A unique cultural and professional experience

The adventure began the first time I heard of swissnex India. It was through a mail forwarded by one of my teachers, offering a list of internship in India. At first I wasn’t sure if this was the place I wanted to intern, mostly because I never left Europe. I was also unsure about how this internship would fit with my studies as I didn’t meet all the requirements of the internship that I applied for. However, after having a discussion with the swissnex India team, and Jagannath Raju, CTO at Systemantics, my fears started to vanish. Jagannath felt that internships like these are the perfect opportunity for both students and the company. While the student can learn new skills, and develop existing ones, the company gets fresh eyes on the project and additional manpower.

As an intern in this company, my job was to start implementing a human detection module using a thermal camera that will be later plugged onto a 6 axes robot they are developing. This project required a minimum knowledge on at least three different subjects: Computer Vision (how to process an image to extract information about it), Machine Learning (how to make a computer take decisions from past experience) and Embedded Systems (how to write small and powerful programs requiring a minimum of computational power to run on small processors).

My first task was to understand the project and discuss with my supervisors the next steps of the project. During the first week I started to learn the computer vision part of this project, implementing samples of codes that were performing the basic image transformations. I was simultaneously searching for the latest scientific paper to identify how other people were solving similar problems.

The next task that I was assigned was to identify the material parts that the company needed to buy for the project, such as the thermal camera. By this point in the project, we already had a good idea of what to do. In the following weeks, I was developing the program using all my skills and regularly showing the progression to my supervisors or my curious colleagues.

On a social and cultural level this trip was an incredible discovery. Trying new fruits and vegetables, getting used to new customs, playing new games with colleagues, discovering India with friends and roommates were a regular feature of my stay in India. I have learned a lot from my colleagues and friends. They helped me discover delicious homemade food, they taught me about Indian spirituality, history, and much more.

All the trust, support, and friendliness that my colleagues showed me gave me confidence in the work we’ve done together. I feel like I was contributing to something, and I was really happy to have been a part of this adventure. I’m glad that the internship was not just about pushing papers. It was a perfect balance between collaboration and independence. I thoroughly enjoyed being an intern at Systemantics. It was the best first experience I could have dreamed of.

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