IoT Project Day: Drone, Gloves, Keyboards and Analytics

Author: Arvind Padmanabhan

Plus an exciting quiz on IoT


I am pleased to cover once again our quarterly IoT Project Day event, an event for demos and talks. More importantly, it’s an event for exchanging knowledge, inspiring others and networking with peers. As usual, we are happy to have it at Microsoft, Bangalore, and we thank them for opening up their venue for this purpose.

Today’s event was a mix of electronics, sensing applications and analytics. Because, in the world of IoT, one thing without the others is not all that useful. Collecting data is not useful if you don’t analyze it at some point. Electronics is not useful if you don’t drive it with intelligent firmware. Gadgets are not useful if you don’t think about wireless connectivity. Finally, you need to use the right sensors to gather real-world data that suits your application.

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RADAR Basics

Author: Arvind Padmanabhan

The use of pulsed RADAR for range and speed measurement


In college you study so many interesting subjects that it’s really a pity that you don’t have the opportunity to pursue most of them. You have only one life. You have to choose one discipline to focus on. In fact, to contribute most as an engineer, you have to concentrate on the important problems of your chosen discipline. But when you are starting your career, choosing a discipline is not easy. Often students will look at job availability, growth opportunities, pay scales, and so on. This is good strategy for the average student. But if you’ve proven yourself as among the best, it’s more important to make this choice based on your passion. The question is really not to ask which is a good job but rather what you are passionate about. With passion, and a willingness to learn and work smart, you can be good at any job you choose.

I have always been a communications engineer but most of my career has been about software protocols for wireless communication systems. I never got a chance to work on RADAR, which we may consider as the grand daddy of intelligent wireless communication systems. While radio broadcasting came earlier, it did not have the intelligence that RADAR brought. With RADAR, one could sense the world around without having a line of sight. RADAR was extensively used during the Second World War. Some even attribute the victory of the Allies more to RADAR than the atomic bomb. RADAR in turn contributed to the development of many other technologies in areas of astronomy, medical technology and meteorology. Today RADAR has branched into Electronic Warfare (EW) and to win the battle in the domain of EM waves is as important as winning it with physical assets.

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Quadcopters That Fit in Your Pockets

Author: Arvind Padmanabhan

Small is beautiful


No doubt some of you have bought quadcopters as gifts for your nephews, daughters and grandchildren in the recent holiday season. Last year was really the year of reckoning for these gizmos, graduating from research projects to DIY kits and even commercial offerings that included delivery drones. Owning a drone or a hobby quadcopter is no longer an expensive affair.

Soon enough we saw regulators intervening as they must in the interest of security and aviation safety. It therefore appears that the experimental days of drones are over. The technology is here to stay. Now it is a matter of ironing out differences, issuing licenses and putting together a framework for full scale commercialization. It’s not going to happen quickly but it will happen for sure.

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Let’s Make Things Together: The Time is Now!

Author: Vineet Srivastava

A Roundup of Maker Fest 2015, Ahmedabad, Jan 10-11


It is not very often that one gets to feel the winds of profound change that may be imminent on the world. Being at the Maker Fest 2015 was one such experience for me. The Maker Fest 2015 was the Indian edition of the global Maker Faire. Organized by the Motwani Jadeja Family Foundation on 10th and 11th Jan 2015 at GIDC grounds, Ahmedabad, this event brought together makers from around the country to showcase their work.

As it turned out, the event became a tremendous melting pot of ideas and interactions between students, start-up companies, professionals, educationalists, bloggers, policy makers and even young children. The energetic positive vibe of the place was contagious.

The event started with a well-delivered opening address by noted speaker Ms. Lakhsmi Pratury who emphasized the three Cs that all makers must remember at all times: Creativity, Community and Compassion.

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