Wednesday, September 30, 2015

...And We're Back! THANK YOU!

Fall has returned and we are all back at Penn State. The trip to Peru was an educational and life changing adventure! We send our many thanks to our sponsors and partners:

·         The National Science Foundation

·         The Pennsylvania State University

o   College of Engineering Office of the Dean

o   Office of Global Programs

o   The School of Engineering Design, Technology and Professional programs

·         Our Partners and Host Universities in Lima, Peru:

o   Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria (National University of Engineering)

o   ESAN University

In addition we cannot thank enough the many people who made the trip fun, safe and smooth. This would include the chaperones, Peruvian students, faculty at all universities, our drivers who transported us safely through incredible traffic everyday, and the family and friends who supported us all. We know that we are changing the future when we teach the next generation of scholars.
Following are a few final pictures and memories of our trip!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

In closing remarks, the last few days in Peru have involved quite a bit of travel, between Machu Picchu, Cuzco, and Lima. We toured several Incan sites and were able to witness the beautiful engineering of the smoothed and perfectly fitting stones that the Incas used for building their religious sanctuaries. 

As it turns out, their architecture was also well adapted to earthquakes. The earthquakes that occurred in the last 500 years destroyed some of the Spanish settlements due to their design and architecture, but the Incan smooth stoned temples stayed in tact. It just goes to show that quality engineering includes assessing the location.

We ate at a restaurant suggested to us by our tour guide after all of the touring was done: Braza Brava. The food was wonderful, and some of us went shopping afterwards. That's something that we had been excited to do for days. 

We got back to Lima, and, after a day of adjusting to the new altitude, we began our 24 hours of traveling back to the states. It's been fun Peru. I hope to come again.

Monday, May 25, 2015

On Friday we got to present all of the ideas we had been working on over the last two weeks to the President of Universidad Esan, the Dean of Esan's College of Engineering, as well as other Esan faculty.
We arrived a little before 9 am in our best professional attire to prep for the presentation. At 9:30 am the Dean of the College of Engineering gave opening remarks and then Penn State, along with fellow Peruvian students from U.N.I. took the floor. We discussed our ideas towards a solution for a better quality of life for those living in the informal settlements of Peru. These included new structure ideas for the homes, a backpack design to aid in the carrying of water from the bottom of the hill to the upper regions, as well as a dry toilet to help with sanitation and a recycled plastic bottle walkway to level the ground and make the terrain easier to navigate.
Once we had finished the presentation, we had closing remarks where gifts were exchanged between Esan and Penn State and then we enjoyed lunch with the President of Esan.
After we said farewell to Esan, we visited a few laboratories at U.N.I. to see their work with telecommunication research and then had another brief closing ceremony were more gifts were exchanged and the U.N.I. students were recognized for their great work and gracious hosting these last two weeks.
Now that our project is complete, we head to Cusco and Machu Picchu to experience even more Peruvian culture!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Thursday was our last day working on our project. We started off the morning finishing up our prototypes and started working on our PowerPoint presentation. We did a run through presentation to the Pennsylvania State University Supervisors and some managers of the FABLAB. We received good feedbacks and constructive criticism on things we can adjust for the final and closing presentation.

In the afternoon we were headed to Jicamarca. It is a radio observatory located one and half hours outside of Lima, Peru. Jicamarca’s main antenna is the largest of all the incoherent scatter radars in the world. The observatory is a facility of the Instituto Geofísico del Perú and is used to do research in meteor physics and study of ionosphere. We were able to tour the observatory and meet some of the researchers.

Finally we had a friendly soccer match with students from Pennsylvania State University and Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería at Jicamarca’s soccer field before we headed back to our houses.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Building Process

On Tuesday we had our second full day of designing and building our prototypes. Most of the groups had started 3D printing and using the Shop Bot to begin the building process. Out of the 7 problems that we chose to innovate solutions for, my group worked on the waste management and the walkways leading up to and in front of the informal settlement homes. We manufactured a walkway using recycled plastic water bottles in order to reduce the amount of waste and to provide a cheap and easy solution to the settlement residents. It was a very productive day spent in the FabLab and by the end we all had a better idea of what our finished prototypes were going to look like.

By Wednesday morning each group had developed their first prototype and was making slight adjustments to improve upon their first models. My group in particular spent the majority of the day building a life-size model of our prototype and a smaller portion of time on a scaled version for our whole group prototype. In the afternoon we attended a lecture given by two representatives of the RSU, Responsabilidad Social Universitaria, who talked about academic social responsibility and about the program they offer in Peru where they help you to develop marketing and business development techniques. At the end of the day each group had contributed a part to the almost complete prototype of the house and the several different solutions we strived to solve. After a long day we were looking forward to relaxing and eager to continue with our projects the next morning.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Steps Towards Solutions.

Monday was our first design and build day. At the beginning of the day we organized our priorities. This involved us getting into groups and writing down different issues the Peruvian people have, then all four groups got together and organized our choices. Groups then chose two topics to work on, my group chose water purification/transportation and structural durability.

After brainstorming and lunch we got to drafting. Our group comprised of Itxel, Jordan, Jhon, Lisien, and I decided to split up the tasks. Itxel, Jhon, and Lisien worked on structural durability and Jordan and I focused on the water purification/transportation. The rest of my day was spent working with the managers of the FABLAB, trying to put our ideas to paper and paper to models. Jordan and I ended the day at 6pm with an effective idea, a few computer models a start on a prototype, and goals for the next day.

                                        (Above is a prototype water transportation backpack)
It was a great start to a design with genuine ideals and engineering behind it. I can't wait to get back in the lab, start 3-D printing, and finish our project.

                   (To the right is one of the 3-D printers avaible in the FABLAB)

The Project Begins

After enjoying the weekend and exploring another informal settlement, we finally started working on the project! Within the FABLAB, combined with the Peruvian students, we were separated into four groups and we all identified several problems that we observed within these impoverished communities. We then collaborated to develop these issues and then each group chose two specific topics to go into further detail on. We then spent the rest of the day performing reviews. Everybody had interesting points of view to their ideas that was conveyed through several programs such as Solidworks and AutoCad.