It's that time again!
We're ready to introduce our first Member of the Month for 2016, and this time out we've been quite specific about what's brought this particular element14 Community member to our notice.
You'll undoubtedly recall that the element14 Community website -- which is a mighty digital construct! -- was updated. This isn't like updating an app on your phone though. It's mammoth task, that even we need help with. And who else do you ask around here when you need a leg up with your technical issues? That's right, the members!
Many of our Top Members were actually brought into a beta test of the upgrade, which helped us immensely when iron out the kinks. But that assistance was still needed when the updated site went live, and we've been delighted with the response from all of you. Not just your feedback on the new features, but your enthusiastic help in finding and reporting bugs.
In all honesty, we worry a bit that we're going to aggravate people with new functions and a few faults, but this couldn't have been further from the reception we received. The Community really rallied (and continues to do so) around the support and feedback of the update, and it's meant we have a stronger, better website in record time. And not least among our testers has been Tushar Sachdeva, who's given us so many valuable insights and reports on bugs big and small.
So join us in congratulating Tushar for having earned his way into being our first Member of the Month in 2016!
TUSHAR: Wow, I feel surprised and honored. Thank you!
e14: Can you tell us a bit about what first got you interested in engineering, and in electronics?
TUSHAR: This is very hard to tell, but I can say my mind is very creative (not praising myself!). It’s like I see a machine and ideas like how it's made, what might be in there, how I can improve it, while keeping it low cost etc. It all just flows into my mind. If I concentrate on any particular area of electronics, new ideas to create things related to that field start flowing in my mind. I've already written many of those ideas on my to do list and I believe I will be able to make those things in near future.
Actually, when I was kid I used to open every electronic item I got my hands on to check what’s in there, and how it’s working. Electronic component stores makes me feel like partying! it feels like adrenaline is rushing to my brain. I remember using Windows 98 on PC, I used to think one day I’m going to build my own computer much more powerful than this with my own unique OS.
I don’t believe in market available products; I make my own electronic circuits on PCB. So, I can say I have my own ways to do things.
e14: What's your educational background, and current profession? What kind of work do you do?
TUSHAR: Well, it’s complicated. I was never a believer in our education system. I believe in practical ways of doing things. Education system here is more inclined towards theoretical learning and it never amazed my mind. After completing my higher secondary education I choose Instrumentation engineering for graduation. Again, the system is based on just learning things theoretically and filling answers on an answer sheet. I hate that. The situation was like; during my exams I tend to think of new ideas or problems related to my projects and wrote them on my last 2-3 pages of my answer sheets rather than answering the questions. So I wasn't able to complete it as I still have one back in a subject. I don’t feel like in need of a certificate or any stamp that I’m an engineer or I can create new things and machines etc.
A few years back (just over a year) when my degree was supposed to be completed, I joined a telecom company. I worked there as Technical Head, R&D director as well as recruiter. Actually it’s a funny story how I joined that company without a degree orcertificate, which most companies ask for that position, one of the managing partner of the company was there in my summer training (on embedded systems). Trainers there were giving the market available development products to work on but I had something different in my mind. I built much more advanced version of that development board in two days. There he saw my talent and after a year he asked me to join his company.
Last year I took a step forward and started my own company. My aim is to provide security based products like CCTV cameras, burglar alarms and such, but my sole purpose for starting this company is to provide custom products and solutions to the customer according to their needs. Recently, I am working with a hotel to improve their security. I am also providing them my custom built wireless TV theft alarm circuits. It's all going really well!
e14: How did you first find the element14 Community, and what made you decide to start participating?
TUSHAR: That’s also a funny story. I first came to know about element14 through a Google search. I was looking for some example programs and saw a post where program was in the attachment. I tried to download it but couldn't because it was asking to login or sign up first. As I tried to sign up it was asking for tin no.(as far as I remember) so I was not able to sign up but I desperately needed that file. I found a way, more precisely a trick to download the files without log in. Actually when we click on the attachment there is a two second window when the page refreshes and sign in tab appears. If you were able to click and do save as in that time you will get that file downloaded. I did that 5-6 times maybe more. I do apologize for doing that but at that time I did because those files are important to me.
Also, there I saw a development board/kit for free to test under a RoadTest. I didn't believe that a company that gives those things awayfor free there must be something hidden (I thought this at that time and did not cared to read further about Roadtest). After few years I needed an Atmel AT91SAM9G45 for one of my projects but no seller here was able to provide that, so finally my search ended up with element14, and I ordered one. Then I joined the element14 Community and after a year I applied to a RoadTest after figuring out it was for real!
Now I can say I should have joined this community earlier. This is just an awesome community. I feel like a sane one in this community with like-minded people. I am very grateful to the element14 the people who had the idea to start this type of sharing community.
e14: Has being a member of the element14 Community proved beneficial at all, in terms of your electronics projects and even professionally?
TUSHAR: Indeed, I keep on asking for members advice and suggestions from time to time, related or not to my projects. I can say those discussions proved to be very beneficial to me. I can clearly infer members here in this community are far more experienced and knowledgeable than I have been on any other forum or community before. So I keep seeking their advice and help for my on-going and future projects. Not only community members, but the element14 staff has also proved to be very friendly and helpful to me.
e14: Which areas of electronics and the maker scene are you particularly excited about right now?
TUSHAR: Though I'm interested in every aspect of electronics but nowadays I can say I'm more inclined towards security & green energy solutions.
e14: I see you’ve been taking part in a couple of campaigns (Solar IoT RoadTest, and looking at the latest Design Challenge) recently. Were those valuable experiences that you’d recommend to other members? What did you get out of them on a personal level?
TUSHAR: Yes, I am very much interested in both of the campaigns. As I mentioned earlier I'm working on green energy based security solutions so the RoadTest immediately grabbed my attention. The Design Challenge made me think of creating something much more specific to society based problems. I have one idea related to that but I believe it will take some time to develop the product and I need much more powerful motors than one mentioned in the challenge.
Of course, I would recommend other community members to take part in such campaigns as these kinds of events make us think of creating something new with just an idea. On personal level, even only viewing such campaigns brings some new thoughts and ideas. Sometimes, if I'm not able to take part in those events due to specification of parts required or something else, I keep those ideas and work on a personal level. Like the latest Design Challenge. I have an idea, and specifications of the parts listed will not work with my project so I will try to make that idea with my own things.
Certainly the RoadTest I did earlier was one of the valuable experiences I have gained and that could only be possible because of element14. I was able to learn new things related to Internet of Things area due to that kit and I'm very grateful to the element14 team for choosing me for that RoadTest.
e14: Are there any projects you're working on right now, or thinking about starting, that you'd like to tell us about?
TUSHAR: Ah, yes I’m secretly working on more than five major projects this year. I can’t disclose anything about the projects right now but I will give you a glance of what I’m doing. Currently working on two projects and will start another three later this year. One project is related to new product development which I believe I will be able to complete before July. I’m really excited about this particular product and it is related to the consumer electronics field. If I'm able to finish it, it will be my first product to the market.
Another project I’m working nowadays is PCB fabrication for BGA’s and memory. Also, I’m trying to learn and build websites.
I have also planned to make something cool (that too I won’t disclose right now, but I already have an Idea and planned it) for our Santa this year. I apologize as I cannot share details of any of the projects but I will surely disclose once they are completed.
e14: What advice would you give to someone who's new to the maker scene, and to the element14 Community?
TUSHAR: Well, my advice would be “be yourself”. If you're seriously in need of help just ask, don’t be afraid. People here in this community are very experienced (one can say are experts) and will guide you till the end of your project.
If you feel like giving feedback and suggestions don’t hesitate, just tell them. The element14 staff is very helpful and polite; they will always hear you even if you have smallest doubt or suggestions.
Moreover, try to view or take part in the on-going discussion threads. One can learn many things from the advice given by community members and it might be helpful in the future. I try to view every possible discussion thread I can and give my suggestions on my known topics; otherwise I silently view the discussion threads and learn from the comments given by other, experienced community members.
Finally, all I can say “This is just an awesome place to share things!“