Learning new skills, discovering new cultures

My name is Jérémy Michaud and I come from Liddes (Valais), a small Swiss village of 800 inhabitants. I studied embedded systems (IT) at the  School of Management and Engineering Vaud, HEIG-VD (Haute Ecole d’Ingénierie et de Gestion du Canton de Vaud) in Yverdon.

While doing my Bachelor thesis, I learnt about the iii program from my professor and applied for it. I was really excited when I was selected to intern at Qrera Technologies.

About Qrera and its projects

Qrera is a rather small company. During my internship, we were 2 interns and 5 employees. It was started in 2015 by Amod Hulge, an alumni of ETH Zurich. Amod has spent a couple of years in Switzerland and is familiar with Swiss culture. This was a big help as he knew how to guide me during my first few weeks in India and help me get used to the new environment.

What I liked the most about Qrera is the dynamic nature of the team. Qrera has a lot of different projects such as 3D printers, IoT lights system, machine monitoring, etc. I had the chance to work on different technical fields of the project such as mechanical, software and electronic engineering.

At Qrera, I worked on the Rainbow 3D printer project. This project involved mechanical, electronic and software development. I was in charge of the software aspects. The idea of the Rainbow gun project was to add colour to 3D printed models. That meant extracting the colour information from CAD (Computer-aided design) models and sending it to the printer using G-code.

During the software development, we worked on different prototypes to physically add colour to the printer. Our first prototype attached a pencil to the motor and pushed it to the filament where the colour was needed. We tried to “hack” (reverse engineer) an old printer cartridge by trying to control it with a microcontroller, but it didn’t work. We then decided to make a spray that colors the filament before extruding it, which yielded great results.

Professional and personal experience

This was a really important experience for  me. I acquired a lot of new skills during my internship. It changed me both personally and professionally.

On the professional front, I learned how to work in a team. My project required knowledge of a lot of different fields (electronic, mechanic, etc) that I didn’t have. Qrera has engineers from these fields and, by working together, we managed to achieve the goals of this project.

The work atmosphere was nice, all my colleagues were friendly. We always had lunch together and shared a lot of things about our culture. It was a really nice experience. Teamwork is one of the most important things I learned in India.

I also learned to be flexible. Sometimes, in India, things doesn’t go the way you expect them to  and you have to deal with it. For example, once we didn’t have electricity for half a day. It made me realize how high our expectations are and I learned how to improvise and find a quick solution to a problem because of lack of time or resources.

Communication was also an important skill I learned there. When someone from the team had something to share or a technical decision to make, we met around a blackboard and we discussed it together. As a result, I never felt alone while working on projects.

What I really liked about India was the importance given to innovation and the ability of Indians to find simple solution to problems. They can often find a way with limited resources and the result is as good as the ones obtained through traditional methods.
On a personal front too, the changes I underwent  were significant. My family and friends would agree that I gained a lot of self confidence and independence. I learned to improvise when plans had to be changed. I also had the opportunity to travel in and around Bangalore and India with friends and family.

To conclude, I would say it was a great experience and I enjoyed it a lot. I also had some difficult moments but I think that’s part of the experience and that’s what helped me improve myself. It was difficult to go home because I really enjoyed this experience and it will stay in my mind forever.

I want to thank swissnex for all the work they did to make this possible and I hope the iii program continues for a long time. I also want to thank all my teammates at Qrera for being so friendly and welcoming. I had such a good time with them. Last but not the least, I want to thank Amod Hulge for always being there for me whenever I needed anything. He did everything he could to make me comfortable in my new environment. He helped me discover India.

I recommend it to anyone who wants to experience something different. If you want to get out of your comfort zone and discover a new culture full of exciting things with a big place for innovation and engineering, this is the program for you.

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