SERIUS Research

In a past post, I sort-of explained what I am doing in Singapore this summer, but I just read over it and realized that I didn’t really go into much detail. I’m going to dedicate today’s post into a more in-depth explanation of what I do on weekdays during lab and what exactly I’m doing here.

I don’t only explore Singapore all day, every day

For the summer, I’m a research intern at the National University of Singapore through my school’s SERIUS program. SERIUS stands for Summer Engineering Research Internship for US Students. It’s sort of like an REU (if you know what that is) but in Singapore rather than at another university in the US. I chose to participate in this program because I wanted to experience research, but also be able to live in Singapore for two months at the same time. I’ve visited Singapore twice in the past (once when I was 5 and another time three years ago), but I wanted to be able spend more time in Singapore because I pretty much love almost everything about this country. The only minor complaint I have is about the weather, which is more hot and humid than I’m used to. But it’s ok- I’m getting used to it now.

My project title is “Detecting the freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease patients,” and I work in the Advanced Control Technology Lab under Prof. Tay. I chose this project because it had to do with Parkinson’s (I was on two previous teams that worked with Parkinson’s disease) and I wanted to learn more about the electrical engineering side of BME.

At the beginning of the program, I spent a week learning the programming language Objective-C and the iOS app development program Xcode. It wasn’t fun listening to lectures and going through tutorials, but I knew that I needed these skills to work on the project

Learning Objective-C through Code School

On a typical day in lab, my schedule looks like this:

8:15 am– Go to one of the food courts near my dorm (College of Alice and Peter Tan, or CAPT) for breakfast. There’s two food courts right next to each other, and I’m glad to have a variety of food to eat for breakfast. I don’t have a set thing I eat every morning, but I tend to get iced coffee, kaya toast, dosa, pork bun, or nasi lemak in the morning. Sometimes I get rice porridge or prata.

9 am– Arrive at lab. Most of the time, the research assistants (Tin, Benjamin, and Nicholas) aren’t there when I arrive, but sometimes Nicholas is there. Tin usually comes in around 10:30, and sometimes Benjamin comes around the same time. If Benjamin isn’t in lab that day, he’s probably coding in the library. I work on my project until lunchtime.

Most of my day looks like this

12:15 pm– Lunchtime! I go with Shar (the other Hopkins student in my lab) to lunch either at the Deck or Techno Edge, two canteens close to our lab. We go to Techno Edge more often because it is closer than the Deck. Sometimes we eat with the research assistants in our lab, and sometimes we eat with other students in the SERIUS program.

1:30 pm– Back at the lab. I work on my project until it’s time to leave.

Or my day looks like this

5 pm– Time to go home! I take the D1 bus back to University Town, then walk about 7 minutes back to my dorm. At night, I usually explore Singapore after lab.

Home sweet home- taken when I first got here
View from my room at night! 15th floor ayyyyyyyy

During the first few weeks, I worked with an Arduino and a LidarLite infrared sensor to connect the two and send information to my computer. I did that successfully, and right now I am editing the source code for the lab’s Parkinson’s disease app for doctors. My goal is to implement my LidarLite code with the app, and it’s proving to be a very challenging task.

I have no idea what’s going on half the time

Most of my time in lab is a struggle, but I’m learning so much! Before I came, I only had programming experience with Java, but I’m learning Arduino coding and Objective-C/Xcode this summer. I love that I am able to learn so much while I’m here but also relax and explore Singapore. 4.5 more weeks to go! Then I’m going back home then DISNEY WORLD YAYYYYY!



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