Day 9: Politics & KUKA

Today we first went to the University of Augsburg for a talk on the German Political System.  It was extremely insightful to hear about how German politics work and the differences between the American and German political systems.  It left me with a very positive view of the German political system compared to the current political situation in the United States.  After the talk, we went to visit KUKA, a robotics company.  Their facilities were only a short tram ride away in Augsburg.  Their headquarters were extremely modern and they checked us all in at the front desk.  We first went to their showroom which was huge.  There was a video that showed the evolution of their designs and their robot models.  We watched a presentation that used robots working in unison to form a projector background and detailed the company’s vision.  The tour guide then attempted to have the robots trace a pattern she had drawn on the screen, but ended up causing the system to malfunction because she drew an extremely complicated pattern.  After the presentation, a group of us were looking at a robot that was developed to work in close proximity with humans, but an alarm went off when someone touched it.  We weren’t shown the whole showroom, but what we were able to see was pretty cool.

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We then went to their production facility.  The facilities were very interesting but I don’t think the tour guide did a very good job explaining everything we were seeing.  It seemed like everything she talked about was either currently off, not working, or she didn’t know anything about.  I think the visit had a lot of potential, but unfortunately it was kind of ruined by a bad guide.  We then went to a presentation from two other employees who were much more knowledgeable.  The presentation was very detailed and I think most of the engineers really appreciated all of the robotics and software specifications.  The presentation room was very hot and lasted over 2 hours with questions so sometimes it was a little difficult to stay awake.  We got back from the visit and I worked more on my presentation until dinner.  After dinner, a big group of us played cards in the hotel until bed.

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