Bringing theory to reality

Philip Junker from ETH Zurich takes you along on his internship journey at Rapyuta Robotics –

As I write this today, I look back to the last three months in Bangalore, a city which feels like home to me by now. I came here for an internship as a Software Engineer at Rapyuta Robotics, a spinoff from ETH Zurich and RoboEarth, that specializes in cloud robotics. Rapyuta’s vision is to make robots attainable and useful. While their robotics and business teams with a focus on client projects in various domains are located at the headquarters in Tokyo, the cloud robotics platform is being developed by the team situated In Bangalore.

My inspiration to visit India came from my classmates at ETH Zurich with (partial) roots in India as well as through my Indian teammate during HackZurich 2018. Bangalore is said to be the Silicon Valley of India – a vibrant place for tech companies and startups. As a computer science student and startup enthusiast, the oppurtunity sounded very tempting to me. Through the India Industry Internships program powered by swissnex India, I applied for an internship at Rapyuta Robotics as a software engineer. It was not the first time I heard about Rapyuta Robotics – I met them a few years ago at a startup-speed-dating event organized by the ETH Entrepreneur Club.

I received a warm welcome from the Bangalore team of Rapyuta Robotics and we started off with a two-week learning session about Docker, Kubernetes, Openshift, and Golang. Even though I’ve heard about some of these concepts, I did not bring much practical experience with me. The learning continued even after the two weeks, I was able to apply my knowledge and explore robot simulation. Simulation in the robotic context turns out to be interesting and valuable because it allows developers to verify their hardware concept and start with the software development before investing in expensive hardware. Additionally, simulation can be used to collect training data, e.g. for reinforcement learning, and to test the implemented algorithms.

After one month of my internship, a big moment arrived: the release of[]. This led to my task for the internship, to show how simulation can be integrated into platform. Among the highlights of working at Rapyuta Robotics definitely was the project in the last few weeks of my internship, where I got the chance to collaborate with one of our senior engineers and Rapyuta’s robotics engineers in Tokyo to get a simulation of a real-world project up and running on our newly released platform.

Besides computer science, I am passionate about running. Soon after a colleague told me about the Adidas Runners here in Bangalore I started joining them on a regular basis which let the runs in the early mornings before work became a habit for me. The training together is motivating, pushing and lots of fun. Through the running group, I got to know many interesting people from all over India and made new friends. The highlight after all the hard training was the TCS10k race, a popular run taking place in the heart of Bangalore with over 16’000 participants. I am looking forward to my next mission of traveling and exploring the north of India, where I will do another internship before starting with my master thesis.

Philip Junker
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