We ventured to the University of Augsburg at about 9:30 this morning in order to attend a talk about German politics. Honestly, I did not think I was going to find is as interesting and as beneficial as I did! The speaker seemed to be very knowledgable and explained hard concepts in an understandable fashion. There was a lot of focus on the history of German politics and the changes we are seeing today, such as the growing presence of a far right wing party called the AfD. He explained the potential reasons for this growth, such as the presence of different political cleavages, as well as tactics of other large parties like the CDU/CSU. We also learned about how voting is divided in the nation and the area from which a majority of the support for the AfD comes. I really do feel like I left that room with a greater understanding of German politics. Even my German friend Lena who attended the lecture said that she left knowing a lot more than she previously knew about her own country.
Before moving on to our company visit for the day, we had a quick lunch at Mensa. My friend Jess got this strange, huge piece of bread that was covered in some sort of sauce, and everyone at the table agreed we would try it with her. It ended up being sweet, possibly a vanilla sauce, and it was so much better than we anticipated… it actually was reminiscent of a Boston cream donut.
Finally, it was time for what the engineers have probably been waiting for the entire trip- our site visit to KUKA, a robotics manufacturer. We started off in a beautiful showroom, where we took our group picture with a robot. We learned about their most advanced lightweight robot, called the Iiwa, which had 7 axises as opposed to the typical 6. This way, the robot’s range of motion closely replicated that of a human arm. We also saw an impressive robot show, before someone in the group touched a robot and set off the alarm. We finished our visit with a more detailed presentation about KUKA and their products, followed by an extensive Q&A period. I tried to understand as much of the technical talk as I could, I think I managed well enough! It was interesting to learn more about the robots we keep seeing in production lines at our other site visits. Maybe we will see some more when we visit Horauf & Kohler tomorrow, which is actually my group’s company!