The first ever episode of Mech Talk was organized successfully on the 24th of January 2019 in Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel. Mech Talk is a talk show organized by AMES (Association of Mechanical Engineering Students) in which speakers from various fields convene and share their knowledge in their field of expertise. It is an initiative targeted at the mechanical engineering students to provide them an up to date knowledge of the current research going on in the mechanical engineering field. The speaker for this episode was Dr. Manoj Karkee, an associate professor at Washington State University, WA.
Dr. Karkee leads a strong research program in the field of agricultural robotics, machine vision and sensing at WSU Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems. He is currently serving as an elected chair for the International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) Technical Committee 8.1, Control in Agriculture, as an associate editor for ‘Transactions of the ASABE’, as a guest editor for ‘Robotics’, and as an elected executive member of the Association of Nepalese Agricultural Professionals of Americas (NAPA).
The program started at 10:30 AM in Block 10-207 with about 70 audience including the HOD of DoME Dr. Daniel Tuladhar, Prof. Pratisthit Lal Shrestha, AMES Coordinator Mr. Malesh Shah, Prof Dr. Bim Prasad Shrestha and other faculties of the department.
Dr Karkee began his presentation by telling us about how robotics and agriculture, two seemingly dissimilar fields, when merged, can result into something spectacular. He showed an overview of the basic technologies used in the Americas for farming followed by a succinct synopsis about his current works at WSU. He continued with highlighting important points to be considered while implementing agricultural robotics in Nepal. The presentation was followed by an interactive Q and A session in which the audiences had some interesting questions about robotics in the context of Nepal. Towards the end Prof. Dr. Bim Prasad Shrestha urged the audience to work on revolutionary ideas such as the Apple MacBook, that could one day represent Nepal to the world. The one-and-a-half-hour talk show ended with some closing remarks by Dr. Daniel Tuladhar and handing over of the token of love to Dr. Karkee.
The audience was happy to learn something new about the application of robotics. The first episode of MechTalk concluded successfully with some new insight about robotics to the audience and a smile on their faces.