Project week

Project week has been very straight forward and easy to plan. Despite some issues in the begging regarding our location and members, everything has run smoothly thus far. I, as the first aider, had to partake in the 9-hour training course where we learnt the basics of first aid and how to handle certain situations. As we are undertaking some dangerous activities such as hiking, rafting abseiling and caving, I had to learn how to be prepared for a wide range of possible problems.

As mentioned, we as a group have decided to do a much more activity-based project week, spending time having fun rather than doing service. Although we are building houses to fill out the service requirements, it is not the main focus of our trip. I personally am looking forward to the hiking and caving portions of our trip and somewhat dreading the rafting. I hate water and water-based sports but did not want to cause any controversy in the group so I just went along.

The members of my group have all worked collaboratively on the booking and planning of the trip. This contributes itself to the smooth and easy nature of the planning stage and hopefully lends itself to a successful project week.

 

Planning Document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NZNLLV67vvccJtkQeEtFJCEpuYiPXV6rgwY4Fl_6sng/edit

EE day: Exit Ticket

One thing I’ve learned…

One thing I have learnt during EE day is that the collection of data is much more difficult than I had expected. It has been very difficult to identify and utilise helpful pieces of data due to the incredible amount of it that I have at my disposal. As my EE is based on secondary data, I must rely on the accuracy and precision of pre-recorded information, as such it is paramount that I ensure that the sources used are not only reliable but also recent and backed up with numerous trials and relevant information.

What I’m proud of…

I have been able to construct a good format on which my EE will be based and written. Additionally, I am proud of the introduction I have written/ begun to write. Although it is not yet complete, I believe it encompasses the totality of what it needs to and provides an accurate and in-depth introduction to the topic that I will cover.

 

What I’ll be doing next…

Next, I will begin work on creating economic models and obtaining/ writing information relating to the separate production pathways utilised in the creation of plastics and plastic alternatives. I will also be working on my body paragraphs and ensuring the correct ideas and message is conveyed and evaluated throughout.

Home Gym: First reflection

I have been going to the gym every second day for the past 6 weeks to develop my overall stamina and strength. I have been mainly focusing on strength training as I am someone with naturally high stamina and aim to develop myself into an overall allrounder. The aim of my strength training is to aid in my other activities such as softball and boxing.

I have focused my strength training on my back and shoulders. This is as I was born with slight scoliosis and have had very weak shoulders since I was young. I wanted to develop this as it is a real weakness and affects my ability to throw repeatedly in quick succession, something that is quite important in things such as softball and AFL. The first 3 weeks of my training focused on the upper body.

First 3 weeks to develop a basis

  • 1 Bench press.* 10 (25kg)
  • 2 Bent-over row.
  • 3 Overhead press.
  • 4 Lateral raise.
  • 5 Seated dumbbell overhead press. (10kg)
  • 6 Dumbbell triceps extension. *10 (15kg)
  • 7 Pull-up. *15
  • 8 Barbell biceps curl. *10 (15kg)
  • 9 Push up *45

After this, I gradually increased the weight used by up to 5 kg. Although the training itself was not too difficult as I have been doing similar strength training for a while on and off, keeping the routine proved itself difficult. The fact that I had a set plan and schedule help a lot during the first few weeks while I was still making this a habit. I believe this shows LO3 and LO4 as I not only had to create a plan but stick to it.

On the fourth week, I introduced a lower body element as well.

  1. Barbell Back Squat: 3-5 sets of 6-8 reps.
  2. Romanian Deadlift: 2-4 sets of 8-10 reps.
  3. Bulgarian Split Squat: 2-4 sets of 6-10 reps.
  4. Glute Ham Raise: 2-4 sets of 8-12 reps.
  5. Standing Single Leg Calf Raise: 2-4 sets of 6-10 reps.
  6. Seated Calf Raise: 2-4 sets of 10-15 reps.

Once again, the workout itself was not too difficult and as I have quite strong legs I had no problem dealing with this basic set of exercises. As I have been running every day since I was 11, I have quite high stamina and powerful lower body, as such I made some modifications to the original plan, increasing the number of reps from pretty much all of the exercises. Additionally, as this plan was made with the aid of my supervisor, who is also a licensed physiotherapist who has been treating my scoliosis for years, we were able to create a set of exercises that will strengthen my weak points. As mentioned, the main point of this was to strengthen my shoulders and back, this will help in sports and to aid my back and neck problems.

Overall I found these first 6 weeks quite easy going, although quite tedious and annoying to repeat and often found it hard to stick to my set out plan. I have found that after these first 6 weeks the strength of my shoulders and back have improved quite a bit and am now able to use them for far longer without getting fatigued. I believe my next step should be to build muscle on my legs, despite them already being very strong, they are quite scrawny. Although this is good for long distance running and high/long jump, I would like to develop my short distance sprinting by improving the fast twitch muscles.

I believe throughout this process I also demonstrated LO5 as I worked collaboratively with my supervisor to develop a plan to rectify some of my weaknesses and develop my strengths to improve my abilities as an athlete.

Home Design and Technology: PC

As my most recent project, I built a computer for my brother. Around a year ago, I built myself a very powerful and versatile computer as a birthday present to myself. It remains my hardest, favorite and most used project to date. It took around a month to complete, with around 2 weeks of planning and 2 weeks of building. Despite it being very difficult, it was not nearly as difficult as I was expecting it to be. In fact, the only difficult part was that I had never done it before, so when it came to building and designing my brothers it only took around a week in total, with 6 days of planning and 1 day of building. The planning process is by far the most lengthy as you must choose comments that are within your set price range and perform the functions necessary. There are so many parts you need to get to build a computer with an infinite number of brands and models for each of them. On my first try, I realized that building a computer is as much an exercise in economics and budgeting as it is electronics.

LO3 is demonstrated throughout this entire process as the builds revolve around a considerable amount of planning and budgeting. If the plan was abandoned or changed halfway through, it is most likely that the end product would be less than functional.

When it came to building a computer for my brother, I already had a sense of what components were needed and how much they would cost. Things such as the GPU (graphics processing unit) CPU (central processing unit) and PPU (Power processing unit) are the most pricey and delicate parts of a computer and is what you need to find first. Most of the budget is put towards these as they are what affects the performance of the computer the most. Once these were found (items and pictures listed below), I then moved onto the slightly less important components. These are things like the Motherboard, ram and cooling unit. Then move onto the peripherals. It is quite challenging to find all of these components within the budget set, so I incorporated the use of a spreadsheet to capture and plan each part of the build.

My computer

-GTX 1080 ROG Strix (Asus), i7-8700k CPU (Intel), G. Skill Trident Z RGB DDR4 Ram (16gb), EVGA superNova 700 PPU

Brother’s computer

– GTX 1070 Stix GPU(Zotac), i5- 7700k CPU (Intel), G. Skill Ripjaws DDR4 ram (16gb), EVGA superNova 650 PPU

My computer was designed to handle very high-end games and take the strain of playing at high resolutions, as well as needing to be useful for school work. As such I put more money towards the build than my brother, purchasing what is known as a GTX 1080 GPU, i7-8700k CPU and 16gb of DDR4 ram. These are components are built specifically to handle the processing of incredible amounts of information at once, meaning that they were a perfect fit for my build, although quite pricy. The PPU was chosen very carefully as well. This is as the PPU needs to be able to supply a sufficient amount of voltage to the system to keep it functional, I calculated that for my heavy hitting PC I would need around 500 watts and my brother’s slightly less power-hungry build would need around 400 watts.

When it came to building the PC, mine had any number of hiccups, whilst building my brothers was very easy and straight forward as I actually knew what I was doing. Building the computer is very fun as well as quite time consuming, despite this on my second try I was able to complete it in under 5 hours and started it up on the first try. The way the computer goes together is as follows; the motherboard is attached to the case followed by the CPU and ram being inserted into their respective connectors. Next, the PPU is attached to the bottom of the case and each cable is attached to their respective connections, this is the part of the build that often takes the longest and cable management is key to keeping the PC at peak performance. After this, the heaviest and most expensive part, the GPU is placed in and connected to the PPU by 1-2 cables depending on the wattage. Then the absolute worst part of building a computer and what took up the most time by far is the mounting of the CPU cooler. I actually broke two of these before getting it on for my computer and slightly bent my brothers. I am quite tall and have large hands so it was very difficult for me to insert 4 tiny screws into plastic mounts without breaking them. In fact, I ended up 3d printing a separate mount and attaching it myself as it was just not possible for me to fix the screws in place.  Another issue that was rectified by the first build was that you actually cannot ship in PPU from different countries and have to source them locally. As the one I had purchased was from America it was not compatible with Singaporean city power and therefore did not work. As such, I had to return the PPU and go to Sim Lim, a place I am not a very big fan of at all, and purchase another. This was the most infuriating part of the first build and clearly shows my perseverance and resourcefulness, calculating the necessary voltage and power requirements again but this time in accordance with local power ratings.

LO4 and LO2 were shown here as not only did I develop my skills in handling very delicate electronics as well as calculating wattage requirements, I also showed perseverance by way of not abandoning the project after major hiccups ie broken PPU and cooling bracket.

Despite this, the builds were both relatively easy, if not time-consuming and expensive, with large portions of time dedicated to figuring out how things are attached and booted up. I use my computer for games and school work very often, replacing my laptop with a more powerful device and hardly ever using it when at home. My brother also uses his quite a bit, spending copious amounts of time in games and online.

Overall this was my favorite project and I am planning further upgrades to my computer in the near future.

Home Design and Technology: Electric longboard part 1

Over the past few weeks, I have been constructing a new electric skateboard. Personally, I am not a big fan of public transport and instead have opted to build my own personal mobility device by way of attaching a programmable electric motor to my longboard. This is actually the second electric skateboard I have built, with the first being very experimental and not turning out very well (shown below).

I have always been interested in electronics and have wanted to at least attempt coding of some sort. Although I have never done it before, I was able to program both the remote control, the microcontroller (a component used to determine acceleration, speed, and breaking) and the motor itself. It was quite challenging and took 4-5 hours and many youtube tutorials to correctly calibrate the device for my height and weight as well as creating three different settings, beginner, intermediate and advanced so that others can use the board without me having to reprogram for them. The programming was by far the most challenging portion of this build as it is something that I was least familiar with. It was much more challenging than I was expecting and required a large amount of patience and time to master. The other parts of the build were much easier, as it is my second time arranging and assembling something of this nature, I found it much easier to construct it with little to no problems. An image is shown below with my coding and settings created. Also shown is the completed device and controller. This was also indicative of LO2 as I undertook the challenge of learning how to operate and code more complex electronics as well as develop my confidence in working with batteries. Interestingly, I have generally stayed away from in the past due to an unpleasant experience from one of my first projects but needed to look past that for the board to work.

Although it is finished, things of this nature are very tricky to get right and I will most likely need to alter either the settings or fix certain parts of the board in the near future. From past experience, the battery and motor mount often cause some issues and may need to be fixed in very specific ways. As of yet, however, the board has been working perfectly and not present any faults or issues with either the programming or hardware. LO4 is shown here. I have experienced a huge amount of issues with the first board and decided to essentially re-vamp the resign and build a new board from the ground up. Not only does this show my perseverance and resourcefulness I think it also demonstrates my ability to correct past mistakes and improve with each new attempt.

Another main reason why I decided to build a board instead of buying one is the fact that a manufactured board is far more expensive than my homemade one and has far lower performance. Most commercial board can reach a maximum of 25km/h however mine can, if I removed the limiter, reach close to 60kmk/h (I limited it to 40 as Singaporean law has listed this as a maximum). Additionally my board, due to the massive battery which takes up 70% of the black cover, has an insane range of around 60-75 km, much greater than the 20km of the commercial board. The battery and speed controller were the most expensive parts of the board, making up over 78% fo the total costs, however, the fact that they are so expensive and well-made means that my homemade board is far better than most of the higher end boards on the market.

RC1

The impetus of my decision and choice of EE topic is based both on my family and overall connection to the topic. I am examining and comparing the economic effects of different production pathways in producing plastics, as well as the separate effect that these different types of plastics have on the Australian ecosystem. Having a cultural connection as well as a myriad of family members that worked in environmental fields, I have access to a large amount of data collected by universities and environmental agencies. However, the concept of comparing production pathways was not the original topic decided on. The change in topic was somewhat of a challenge as it resulted in new information and research being required to support my new topic. Though the collection of new data was very easy, as I have access to a large amount of information and have been able to identify pieces of data that would be of great use to me.

 

RDA Second Rotation: Ninth Session

As this was the final session where George Spencer and I worked together, I was very happy with the progress Spencer made through the duration of the 9 weeks. As well as this, I feel as if I am now better equipt to handle physically impaired riders and aid them the best I can in progressing and developing through the RDA program. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Spencer and George and have learned a lot from them over the 9 weeks.

I believe that through the 9 weeks, my capacity for speaking and holding random conversations has increased. As it is quite hard for me to hold a conversation with someone I don’t spend much time with, as well as someone who doesn’t possess the ability to see or comprehend a lot of the things that I usually speak about, it has helped me in coming up with random, interesting topics on the spot. Spencer has also become very receptive to my voice and now smiles when my partner and I say hello or goodbye, he also now verbally thanks the horse whenever he finishes a session or she does something that he asked her to do. Although in these closing weeks of the rotation, Spencer has become increasingly stubborn in partaking in exercises or stretching and constantly asks to ‘go bye-bye’. Despite this, I believe he very much enjoys his time spent on the horse and has developed a connection both with the horse and us. For example, on the 8th week, the usual horse, Connie, was injured and we had a replacement horse. Although Spencer liked the new horse and seemed to enjoy the change of pace that it brought, he constantly asked about Connie and if she was ok. After the session, he even asked to go pat Connie and wanted to check if she was ok.

 

I believe that the connection between Spencer and our group was quite strong and after 9 weeks he had definitely made a lot of improvements, both physically and mentally.

In the final moments of the session, Spencer even hugged both my partner and me, whilst in the first session he was reluctant to even high five us. This second rotation has by far been my favourite out of the two and I hope Spencer continues to ride and live happily despite his conditions. Although it was quite challenging sometimes, dealing with someone who is blind and unable to walk very well by themselves, it was very interesting overall and I hope to see him and my partner for the rotation again at RDA.

I believe throughout these past 2 or so months I demonstrated LO5 and LO4. Although Spencer is very easy to work with, his condition does inhibit his ability to do everything the other riders do, as such it is up to my partner and me to work collaboratively in creating mildly modified versions of each activity so Spencer can still partake. On account of LO4, I believe that it was quite challenging throughout the first few sessions to establish a connection with Spencer especially accounting for his inability to see. It required a fair amount of preserving and multiple tries to get him to open up and respond to my voice, however, after he felt comfortable with me, it was very easy to get him to try different activities and hold conversations.

RDA Second Rotation: Sixth Session

After six weeks of working with Spencer, and George, the three of us have become quite good friends. Spencer is still able to recognise us by our voices and can now determine who is who by the feel of our shirts and interestingly, hai. He seems to become increasingly relaxed around us as the weeks pass and now almost instantly walks in the correct direction of the stables without too much prompting from George and me, even without the use of eyesight. He has also developed a strong bond with the horse, Connie and now calls out for her while she is warming up.

Spencer has also become more physically independent on the horse. Although George and I never really had to help him whilst on the horse, he now carries out exercises such as stirrup standing and passing a small ball from one side to another with relative ease. He also now holds long conversations with us, sometimes starting them and asking us questions instead of the original ‘we ask he answers’ format. I have also realised that Spencer is a bit of a joker, making subtle jokes referring to things that George and I say. For example, around the 4th session, Spencer began saying, ‘bye-bye’, ‘me go home’ and ‘bed-time’ at random stages through the session. My partner always responded to this with ‘no no no buddy, we’ve got to take Connie for a walk first’. After this Spencer began to respond to requests with the exact same line, later shortening it to just ‘no no no’ then laughing hysterically. He also tells jokes about how bad the horses smell and about how my hair feels like a cat’s. I feel that LO5 is strongly represented here, not only for me but Spencer as well. We began to work together more fluidly after this point and achieved much more in the time frame of the session. Additionally, my partner and I worked more efficiently together, coming up with different activities and stretch for Spencer to try out. It is clear that communication and collaboration is important when working with someone who relies on you to describe the surrounding, once we established that base level of familiarity, it was much easier to work together.

Despite the relationship that has developed between us over the weeks, I believe that Spencer may be getting bored now. He often asks to go home and get off halfway through the sessions. However, once he does dismount he often wants to stay with me and George as well as pat Connie.  He doesn’t seem interested by just walking around the area now, only censing his constant asking to go home or have dinner when we either leave the arena so he can feel the breeze and listen to new sounds or give him some new exercise to do. 

His horse skills have also improved, now possessing the ability to stand in his stirrups for over 15 seconds, far surpassing his initial record of 5. He has become far more confident with his ability to ride and was even able to dismount in the area for the first time, granted with some help from my partner and me.

 

RDA Second Rotation: Third Session

After three weeks of working with Spencer and George, I feel much more comfortable working with someone with Spencers conditions. Although the initial learning curve was quite steep, and the number of little things to remember about how to speak and help Spencer move around was a little overwhelming, we have now settled into a sort of routine. My partner and I work well together, and Spencer seems to enjoy the time spent on the horse very much, though he has started to get a little bored with the constant circling of the track and is now being a bit more stubborn in partaking in what we ask of him. Despite this, he responds well to us as he feels comfortable with the sound of our voices. Goerge and I were chosen specifically to work with Spencer as we are both quite tall and have deep voices, as Spencer is used to the sound of his dad’s voice he feels more comfortable responding to us than some of the other volunteers.

I very much enjoy working with Spencer and he likes working with us. His ailments do make it a bit challenging for him to partake in all the activities that are set out for the other kids, but when prompted, he is able to do almost all of them, with a little help of course. Working with Spencer has opened my eyes a little more to how it must be to be without one of our key senses. It has taught me how to interact with and treat someone who may be visually impaired. Although it is still quite challenging to get onto and off of the horse due to his cerebral palsy, he is now finding it easy to maintain his posture whilst riding. Even despite his condition, he is quite a good rider and never does anything to endanger himself, the horse or anyone around him, unlike my previous partner. Spencer seems very aware of what he is doing and that he is riding something that is alive and intelligent.

Spencer has also started to call George and me by our names, able to recognize us by our voices. He always gives a high five when he hears someone walk past and pats the horse after every session without prompting. Despite my initial thoughts, Spencer is very self-sufficient, intelligent and compassionate and has taught me a lot about dealing with the physically disabled.

Though this week he has become a little reluctant to do some of the stretches that we ask him to do. Although stretching will probably not do much for him, it is good to warm up before riding. I think that he just gets bored and wants to start riding right away.

RDA Second Rotation: first Session

As of this week, we have started a new rotation at RDA with new partners and kids. My new partner is someone from outside of school named Geroge, he is currently volunteering during time off from work and will be my partner for the next 9 weeks. The kid that we will be working with is named Spencer and has cerebral palsy, autism, speech impediment and is mostly blind.

This will be the first time that I have worked with a physically impaired kid at RDA, both in terms of visual impairment and the cerebral palsy. I believe it will be quite a difficult rotation as my partner and I will have to support Spencer physically, much more so than my previous partner, as well as describe and help navigate the area around him to ensure he feels safe at all times.

Despite this, today was actually much more relaxed than I had first anticipated. Although Spencer is quite autistic he is very aware of himself and is very nice, interesting and compliant, willing to take part in most of the activities. Additionally, though it is still a little odd trying to convey messages or speak without the reference to the surroundings and general things related to sight, conversing with Spencer was easy.

Learning to speak with Spencer in a way that doesn’t rely too much on pointing out different things in the arena or using, as mentioned previously, sight-related words like ‘white’ or ‘look over there’, is more difficult than it may seem. Speaking to someone who doesn’t understand the concept of what white or blue is something that seems very alien to me and I believe it will be a challenge to reconfigure my conversations with Spencer to accommodate for the blindness.

Although Spencer is very kind and, so far, relatively easy to work with, he does seem a little stubborn and unable to accept change. Constantly referring to me as one of his old riding instructors named Cate, and calling the horse (named Connie), Jack (name of his old horse).

I believe it will be an excellent learning experience working with Spencer and my partner, George for the next few months as I will have to change my perspective a little to accommodate for the differences that Spencer and myself have.