WE WON THE CONTEST!!!
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Ladies and gentlemen, Helios Teammembers, family, friends and all those who have supported us, it took a while for you to hear this, but: WE WON THE CONTEST!! Months and months of hard work has definitely paid off, we are coming home with a trophy in our hands! With honor and pride we received on the 6th of November the Global Student SSL Contest Excellence Award.
It has been a while since the last blogpost, but that was surely not without reason. The days since the last post have been a rollercoaster of events. The meeting of new people, building and breaking down the cubes with the resulting sleeplessness has made this an unforgettable experience for all those who were involved.
I will start where we left off, that is the night of monday-tuesday (5th and 6th of November), we were a few hours away from the opening ceremony and the same amount of time away from finishing the cube setup. It was going to be a race against the clock!
While we continued building, we got word that the opening ceremony was already the award ceremony! Because of the bad planning of the arrival of the parcels it was set that even before we finished building the cube setup, we apparently had already won. We already saw that coming, since we got word that the teams from China and Australia both were not invited to come to the SSL Forum. They did have a poster of their work, but as we also saw, they were no match for the mighty TU Delft! But this meant that we really had to make the deadline, since it would be very uncomfortable to receive an award for something that doesn't work yet. In the meantime the volunteers that helped us went to bed, which was fine, since the building of the cubes got done and now we got to the delicate work of connecting the electronics and wireless connection. The volunteer that stayed latest was the one that later became a very good friend. His name was (forgive me if I spell his name wrong) Xing Qi, but we could call him King. And a King he was! Working non-stop with us and helping out by getting us drinks and cookies... it's needless to say that we immediately had found good companionship.
I'm not sure if it's Chinese ethics to be an hour early, but even though the conference opened at 9:00, from 8 o'clock the people started pouring in and we kept hurrying to get the cubes ready as soon as possible. We finished 9 cubes without too much trouble, but unfortunately there wasn't enough time to further troubleshoot the last cube that wasn't working at all. To have a good setup, we chose to display 8 cubes in a 2x4 configuration. We uploaded the different patterns and everything worked instantly, YES!!
Almost immediately after came the opening and award ceremony, in which we got the Global Student SSL Contest Excellence Award handed over by the Consul-General of the Dutch Consulate in Guangzhou, Ms. Anne Luwema. There were a thousand pictures made of us by a whole lot of professional photographers, but I don't have access to that database yet so I'm afraid, for now, I can't show any pictures of that particular moment. We did get a picture with Ms. Luwema in front of the cube and she also put us in an article on the website of the consulate.
It might be that we look tired on the various pictures taken, and that had a reason. We had been awake for over 30 hours now, and the sleep was really getting to us. To divide sleep time, but at the same time maintain the cube-area manned, we decided to take shifts. Wieger and Jasper went to bed first and then later in the afternoon we'd switch so Niek, Reinoud and me (Kian) could enjoy our sleep. All I can tell from my point of view, is that it was hard to stay awake during our shift. With the motto: "Sleep is an emotion, and emotions can be turned off" we fought against the illusions of being in a soft bed with a thousand pillows. Later, when we got home, the satisfaction of sleeping compensated the deprivation of it completely. In that time Wieger and Jasper went to a restaurant with King and tasted the finest Chinese cuisine that Guangzhou had to offer. Lucky bastards ;)
The next day we had to be there again at 9:00, and had a relatively quiet morning. Then, during lunch our guidance researcher, Cheng Guo, told us that a very important Chinese official was coming to visit the Forum and take a look at the cube. I looked up who exactly the man we shaked hands with was. The man was Xie Ji, Deputy Director General of the Department of Resource Conservation and Environmental Protection. This department is part of the National Development and Reform Commission, the commission that makes the famous 5-year plans. We seemed to become quite the hit in China, although we had no idea our 3D LED screen was that interesting for such high placed persons.
We were slowly moving towards the end of the afternoon, which also meant the end of the conference and the end of our exhibition. It almost seemed as if it meant the end of the cubes too, for us at least. The ISA wanted to take all the cubes and display them at a research lab somewhere in China. This whole time we had the assumption that we could take the cubes back home, but somehow the ISA had other plans. We didn't agree with this at all of course... the cubes are OUR products, they're our children! Of course we knew that the ISA paid for all of it, but we were also aware that we were the owners of the cubes, not them. To maintain a good relation with the ISA we gave them 4 fully working cubes to display wherever they want in China, knowing that we probably won't ever get them back.
The advantage of only having to transport 6 cubes back to the Netherlands was that it all fit in one of the two huge boxes, plus it took less time to pack. We did have to get the box out of the hotel and after a lot of trouble, we found a hotel concierge that was willing to transport it to our hotel for 200 RMB. After such a long and stressfull day negotiating and dismanteling we were way too happy when we were back home. We were so happy even that after dinner we immediately went to sleep... our rest was well earned.
The next day was not one without trouble either, since now we had to find a company that was willing to send the parcel back home! This took quite a while, but after some time we also solved that problem. The parcel got picked up the next day, that was friday the 9th, and that's when the relaxing could finally begin. We went shopping, saw the most ridiculous fake iPhones anyone could imagine and finished the day with going out to the 'Somalia Club'. It was a good day :)
Tomorrow we fly back to the Netherlands, and this surely will not be the last post on the website. But to fully end this post, I would like to thank every single one that made this project happen. We thank the ISA and Philips for making this contest possible and providing the financial needs. All the Helios teammembers, all the first year students who helped soldering, all the support of family and (girl)friends that put up with the priority Helios received for a long time, Pan Liu and Cheng Guo who helped us out with customs, project management and ISA contact, everyone.... THANK YOU !! Teamwork has been the singlemost thing that made all of this happen and everyone deserves recognition for doing an amazing job. We finished this project with our heads held high, made an amazing piece of new technology and we showed the world that the TU Delft still is number one!
Until next time, but for the last time from China,
Helios 3D China Team
PS Photo's will be added later, the internet here is not good enough to upload anything else right now.