen's lectures. It was a software engineering class, and the topic he was discussing was pair-programming.

Pair-programming is not just about collaboration; the goal is to have one programmer direct and the other work on the technical aspects. The professor compared this to rally car driving; one navigator, one driver.

We got to put this technique into practice later than day by participating in a lab section.

We were each paired with an Australian student and given the task to write a program that counts the number of seconds since 1970, given a date and time. We had to use innovation and work together to tackle the problem that the given dates and times were all formatted differently.

Lastly, we toured Dr. Gardner-Stephen's lab. Here he explained his work, the Serval Project.

The Serval Project uses WiFi signals in cell phones, allowing them to interact within a Mesh Network rather than on a traditional phone carrier. This is intended to be used in third-world countries or in areas after a natural disaster. One of his major challenges right now is that this technology only works over a fairly small distance.

Another, bit sillier technology Dr. Gardner-Stephen has developed is a shoe phone. We saw the first prototype of this device in the lab. It looks like a simple dress shoe, but there is a speaker in the sole of the shoe that you can speak into.

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