Campus team spirit

Despite being in the Netherlands for less than two months I feel that I have blended effortlessly with rest of the TUDelft community. The atmosphere of the campus is vibrant and everybody seems accessible and passionate about their work. One of the first things to get you inside the campus culture is the DreamTeams.  Everybody knows about them, everybody talks about them and everybody has a favorite. Showcases and recruiting events are always around since every team is looking for the best talent around.

DreamTeams are teams formed by students from diverse backrounds who combine their strengths, for at least one year, to perform engineering feats of strength. The goal is to create advanced machines, which stand out for their innovative design or their sustainable implementation and are used in highly competitive events all around the world.

All these teams started are projects founded exclusively by students and they have great freedom and responsibility over the final design. After a team reaches a certain level it acquires access  to the D:DREAM Hall. Here every team gets its own administrative facilities, working space, workshop and access to high level equipment and machinery, all of which is operated by students.

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The level of commitment these students are putting into their work is remarkable and this is what makes it special amongst most universities around the world. These people are working without oversight of professors and without earning credits out of their desire to move the world forward and their love for engineering.

Projects are hugely diverse,  ranging from a formula car and a space rocket to a solar boat and an exoskeleton. Some of the teams are hugely succesfull and have won a number of completitions. The Nuon Solar team just won the competition for the most efficient solar car of the world and the Human Power Team has the record for the fastest human powered vehicle in the world.

Outstanding work is done in the hyperloop team, were a hyperloop train is designed based on Elon’s Musk Hyperloop concept. The train was announced a few months ago and I would highly recommend a visit to their website since the 3D tour they offer is really fun.

If you are passionate about engineering and actually pushing the boundaries of technonoly I suggest you check them out.

Dimitris

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Exams are not always a chore,

Exam period is one of the most stressed periods in every student’s life.

Time becomes a valuable commodity and every minute counts.
Assignment deadlines are always near and you have to jungle between studying for exams and finishing up projects.

This is one of the most stressful two weeks every student must face but to me there is something memorable about this period. The whole university is attuned to the the spirit of the exams and the campus is transformed into a giant studying place.

The library operates with extensive opening hours and the same is happening for most study places around the campus. Every place is packed until late at night and everybody seems focused on their exams/projects.

But on the other hand there are aspects of the exam period that I really appreciate and look forward every time. Various events and activities designed around the exams are happening every time. The latest event in our library was “Explore your Brain” where students where encouraged to take a brake and help their brain recover.

The event involved a number of different sessions: from meditation and stress relief to Mozart performances during lunch time. Moreover  sleep pods where available so that students can relax or take a nap and a digital shower for everyone to refresh before hitting the books.

The most fun and memorable part of the exams thought is forming study groups to prepare for the final tests. Before every critical exam we group together trying to help each other prepare.Regardless of nationality, background or academic level everyone is eager to help  and explain to anyone bits of missing knowledge or tricks to cope with difficult problems.

Sharing is caring and this is the only way I can see myself getting through the exams. With good friends taking brakes for fun activities all around campus.

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The upsides of not living near the campus

One of the first experiences with the peculiarity of the Netherlands is finding a place to live during your studies.

Being an International student and not having someone to guide me through the process I chose the convenient way of going through the way provided by the University.

During my application I got access to a number of homes provided by housing companies with buildings in Delft or in small distance around delft.

In the beginning I was disappointed I couldn’t find a place in Delft since it would be much more convenient being minutes from campus but since I got here I realized the benefits of living away from your place of work.

I currently live in the Hague which is the administrative capital of the Netherlands and one of the most beautiful cities around.

Transport from and to Delft is done in various ways but I prefer taking the train since the ride is only 6 minutes long. If the weather is nice and I feel like having a small adventure I sometimes use my bike. It takes me around 30 minutes of biking but going through the traditional Dutch neighbourhoods especially through summer makes the effort worthwhile.

The city itself is amazing and the centre is full of interesting sites to visit and spend your time.One of my most favourite spots is the small park just across the parliament where you can have a small picnic and relax with friends during your days off.

Nightlife is also a plus. The city has various spots around to spend your nights and you can find a place that suits you regardless  your taste in people or music. Moreover being an active international city it is a hub of events and concerts that take place all year around.

For next year I’m hoping of staying away from Delft. Not because I don’t like it ( Delft is very beautiful and it has amazing student life)  but because I think I found the trick of exploring and enjoying two cities on the same time and switching between my student and adult life whenever I see it fit.

 

PS. Technically the beach is not part of the Hague but it really is one my favourite places to spend my time.

 

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Crash Course Hyperloop

In case you haven’t heard the TUDelft Hyperloop Team just won the Hyperloop Pod Competition and this makes us proud since it is a complete student project from the heart of the TUDelft campus.

In short after the release of a white paper,  by Elon Musk,  a group of 6 students started working on implementing the concept described. Now after almost two years the team has over 33 members and is one of the most prestigious team in our campus counting over 200 applicants so far.

Their hard work on designing and implementing this new concept of mass transport came into fruition by overcoming 27 teams and entering the finals acquiring access  in the SpaceX Hyperloop test track along with the MIT and  TUMunich team.

Now what is Hyperloop and why we should care?

Elon Musk described a new way of travelling large distances in short time by scaling an already existing technology: high pressure tubes.

In his paper he proposed using pressurized tubes that will contain a levitating train which can cruise in high speeds, taking advantage the low friction environment surpassing even the speed of airliners. The hype produced led to an open-source design process since various organizations around the world started experimenting, simulating and toying with the design proposed.

On the other side many sceptics are argued against the feasibility of such concept . For many the design seems “inhumane” since travelling long times in a confined space can be unpleasant for passengers, for the others the complexity of Hyperloop makes it infeasible economically and most importantly hard to maintain as infrastructure.

Now that the idea has matured the Hyperloop competition is proving that no matter what the obstacles engineering pushes the barriers of technology. Teams around the world are working together and at the same time competing for materializing a new way of travel.

Being part of a campus with such teams makes you feel being in the centre of innovation, in a position that anything is possible. Combining that with the TUDelft spirit and our engineering grit we are made to conquer any difficulty ahead.

PS: Everybody has a chance to enter their team, if you think you have what it takes apply!!

PS2:Check their facebook group or just google around and you will find awesome videos that really worth your time.

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Meeting the leaders

Studying in the centre of Europe surely has a lot of benefits. In addition studying in one of the top universities in the area gets you inside the centre of the political action.

This may sound strange coming from an embedded systems student but when you get to meet General Bartels while attending a lecture on HighTech StartUps the whole idea of technical studies gets to a whole new level.

Most of us think that choosing a master in a technical field is tedious and involves dealing with complex problems all day long and for the most part it probably is. But if you keep an open mind and attend a few less technical courses you get exposed to a new perspective to engineering.

This quarter I attended HighTech StartUps  , the course in being taught by prof. Koen Bertels, head of the Computer Engineering Laboratory and founding member of BlueBee
. The purpose of this course is to expose us into the startup world by training on how to prepare and present a new company. Apart from the academics the course offered us a wide variety of guest lecturers from all the areas of the entrepreneurship world.

By far the most important lecture was the one performed by the ex chairman of the NATO military committee Knud Bartels. The lecture took place in a small classroom so it took the form of a live discussion. The session started early since we started discussing with the dean of our faculty while waiting for the lecturer to arrive.

Prof. Rob Fastenau gave us a deep insight in the inner workings of our faculty and also answered some very hard questions about the value of education.

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After the general arrived the focus went directly on him. The goal of his talk was to try and give us with a clear idea on how a true leader behaves. Keeping your goals clear and steering through the ways and means available for your team to succeed. The importance of peace and each leaders role to steer and lead people, not force opinions on others. Ending his speech we engaged in a long QnA session were the theme turned more political and truly tough questions started emerging. Nonetheless general Bertels was happy to answer to all our questions and provided us with the rare opportunity to meet and chat with such a great man.

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I am really amazed by the people I got to meet during my first 4 months in the Netherlands. I was never expecting to be exposed to such great experiences in such as short  period of time.I am certain thought that the greater things are yet to come.

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4TU Embedded Systems Day

This is a story by contributor David Bissett.

W15555457_10154810069132311_1069466599_ohen doing Embedded Systems one could easily forget that it’s a 4TU program without the biweekly reminder of Quantitative Evaluation. So thankfully, TU Delft had the inspiration to host a 4TU event last Friday with students from Eindhoven, Twente and Wageningen attending the event. The event began with coffee in the foyer of the Aula, giving us the chance to meet with our counterparts.

After coffee we started the presentations of the day. The first, was an interesting presentation given by Prof. Koen Bertels. He gave some insight into the work being done by the QuTech research group at TU Delft which I found rather fascinating. Some students from the QuTech research group even demonstrated some successful results of their experiments which was great to see such cutting edge research being done at TU Delft, the same university that I attend.

The next lecture was given by Steffan Karger, a past MSc Embedded Systems student from TU Delft. He briefly talked about his master thesis which used electronics to make an interactive environment. He then moved on to discuss his work that he does for FoxIT, a software security company based in Delft. He shared some useful knowledge on which aspects of his degree helped him the most in his job and which things you can only learn once you’re in the workplace. This made me enthusiastic about the future possibilities that I have available, using this information to my advantage. I then looked forward to hearing the next speaker, Dr. Kasim Sinan Yildirim.

He spoke about transiently powered wireless embedded systems. In other words, embedded systems that are powered by electromagnetic waves which can transmit both power and information. Another interesting topic! He enlightened us on some problems that can occur with these systems which arise from the limited power that these devices have available. The solutions seemed quite complicated although Dr. Yildirim made it appear simple. One solution was for variables in the code, to be constantly stored as a way to save progress in case power is lost. This makes for an interesting approach to embedded software design, an aspect I’d not thought about.

Then, an energised Dr. Marco Zuniga took the stage to explain the mysterious experiment we’d heard about in le15503007_10154810069122311_1734688050_octures. We were to participate in an experiment to monitor our social interactions with each other. To do this we would wear tracking bracelets. These would track our position as we moved around the hall and, on top of this, could recognise gestures that we made such as shaking hands. We were assured the data was anonymous and so, we participated in the name of science. Later in the year, when we need the data for a project, we can then use this information to see who the “social butterflies” are amongst us.

We then started the experiment duringlunchwalking around the foyer of the Aula, interacting with each other and shaking hands, after which we had our lecture for QEES, with guest lectu15555139_10154810071057311_1080720560_orer Riccardo Ferrari. After the lecture there were casual drinks and free snacks where we again got the chance to socialise with each other. Overall it was a very pleasant day that taught us a lot, and I’d like to see it happen again.

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Intro

I am an embedded systems master student coming from an electrical engineering backround, specializing in software and networking.
This blog is a record of experiences collected through everyday life while studying here, focusing mainly on the subjects that drive our world, technology and humans.
My main passion this season is the academic parts of student life. Interesting projects and experiments going on around the TUDELFT campus,  engineering teams that compete around the world and experimental technology coming out of our labs. Also I enjoy finding out new startups that pop out around and follow them as they grow to success.
I hope I can give you a glimpse of the exuberant atmoshere we get to experience being part of the TUDelft community.
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