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I had the experiences of building competition standard robots

Created on: 2012-12-14


Teaching & Graduate Research Assistant, Mechanical Engineering
University of Akron:UA

Sharing experiences on studying ME...

Honestly, I chose ME because it offered a programming language course at Level-1, Term-2. I really wanted to be a programmer and thus was greatly hoping to study CSE, until I figured out that I performed very badly on the entrance exam.
At L-1,T-1 it was all the chemistry, physics and math except the nervy Introduction to Mechanical Engineering course by the intimidating teacher Dipak Kanti Das (DKD). It was really easy to mourn my early choice of selecting ME to study at BUET, but later when I discovered the true beauty of other Mechanical Engineering's core subjects; I found deep interest and enjoyed talking about those topics so much that some of my friends started calling me by an anonym "Cengel" (By the famous Thermodynamics textbook author Yunus Cengel). Besides, there were sessional (practical courses) courses like Instrumentation and Measurement which provided us with the opportunity to work on jaw dropping projects like designing robots, automating everyday stuffs etc. Working on those projects were some unforgettable memories.

Activities you were engaged with in your undergraduate life...

I see nowadays people get engaged with social works and voluntary activities en masse. Back in our times, voluntary works included: participating in blood donor groups, distributing winter clothes, tutoring underprivileged children etc. I had full support for the people engaged with those activities and I tried to help them as much I could. But my choice was different. On the contrary, I preferred to spend more time on Math Olympiad: grading the exam papers, helping in organizing stuffs etc.
Students of Mechanical Engineering Department actively participate in cultural stuffs through the "Mechanical Engineering Association" which arrange day long cultural events such as ME day on a regular time interval. I was not that meritorious on cultural sides, so I was always an enthusiastic and eager audience rather being an active participant. In fact, my inclination was to work with engineering stuffs. And, there was a robotics group which was the only robotics team in BUET at that time, run by ME students, who regularly participated in international competition. So, I never think twice to get a part of the robotics team.

Participation in local/international competitions...

Being an active member of the robotics team, I had the experiences of building robots for competition that are reliable and capable enough to perform successfully in international arenas. I enjoyed working with seniors, juniors, fellow classmates until midnight; designing robots, building parts at the BUET Machine shops, Instrumentation and Measurement lab etc. All of our hard works were paid off when we had the chance to attend the robotics competitions at China, Vietnam, India, Japan, Thailand etc.
Preparations for higher studies...
As I was nearing the graduation semester, I started preparing for standardizing tests like GRE, TOEFL, IELTS etc. I appeared for both my GRE and TOEFL exams at my final semester (Level-4, Term-2). After I am done with the term final exam, while working on my undergraduate thesis writing, I was shooting emails to the professors at universities of my choice mentioning my intention to pursue higher studies under their supervision, showing excessive interest on their recent research topics. To do that, I had to read their recent journal and conference papers; which were made available to me by the respected seniors who were already studying at foreign universities.

Scholarship, your approach and your current school...

When I applied to about ten US universities, I was very hopeful about the getting funding from top universities like UIUC, Carnegie Mellon etc. even with my disastrous GRE, TOEFL and CGPA. But gradually the hope of the bubble burst loudly when the universities started rejecting me ruthlessly. I got only one offer from the university from where I had prior contact with a professor. I was successful in establishing a cordial relationship with this professor through email which helped a lot get into this university and secure an assistantship position. And by now the reason for choosing this university is evident as this is the only university from where I don’t have to pay by myself for my higher studies.

Your subject field for PhD...

In the graduate school, I worked with MEMS (Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems) devices. I have a successful story of designing and fabricating a micro-gripper device which is hardly of 2mm along the maximum dimension and is capable of handling micro objects at high temperature and at vacuum condition.
Currently, I am working on separating micro particles ranging from 2~20μm at a very high flow rate. If this research becomes successful and become commercially available in the market, people will have the advantage to separate malignant cells like cancer cells from human blood cells in a shorter amount of time at a very low cost, thus it will be possible to save more human life that now succumb to these diseases.

Prospects and current trends of research areas...

If I haven’t mentioned before, separating micro particles are useful in diagnosing diseases, straining out malignant blood constituents, purifying water from unwanted bacteria and viruses etc. It has a huge prospect in the medical and biological fields. As the engineering scales has come down to micrometer scales and tending towards atomic scales, engineers are focusing on designing stuffs and devices which is barely visible with naked human eyes. Also these tiny micro/nanometer scale devices are very cheap and efficient for the purpose they are designed. For these reasons, the current research world is massively focusing and spending on MEMS world.