Nathanael on the Uninternship

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience with Audacity across the summer as it exposed me to many ideas and concepts I was previously unfamiliar with.

Amongst the various things gained was a newfound familiarity with the uncertain. While I cannot claim to be fully comfortable with the pursuit of crazy, unexpected ideas, I do think that ideating and working on futuristic and unachievable ideas during this internship has opened by eyes to greater possibilities. Personally, being ill-equipped technically still proves to be a huge barrier in attempting to work on projects which are reliant on yet to be developed technology. This was especially so when working on the social matching algorithm. As someone who has barely mastered Python, attempting to work with predicative AI and machine-learning technologies was way out of my comfort zone. And while it was fun ideating and dreaming of the possibilities that such technologies can bring, ultimately the divide between what we hoped to achieve and what we could achieve with our current skill levels proved to be too much. It wasn’t my cup of tea.

There was also an opportunity to work on various projects outside of the designated tasks, and one of the highlights of my time there was woodworking in the microfactory. Most of the tools and machinery I was exposed to were ones I had only seen on YouTube and had never imagined working with. Being able to create and make with these heavy-duty equipment was a truly valuable experience and it provided a much needed avenue to destress outside of the pressures of school life.

While working on the wooden structures for the friendly robotic playground, we ran into many difficulties and mishaps with regards to the design. As newbies who had never made anything with such huge pieces of wood before, much less design entire structures, we were very much ill-equipped to design and construct. Thanks to the helpful people at microfactory however, we managed to pull it off, and learnt much in the process. Our projects ran into many issues, mis-printing on the ShopBot, miscalculated dimensions, forgetting to account for the assembly process. However, each issue turned out to be a valuable learning experience which can be applied not just to wood-working, but other projects as well, especially when dealing with unexpected circumstances.

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