For college students, the biggest barrier to their dream job is lack of practical experience. But a few of them break those barriers by self-learning and by gaining experience through trial and error!
Rahul Ranjan, our next pathbreaker, works as a Robotics Engineer for Gamitronics, developing Smart Electronics products, Electronic Toys and Enterprise Robots using cutting edge Computer Vision, NLP and Sensors.
Rahul talks to Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal about overcoming the complexities of Robotic Development by building Robots from scratch in his own research lab (in his room at home) during his engineering days !
For students, there are no excuses to learn because the internet is your teacher and your imagination is your vision.
Read the section where Rahul talks about building a Combat Robot capable of Military Applications. He also shares his knowledge by providing free education in government schools.
Rahul, tell us about your background?
Hi!, I am Rahul Ranjan, I was born in Muzaffarpur, Bihar and completed my primary education till class 10th at my native place.
I have been interested in robot toys since childhood, doing experimental work with old unwanted electronics, home appliances, electrical wires, and decorating the house during Diwali with new electronic items.Those experiences piqued my interest towards building robots that are capable of helping people and solving a wide variety of problems in the real world.
I then moved to Chennai where I earned my bachelor’s and a polytechnic degree from SRM UNIVERSITY, CHENNAI in Electronics and Communications Engineering (ECE), due to my interest in Robotics.
What did you do for graduation/post graduation?
I have completed my B.tech in Electronics and Communication (ECE) Engineering at the SRM University.
Since I was interested in engineering from my childhood, I couldn’t wait to learn and study more about the engineering. I wanted to know the basics of the technology behind engineering products. I came to know about a polytechnic course and started searching more about exams, selection procedure, colleges etc. After clearing the ALL INDIA POLYTECHNIC 2011 exam, I got admission in the polytechnic course for ELECTRONICS AND COMMUNICATION ENGINEERING, at SRM POLYTECHNIC COLLEGE, Chennai. While doing my polytechnic I learned the basics of electronics & communication. Hands-on practical activities gave me a basic knowledge of engineering and the technology behind the electronics. After completing my polytechnic I was placed in FORD INDIA, Chennai as a Junior Electronics Engineer. Since I had only learned the basics which wasn’t enough for a career in engineering, I rejected the job offer and decided to continue my studies with B.tech. I am also planning to do my Master’s in Robotics soon.
What made you choose such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?
My background and interest was in Core Electronics. When I went to graduate school in 2014, I decided to work on something different. Although I was interested in Electronics, I quickly decided to become a Roboticist because it is very challenging, as well as an electronically mathematically interesting field and is one of the jobs of the future. A lot of the credit for my interest goes to the Electronics/ Robotics workshops, classes, events which I had attended during my bachelor’s degree
Tell us about your career path
When I started out in this field, I was surprised at how technology was changing with robots day by day. Robotics was making a big impact in the real world. And thats when I came across basic robotics development. The biggest bottleneck I felt was, it was difficult and expensive to design robots in the real world. So early on in my B.tech., I decided to face the challenges.
I started learning the basics of robotics in my own research lab (in my room at home). I started gathering all the basic information from Google, YouTube, and research papers, etc, attending events, and workshops, etc. And then I made my first robot.
When I had decided to build my first robot (line follower), i was quite excited because that was my first robot. It was very challenging, but I was pretty confident with my project. I knew it would be challenging because I wasn’t much aware of electronics components, design development processes etc…
The first basic robot boosted my confidence level that helped me move forward.
How did you get your first break?
As I was interested in Robotics from the first day of my engineering I had decided not go for jobs in the IT sector. I got my first break to work with Chennai based robotics development company –EPR LABs
I applied out of campus for this job. After facing many tests and interviews, I was selected as a Robotics Associate in the Research and Development department. Since this was my first job my role and responsibility was in Embedded system development for projects in LCD, LED graphics interfacing, circuit designing, sensor interfacing, IOT, development.
What were the challenges? How did you address them?
At some point in my first year, I had faced problems in my core subjects like maths, electronic circuits etc because I came from a polytechnic background and joined B.tech directly (lateral entry) in the second year. I was good in my lab and practical classes though. I liked practical classes more than theory, i was always excited to attend practical classes.
I started learning after college. I spent hours understanding the basics of the problems which had created a wall for me. Once I understood, I tried to solve those problems by myself. And trust me, I did it. Slowly I came up with all my the solutions. I think a few of my decisions helped me get good marks in my semester exams and also helped me learn the basics of my core quickly.
One more challenge was understanding and adjusting to the south indian lifestyle, the food taste, routes, areas and transport/ connectivity, especially when i didn’t understand the local language.
Where do you work currently?
I am currently working as a Robotics Engineer for GAMITRONICS. Gamitronics is a Robotics/AI Product Company based in Hyderabad. I work on the development of Smart Electronics products. Gamitronics is also building Electronic Toys and Enterprise Robots using cutting edge Computer Vision, NLP and Sensors. We also provides technical solutions on Robotics for different applications. My work here is in Robotics research and development, working on new product development from prototype to end product. I mostly handle the hardware, circuit, sensors, i/o, o/p integration, embedded system design.
We have many electronics and robotics based products which are already in market like smart home devices, smart soft toys, etc. Many of the projects are in production like medical robot for medical applications.
How does your work benefit society?
Robots and new technologies present the world’s workplace with many new opportunities for manufacturing. My recent defense research project showed that robots can fight for their countries in the war field with multiple functions and save many military lives. Robots are also capable of doing activities such as cooking, cleaning, and even driving
Tell us an example of a specific memorable work you did that is very close to you!
When I was working on my defense robot (HIND VEER 1.0), I worked day and night to complete this robot, working in auto mechanics shops, travelling to unknown places to find components for the robot, and saved my pocket money to spend on the parts.
About HIND VEER 1.O
The idea to make HIND VEER 1.0 struck me after watching several terrorist attacks happening in India.
HIND VEER 1.0 is an autonomous and manually controlled robot which can go anywhere like –inside the room, jungle, mud, and can fire (shoot) the target with 360 degree rotation capability. It can diffuse a bomb, and also pick and place heavy weight material from one place to another. It can give a live feed with the surveillance system attached to the camera. We can also record the positions, temperature, humidity, pressure, with its telemetry system. The automatic infrared light system is useful for the night and dark vision.
1. Wireless Surveillance system with camera (for surveillance)
2. Bomb diffusion system.
3. Telemetry system.
4. Laser gun firing system.
5. Automatic lighting system for night vision.
This was my own research project after my engineering. I love to innovate, and am very passionate about research and development where i can apply robotics technology in defense, agriculture and commercial fields so that people can use it to do their work in a better, safer and easier way.
I won the following awards for Hindi Veer 1.0
- GOLD MEDAL by INTERNATIONAL INNOVATION ASSOCIATION in INTERNATIONAL INNOVATION FAIR 2019.
- Awarded and selected as INTINTA INNOVATOR by TELANGANA STATE GOVERNMENT from TELANGANA STATE INNOVATION CELL, HYDERABAD-2019.
- Awarded as INDIA STAR YOUTH ICONIC AWARD-2019 by INDIA STAR BOOK OF RECORDS.
Apart from this I also provide free education for underprivileged students in government schools on robotics and electronics, till now I have done more than 50+ free workshops, events, in government/private schools/colleges for free of cost.
Your advice to students based on your experience?
Set a GOAL, Stick with it, don’t wait for a good time to come; every time is a good time, just set your mind. Try to work on related projects. Don’t worry about what if you don’t know, just focus on your project. Immerse yourself in your field. Start attending conferences, talks, and reading research papers, even you feel it seems confusing. Talk to other related people. Try to get connected with the updated technology
‘JUST DO IT’
I want to make “ROBOTICS INDIA”
“LET’S MAKE IT’’