Research Progress  

Having finalized the design (part specifications) of the neural stimulator circuit, Alejandro began his fifth week by searching for parts for said circuit; he would later build and test the circuit on a breadboard. After finding and ordering the parts from DigiKey, he moved on to the most hands-on aspect of his internship with Dr. Kim’s lab: testing and altering electrodes. Essentially, for each electrode, he was to use biphasic pulses to deposit thin layers of iridium oxide onto the surfaces of each stimulation point. This means that he would do twelve electrodepositions over the course of the project (three electrodes, four stimulation points per electrode). Before these electrodepositions, Alejandro had to collect data concerning each stimulation points (specifically impedance and cathodal charge storage capacity, also known as CCSc). The rest of the week was spent collecting said data.


A group picture with the HOBAS basketball club, featuring Alejandro and one of his roommates.

Monday (7/15) through Thursday was mainly uneventful for Alejandro; those days consisted mainly of work and dinner (often by himself). He played basketball with the HOBAS school club on Tuesday, as he had the previous couple of Tuesdays. However, the weekend started early, as on Friday evening, Alejandro departed Incheon International Airport for Narita airport in Tokyo, Japan. He arrived a bit later than expected, as he missed his original flight to Tokyo, but this didn’t stop him from having a great time!

Alejandro standing in front of a five-story pagoda in the Nakamise shopping area during his weekend getaway to Tokyo, Japan

He started his weekend in Tokyo early with a guided bus tour on Saturday; leaving at 9am and not returning at 5pm, the tour consisted of visits to the Meiji Shrine, the Imperial Palace Garden, and the Nakamise shopping area. It also included a delicious lunch (chicken, in Alejandro’s case) and a short cruise on Tokyo Bay. Overall, it was a very nice tour, and given the short amount of time that he had to explore Tokyo, Alejandro was very happy with it! The next day (Sunday) he explored other parts of Tokyo on his own; he revisited Ginza and saw places such as Akihabara (“Electric Town”) and the second tallest building in the world: the Tokyo Skytree! He was unfortunately denied the chance to go to the Skytree’s observation decks by bad weather, but this weekend getaway was still a huge success!