It has been one year since the last FoodSmartphone summer school in University of Wageningen. In this summer, the Early Stage Researchers, supervisors, and advisory board members of the FoodSmartphone project gathered together in University of Chemistry and Technology Prague, exchanging our progress for the past and visions for the upcoming year.
To get started with this blog, I would like to firstly review the past first year. One year ago, I was lucky enough to join the FoodSmartphone project and arrived in Belfast. After surviving from the paper works, I finally settled down in the lovely and peaceful city Belfast in Northern Ireland and started my career as an early stage researcher. Things were working mostly well and life was fulfilled with a lot of new knowledge, dissemination, and training opportunities. Later, research started to boom. A smartphone-based test strip reader with corresponding image analysis techniques has been developed and validated.
The upcoming second year should be a year of moving forward and collaboration. There is still a huge space that the performance of the smartphone-based test strip reader can be further enhanced. Therefore, the first task I will take in the upcoming year is to promote the performance of the smartphone-based test strip reader to a new level by collaborating with the other ESRs. Meanwhile, real applications in food analysis using the developed smartphone-based test strip reader are expected to be explored, and again, together with other ESRs in the FoodSmartphone project.
The summer in Prague is charming with the opulent sunshine, decent food, historic but active city, and vibrant FoodSmartphone people coming from all over the Europe.
After arriving in Prague, I instantly start to enjoy the sunshine that I missed a lot in Belfast. However, the temperature was a little bit over my expectation when I first arrived in Prague. My passport was still warm when I passed it over to the hotel reception after keeping it in my luggage all the time.
Can you believe that I almost missed the unmissable Prague beer during my stay in Prague? I had a tooth pain during the summer school. But thankfully, the tooth pain surrendered to me in the end of my stay so that my wish of tasting Prague beer was finally fulfilled. However, the biosensors in my mouse (tongue) and noise can hardly identify difference between beers in Belfast and Prague due to their low selectivity. I have to admit that the beef steak offered in one of the restaurants was one of the best I have ever had. And most importantly, the food offered in Prague were quite cheap compared to those in other big cities!
The city Prague is fairly busy and multicultural compared to the other cities that I have visited. I remember that there was a world map in a café in Prague city center where people could locate a pin on the map to vote up their hometown. The map indicated that most people visited the café were from Europe but there were also a lot of pins covering all over the globe. Most buildings and streets in Prague remain their original Czech style yet being well maintained at the same time. Buildings are painted with varied colours in Prague city center but not as much as those in Netherlands. Streets are very clean and one can hardly find a piece of paper even at the busy city center. In general, people are very easy going and it was always joyful talking with a local residence, especially a taxi or Uber driver, in Prague!
During our stay in Prague, Aris had led us to a couple of nice bars and restaurants near Prague city center where we enjoyed local food and discussions together. I would like to thank Aris for his dedicated efforts on organising these events during the 2nd FoodSmartphone Summer School.
At the end, thank you for reading this blog. And hope you all have a fruitful upcoming year!