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One morning building a drone

The bus X6 arrives to its stop at 8:30, there are seven boys from different parts of the world who take it each morning to go to a small town near the cultural capital of England. The way to work shows them the Bristol countryside and when they get out of the bus, Clevedon shows them the seaside of the West of England.

They cross the red door of ENSO Group, a company which arranges Erasmus+ and European projects and is in charge of their traineeship. They all sit around a rectangular and big table in front of their laptops and surrounded by cables, screwdriver, screws and an amount of material not identified: they are building a drone.

They work as a team, an international team composed of five mechatronics students from Italy and two IT students from Poland. In the team each one has different tasks, always according to their skills and abilities.

Rrrr...pp. Rrr…

At the back of the room something is moving slowly, constant, almost mathematically. It is a 3D printer which was built weeks ago by the mechatronics students to make some drone pieces. Christian is always looking out for the printer because he is responsible for its work. He counts with an extra help, a mini camera that records all the process just in case he needs to check at what point the printer failed.

- What are you printing?

- Today Lorenzo sent me the design of the lower part of the drone.

Lorenzo is the tallest of the team, he is in charge of the design of the different parts of the drone that are going to be printed.

The rest of them are bought and delivered to the office, it seems like Christmas, they always have a new package to open.

Pi, pipi, pi

Another noise attracts my attention. Thomas is holding a hand controller really similar to a PlayStation one. He is working with Federicco to solve a problem that Ayoub was trying to fix before he fell ill.

Between Thomas and Federicco a male and English voice interrupt the general silence of the room. Peter is the teacher of the team with him they face each problem that happens.

- …what? Ah.. So…Do you see a difference?

- Yes, there.

- What happened?

Thomas seems tired, is almost the end of the day but he tries to explain.

- The fly controller is not connected at all with the motor. It is like the brain of the drone so if this piece can’t connect with the motor, the motor can’t work.

The brain of a drone is a curious but effective image that I find useful and easy to understand. It is curious how a simple comparison can help you more than a technical explanation.

In the corner of the table the youngest members of the team are quiet in front of their grey laptops. Adam and Rafał are the IT members of the team who joined the project few days ago.

- How are you doing?

- We are learning about drones because we never worked on one.

- So what are your responsibilities in this project?

- Well, we have to find a programme to calibrate the drone and monitor it. We will work with it when is finished so we can prepare it to fly.

IT means Information Technologies, a field which is related to computers and programming, in other words: it is computer science. Their skills are useful and important in the team as each person adds a different value to the work.

This small team is an example of how technology is evolving and demanding more and more interdisciplinary teams. Finally, they are a student group that decided to improve their English and look for a different training, as different as building a drone from scratch.

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