Reporting back from Techkriti ’13 in Kanpur, India!


I made an appearance in the Indian Newspaper!

I made an appearance in the Indian Newspaper!

Shortly after departing from a stint in Austin, Texas for SXSW Interactive, I hopped on a 15 hour transatlantic flight to India, where I had been invited to present my research at the 2013 Techkriti Festival at IIT Kanpur. For those unfamiliar with India’s higher education institutions, the IIT schools are frequently compared to top American engineering schools, such as MIT, Cornell, Stanford, and others.

I had the pleasure of spending a week at IIT Kanpur as an honorary guest to the conference. Some of my fellow visiting international presenters and exhibitors included Captain Michael Foreman (A NASA Astronaut), Marshall Strabala (Architect of the Burj Khalifa and Shanghai Tower), Trace Bundy (a talented musician), Jeff Lieberman (Host of “Timewarp” on the Discovery Channel). The photo below shows me hanging out with all of them:

Me with fellow Techkriti Guests

Me with fellow Techkriti Guests

I was specifically invited to the conference to exhibit some of the research performed by the Cornell Creative Machines Lab, where I’ve been a researcher for the last four years. I presented the Machine Metabolism Robot, the Aracna Open-Source Quadruped, and the Universal Gripper. It should be noted that I was a developer for both the Machine Metabolism Robot and Aracna, but the Universal Gripper was developed by John Amend, a PhD student in my lab.

The festival was a huge success, with thousands of people stopping by my exhibit to learn about the robotics research that I had been conducting at Cornell. In addition to exhibiting my own work, I had the opportunity to attend talks from Nobel laureates, and to interact with students from IIT Kanpur. My Arduino Tutorial Series is extremely popular in India, so I also ended up running into lots of students who were avid viewers of my youtube channel. Some showed me papers that they had written with me listed as a reference, and others brought over robots that they had assembled based on open-source code that I had posted online. I even took some time to sit down with a visiting robotics team, and I helped them fix issues with their XBee wireless communication system for their robot. The photo below shows me with one of the exhibiting teams who referenced my tutorials:

Making Friends in India

A Robotics Team that learned from my Youtube Videos!

As the week ended, I was sad to leave, but happy to get onto an air-conditioned airplane. While at IIT Kanpur I met some truely outstanding students, attended some amazing talks, and I got to share my knowledge and robots with thousands of excited visitors. I think it’s safe to say that I’ll need to schedule another trip back to India in the future. Maybe I’ll head south to Bombay next time…

Check out some more of my photos from the trip below, or on flickr:


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