Kuldiga - February 2021

Kuldiga - February 2021

At last we were back and had on-site studies in Kuldiga. After our first period in October 2021 we were supposed to be back in November 2021. The raging pandemic affected our plans and we had to postpone our meeting.  Now we are back in Kuldiga. Last time when we were here it was golden Autumn and now it’s more like a winter wonderland with a bit of slush and rain in the background.

We started off with continuing our Machine learning course. Krisjanis had us off to a good start when he provided us all with an Arduino starter kit. The Arduino Starter Kit provided an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It features 15 simple projects that show you how to use Arduino  and to turn an idea into reality.

So a little bread board and tons of little wires, liquid crystal and lots of gadgety things and did we correctly hear 15 projects……. 14 the same for the whole group and then an individual prototype…. We assumed it was like an engineer's Christmas and opened all the little packages and got on with the projects. We managed to create a lot of successful prototypes and yes we had some problems too. Krisjanis was like a practitioner of parkour going from one of us to the other to help out. Luckily he also had Lydia who was familiar with Arduino as his assistant. 

Apart from Arduino, some of us had some undone assignments from the previous lessons in machine learning and we got excellent hands-on help for our Figma prototypes, machine learning, chatbots, Maze etc. Raitis also joined in to provide us with assistance.  

We had a blast with the VR goggles and a daily ongoing dancing competition where Paula and Lydia were fighting or yes maybe dancing for the first position and the rest of us trying our best to reach their scores. We didn’t only dance in VR, but had physics lab, boxing, space travel and fights with zombies etc. A great way to relax and change the scene and leave the Arduino kit for a bit. 

On the third day in the afternoon we all presented our projects to our machine learning teachers as well as Viesthors and Ilse S and got valuable feedback on our accomplishments so far. 

Originally we had been baffled by the amount of prototypes and wondered would we ever be able to complete them on time….. But of course we did and then we also created an extra prototype together in the Crystal Ball based on a Latvian (and international) kids game - paper fold fortune teller. So yes we did 16 prototypes all in all and also completed our other “lagging” projects. This of course called for a party so in the evening we had a party with pizza, refreshments, dancing, discussions, friendship and VR.

On Friday we changed the scene mentally and went into research mode and started to think about ways of gathering relevant and valid data and what kind of thesis themes we could tackle. Viola and Liane guided us into the world of social research and we are all looking forward to the first assignment where we have to find out “How can we spot a trend” i.e. before it actually is a trend.

A rewarding, inspiring and educational time in Kuldiga (Cooldiga). Not only was it educationally enlightening, but we as a group got to know each other better and can’t wait to work together in future modules.