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  • Noah Hill

Shenzhen Adventures, Week 5: 70th China National Day Celebration, Shekou, and Anhui Province

Our 5th week here in Shenzhen was one of the most fun weeks yet! All of China was celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Chinese National Day holiday, Dan made a weekend trip to Hefei in Anhui Province, and I visited the Shekou neighborhood in Nanshan, Shenzhen. Dan and I also visited a 3D printing and 3D scanning factory to get digital scans of our teeth impressions made, and the company offered to make digital scans of us for free.

This week was really productive work-wise too, as we finalized our testing setup and have begun recording the first datasets from various sensors and circuits. It was a great balance of work and relaxation - getting a bunch of stuff done in the office, but still making time to explore and experience new things. This post will include lots of pictures from our adventures, so keep reading to see all the details!

The People's Republic of China was formally declared on October 1st, 1949, in Beijing, China. This is a monumental event in the history of China, as it followed the end of the Chinese Civil War which began in 1927. Every year the entire country celebrates, but this year included especially grandiose celebrations as it was the 70th anniversary. The entire street and neighborhood around Huaqiangbei (where we work) was very quiet and most shops were shut down for the whole week. Decorations were installed all across Shenzhen and the entire country, as seen in the images above. It was really cool to see how another country celebrates their National Day, and a great event to experience while here.

Hefei is the capitol of Anhui Province, in northeast China. Dan took a flight from Shenzhen, and the following is what he has to share about the trip:

"My cousin, Nicky, was awarded a Fullbright Scholarship to conduct economic research in the city of Hefei, China. I visited him this past weekend. It was a surreal experience to see such a familiar face on the opposite side of the planet. Hefei is a 2 hour plane ride from Shenzhen, about the distance from Boston to Chicago. The city is famous for its "dragon shrimp", what they call Lobster, but really resembles crayfish. The weekend was an opportunity to experience "old china," which is very different from the futuristic atmosphere of Shenzhen." - Dan

I needed to stay at the office during this weekend to get some software work done, but Hefei seems like an awesome place so we will definitely be visiting again!

However, I also managed to get out and see some new places this weekend too! Saturday night I took a trip to Shekou, or "Sea World" with the guys on the Backbar Solutions team ( Backbar Solutions is making an automated cocktail dispensing machine, to help restaurants make drinks quicker so you don't have to wait as long to get served. They have an awesome team, an awesome product, and are really great to hang out with too!

We visited a bar in Shekou to do some "market research" and find out how long it takes the bar to make and serve various cocktails. The bar had great food, some awesome live music, and the Shekou area is a really great place as well.

Shekou is also called "Sea World" because it is very close to a large port, not because it has any sort of large aquarium. The area is also fairly westernized and is home to many expats. It was rather strange to eat at a bar in China where the band played American music in English, but it was still a great night all around!

Something else fun that happened this week was Dan and I getting full body 3D scans of ourselves. We needed to get a 3D model of the teeth molds we had made so we could make sensor designs using CAD software on our own real teeth. After the teeth molds were scanned, we had been getting along pretty well with the people helping us at the scanning company and they showed us examples of some (almost creepy) realistic scans of people they had done for commercials and advertising purposes in the past. We thought they were really cool, and the scanning company ended up offering to take 3D scans of us for free.

So watch out, there may be 3D printed Dan and Noah figurines coming to stores near you!

Something else we have been up to work-wise is trying on molar bands with prototyped sensor housings on them, to get some user input for comfort regarding various design choices (sensor housing protrusion, curvatures, tooth placement, etc). We have probably installed and removed about 20 or 30 different molar band designs now, and are saving a ton on dental school tuition. People around the office think it's pretty hilarious to watch us put molar bands in and out, since we just use the mirror in the office bathroom, and this is a picture somebody took of us in action.

Well, that wraps up our 5th week here in Shenzhen. Next week we will be preparing for a business trip to Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan, preparing to move offices as HAX is relocating to a larger space across the street, and also playing some badminton with locals in the park. Stay tuned for the next update!

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