MITACS Diaries: Deepak

PROJECT TITLE: Optical Sensors in smart home applications

Prof. in Charge: Dr. Qiyin Fang Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Bio photonics, Engineering Physics, McMaster University.

International experience and perspective can be a powerful tool for any student. I was always intrigued by the education system outside India and wanted to experience it, thanks to the Mitacsglobalink program. I was exhilarated on going to Canada and explore the research work going on there once I got selected for the program.

My internship project involved implementing an indoor tracking system which is energy efficient, low cost, and accurate. The major areas of application include hospitals for patient and/or object tracking and smart homes. I used Ultra High Frequency RFID tags and radial UHF RF antenna in combination with proximity sensors to develop the system. The system is energy efficient as it turns on only when there is human movement detected by the proximity sensors. The dataset consisting of Tag ID, Name, Proximity is logged on to a remote server which can be accessed anywhere through the internet, thereby enabling remote monitoring of a building. This system uses local Wi-Fi for transmission and so requires less energy.Existing systems are not energy efficient and are expensive, so we minimized the energy usage by customizing the antenna for maximum range and minimum power levels. This system can also be used for inventory tracking.

My professor was working on a bunch of projects so I worked alongside graduate and undergraduate students who were working under him. I learnt about the extensive research going on in Canadian universities. I had weekly reviews on my progress which helped me manage my timelines. I was fascinated by their approach towards research. I had to research on papers particular to my research field and criticize them every week. This edified me on my research interests and also broadened my view on research as a whole. My professor made me think independently and come up with solutions for the problems I faced. This made me adept in approaching problems and helped me overcome the challenges.

Speaking about life in Canada, it was wonderful experience. The first impression of the picturesque land of Canada made a deep impact on me. Myself along with other internees ventured out on the weekends. As a nature lover, I was lured to the density of green cover. From the Niagara Falls to the Valleys to the Trails to the Skyscrapers, I experienced a lot of scenic beauty in Canada. This program brings students from several countries and I met a lot of people with a blend of cultures. It was great interacting with culturally diverse people and learn about their cultures. Also we had numerous social events and workshops, where I had opportunity to meet prominent people, organized by Mitacs which not only helped me conquer my diffidence but also instilled a holistic perspective in me. This internship also ameliorated my culinary skills. We had to cook food as we cannot afford to dine out all the time. It was a good learning experience.

Overall, this internship not only broadened my horizon intellectually but also sociallyand culturally too.IMG_0108

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