Daily report: Visiting Quantum3D

The day started quietly, as we actually had a chance to sleep in today. Considering some people’s activities last night, that was probably for the best. Those of us that did not spend the morning snoring and drooling went out for breakfast, do some shopping or get some supplies for lunch. Especially eating breakfast somewhere else than the hostel was a welcome break to some from the pancakes, even though those where some good pancakes! Since today was a particularly hot day, most people weren’t exactly looking forward to spending the afternoon in a full suit. However, there wasn’t really a choice, as Quantum3D explicitly requested us to suit up. Nice coincidence, since everybody knows that today is International Suit Up Day.

Sometime around noon, most participants showed up back at the hostel, fully energized for another trip to our favorite city in the San Francisco Bay: San Jose. A new day also meant a new bus driver, a woman this time. That’s the second time we had a female driver during the tour, Americans really don’t discriminate.

Even though everybody had had the chance to catch some extra sleep, the bus trip was spent sleeping by some. Those that were awake had another chance to enjoy the beautiful Californian landscape, which is mostly dried grass with trees. Lovely.

Upon arriving at Quantum3D’s headquarters, we noticed a slight difference in temperature after leaving the bus. Slight, as in stepping into a preheated oven. The Fahrenheit temperatures actually really sound like what you would expect in an oven: today was 91F.

Luckily, it did not take long before we were allowed inside the building. Before that, we all got a nice sticker with or name on it, which always looks good on a suit. Those of us that really had reached the boiling point found refreshment in the water, soda and fruit we got from Quantum3D, which was nice. There were also cookies, which our host claimed to have baked himself.

The presentation itself was interesting, as it gave insight into what the company does and who its customers are. We were also shown some of their products, such as a couple of little but tough computers called Thermite. The name is appropriate, as apparently they get quite hot, just as actual thermite would, probably not quite as hot though. After the central presentation, we split up into three groups. Every group had a short Q & A session with the vice president of Engineering and saw a demo of their Image Generator setup. Our hosts said during the presentation that the IG (patriotically dubbed “Independence”) was about the size of half a fridge, it turned out it was half the size of an American fridge, which is substantially bigger than you would expect.

The third thing we got to see at Quantum3D was a virtual soldier trainer, called Expedition DI. The trainer consists of a helmet with HUD, a modified M16 and a vest with some sensors and the Thermite unit. Some of the participants got to try their luck on shooting some virtual people, cars and windows. Those M16s are quite heavy!

The wrap up of the visit consisted of a quick quiz, in which we were tested on how well we had paid attention during the visit. Amongst other things, we were asked what the company’s different product groups are and when it was founded. The lucky people who got a question right (Albert, Thomas Visser, Mattijs, Ruud and Sjoerd) were awarded with a nice USB memory stick. After that, it was time to go back to our temporary home in San Francisco, through some quite heavy traffic.

The night was like most nights, people got something to eat, something to drink and went to bed.


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