Protyping, more prototyping, pitching and visiting (and a lot more prototyping)

By Thomas Havy July 20, 2018 Edition CHIC 2017-2018Discover FLUID project

Dear CHIC community,

It is time for an update our trip in Shenzhen, and our progress towards a functional prototype. As the departure date approaches, we are facing a final sprint and trying to finish all the hardware.

Wednesday 18th of July :

This was again a full hardworking day for the whole team on the prototype at x.Factory. On the hardware side, the two PCBs have been successfully assembled the previous days, but ultimately did not work as expected. It was time to get our hands dirty and try to debug the PCB. After testing with the multimeter we concluded that the circuit was properly powered from the battery, which was a relief. After quite a lot of debugging, we found out that the clip sensor was connected to a pin of our microcontroller that was unavailable to use. A quick fix was to use a cutter tool to remove the connection and solder a wire to reroute the clip sensor to a different pin.

In the mean time, the designers were working on the case of the prototype and verifying the dimensions to check if everything was fitting as expected. The initial plan was to paint the casings, but due to late deliveries of the paint, this task had to be postponed.

The evening a pitching session took place in front of a lot of Chinese makers. This event was organized at x.Factory, and the people present were mostly familiar with the place. The presenter for our team was this time Siqi. She had started to prepare our pitch some time ago, and rehearse it a lot during the day.

All the teams can be really proud of their performance this night as they delivered high quality pitches. Siqi in particular performed spectacularly well, as her pitch was very clear and well structured. She used the remaining time of her speeches to summarize it in Chinese, which was very good as not all the makers were very fluent in English. Her pitch was a huge success which was rewarded with loud applause. After the pitch, some people were even interested in our project and gave their contacts to Siqi to discuss it.

Thursday 19th of July :

This was the final working day at the x.Factory. Although we are all tired, this is the last sprint towards the final goal : a working prototype. The full morning was devoted to this, with the last fixes on the hardware and quite a lot of programming to try and make everything work. Now is the time to close the casing : connect all the wire and put all the electronics inside the casing.

Putting all the wires on the back of the casing is more difficult that it seems and that we thought, as we need to ensure proper connection and glue the contact pins in place.

If you are wondering about Victor, he was not at x.Factory in the morning as he went back to Huaqiangbei (electronic market) with the journalist from RTS to shoot a sequence there.

The afternoon was very different and offered a well deserved break from work. We went to visit a Tencent showroom in one of their buildings. Tencent is the company behind WeChat and is a huge player in the Chinese (and worldwide) internet industry.

This showroom presented their main activities related to the two most popular social networks in China : WeChat and QQ.

WeChat users distribution

What is so impressive is the amount of research and development they do, mainly in the field of artificial intelligence. The showroom showed in particular Tencent work on applying artificial intelligence for the medical field for smarted diagnosis. There was also a lot of other markets and fields in which Tencent is present such as the gaming industry (they bought Riot Games which develops League of legends), movie industry and comic book industry.

Potential financial fraud detection in Shenzhen visualization

Finally we headed back to the x.Factory afterwards to work again on the prototype and left quite late as there was a lot to achieve.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post, and we will as usual keep you updated on the next steps !