From India to Japan: The Path to Making Robots More Emotional
Ayush Gupta, MSc alumnus, Engineering Systems
Discover the inspiring journey of Ayush Gupta, a Skoltech MSc alumni in Engineering Systems. Ayush was awarded the Japanese Government MEXT Research Scholarship and is currently working with Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, one of Japan's most renowned professors. In this interview, Ayush discusses his career path, ongoing PhD research projects, and offers valuable insights to future Skoltech students based on his own experience.
my background
I was lucky to be born in the city of Dehradun, a city that is abundant with the scenic diversity synonymous with India. The city rewarded my early years with cold winter nights and dark clear skies, inspiring me to learn more about what lay beyond its vastness. This sparked my initial interest in the sciences. After graduating from high school, engineering appeared as the most obvious career choice. I pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, specializing in Avionics. This played a crucial role in shaping my foundation as an engineer and as an individual. It was during this time that I developed a critical mind, seeking concrete answers to real-world questions that our society faces. I also realized the immense scope and utility of Avionic systems, UAVs, and Satellites in providing solutions.
why Engineering Systems at Skoltech?
Among all the university pages I perused, Skoltech stood out due to the continued contributions of its Intelligent Space Robotics Laboratory of the Engineering Center in the fields of path planning, obstacle avoidance, VR, and haptics. The experienced professors, state-of-the-art equipment, and infrastructure of the lab, coupled with my technical training through the Master’s program in Space and Engineering Systems (the old name of the program, now it is called "Engineering Systems" ed.), provided me with a solid foundation to work in the field of UAVs.

Master's in Engineering Systems
The program focuses on enhancing students' critical skills, understanding and mastery to lead and shape up the digital transformation of industries and the development of cyber-physical systems, aerospace, and high technology industrial products in all fields on Earth and in Space. The program's main objective is to educate students with the competencies and digital know-how that will enable them to support and play leading roles in the real-life implementation of digital engineering, robotics, space technologies, and science. We teach students to find creative and sustainable solutions to the critical challenges in a wide range of industries, including but not limited to aerospace, energy, and robotics.

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why is Skoltech special for you?
My Master's at Skoltech has enriched my life in multiple ways. The courses, taught by Professor Dzmitry Tsetserukou, expanded my professional interest in Robotics. Alongside my course, I had the opportunity to be part of the ReSet Skoltech team competing in robotics tournament EUROBOT, collaborating with my team members to create a robot that competes against the best minds globally. Winning first place in Russia only motivated us to work harder together. The Entrepreneurship and Innovation courses, in particular, allowed us to leverage each other's strengths, fostering interpersonal skills and creating memorable experiences with my friends. These experiences deepened my involvement in my field, accelerating my interests.

Apart from academic activities, I actively participated in various clubs on Skoltech's campus, where people from different parts of the world came together to nurture their shared interests. At Skoltech, I found an outlet for another one of my passions: photography and traveling. This inspired me to start my own blog, which I am still pursuing here in Japan.
how did you get Japanese Government MEXT Research Scholarship?

Moving to Japan after my Master's at Skoltech seemed like the most logical move as Japan has always been a pioneer in the field of robotics and was increasingly moving towards developing human-robot interactions due to its current demography. Moreover, the guidance and support of Professor Dzmitry Tsetserukou and his research in Japan influenced my decision. While exploring options, I discovered the Japanese Government MEXT Research Scholarship, which invites scholars from around the world to conduct research in Japan while receiving a stipend. Aside from its prestigious nature, the scholarship encourages scholars to dedicate their time fully to their desired fields of study, covering college tuition as well.
about the study experience at Osaka University, Japan
During the MEXT application process, I decided to apply to the Ishiguro lab at Osaka University, which is globally renowned for its work in Human-Robot Interaction. I am currently working with Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, who is well-known for his innovative contributions to human-like robotics and android science. The research lab focuses on developing robots that closely mimic human appearance and behavior, exploring how they can influence people during interactions. Despite the challenges, my research experience is extremely stimulating. I am acquiring new techniques and skills in this field and shaping my research plan for the upcoming years.

emotions and empathy in robots
My project work primarily focuses on the development of emotions and empathy in robots during interactions with humans. Emotions serve as a pivotal element in all forms of communication, and integrating them into robots enables more natural and intuitive interactions. By imbuing robots with these human-like qualities, we can significantly enhance their trustworthiness, thereby mitigating any apprehensions or anxieties associated with human-robot interactions.
my advice to current students and applicants
"Your success determines your future." Pursuing higher education is always a difficult decision when it comes to selecting a university or even a course. It is undoubtedly one of the most important decisions of your life. I won’t say that it will be easy from this point forward, but it will be quite an exciting journey with all the courses and research under excellent professors and collaboration with your colleagues. Make the best use of your time and don’t forget to enjoy life as well.

The opportunities a Skoltech are endless, and I urge you to take up and explore the many things you can discover in and outside of the campus. Remember, life is what you make of it!
and now about Skoltech
We are Skoltech – a new international English-speaking STEM university that was founded by the group of world-renowned scientists in 2011 in Moscow, Russia. In just 8 years, we united dozens of researchers and globally renowned professors, built a stunning campus, set up world-class labs and made it to the top 100 young universities in the Nature Index. Read more >>
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