Day 9: KUKA and Chaos

Today, we started the day off with a lecture about German politics by a professor here at the University of Augsburg and then went to the edge of Augsburg for our KUKA Robotics tour.  I was particularly excited to see this company because I am really interested in the use of robotics in car production and wanted to understand how they were made and used in all areas.

When we got to KUKA, we were given visitor badges and then led into their main display room.  The room was dark and the technology in it gave a very sophisticated and future-forward vibe.  Specific lights would brighten as we walked to different areas of the room and highlight whatever was on display where we were standing.  The lights and our tour guide led us through KUKA’s history and onto a robotics show.  Two of KUKA’s largest robots showed off their skills by performing a choreographed show of moving different cubes around and following a coinciding light and music display.  After these robots were finished, we were able to see and interact with the newest KUKA robot, which is able to be physically moved and directed while in use.  With these new robots, there is no need for a cage around them to protect the human director, meaning that they are able to work with and learn from humans much more efficiently.

As we were finishing up the group pictures with the robots, all of the lights in the room suddenly turned on and the tour guide immediately turned and sharply said, “who touched my robot?”  All of us looked and saw the group of guys laugh and point at Jeremy.  She struggled to get all of the lights to go back to their normal program, so we just left them and moved on with the tour.

Right before all someone touched the robot. 

The beginning of this tour in the showroom was really great; however, the tour began to go downhill quickly.  The factory tour was very spread out and the people in the back couldn’t keep up as well as in others to know what was going on and where on the line the tour guide was pointing.  By the time the tour had finished, we were all already tired and expecting the presentation to be short – we were way wrong.  The presentation felt like it was about two hours long and you could tell the time was wearing on everybody – as I looked around the room, I was secretly happy to see that everyone else was also struggling to keep their eyes open and that I wasn’t the only one.  Arman even fell asleep for a while, and Gemma and I had to kick the back of his chair to get him to wake up again!

I felt like a walking zombie as we walked out of KUKA and back to the streetcar station.  A lot of us were starving and drained of energy once we got back, so we immediately went to get some Döner sandwiches. However, once we got to the restaurant is when our bad luck of the day continued.  As everyone was sitting down at the table, Liam went to sit and the legs of his chair broke, making him fell straight down onto the floor.  The fall looked like it was in complete slow motion and as he was sitting on the floor still trapped under the broken pieces, Liam says “wow, I didn’t realize I gained this much weight on the trip!”

A little while after we had all finished laughing about Liam’s chair incident, we started to hear a loud beeping noise ringing throughout the restaurant.  All of us thought that it was just an oven or something; however, Megan eventually chimed in and said “no, I think it’s Arman.”  We all looked over to the bathroom and saw Arman standing inside the handicap bathroom with one of the managers of the restaurant, and proceeded to watch as he was led to the proper restrooms.  After we sat there wondering what he could have done, he returned and we learned that he pulled the emergency alarm thinking that it was the light switch and set the alarm to ring throughout the restaurant so he could get help.  Needless to say, I don’t think that the restaurant loved our group of American idiots very much and the managers were probably very excited to watch us leave.

After our semi-chaotic dinner, we took a trip to a grocery store on Maximillian street called Norma’s and stocked up on candy and snacks for the rest of our time here.  I got Haribo gummies and realized that they taste fresher here than at home and they’re also cheaper, which is always a bonus.  Once we were all stocked up, we made our way back to the hotel and I enjoyed some of my new candy before heading to sleep after this chaotic day.

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