We at Circle Optics are an eclectic group of interesting people who are deeply curious and want to make a difference through immersive experience in aerospace, robotics and entertainment. Meet Ajit Mutalik our Computer Vision Intern pursuing a Master’s of Computer Science at the University at Buffalo. He is contributing to our SLAM capabilities. SLAM stands for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping, it a method used by autonomous systems to build maps of the environment while localizing in it. The map is used for navigation and obstacle avoidance. Our COO Ian Gauger shares, “We found Ajit via a LinkedIn search when looking for individuals with SLAM experience. He was one of many candidates we interviewed but overall his familiarity with the problem we were trying to solve and ambition really stood out to us. Specifically, his past project “Mine Mapping and 3D Reconstruction of Mine” and his pending patent “A Mobile Device for mapping and Monitoring of Underground Coal Mines”.”
What got you interested in engineering?
I am originally from Mumbai, India. Education from birth to high school is very structured in India. I just happened upon building some apps and getting into web development. During my third year at Ramrao Adik Institute of Technology, a friend invited me to participate in the E-yantra Idea Competition in which we were supposed to come up with an idea that would help common people. We wanted to reduce the frequency of accidents in coal mines and developed a robotic system that traverses underground mines to generate 3D models for analysis and 2D maps for better navigation. We won “Best Hardware Design” award in this competition. And in my Senior year we continued working on this project and participated in Smart India Hackathon. Out of 10,000 team we won the competition, this accomplishment opened for me the idea of how valuable robotics solutions can be and I wanted to continue developing robotic solutions that make a difference at scale.
What are qualities that are more important for you when you are leading a team?
The most important quality would be communication, when working in multidisciplinary fields like Robotics, the end product is the combined effort of all the teams. To successfully develop your vision, all team must work in cohesion and the only way this can be achieved is by having a proper communication between teams.
Who were your early influences?
I was deeply moved when I saw The Imitation Game and learned about Alan Turing. His idea of the Universal Turing Machine, which is the basis of the computer as we know them today, has changed the way we think and develop technology. His work on breaking the Enigma was crucial turning point in WWII that saved millions of lives. Another figure would be Professor Richard Feynman. Feynman’s understanding of the world around him is so fascinating. And finally, my mother who has been bedrock to my career and has been motivating me and pushing me beyond my limits.
What promise of The future technology gets you the most excited?
I am really excited about all the stuff that is happening in VR and the gaming industry. When it comes to Circle Optics technology, it is a great disruption to have a single camera that in a moment captures the complete 360o view of the surrounding. Using such camera to develop photorealistic 3D models of environment that can be used for telling a story and then being able to visit these places at the comfort of my home excites me.