The Journey Of Building Edward
Meet Sanchit Gupta
Roboticist & Co-Founder @ Invendor
San Diego, California
Sanchit Gupta is a Roboticist, an entrepreneur, and a tad bit curious.
He is a graduate student in Robotics at the University of Maryland, College Park, and loves to build automated projects to bridge the gap between humans and robots. His focus is on bringing automation to everyday life.
For more about Sanchit Gupta projects go to Sanch-info
When in your life you started to like robotics?
In quite an unconventional fashion, I would say.
This question takes me back to the sixth grade when I joined the Electronics club and started tinkering around with LEDs and simple sensors.
We built small products like toys and decorative items for our homes and had a lot of fun doing it.
My next encounter with robotics was in my freshman year. I participated in a competition to build a Heat Seeker robot from scratch.
I remember being impressed by Arduino’s capabilities and the ease with which it allowed us to develop products. This encouraged me to pursue projects outside my curriculum and explore the field of robotics out of my own interest.
Eventually, this developed into a strongly rooted interest in pursuing a career in robotics and inspired me to specialize in the same.
What is your goal with your studies in robotics?
My ideal job would be one that requires me to build consumer-focused products from the ground up.
I enjoy looking at everyday problems from a ‘systems perspective’. Building long-lasting products that make peoples’ lives better has been a lifelong goal for me. The field of robotics gives me all the tools I need to achieve this dream.
As a person, I find joy in constantly improving my skill set. I like to be challenged by problems that are constantly evolving too. Robotics is a field that is rich with such exciting possibilities.
To be able to go to work every day and find something new to innovate is any roboticist’s dream.
Can you describe the skills you think are needed to be a roboticist?
I believe if a person is truly interested or even curious about technology, he/she already has the basic requirements to be a roboticist. Based on my experience the skill I find the most useful is persistence.
Time and time again, when I am stuck on a seemingly unsolvable problem, I find that relentlessly looking for different approaches and techniques eventually leads me in the right direction.
Another useful skill to have is to not shy away from the unknown. The world of robotics is constantly changing and evolving.
Every time you start a new project you might find yourself in a spot that is way outside your comfort zone.
In times like this, it is good to remember that any information is just a click away. So, it is just a question of finding the right tool to solve the problem. Also, coding!
A problem you have faced recently working with robotics and the solution to solve the problem?
I worked on a project in the field of Network Controls where I had to design a controller for a team of autonomous robots. These robots were tasked to reach the desired location through a maze of obstacles while maintaining a specific formation.
Once they reach, they are further tasked with finding local target points.
The project was implemented in two stages;
The first being a simulation test passing which the algorithm could be implemented on physical robots at the Robotarium at Georgia Tech University.
While designing the controller was a tedious job in itself, the true challenge I faced was in bridging the gap between simulation results and actual hardware performance. In the simulation, the robots performed the assigned tasks perfectly.
However, hardware implementation resulted in collisions.
The next few days that I spent working on this project were perhaps the most demanding. I had to iteratively tweak the algorithm and its various parameters over and over again to get the desired results.
During this process, I realized that while the design stage of a project is crucial, it’s the tuning that gets the job done.
A project you are working on and want to share with us?
My latest project is called Edward.
Edward is an autonomous vehicle with navigation capabilities. The robot is built on a four-wheel-drive platform and equipped with a gripper. It can perceive its environment through a camera and avoids obstacles using ultrasonic sensors.
The purpose of Edward is to be implemented in construction projects in remote areas. It should be able to identify blocks of interest and transport them to the desired location without any human intervention.
There are a lot of additional functionalities that can be added to Edward.
You can track his progress here at Murphy Lawyers