This month we'd like you to meet element14 Community's November Member of the Month: ipv1
element14: First of all, I wanted to say congratulations on your first Member of the Month award! This month marks one year of being a member on the element14 Community?
Ipv1: Yes, I joined the Community in November of last year.
element14: What initially brought you to the Community?
Ipv1: I don’t remember precisely how I got here, but I was online looking for some instruments. I am an electronics engineer and used to design stuff for the companies I work for. I would buy things online because the local market in India is a bit of a problem. I was searching online for some components and I saw this RoadTest for PiFace. I applied for it, thinking I was not going to get it. A month later, I remembered I had applied for something and there was an email from Dr. Christian Defeo, and that brought me into the RoadTest program. It was a shocker! Over the next year it has been fun getting more involved in the Community
element14: So how was that initial experience with RoadTest?
Ipv1: I was ready to do an experiment with the Raspberry Pi, which was a new subject to India at the time. So it was a nice experience to go through the details of the review. I’ve found that sometimes people get the product but don’t write anything detailed. I am a teacher by profession, so it was important to me to go into as much detail as I could. It was something new, and something fun and I got to help educate a lot of people. It was a win-win.
RoadTest and Design Challenges give the makers/hackers who are involved in their career and focus so much on their day job the opportunity to blow off some steam plus do something creative with their off time. They also allow collaboration with the rest of the community. I have never been someone who develops something and just lets it sit on a hard drive or in a drawer. I am a teacher and love talking to people about the things I’ve done and encourage people to take it to the next level. RoadTest and Design Challenges are something I really got into because there is that element of community around it. Members are always helping each other out and learning from each other. I do not feel like anyone does the challenge for the profit or the monetary benefit. Members are able to come together to do something great.
element14: How did you get started in electronics?
Ipv1: I started off in electronics, at the age of ten, with the basics. There are not a lot of resources in the part of India in which I live. We primarily have tourism and food and that is about it. In terms of technology I couldn’t even find a microcontroller. I completed my graduation and was able to learn more about electronics when I left home in the city of Pune and started off as a research associate. I joined a few companies as a consultant and then a major department. Last year I was the project director for a toll automation project for my industrial job. I am now a teacher in my home town and am currently pursuing my PhD.
I have taught myself how to work with electronics, so now I can teach others how to. I like what I am doing. I always tell my students if you like what you do, you can do it for a very long time.
Electronic design is not a big industry here, I graduated in a class of 60 and only one person went on to do electronic design, everyone else went into IT or software design. I do not particularly see a lot of companies in India that focus on the electronic design. That is another reason why the Community is such a great place; it provides an extra set of eyes on my work and way to connect with other electronics design engineers.
element14: Walk me through you experience with Design Challenges?
Ipv1: My first Design Challenge was the “In the Air” competition. That was utter confusion for me, I didn’t really know how often I was supposed to be posting, and thankfully Dr Christian Defeo was there to help me sort those things out. I learned a lot during the challenge, especially of my own shortcomings. I may have a good design, but how I presented that design through the challenge is also important. If you look at the Forget Me Not Challenge we could have all taken away something from how fvan presented his project. I now know I need to work on my video skills, and finishing the design with things like casing ect. I was just learning how to use a dremel a few hours before our interview.
I have studied things before in books, but Design Challenges are forcing me out of my comfort zone to not just read about things, but actually apply them.
element14: Who on the Community do you follow?
Ipv1: To be honest, I feel like element14 Community is like a family right now, I share a lot of conversations with people at element14 like Christian Defeo, Lauren Bittner and members like Shabaz. His content is really detailed and it is something I look up to. There are also other members like mcb1 from New Zealand and fvan, who is the winner of the Forget Me Not and BBB radio challenge. I also follow peteroakes, whose bench power supply project is fantastic. Benjamine Cabe of Eclipse is also a source of inspiration and insights. There is a long list of people I follow but those are the first to come to mind.
element14: What advice would you give to someone new to the Community?
Ipv1: Don’t be afraid to ask a question. The person who asks a question can be assumed to be stupid for a few moments, but who doesn’t can be assumed to be stupid forever. Like I tell my students, just ask the question. There are a lot of people on the Community with incredibly diverse skill sets, so take advantage of those resources.
element14: Thanks for taking the time for us to chat, any parting words?
Ipv1: I just wanted to say thank you to the element14 Community members and staff, everyone has been incredibly helpful.