Thursday, 31 July 2014


Robotics is an exciting field of technology. It is also one of the most rapidly evolving field. It is predicated that robots are going to be a common thing like smart phones by the end of next decade. But in INDIA the robotics scenario is entirely different. We don't progress at a rate as other countries do. So in this blog I would like to outline some of my observations on why robotics research is not flourishing in INDIA.

1.Lack of a good environment:

For any research to flourish what is essentially needed is a good research environment .But we in INDIA lack this environment in two ways:

a) Labs

A personal robotics Lab

Labs are an essential part of  any research activity. But here we don't have many labs dedicated exclusively for robotics research. Robotics is a very expensive field of interest and it involves a lot of costly hardware tools. This emphasise  the need of well equipped robotics labs in INDIA like Personal Robotics lab(MIT) , BRL (Bristol) ,Stanford AI laboratory (Stanford university) ,Social Robotics lab (NUS, Singapore)...ect


Robotics is a collaboration of many fields of science and technology including vision (image processing), speech(speech recognition), AI(Artificial neural networks  & Machine learning), simulation (vrep,rviz..ect) mechanics(kinematics, dynamics, statics ) ,electronics (microcontrollers), language processing (Natural language  processing) and many more. We need faculties who are capable of looking at the big picture of a robotics project. But unfortunately we don't have many faculties who have got such an insight. We have got great faculties who are specialised in one or two fields mentioned above. But a person who understands NLP may not understand mechanics or vice versa and so on. This has affected a lot of robotics projects as a whole.    

Knowledge about robotics in India is below average generally. Even in reputed institutes microcontroller programming and basic mechanical kinematics of robotic arms is taught as robotics. Texts like “Fundamentals of Robotics: analysis and control’ by Robert J Schilling (1990)”, “Robotics: Control Sensing vision and intelligence by K.S Fu (1987)” written in 1990’s are still considered to be the standard textbooks in robotics. The technology has evolved to unimaginable heights in the first decade of 21st century .Robotics has changed in all aspects after that. The availability of powerful computers, hardware platforms, and latest software tools like ROS (robotic operating system) has made rapid changes in the field of robotics. But in India it seems like we are totally ignorant about all this and hold on to 1990s.
      3.Miss consumption & wrong trends:

Robotics is a technological field in INDIA which has been under constant exploitation. Here whatever is taught as robotics is just either microcontroller programming or an extension of embedded system. The many  so called ‘robotics companies’ introduces workshops called ‘Robotics workshops’ and teach students few lines of microcontroller programming. Students go back home thinking that they have learned robotics without actually knowing what actual robotics is all about. Personally I was also a victim of this trend for major part of my under graduation.

 4.Absence of a good hardware research platform :

PR2 : Robot
One of the major reasons for lack of research in the field of robotics is the absence of a very good robotic research platform. If you want to be a good workshop mechanic you need to work on a real hardware piece and not in just a computer simulated car engine. Same is applicable to robotics too. The robots can be simulated in a computer and coded, but that won't create real robots. We need efficient and real robotics hardware research platforms like PR2 (willow garage ) , rollin justin (DLR ), UBR-1 or at least something like a Nao.But in INDIA we don’t anything like that available at a affordable rate.

 5.Attitude :

Now this about the attitude of students towards projects and is applicable not just to robotics. 90 percent of students do projects only to score marks. Marks is the only factor that drives the students. Only a very few feels that they has to do something different and innovative and among that only a few dare to take up really challenging projects. Student has to understand one thing : only those who dare to challenge the system has become great , let it be Steve jobs, Bill Gates , Larry page or Elon musk. I personally believe that before any student start his/her project they have to read this :
“Here’s to the crazy ones....The misfits....The rebels....The troublemakers....The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do “

-From Apple’s famous ad ‘Think Different’ : Link to video

PS: Everything written above are my personal observations.Anyone can disagree to my viewpoints.All your suggestions are welcome.


  1. Excellent outlook on why robotics isn't developing in India. I do agree more upon the part that students and faculty form different teams among themselves as Electronics, electrical, mechanical and Computers... This is a wrong picture of what engineering is about! To make up a real product it should be a combination of multidisciplinary field of study and everyone should contribute each other field. So To advance in robotics students/teachers should combine from various branches of study and team up!

    Very happy to see this article Leo :) Keep it up!