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Excursion to Hamburg, Note-Y01-M12-D18

Mo, 18.08.2014
Year 1, Month 12, Day 18
(11 bulan dan 18 hari telah berlalu)

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Excursion to Hamburg, 10th-14th March 2014

Last semester, I had excursion to Hamburg with Assistive Technology students from Jade University of Applied Science (Jade HS Oldenburg), as well as, two Professors and three coworkers. My Professor invited me to join this excursion and I found it was a good idea to know the meaning of “assistive technology” (wiki: en,de,de). Besides, I would have been very lonely in my office in Oldenburg if I had not joined them.


Day 1:  Train & Hostel

On Monday, I had to take a train in the Bremen main station at 13:06. Well, I forgot to have a proper lunch. I rushed to the station and ate there as fast as I could. The “Assistive Technology” (AT) students were in the train but I could not find my coworkers and Professors. In Hamburg main station at 15:23, the train arrived. Then I found one Professor and my coworkers. They had waited me in Bremen but I had not met them.

We walked together to Generator Hostel near the main station. We took a rest for a while after we had got our room and key. We went for sight-seeing in Hamburg. At 18:30, there was briefing and knowing-each-other game. One coworker is an alumna of AT. She told about her experience as a student and as an alumna. That afternoon, the main story was about career or jobs in assistive technology and what teachers and students hope from study. I got better ideas of what challenges in this field.

At night in the hostel, my Professor treat students to “Vitamin B”. In German, vitamin B stands for “Beziehung”, which means “connection” or Vitamin C in English. But in this case, vitamin B is beer. Free beers are student’s delights. Most of us forgot how much beer, we had drunken.


Day 2: Who is the user of assistive technology?

On Tuesday, we visited Johanniter. This organization help people in accident with emergency ambulance. The Johanniter provide people under rehabilitation at home with electronic devices, so that they can push a button or send signals in case of emergency. The users of the assistive devices are mostly senior citizens. Sometimes, they can get accidents at home, like falling or slipping. Stroke and heart attack can also happen.

The Johanniter gave us presentation about their history and they showed us the electronic devices.

  • A box with three buttons: yellow dead-man button, green telecommunication button and red emergency button. Periodically, the rehabilitative patients must push the yellow button to send signals that they are OK at home. They can call the Johanniter with green button. In case of emergency and no time to talk, they can push the red button to call ambulance.
  • An armband with gyroscope and a button can observe rehabilitative patients in case of falling or slipping accident. Gyroscope will detect sudden movement and the armband will vibrate and blink. It waited until the wearer push the button long enough (3 seconds). If the button is pushed well, a three time sound will tell the patients that no emergency signal is sent. If the button is not pushed, the armband will send emergency signals to call ambulance. This is called as fall detector.

There are other sensors and devices to assist patients or senior citizens at home. The Johanniter gave us a presentation about signalling method of their electronic devices. Since the era of mobile internet, the assistive technology changes. Dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) signalling, which is still used now, will be left in the future. Emergency signals will be sent through cellular network, as well as, home wireless network.

In the afternoon, we went to Dialog im Dunkeln, near Speicherstadt, in Hamburg. There we experienced how to be blind. We must shut down handphone completely, bring small money to buy a drink and not wear glasses. We went in small groups into darkened room, provided with a blind-man stick. A blind man or woman was a guide. Mine was a blind man who had studied Informatics. He told us to follow his voice as an orientation and to keep talking/asking so that everybody knew their position in the dark. He said that if we feel sick, dizzy or anxious in the dark, then he would help us go to emergency exit.

At first, it was hard to find orientation. There was a feeling that I could get lost in a dark maze. There were ramps, small bridge, walls and some obstacles below. For sometimes, I was not sure whether I should stop or continue. But my curiosity won against my fear and anxiety of the dark. I experienced simulation of a walk in the park, a trip in coffee packaging factory, a crossing road with traffic light,  a flea market, and a boat trip. In a park, I had to feel the road with my feet and a stick. In coffee packaging factory, I learned that blind man experienced coffee from smells and touches. That happened also with vegetables and fruits in the market. Traffic light for blind person will emit sounds for orientation. The guide told us that sounds are like wall and road for him.

After boat trip simulation, we went to the place with resonance floor. There we were lying on the floor and enjoying music and short audio-movie. As somebody which is not blind, I can imagine myself flying in blue sky, diving in the blue ocean, or seeing yellow dessert, while lying in the dark room and hearing the musical story.

Then, we went to dark bar. We could buy drinks there. A female blind bartender told us how a blind person did transaction. She told us that coins and paper money had something different on the side. Our male guide told us his experience in the university, studying informatics. He had to program computers but he was blind. He told us that he was not completely blind as he could see a dot of light. As he was a child, the dot was getting smaller.

From the bar, we went outside and we saw the light again. I lost my balance a bit. My brain was calibrating my balance after receiving information from my eyes. I learned that I had a different way of balancing myself, if I could see and if I went blind or closed my eyes. The Professors waited outside and we went to hostels.


Day 3: Technology challenges in HAW Hamburg

  • Light lab
  • Sound technology
  • Ambient intelligence

On Wednesday, we visited Hamburg University of Applied Science (Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften Hamburg). This visit is important for me to know what other researchers do.

The first visit was in the light lab: Labor für Licht- und Beleuchtungstechnik (web: light), in the Department Medientechnik, Fakultät Design, Medien und Information. In the presentation, the lab said that he had spent 6 months for lighting in Eurovision (a prestigious song contest in Europe). So the lab has excellent experience with light engineering.

In this light lab, we learned a lot of things about light. Why women prefer warm light, such as red or pink? Why men prefer cold light, such as blue? Why the light from above is to keep someone awake? What kind of light color and intensity in airplane and when?

The second visit was in the Sound Lab. They showed us the “wave field synthesis” project. Multi-speakers with a help of multi-cameras are used to simulate sound source location. This technology is used in modern cinema nowadays. Smart home, modern cars and airplane are planing to use this technology for entertainment purpose.

The last visit on that day was the “Living Place” (blog), a smart home which have ambient intelligence. “Living Place” looks like ordinary home but it actually a networks of pervasive or ubiquitous computers of smart mirrors, television, smart doors, intelligent lighting, smart bed and so on. The HAW students use this “Living Place” to do research on engineering as well as human behavior as a user.

Beside presenting “Living Place”, they held presentation about the use of ambient intelligence (wiki: en,de) and pervasive computing in cities. Pervasive computing (wiki: de,en,en) is a part of ubiquitous computing (wiki: en,de). The idea is to create smart cities, related to urban intervention (wiki: en). With pervasive computing, computers are everywhere but you do not see computers as boxes of desktops or tablets. Instead, your environment is a network of computers. Below are videos as example of pervasive computing for urban intervention.

The piano stairs of Odenplan subway station in Stockholm, Sweden, from the Fun Theory (web, fb).

The Contrexperience with static bicycle


Day 4:  Other users of Assistive Technology

The last day of excursion, we visited Altersdorf Hamburg. It is a home for senior citizens (Altersheim) and people with mental disabilities. They are potential users of Assistive Technology. In Altersdorf, we learned about the history of Altersdorf and about the life of people with mental disabilities. We were challenged to think about what kinds of technology were needed. We can create and develop many technology but are they needed or are accepted? Well, some assistive technologies, shown on Day 2, can be useful for senior citizens.

After the excursion, we had a party in Hamburg. At that time, I learned that I could only drink German beers, instead of Irish ones. My stomach could not accept Irish beers, so what came to my mouth came out also from my mouth. Well, I forgot some events which happened at that night. Maybe my other multiple personality took over. The following day, I got hangover. At least I remember important parts of this excursion.


Hari terakhir, aku terbangun dalam keadaan hangover. Aku pun pergi ke Toko Indonesia Hamburg dan ternyata tutup karena ada Jumatan. Niatku membeli Kuku Macan dan Sambal Ijo pun gagal. Namun warung makannya buka dan aku bisa makan bakso. Setelah itu, aku pun pergi naik kereta pulang ke Bremen. Di kereta, aku mengalami kejadian yang mengharukan yang membuatku menitikkan air mata. Apa kejadian itu?

Ada suatu kejadian mistik ketika di kereta. Ada keinginan untuk membuka tautan dari kawanku ketika aku membaca email di smartphone. Waktu itu aku lagi tidak mau buka tautan di kereta karena masalah kuota internet. Selain itu, kawanku yang ini bukan teman dekat atau kawan diskusi biasanya. Entah kenapa, dorongan untuk membuka tautan ini begitu kuat. Ketika tautan kuklik, aku membaca dan terharu hingga menitikkan air mata.

Tautan tersebut kuklik dan lamannya kubaca: Jokowi resmi menjadi calon Presiden Republik Indonesia, setelah mendapat mandat dari PDI-P. Mandat tersebut ditulis oleh Megawati Soekarnoputri dan dibacakan oleh Puan Maharani. Aku terharu seperti merasakan kerinduan jutaan rakyat Indonesia akan pemimpin yang mampu membebaskan rakyat dari segenap kegelisahan mereka. Ada perasaan yang bergejolak dalam diriku yang menyatakan bahwa Jokowi membawakan sesuatu yang berbeda dan dinantikan oleh banyak orang selama ini.

Aku terharu juga karena merasakan perjalanan politik Jokowi dari Solo hingga Jakarta adalah suatu “Via Dolorosa” yang harus ditempuh seorang anak manusia untuk mencapai kemuliaan abadi. Mandat untuk Jokowi tersebut tiba-tiba mengubahku. Aku adalah orang yang tinggal di menara gading ilmu pengetahuan dan selalu terbang menuju langit tertinggi intelektualitas. Namun seketika itu, aku berubah menjadi manusia biasa yang turun ke tanah dan bersujud dalam haru. Aku kembali ke fitrahku sebagai manusia biasa. Jokowi betul-betul menyihirku.

Peristiwa ini adalah suatu pengalaman mistik yang menyadarkanku bahwa manusia haruslah memiliki “rasa”, bukan hanya logika dan rasionalitas. Belum pernah Megawati dan Puan bisa membuatku menitikkan air mata haru, namun kali ini bisa beda. Jokowi membuatku menjadi manusia dan mulai saat itulah aku dengan penuh semangat menanti Hari Pemilu/Pilpres untuk memilih Jokowi menjadi pemimpin Indonesia berikutnya.


Tulisan ini seharusnya muncul di bulan Maret atau April 2014, namun sayang sekali tertunda hingga baru bisa muncul hari ini. Cerita ekskursi ke Hamburg serasa basi jadinya. Aku juga sempat terlibat dalam aksi Bremen for Jokowi. Kata KPU, Jokowi sudah dipilih 53% rakyat Indonesia untuk jadi Presiden.

Kini kembali ke pekerjaan doktoral yang sesungguhnya.

Bremen, 11 Agustus 2014


Darah Juang Doktoral http://drhdrdro.blogspot.com/2014/08/excursion-to-hamburg-note-y01-m12-d18.html


About iscab.saptocondro

Ignatius Sapto Condro Atmawan Bisawarna (iscab.saptocondro) Blogger, Engineer. I was born in Bandung, Indonesia, and has spent 25 years of my life there. I worked in Semarang, Indonesia, and then continued to study in Bremen, Germany. I work in Germany until I find myself. Well, now, I am a PhD student in Oldenburg, Lower Saxony or Niedersachsen, Germany.



  1. Pingback: TODO-Y01-M12-D21 | Darah Juang, Dr. Dro! - August 21, 2014

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