Sunday, 22 September 2013

New Brighton Pier

On Saturday I went to the New Brighton Pier:

It turned out that it is primarily used for fishing. A kid happily showed me his catch of the day:

Many birds were on the lookout for some fishy leftovers:

After enjoying my dinner in Pier Side Café, I made some night shots:

Finally I returned back home in my cool car, the first one I ever bought myself:

It's the mirror twin of my family's "Zoefert" we have back home :) We drive on the left side of the road here, so I sit in the right seat. But you get used to it really quickly.

And on Sunday I drove along the Great Alpine Highway to visit the Castle Hill. It was a beautiful drive in the mountains, and a quite amazing walk among the numerous oddly-shaped rock formations!

My housemates didn't go along, mostly because I have no housemates at all, at the moment! Paola has found a cheaper room, Andy is in Wellington for a few weeks, the French gang have returned home and the skiing-plans on Sunday with some other dutchies were postponed due to bad forecasts. But it wasn't boring to go on my own, not at all!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Mt Isobel

Last Sunday we had a nice walk from Hanmer up to Mt Isobel. On the way back we visited a waterfall, and had a fun time crossing a swamp! Here is my video compilation :) Thanks to Charlotte from CUTC (Canterbury University Tramping Club) for organizing this awesome trip.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Work on the exoskeleton

My internship is now going on for three weeks already. Much has been investigated, the EMG hardware that my predecessor left behind is now more or less operational, and collaboration with the exoskeleton hardware group (by five students) is getting very constructive!

The exoskeleton is powered by PAMs, which stand for Pneumatic Artificial Muscles. The inlet and outlet airflows are controlled by valves, which can be opened and closed by electric power.

The valves are mounted on the back of the exoskeleton, and a number of air tubes are already connected.

The valves are powered by this printed circuit. It was designed by the other students, and tested by myself. I now know how valves are being controlled, and also found a few issues with the circuit, of which some are solved now. Electrophiles will probably recognize the I2C bus connections. Only the emergency circuit breaker is not operational yet, it's something to be fixed later. Until then, we just hope that the exoskeleton won't walk away unintentionally on its own ;)

There are also printed circuits for force sensors, a HID (human interface device), an audio system, some rotary decoders and the onboard computer itself. Later I will also add the sEMG electrodes with its own processing circuitry and a better controller. With all those computer chips, wires and electronics, it looks like building a spaceship!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Godley Head & Anaconda MTB Trails

Last Sunday a friend and I went cycling in the Godley Head region, the easternmost part of Port Hills. Here is the video compilation, recorded with my dashcam. Enjoy!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Hanmer Springs

Today we went to Hanmer Springs. It's actually an 1.5 hour drive from Chch, but we did it in 2.5 hours because we took a 2nd breakfast somewhere halfway.

We rushed to the nearest MtVeryHigh and quickly had a view over the Hanmer village.

One snooze later reached the top, only to find out that there were many MtEvenHighers around us.

At least we can put things in an advantageous perspective ;)

The rest of the day we went to the hot springs, of which Hanmer is famous of. The numerous sub-pools had different temperatures (up to 42°) and various (more or less salty) compositions, presumed to be very healthy for us. So we didn't take the showers afterwards, and are excited to see what will happen to us in the next days!

Just outside the village, we tasted a bit of wine at a wineyard with this view over a river flowing through the hills. Maybe a nice rafting place?

Then went back home in Andy's car. Here you see its shadow, ...

... cast by the setting sun.

Back home we baked some hamburgers, and I learnt a lesson: don't put bread roll under the grill for too long! One literally burst into flames...

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Starry night

The night sky above the Sonoda apartments! My house is the rightmost one. If you watch it fullscreen in HD, you may see the stars moving.

The constellations you see here are different than those when viewing from Europe. Right of the center you see the Crux, also called the Southern Cross. Can you find the stationary spot, around which all stars seem to rotate?

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Mountainbiking, the real stuff

A flat tyre. What would an imported kiwi do with it: Fix it? No. Replace the tyre? No...

Take it by bus to the bicycle shop...

And trade it in for this brand new one.
Front suspensions. Hydraulic disk brakes. 27 speed gears. 29" tyres.
Now I can climb every mountain!

Flying Nun, Bowenvale Traverse and Mt Vernon Track.

Rapaki Track, Waimari Beach and Bottle Lake Forest.

My new bike rides much, much smoother and easier than the old one. Well worth the extra investment, and ready for the real mountains in NZ!

And I'm now halfway through the book "The Riddle of the Labyrinth", it's very interesting!