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Across 7,000 Kilometers to‘Seek Wisdom’: The Experience in the University of Western Australia

【Publisher】:lxchen【Time】:2018-08-29 【Frequency】:114

On the morning of August 1, 2018, nine students from College of Biomedical Engineering & Instrument Science, Zhejiang University arrived in Perth, a beautiful city on the west coast of Australia, embarking their three-week exchange program in the University of Western Australia.

Into the Lab

During overall 3 weeks, 9 students from 5 project have been working in separate labs during weekdays. Every Friday afternoon, every student gives presentations based on their weekly progress, answers questions from all project supervisors and submits summary reports with next week's plans. This working schedule contributes to keeping students’ work organized and oriented. Eventually, all students have achieved fruitful and impressive results. The following is a brief overview of 5 project respectively.

Project 1: Acoustically Smart Window

This project requires students to develop an acoustically smart window system, where the amount of the window opening is inversely proportional to external noise to achieve adequate noise reduction in a room. Students in this project accomplished setting up the overall devices from the microphone, the Arduino board, the stepper motor to the window devices, as shown in the picture. In the level of software, they also achieved automatic control by noise, audio classification and voice recognition.


Project 2: AFM liquid cell

The aim of this project is to design an instrument to detect bacterial resistance. The instrument is equipped with a certain amount of bacterial liquids, which are heated by an automatic closed-loop system, and then reflected by a laser emitter. The laser can produce a slight disturbance with the Brownian motion of the bacteria, so that the laser can be detected in different coordinates. The frequency of bacterial Brownian motion can be obtained by acquiring laser spectra, which can be used to judge the metabolic rate of bacteria and bacterial resistance.


Project 3: Source Localization using microphone arrays

The objective is to design a microphone array for detecting the location of sound sources. First, students built a prototype structure to house eight MEMs (MicroElectroMechanical Systems) microphones by using PVC pipes and joints. Then, the microphones were subject to calibration and the prototype in its entirety to experimentation. Furthermore, students completed the development of visual simulation applications, including Graphical User Interfaces and Python and MATLAB interfaces with multi-threaded access to standardized data and long-term storage.

The outcome of this project will contribute to incorporating computer-based simulations for source detection and fault diagnosis against separately generated noise sources under certain controls through future machine learning algorithms.


Project 4Robust data acquisition to facilitate agricultural engineering advances

Aimed for the agricultural data acquisition, this project requires students to design devices to measure the voltage of various operating equipment in the farm, such as load cells, accelerometer and rpm sensors. The student managed to apply Arduino and LCD to displaying the number of the real-time voltage and use PC to create an oscilloscope. Therefore, farmers can acquire the voltages of operating machines and tell whether the machine works well by this much more economical device rather than a normal oscilloscope.


Project 5: Virtual Reality of 3D Slicer

The main task of this project is to apply 3D Slicer, the software, to performing 3D modeling of 2D data, and implement virtual reality in headsets for medical images on platforms such as Steam. Students in this project perfectly incorporated different platforms and devices for various image processing, such as cutting, perspective, and dynamic 3D display. Furthermore, they used a complete set of platforms to perform virtual reality processing of brain surgery navigation, as well as observation and convolution biomedical computing models.

Although there are only three hospitals in the world that have applied VR technology to scientific research and none has not been implemented in clinical trials, VR technology combined with image processing is expected to become a major trend in the future development of BME.


Social Research

Apart from the laboratory project, students from ZJU also conducted a social research in local Perth, whose theme is the food culture of Western Australian. In Perth, there are immigrants from all over the world, who naturally bring their traditional food along, altogether making up the diverse and fascinating food cultures of Perth.

Firstly, students usually have breakfasts provided by the host family, which varies from local Australians, temporary residents to Hong Kong immigrants. Take the breakfast in Australian family for example. Australians usually eat toast and milk. Although the whole wheat bread has a slightly rough taste, favorable are the graininess of the grains and the crispiness of the toast with peanut butter, strawberry jam, or avocado. Besides, Australia's milk has a strong fragrance as well as sweetness, so it is no wonder that Australian milk powder is famous all over the world.


When it comes to lunch, students usually try the local restaurants nearby the campus of UWA. To name a few, There are Turkish beef toast with a slightly sour barbecue sauce; Kung Pao Chicken Rice in China Town, combined with the local preference for sweet and spicy rice; the Kebabs from Turkey, golden shortbread wrapped in raw onions, chicken, and tomatoes with appetizing sweet and spicy sauce. The most recommended food is the fried rice from Thailand, whose moderate sourness and oiliness suits the eating habits of Chinese students.


Last but not least, Australian dinner is also delicious and various. Students have tried a variety of delicacies: Australian steak, with just right cooked, moderate hardness; the chickpea perfectly combined with the meat sauce; a dish of salad with a slightly sweet and fragrant salad dressing; a bottle of Ginger Beer, a ginger-flavored carbonated drink, which dispels the greasy taste of the food. Of course, the local orange juice is one thing you have to try, without the thickness of the sugar, the flavor of which is a little bit acidic but quite tasteful.


Work Hard and Play Hard

In addition to working on projects during weekdays, students utilized the free time during weekends to travel around Perth and admire its natural and cultural beauty, stretching out and relieving the pressure, just as Professor Pan Jie, the head of the projects, once said to everyone, "work hard and play hard".

In the first weekend, students went to Yanchep National Park in the north of Perth, where students witnessed crowds of kangaroos resting on the vast grasslands, koalas crouching on the eucalyptus, and parrots and crows singing on the top of their heads. Students and teachers had a wonderful BBQ in the park at noon and then in the afternoon travelled to Pinnacles, where yellow sands, sharp stones and the India ocean incorporated and presented a picturesque scenery.



During the second weekend, students participated in the Open Day of the University of Western Australia. There were amazing exhibitions, passionate performances and eye-opening lab-tours everywhere in the campus. Everyone not only came to appreciate the academic achievements of UWA through public presentations, but also visited the various engineering laboratories and had a glimpse of the life of foreign scientific research. They also experienced the extracurricular life of UWA students and had a better understanding of the campus culture.


In particular, students of ZJU paid a visit to the Auditorium of UWA and took photos with the Zhejiang University badge hanging on the wall of the auditorium. It is such an honor and privilege for Zhejiang University to be listed above the auditorium with other world-renowned universities.

In the third week, students travelled to the Rottnest Island, which is off west coast from Perth surrounded by the Indian Ocean. The Rottenest Island is such a breathtaking travel destination with cleanest beaches, luxuriant bush, ocean sky and soothing waves, let alone the lovely quokka, an adorable animal on the island. Students had such a delightful time touring around the island, even reluctant to leave when the day ended.



Time flied by, and it was time for departure. During the farewell lunch in the last day in Perth, we demonstrated the video of our project and travel experience, made impressive reports about the result of each project and dedicated appreciation to UWA. After the supervisors of each student presented the certificates, the project was successfully completed. It is such a wonderful experience to work and live in UWA and in Perth, a memory that we will treasure forever.

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