Last summer I had the amazing experience of participating in the China-US Young Maker Challenge.
We were one of 6 US teams flown to Chengdu, China to participate in the final round.
We competed against 42 Chinese teams made up finalists from competitions held at major universities.
We build a Vertical Hydroponic Farm & Controller with an Intel Edison and several sensors including Air Temperature, Humidity, pH, eC, Water Flow, Water Temperature, Natural and Artificial Light.
We were the only US team to place, winning 3rd Place
I can't due justice in words what an amazing experience we had during the event.
I can give you some tips and advice I wish we had going in...Getting In
1. Understand the rules and Judging Criteria:
2. Craft your entry: the more details, diagrams, description the better.
3. Use the tech suggested: Intel Edison
4. Read and Re-Read the Rules: The RulesWhen you make it to the finals
1. Make sure you have everything you possibly need:
- You will not have the time or the ability to get anything you don't bring with you.
- This is tough when you are traveling across the globe and can only bring one 50 lb suitcase that will get inspected multiple times.
- If you have something that is critical and fragile, bring a spare (or 2).
- Be aware of restrictions of things you can bring into China.
2. Don't underestimate how the travel and time difference will effect you:
- Our flight was 27 hrs and you loose a day.
3. Unlike Hackathons and Maker events in the US, you are not expected to build your entire project in the 24 hr event.
- You are expected to work on it, improve it, etc
- have a working prototype before you get on the plane
4. It's the little things that get you:
- Electricity: its 220v in China, have an adapter and plugs
- Internet: Connectivity of WiFi in the competition room was a huge disruption. I estimate we spent 60% of our time fighting connectivity rather than actual "making".
- Restrictions: The internet in China is not the same here, Google, Yahoo, StackOverflow, etc.... they will not help you here. Bring/embed anything you need with you; this includes CDNs, font libraries, script libraries.
5. Run your prototype in a vacuum:
- Get everything running and unplug your internet, this is how you will need it to work in China, it sounds crazy but you will thank me when you get back.
6. Travel Paperwork
- Make sure you get you Visa and Passport taken care of in enough time. We had exactly one day to spare when we got our final paperwork from China Officials and needed to travel to the nearest Chinese Embassy to get our VISA processed. If you don't have a passport, get one.
Have Fun and Best of Luck!
Take lots of pictures and enjoy.