Last week Sastra University invited us to speak at the innovative DAKSH 2010 Engineering Festival. Its aim is to inspire students and show them the fun side of engineering. They invite students from universities across India to compete in engineering challenges, learn new skills in workshops, and listen to guest speakers talk about their experiences.
It was great to be invited but it was also a fairly nerve-wracking experience. This was different to any other speech I have ever given; not only did we have all the normal presentation nerves, but this one was via a video link in another country.
The strange thing about presenting on a video-link is that you can’t really see your audience, and of course there is a slight delay so you can’t really hear them either. Now this is fine, but if anyone has ever told a joke in public and not heard any laughter, it’s not great for the confidence. So my plan of including a couple of amusing anecdotes at the beginning to warm up the audience might have been slightly flawed.
Anyway, once we started talking about the project the rest of the presentation went smoothly. After I introduced the team and what we are planning to do, I handed over to Aran. He ably took them through the technical challenges we have faced, and the solutions we found to overcome them. Once we had finished we opened up the floor to questions, and we were faced with a lot more detail than we were anticipating, especially on our electronic differential (I think we had 5 questions in a row on our bias ratio at one point!).
As it turns out Sastra has their own team building an ATV for a national competition in India, hence the tricky questions. It was great to share ideas with them and we wish them luck as they compete in the national finals in the coming weeks.