Of L(a)unch Pad and Healthfood

C.P. Ravikumar, Texas Instruments

 After a few showers, the weather in Coimbatore has been refreshingly cool,” said Kavitha.  We were driving towards a “health food” place which she recommended for lunch.

“This place serves food that has very little oil and salt,” she explained. “They also use a lot of millets, which are very healthy.”

At our table were Kamal and Anand, two summer interns from STEPS, who are final-year students from a college in Chennai. They are spending two weeks in Coimbatore as summer interns.

“What have you been up to in Coimbatore?” I asked them. “Is this your favorite eating joint?”

They vigorously shook their heads.

We laughed at their candid admission.

“They have been exploring a lot of different eateries in the neighborhood,” Kavitha gave them away. “I think they like the fish place!”

Apart from eateries, the students have been exploring a lot more. They are among the forty interns who spent time at STEPS this summer, learning a number of things.  Kamal and Anand showed me the MSP430 experimenter board on which they have been learning how to program the MSP430 microcontroller.

“What we enjoy here is the self-paced learning,” said Anand. “The hands-on experimentation is a great experience for us. We are pretty much free to explore concepts on our own. When we have doubts, an engineer from STEPS is willing to help!”

“Could you not have done this in the comfort of your home?” I probed.

“The best part is the get our doubts clarified immediately,” said Kamal.  “Also, we had the experience of working in an industry.”

“We also get to learn about the trends in the electronics industry,” says Yadukrishnan, another intern who underwent a similar program.

“MSP430 was a completely new processor for me,” said Joseph Kuneheria. “The best part of the internship was the hands-on experience on MSP430 learning kit.”

 Javadev Krishna agrees with this comment. “The hands-on exposure the processor was far better than I had expected. I will definitely like to work on this processor even after I complete this program.”

The students had exposure to MSP430, ARM Cortex-M, and C2000 microcontrollers from Texas Instruments.  The students mainly worked with the “Launchpad” ecosystem of TI microcontrollers.  Many of them are final-year students, eager to improve their knowledge in the domain of embedded systems.

Most of the students have travelled long distances to be part of the two-week internship program. One of the students traveled all the way from West Bengal. STEPS is willing to extend the duration of the internship program and even customize it for specific student needs.  Along with the “launchpad,” many have them have also been exploring “lunchpads,” or eateries in Coimbatore! I can tell you that the health food joint that we visited is not among their favorites, since the food was neither greasy nor spicy!  

“If you are going to recommend the internship to your friends, don’t tell them about the health food joint!” I said.

Everyone laughed. 


[1] For the announcement of the internship program discussed in this article, see here.

[2] View more pictures from the summer internship program at STEPS Knowledge Services here.