【SERIES】 Experiences in Silicon Valley Internship Program 2019

October 16, 2019

Vol.1 Atomu Sato

The University of Aizu provides an internship opportunity for students visiting Silicon Valley and learning about the world's cutting edge technologies by communicating with local engineers.

These series introduce how the students feel and what they have gained in the 2019 internship program through interviews.

Mr. Sato is a student belonging to ICT Global Program All English Couse in the University of Aizu. He had grown up in the U.S. until he graduated high school.
Although he had team development experience in high school to make simple devices, this was first time for him to develop a completely new hardware device by himself.

At the Golden Gate Bridge. He is at the 3rd from right.

Q.What did you experience in Silicon Valley?

On the first day, we developed a hardware with 2 teammates named "Animal Quiz with Sound" that can automatically judge correctness of answering animal-related quizzes via image recognition technology.

We had only 24 hours from arriving in Silicon Valley to giving a presentation. Although we started development as soon as possible, we couldn't add enough function to our product. However, I got motivation from intensive making in short time.
In the presentation, I received much advice from local engineers such as "I like your idea. You had better to widen the ideas ―create more quizzes, get more images from the internet, and so on."

He worked with teammates. (the 3rd from left.)

Q.What was the most interesting thing?

Product development is more interesting than anything else. The operation suddenly stopped for unknown reasons because I had never used the tools before. Even though I felt frustrated with the trouble, it was a valuable experience for me to realize my ideas.
I was impressed when I visited a local company that introduced about new technology of AI car and showed us the actual products.
I was inspired by the product developments with creative ideas that I had never thought of.

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At PLUG AND PLAY on the 8th day of internship.

Q.Did you feel difficult in the internship?

I wish I had enough time to develop my product. I would like to do not only development at Hacker Dojo by using new tools but also brushing up my own product which I developed before going to Silicon Valley. It's regretful that I didn't have enough time to complete all the work.

Q.Did you have a change of mind after the internship?

After the internship through developing products, visiting local companies, and any other experiences in Silicon Valley, I recognized that I really like hardware development.
The most attractive thing about hardware development is that I realized my own idea so that a produced moves as designed in front of me.
I was torn of being software engineer and hardware engineer in the future, and finally I decided to gain experiences for hardware development.

Hardware development at Hacker Dojo.

Q.How will you connect these experiences to the future?

Through the Silicon Valley Internship Program, I made friends with student assistants at Aizu Geek Dojo. Taking this opportunity, I want to further expand my activities such as starting up my own projects using facilities in our campus and participating in hackathon events.

In addition, I was born in the U.S., so I was torn to find a job in Japan or the U.S. in the future.
The experience in Silicon Valley helped me getting a picture of work environment and life environment there, which prompt me to think about more details for my future.

Participants of the Silicon Valley Internship Program 2019 submitted their internship achievements for the GUGEN 2019, Japan's largest hardware contest.
Please look forward to their future activities and successes!