My viva voce happened today. 6 months of work, followed by 4 months of no work (and I mean NO work), followed by 2 months of work, all judged by two people who are determinedly extremely uninterested in what you are saying for 30 minutes. IITM knows how to make a fellow feel useless.
In robotics, among the most difficult tasks to get a machine to do is to adapt to unexpected situations. Have you tried lifting a cup of coffee, only to find that the cup was empty when you thought it’d be full? Have you perhaps tried to take a step down a staircase that has already ended? Disappointment about the coffee aside, the ways your arm and leg muscles adjust to the unexpected change in load are mechansitically quite complex. And to get a robot to do this is incredibly hard.
I feel like that robot. I went prepared for murder. My murder. Instead… nothing. In George Costanza’s words, “NOTHING!”. A few quibbles about report formatting aside, I was asked basically to explain my analysis better in the report, and told that the reason the part of my work that didn’t work didn’t work is because I was trying to square a circle. All quite nicely and at 40 dB.
‘OK, dude, that’s all we have for you. Go on.’
Like I said, major league bathos.