Living in Italy

Hi there guys! Long time no see!

Well, since last September I’ve been living in Italy, I guess that’s the reason why I haven’t updated the website in a while, but I will make up to you, good things to come!!!

I moved to Milan on 16th of September 2011 for a “Erasmus” Program (it’s a exchange program, but here, saying Erasmus is easy to make people understand) at the Politecnico di Milano, which is one of the biggest universities in the fields of Engineering of Italy.

It took one month from the time I arrived to the university to start, we, foreigners just couldn’t understand the system in the beginning, which is kinda of a mess until you can figure out how things work.

Besides the university, which was the less interesting thing I did this past months, my stay in Italy have been really productive and amazing as a life experience, I met lots of cool people, learned Italian (work in progress), traveled whenever possible and the also managed to work as a teacher assistant in a course of Physical Computing taught by Maximiliano Romero for Design Students. Also I will start my Internship at D’Appolonia, one company situated in Genova.

As in Europe, you might just travel! Hell yeah!
Some places I visited already:
Italy (many places), Budapest, Prague, Paris, Finland (went to spend Christmas and New Year with my exchange family), Amsterdam, Munich and many other to come.
Traveling is easy and cheap, now that there are so many budget flight companies as Ryanair and EasyJet.

Physical Computing:
Before leaving Brazil, I wanted to find a place where I could keep doing my electronic projects and keep learning, as I wouldn’t have my home lab. That’s when I found out about PychoLab, which is a Physical Computing Lab in PoliMi (Politecnico di Milano), where they invited me to help in the lectures to the design students. That was really cool, as this way I could practice more italian and help consolidate my arduino/electronics knowledge.

Electronics Jam Session:
This was the game; 8 teams of 5 people, during two days, build a game combining design and electronics. The result? Awesome!
During 36 hours, the groups had to develop a game using electronics components provided (Arduino, Shields, RFID sensors, temperature, distance and so many more), also using Laser-cutters, 3D Printers, Sticker printer and a CNC. By the end of the event, groups would present the game, and judges would vote for the best project.
I worked as Staff helping groups with programming/electronics questions, as most of them were design students, so what i had to do too was to show what would be possible to build in that short period of time.
I remember that after like 6 RedBulls and really late, my body was rushing but my brain stopped working, so I had to take a nap in order to help others with problems (it’s really hard to think on good algorithms when you can’t thing!!!)

Tom Igoe’s Presentation at Lugano:
Tom Igoe came to Lugano, Swiss, to give an presentation about the university which he teaches in New York, the NYU. With him was also Massimo Banzi, the big head behind arduino. It was really cool to be able to talk to them, exchange some ideas and talk about the new Arduino Due while drinking beers!

Well, as I was already in Italy, why not find a internship here? As I need to work in some company in order to graduate, I decided to look for a company where I could work for 4 months and then go back to Brazil to finish my Graduation.
Tomorrow I will start my internship in a company called D’Appolonia in a cool European Union project which is to build Smart Sport Centers, I believe I will learn lots of things in the field of communication, electronics and specially Smart Grid, which I believe is the future of Electrical Engineering.

Other things:

Italy is know by it’s bureaucracy! And believe me, nothing is easy here! I need to renew my Visa to stay here long. Guess what?! I had to come back all the way to Brazil to make a new one. This wasn’t very nice, but at least I could enjoy some summer time there, go to the beach, pool and managed to gather people to start building the first HackerSpace in my town (Florianópolis), but this I will talk in another post.

Also last night I’ve been working on my Moodlamp, thing that I wanted to make for a long time, and release it as a Open Source/Hardware project to the web, so anyone could build a cool lamp at home, instead of paying lots of money to Phillips (for example). Tchan Tchan Tchan!?! Bellow you can take a look at the circuit I’m doing. For the next weeks, I will make the first prototype of the version 2.0, and if everything works, I will release on this blog. 🙂


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