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A new start.

It has been ages since I blogged. As I see the dilapidated state of my blog here, I notice that the last blog post of mine was on the last day of NASA Lunabotics 2013, on my birthday last year. It really has been a long time since I last blogged. So, here’s a new start. It has been a long time since I lost interest in writing articles, a long time since my blog became more of a personal journal. So, this new start will have posts about me, my projects, and of stuff I like. I am also quite the lazy guy, so I won’t be posting about projects and stuff I have already done or things like photos I have clicked in the past, there’s my Facebook page for that. facebook.com/adityakmath. Some albums are public, so enjoy! Well, since I have made my intentions about this blog clear, next post onwards, I’ll be posting about the project I am currently working on. My bachelor’s thesis project.

Signing off, for the first time on my /new/ weblog,
Aditya Kamath

P.S. Maybe you are wondering what I am doing on Tumblr rather than on Blogger or Wordpress, here’s why: I wanted my username and blog name to have ‘adityakamath’ and not something like ‘akamath1’ or ‘adi.k2405’. Since, Tumblr is the only place I found where ‘aditykamath’ was still available, tadaaa, I’m here!

Lunabotics

These days are tiring, guys! New posts all coming after the competition ends. Days have been great: saw many new robots, alligators, manatees and tomorrow, we’ll be off to see the Delta 4 Launch! :D 

Other posts soon!

Yankee Stadium, Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, ToysRus, Madame Tussauds NY, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not

Times Square part 2

Times Square part 1

Hong Kong International Airport and the pics from the flight to New York!

Hong Kong - New York - Orlando and assembling the robot

So, its been almost been more than a day since I last posted. Lots have happened since then. Hong Kong airport first. Massive airport. Massive crowd (well, we all know of China’s population woes). Real amazing place. Free wifi was one of the best things to happen. Unlike Indian airports where the wifi works for twenty minutes or so for free, this was quite the surprise. To dampen our spirits (literally), it started raining. Like crazy. Two flights got cancelled  from near where we were sitting and that got us real worried. Luckily this did not last long, we were all clear to go. Meanwhile upon suggestion from a friend from Hong Kong itself, I tried some Chinese food - real cool! 

Well after some real fun hours at the Hong Kong International Airport, we boarded our flight which we will be cooped in for the next sixteen hours. Luckily we had amazing surprises planned for us. From views from snow capped mountains on the north eastern side of Russia to the polar caps of the Arctic Bay and flying over the Magnetic North Pole, our trip was really cool! Finally after not sleeping, one season of 30 Rock, one season of Two and a Half Men, and Zero Dark Thirty later, we finally reached the John F. Kennedy International Airport. Did I say that the Hong Kong International Airport was massive? Well, this was even more gigantic! With a real cool train running through the terminals, we found our way towards the necessary terminal and then to Jamaica Station with ease. Now, we had eighteen hours in NYC and we had to keep our bags somewhere. No baggage storage services open at 1 am in the morning. We were so screwed!

Luckily we found an Indian cab driver who took us to Manhattan and helped us with our bags and kept them in his house nearby. Indian-Indian bhaichara is so amazing! Now started one of the best twelve hours of our journey. Times Square. Empire State Building. Rockefeller Center. Yankee Stadium. Road-side Hot Dogs. Yellow Cab Rides. The NYC Subway Rides. Window Shopping at some of the best brands in the world. We did walk much of the time, so our legs were all screwed but who really cares? We had the time of our lives! 

We then flew to Orlando - I do not really want to speak more about the trip; it was totally uninteresting during the flight. Except the real awesome pizza; yes that was the best! Finally reached the Holiday Inn at 1 am in the morning. Slept off to wake up for a nice hot breakfast, where we also met from Sydney Lunabotics, a team from Australia! The inn is cool, the people are awesome and I’m having the time of my life. 

Well, now, our robot is all assembled and we’re going for a test in some time. Practice session tomorrow, competition begins the day after. More blog posts soon…

Signing off.
K-Math

NASA Trip: Phase 1 - Till Chennai International Airport.

After the last exam and lots of hours of hectic packing, it was finally time to leave Manipal. I hadn’t slept for more than two hours since the night before and the cab was late, sleep deprived and waiting in the excruciating heat and humidity of Manipal was seriously pissing off. 

Luckily the cab arrived in about fifteen minutes and my pissed-off meter turned down a notch. But my worries wouldn’t stop so easily. The cab driver was one of the worst drivers I had seen, ever. He just couldn’t stop overtaking people on the roads and I had to stay awake hoping that there are no accidents. Damn. 

Mangalore airport. Reached there finally. Paid the cab guy off, got inside the airport, checked in my baggage, got through security check; all cool. But weird stories just do not end so easily with me. My boarding pass had no gate number. It wasn’t so bad, I thought and I walked towards the screen displaying flight statuses. Wonder of wonders, no boarding gate number on the screen as well! Well, you can guess what might have happened next. Half the passengers entered the shuttle during the final call! 

Well, finally I reached Bengaluru and then traveled to Chennai with ease. All cool there. Chennai domestic airport - brilliant place. Real awesome air conditioning, real helpful ground crew. The best part? The conveyor belts. Unlike traditional belts where the crew puts in the baggage from one corner, this one was more automated. The baggage came from an underground storage area from the middle of the conveyor belt ring and the bags slid onto the conveyor belt. The best part about this conveyor belt? When the bags were to slide onto the conveyor belt and if there was another bag in the way, the other bag stopped moving. Really cool! 

Walked to the international terminal. In comparison with the awesomeness that was the domestic terminal, the international airport was literally shit. Over crowded, under organized, snobbish people who do not know Hindi/English or do not want to talk in anything other than Tamil, it was hell. We got into the check-in line almost at the end and then we got delayed as our multimeters were stopped by the Indian customs. Hungry and tired, we waited at a really mediocre waiting area (and with just 20 minutes of free wifi! Damn.) till the boarding commenced. 

Really tired from typing all that; more later. 
By the way, we’re now at the Hong Kong International Airport and are waiting for our connecting flight to New York! Can’t wait to explore the night-life in the Big Apple! :D New post soon. 

Summer 2012

It was one of those warm April nights when my phone lighted up with a new email. And that changed everythi ng. I forgot about my hectic day, the assignments, everything. I just had been accepted for a summer research internship at AGH University of Science and Technology, Krakow, Poland. God, I was so happy that night!Before I go ahead, I’d like to explain how I managed to reach an unheard place somewhere in Poland while people find it difficult to find an internship in India itself. Fortunately for me, Manipal University houses the Indian committee of an international organization called IAESTE that offers technical internships, traineeships and summer research programs for students in technical fields. And I owe a lot to them for this opportunity!

My first day at work was freaky. Department of Mechatronics and Robotics. Working under the director of the faculty. A professor with decades of teaching experience, and a (holy hell) 607 publications under his name. I hope you understand my fright at that time. But I was pleasantly surprised when I first met Professor T. Uhl. We shook hands warmly and talked about how I liked Poland. Quite friendly (as I have already mentioned!) indeed. Although my offer form said Swarm Robotics it was really amazing when my professor asked me what I wanted to work with. He looked pretty surprised when I said Control Systems. He introduced me to Dr. Buratowski (Henceforth Dr. B. I am lazy, my apologies), my mentor, another awe-worthy professor, one of the most amazing educators I have known of. Dr. B introduced me to a junior of his along with whom I was to do my first task. Simulate the control systems of a mono-wheeled robot using a Catia based simulation software and inputting control data values using Matlab to see the simulated output. Holy s**t. I was screwed. I was just a recent second year pass-out from an electronics background; all this was so darned intimidating! Okay, I did not mind learning new stuff, but MATLAB?! Gosh, I passed a lab using Matlab out of sheer luck! Luckily the college could provide me LabVIEW, of which I had some previous experience. The work finally got over! Finally!

It was only then that I was so much relieved that I started noticing the amazingness of the country I was in, in full detail. Poland is beautiful. Oh, and ever more so, especially as the UEFA Euro cup was going on in the same country! Even though there was no match in the city I was in (Krakow), the place was still colored in red and white. POLSKA! Bialo czerwoni! (Poland! The reds and whites) was a phrase heard all over! Thousands of people gathered in the fan zones to watch the match, drowning in a sea of beer when their team won, even more when teams lost. The air was filled with cheerfulness, which surprisingly was the same even when the Euro cup was done with. It was just the atmosphere of the place that changed it all! Work was great! By then, I had started work on my second task review and analysis of path planning algorithms in Mobile Robots. Purely theoretical. Lots of research work. Luckily Prof B. was amazing enough to let me work from my dorm room. That was so amazing for me, especially because of the amazing people I lived with, all interns with IAESTE. Poles, Indians, Romanians, Macedonians, Spaniards, Turks, Hungarians, Hong-Kongers, Japanese, Kazakhs, Ukrainians, SLOVAKIANS, Jordanians…the world was in Krakow, I felt.

It was so amazing, knowing that people from all over the world were ridiculously interested in India, the culture, the people, the food (especially!). It was really proud watching satisfied faces after tasting decently made butter-chicken. And Bollywood, I mustn’t forget about it! With the Indian film industry going overseas in fame, no stones were left unturned in Poland. These people knew all about Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Rajnikant and Hritik Roshan (surprising, but true!). But that was not the best part, here’s the shocker. Guess which Indian song is famous amongst all the countries I mentioned up there? More than Jai Ho, perhaps?! Can’t? Here it is TUNAK TUNAK TUN by Daler Mehndi! Whoa, right?! While more than half of the current generation in India do not recollect watching the music video, almost all other interns there remembered the dance steps and the tune till the end of the video! Brilliant, I must say!

Well, anyways, I seem to be sidetracking a bit. Back to the internship story – All was going great! My second task was over and I was down to my final three. Small reviews. Mobile robots again. It was amazing as it left me enough time to go around places! Meet new people, see new places. Well, I might sound as if the internship wasn’t so technically inspiring for me, but I must state it was! So amazing that it even got me started on two technical papers of mine which I am currently authoring!

God, I am so missing my time back in Poland now. I am kind of ashamed too. Thinking of going back to Poland on the Indian independence day?! That is not something a patriot must ideally think of. But what can I do? These two months changed my life. It changed my total perception of working in a research field. I learned a lot technically, met new people, learnt about new cultures from all across the globe, saw new places created memories to be cherished forever. Life shall go on, new projects, new internships, new paths to follow but summer 2012 will always hold a special place in my heart and mind.

Signing off..

Stranded

It wasn’t even a week ago when I was about to leave Krakow when this real adventure occurred. 10:35 AM - Krakow to Frankfurt. 01:25 PM - Frankfurt to Mumbai. It was the perfect itinerary. One hour in Germany and then to home! The fastest way to Mumbai. And then came that damned announcement. 

Delayed by 30 minutes. Shit. Anyways, I asked the staff. It seems it was pretty cool. I wouldn’t really miss the flight from Frankfurt. I was soo relieved. But not for long. Flight delayed by three hours. Damn. It was time to change the ticket. They booked me for a flight to Kuwait and then to Mumbai twenty after I reach Frankfurt on the delayed flight. That was quite good too! I would reach home early in the morning rather than midnight, when everybody was awake. But the adventure wasn’t over yet. Finally, the most feared thing happened. Flight cancelled. 

It took me fifty minutes to reach the desk to ask the staff what I was supposed to do now. The flight to Kuwait was boarding in Frankfurt. That option was gone. They checked a flight ticket to Munich in the evening and then to Frankfurt and then to Mumbai from there. Damn. Anyways, I was reaching home the earliest possible way I could! But wonder of wonders! The Munich flight got cancelled too! 

Now, all that I had to do was get my backs from the conveyor belts, and then go to the ticket counter to get my tickets changed. It wasn’t surprising for me to see that huge line when I reached the counter. 3 hours to reach the ticket counter. It was soo tiring! And then came the shocker! The next flight out of Krakow was in the morning the next day. To Munich. And then I had to run to catch the flight from Munich to Mumbai! Damn, it seemed bad. 

But Lufthansa was really cool! They got me accommodation in a 5 star hotel in Krakow. Free cab, free food, free mini-bar (!) and a 100 PLN (1600 INR) voucher for the duty free! The deal seemed good! And the stay at the hotel wasn’t bad either. I watched the Poland vs. Italy volleyball match (Olympics 2012) on the big screen at the hotel gardens! Plus, it was really cool for me because I was wearing a bright red POLSKA! t-shirt. It was real fun meeting people who told me how great a supporter I am! :P

All that aside, the night (my last in Krakow) was really amazing. Good sleep, prompt cab service…and I was there on time at the Krakow airport for my flight to Munich.  And then to Mumbai. I reached home 24 hours late. But all was good. I was home.

Well, as of now, I do not really know why I suddenly thought of typing this post out, but well, that was my story. One helluva adventure!

Signing off…