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Research and Robotics—Webinar by The Research Society

Research Society Manipal is a group of student research enthusiasts aiming to promote research by the students both on-campus and at PhD levels nationally and internationally. Through this series, they aim to serve as a connection between the students of MIT and MIT alumni who are pursuing research at Yale, IITs, and other colleges. They also aim at exploring projects which can be very useful in the future in areas of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence etc.

The Research Society organised the second edition of their Alumni Webinar Series on 11th October 2020 which focused on Robotics as an upcoming field of research, and its demand and significance in the world today. Debasmita Ghose, an ECE graduate from the 2017 batch of MIT, Manipal and a current PhD student at Yale University, spoke about her experience as a research student and addressed questions on the scope and pathway to research. 

The session began with Debasmita talking about her current role and the recent projects she has been working on. She was fascinated with robots since her childhood, and she used her knowledge in embedded systems in college to materialise this interest with a group of friends in college. She went on to mention that the Innovation Centre contributed to all their projects by providing them with funding and the right guidance. Later, with help from IAESTE, she went on to do internships at NTU, Singapore and Siemens Corporate Technology, Munich.

Debasmita went on to elaborate on some of the projects she has worked on over the past couple of years and discussed how robots are steadily becoming an essential part of our lives. She shared her experience on how one can start writing research papers and said that one must work on the implementation skills rather than just getting your writing published. When asked for insights about the field and where it is headed she said, “People’s expectations from robotics are set by science fiction movies which are at least forty years from where the field is at present. It is very heartening to see what is expected of us, but we still have a long way to go.”

Currently working on a few social projects to make life during the pandemic easier, Debasmita stressed on how it is crucial to gain knowledge by reading papers and trying to get right mentorship before trying to publish a paper. The Research Society provided a very enlightening session for the students to spread awareness of what actually does go around pursuing research and aptly implemented its vision of making research a more sought after field.

As Achintya Dutta, Co-President of Research Society,  said, “It was inspiring to see Debasmita present her research papers and explain the nuances in the field of robotics. The stories she recounted from her own experiences as a researcher were very fascinating, especially given the fact that the lab she worked at Yale specializes in social robotics. She described how she built an ‘in house robot’ that was deployed to help befriend children and also to train people with autism to join the workforce efficiently. This re-instilled everybody’s faith in the humane aspect of technology.” An event that gave significant insights to all those considering research, the webinar was informative and helpful.

Image Credits: The Research Society of Manipal