Our DATE at ZheJiang University began with an introduction to Origami Robots. Origami Robots incorporate creativity and innovation with technology. These include folding Origamis into different shape and sizes such as Peacocks, Fans or a Lip. Utilizing Arduino hardware and Servo motors, we are able to bring our products to life. Using just purely imagination, the prototypes are able to be inputed with lifelike features like walking, breathing or shivering. Furthermore, given the vast array of Origami designs and hardware, we can combine Origamis with one another to fufill an even more complex action. This not only develops our creativity but also stimulates our design thinking. In addition, it provides an excellent hands-on experience to apply skills that we learnt in SUTD.
Community Service at HuShu School
Visiting the HuShu Speical Needs School was a unique experience. The school took in youths with special needs, ranging from austim to Down’s Syndrome. In addition, the age range was very diverse (6 to 18 years old). We interacted with them by teaching baking and knitting. At the baking group, the students made chocolate and vanilla cookies/cupcakes. They helped to whisk eggs, sift flour and measure oil. When the baking was completed, they got to place icing on their own cookies/cupcakes. Some created “I Love You” and “Happy” phrases while others added pictures. It was very satisfying to see the students enjoy the cookies/cupcakes they made.
At the same time, the knitting group also treaded bracelets with the students. The bracelets could be put in the wrist or the ankle and came with different colours too. Moreover, this was an excellent souvenir as they could wear it anytime, anywhere. The teachers were also very supportive of the students and encouraged all the way. Regardless of how tough the task was, the students had patience and perseverance.
This trip showed that everyone deserves a chance in society. Regardless of disability or background, an individual should be accepted as long as they contribute their share of hard work.
WuZhen Water Town
Situated 60km away from HangZhou is WuZhen Water Town. Dubbed the “Venice of the East”, it boasts an intricate design of canals, walkways and houses. From the outside, it may look like a sleepy ancient town. However, do not let looks deceive as it is actually filled with rich ancient and modern culture. The streets are packed with souvenir stores and eateries that sold local cuisines and souvenirs. Moreover, there were also boat rides available that brought us along the canal. Not only was it enjoyable, but this allowed us to experience how simple life centuries back was.
There were also WuShu performances on traditional boats that showcased WuZhen’s home-groomed talent. These acts included fighting using stools, nun-chucks, spears and poles. It was indeed an impressive performance by the “ShiFu” and his apprentices.
Culture and History
Within the town, there are places of worship, pagodas and temples. These places tell the story of how the town was built together with the motivation from legends and gods. On top of that, the town opened a contemporary art museum and theatre in 2014 to ensure that modern and ancient culture can co-exist.
We got to witness first hand “Mao Bi Zi” (ie Chinese calligraphy) from one of the local masters. With four apprentices under his belt, he has been in this trade for 30 years. By just providing my name, he is able to construct a poem of good luck and wisdom on a scroll. It is definitely a worthy souvenir to bring back home!
At night, WuZhen transforms into a place of tranquility. Not only is it peaceful, but the coziness yet lively atmosphere is an ideal place to relax. The pubs, restaurants and hotels make WuZhen feel “alive”. The lights lit along the canal make the houses look as if they are floating on water. Be it whether day or night, WuZhen is indeed a respite from city life!