April 12, 2021


Friday, June 26, 2009
Trip Journal part 1:


got to airport, then heard that our plane that was coming from atlanta had to be turned back to atlanta. not exactly the vote of confidence you want in your plane.

since we missed out connecting flight to munich, we will now have a flight to paris and then munich. unfortunately, this means I will miss the conference in the morning.


more delays... finally made it into paris. Had a huge trek across the France airport to make our plane to Munich just in time. The french lady in security laughed at me. She pointed to my hat and said something in french. So I took it off planning to walk through the security scanner with it off. She laughed, called me back, and then put my hat on the conveyor belt. So far, even with the language barriers, all of the Air France workers could run circles around the Delta employees.

finally made it into munich, after missing an entire day of the conference, to find out that our bags are still in atlanta, and won't be here today, or tomorrow morning, which means i'm going to the conference in the clothes I have on. unbelievably aggravated. also, the stupid phone card that i bought (to avoid the hassles of roaming with my phone overseas) is turning out to be a giant pain in the ass. trying to add funds to the account goes to a screen saying an account administrator will try to do it within 24 hours??? nice.

This forced us to spend our entire evening trying to quickly go shopping and get a sweater i could wear tomorrow before the shops close. had dinner at "Wirsthaus in der Au" which was really good. Had a really good waitress which helped us out.

without our luggage, we are also missing our power adapter, so our laptop battery is all we have left to charge our phones. So far the trip is way too stressful!!!


had breakfast in the hotel and took off to learn how to use the subway system in munich to get to the conference hotel. after some confusion, finally figured it out (mostly) and got to the hotel. To add to the stress of being under-dressed for the conference, it was raining in the morning. Since I had no umbrella, I arrived soaking wet. Under-dressed and soaking wet, I walked up to the registration counter. That was uncomfortable.

Attended an incredible talk from Dr. Sankai, the founder of Cyberdyne (no kidding... cyberdyne... like the Terminator movies). The company research is HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) and they have applications from everything from entertainment (providing resistance and environmental forces for VR games) to replacement limbs. Some of the "challenges" he showed were things like helping a man with polio to move his legs for the first time in his life, to SCI patients learning to walk again. Truly amazing stuff.

Attended some splinter sessions afterwards with 4 talks in each one. Some were very interesting. I particularly enjoyed one from a gentleman from Carnegie Mellon University. He talked about redundant robots (7 or more joints) and how there were indices to measure a robots ability with respect to its primary tasks (such as range of motion), but nothing related to secondary objectives of redundant robots, such as Torque limiting or obstacle avoidance. Since enhancing the design of a robot for obstacle avoidance (changing its morphology for example) may take away from the first objective (line tracking), he proposes a way to modify the performace indexes of others to include the secondary objective/first objective ratio. I can't reproduce his words very well, but i hope to do so once i get a look at the proceedings.

after the morning sessions, got back to the hotel to change into nice clothes (our bags showed up!), and then return with christian for the dinner cruise. took the subway this time and had a much easier time. The dinner cruise was very nice. Christian and I had great conversation with folks from Germany, England, Turkey and the US. This was really the first relaxing event of the trip, so we really enjoyed it. Tomorrow I will have a few more sessions in the morning at the conference, then it is off to Rome!

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Blogger Keith said...

Really enjoy reading about your trip. Hope you keep us informed. Glad things got better after the initial trouble. Take care!

11:58 AM  

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