“The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes.” Marcel Proust When you start to change your perspective, you look to things...
Let’s step with an open mind into the world of research, engineering and electronics and meet Shweta Agarwala
Born in India, resident of Singapore and working in Denmark: I am true global citizen. I am tenure-track assistant professor in department of engineering at Aarhus University and head ‘Printed electronic technology’ group.
What’s your Story with Electronics?
My love for science and electronics goes all the way back to dining table discussions in my home in India while I was growing up. Born in family of academics had its pros and cons. As a young kid, I was more aware of technological innovations than the latest pop singer (although I did catch up to it later). What piqued my interest was a field trip to a research lab in a different city in India with my father. I saw laboratory as a playground where these brainy people were working on cool stuff that I did not understand. That left an impression and I knew what I wanted to be from an early age.
What are you moved by?
I am an emotional person at the core and plight of people and their suffering moves me. This very aspect has made me realign my career path towards medical and healthcare applications.
What is your biggest curiosity?
Human mind. Our whole world is built, sustained, designed and innovated through the 15 cm long centerpiece. The power of it amazes me.
What makes you wake up in the morning?
The desire to chase my vision and have it in reality is what makes me jump out of bed. A world where I can put customized electronics anywhere I wish.
What keeps you awake late in the night?
Risk of failure and planning (lots of it).
What’s your wildest engineering dream for the next 3 years
Close your eyes and imagine projecting your smart device apps on any surface (wall, car wind screen, table or even your skin) using a small and flexible post-it, or measuring your vitamin/mineral levels using a tattoo patch bought at the super market. How about writing electronic on your skin and using it as control pad for your devices? Imagine limitless…
What is creativity for you?
Why is creativity relevant in the field of electronics?
When did you change your perspectives to find solutions?
What do you do when you feel stuck in the same place (of researching)?
Happens a lot in research. I normally take a break of 1-2 days from anything scientific. This means no discussions on science, no reading and no researching. I indulge in friends, family and good food 😊
What is the most challenging aspect in your activity?
Keeping the motivation going even when you don’t see positive results in your research and convincing other of your vision.
But the most rewarding?
The aha/ wow expression on someone’s face when I enthusiastically talk about my work, or when my students feel happy and honored to have joined my group. It feels great to be shaping the future generations.
Tell me about one project that you are working on passionately.
What is in your opinion is the most valuable discovery in the field of electronics and Why?
The electronics that you use today has been made possible through advanced in power/ battery and miniaturization. This has enabled us to put an entire PC on a smart ring. Although we have boundaries to push, but these discoveries have been instrumental.
Who’s the most inspiring person you’ve ever meet?
I don’t have one person who has inspired me, but I have been fortunate to have crossed path with some amazing people in my life’s journey. My late grandfather: the pillar behind my language skills and the most open-minded man I have ever met. My mentor and ex-supervisor at Nanyang technological University: a lady who embodies dedication, patience and will to go a long way. My son who reminds me that no matter what happens in life, there is love and hope.
How do you think you inspire other people / your colleagues to find solutions?
I don’t think I have reached a stage where I can inspire someone. However, I am very open minded and I love to talk to people about their work. That mostly lands in a good brainstorming session with vision for creative solutions.
What can you learn from others that can inspire us?
I am a strong believer that knowledge is all around us. I have an eclectic group of close knitted friends and family from different fields, and some of my most important life lessons have come from them. I have honed the power of communication, good will and smiling (even if you feel sad deep down) through them.
What do you think will be the most challenging aspect in electronics field in 20 years?
Although technological innovations are not easy to come by, but convincing people to use them is harder and avoiding their misuse even more challenging. Combining electronics with biology for healthcare and putting electronics on any surface will open pandora’s box of privacy and security issues.
Where can we find your studies and articles?
I am trained electronics engineer with specialization in microelectronics and nanoelectronics. However, my research lies at the crossroads of material science, nanotechnology, biomedical and electronics.
Website of Aarhus University: https://international.au.dk/
My personal website www.shwetaagarwala.com
LinkedIn account: https://www.linkedin.com/in/agarwalashweta
Now I have a creative challenge for you
What can you do with a nail and a railroad?
Convert it on to an art piece for decoration with antique vibes.
Thank you very much for your time!
For you, the reader of this interview I invite to explore more articles about other creatives. You can find a list here
If you are interested to join one of creative thinking online events, we have good news! We will meet On 21st of November. Join and get inspired!
I wish you an inspiring day!