I am posting this from HIT (Human Interface Technology) Lab NZ, where I am on an internship as part of my final year Bachelor’s project.

The internship is called the Winter of Code, and is a fully paid one by the University of Canterbury.  Along with my friend Akhilesh, I arrived here about two days back. This place is beautiful. I cannot describe the beauty in words. You have to be here to experience it. It is lush green everywhere, expect that you can’t find many people outside on the streets.

We are staying in a near by suburb, Bishopdale, which is about 10 mins bus ride from the University. The climate is cold. Mostly the south west wind from the Antarctic blows the heat out of all the living things in this place. As I said earlier it is a nice place to study and work. Now, let me tell you more about the project that I will be doing here.

The city of Christchurch was hit by a 7.1 Mag earthquake on 4 Sep 2010. It caused significant damage to the buildings in the city. The first earthquake was followed by a much more devastating one on 22 Feb 2011, which took many more lives than the first one. The aftershocks have been continuing even now. The second day that we were here, there was a mild aftershock at 6 am, we were told (though we were dead asleep due to the travel).

The city council had started the reconstruction work after all the rescue operations were over. The major challenge was to demolish the weak structures and then rebuild new ones in their place. One the buildings were demolished, the council set up plans to build new ones. Even the people who have have been living here for decades couldn’t recognize the city landscape after the demolition drive. Most of the old buildings were down and construction was beginning on the new ones. So, the people of the city wanted a way to see the old buildings. The ones which proudly stood as landmarks for the city landscape for over 4 decades. In a challenge to solve this problem the HIT lab NZ came up with the idea to recreate 3 D models of the old buildings. The effort doesn’t stop there. The people of the city would then be able to use their Android / iPhones to walk through the city and see the old buildings rebuild in 3D at their original locations. This application, called CityViewAR, was build using the HIT Lab NZ Android AR library. Now, we are working on this application. To make it stable by altering some of the higher level APIs. More info about the project can be found out from here.

The work on this is just beginning. We are just about setting up the development environment as of now. Our work should hopefully begin in a week’s time.

Apart from the work, we are having a great time at our house here. Lot of cooking and culinary experiments going on everyday. The best part of NZ is the abundance of fruits and milk, something that I like to have all day!! We have also planned to go out to some of the most beautiful places here in NZ!! Will post more about NZ experiences later!!

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