In this year’s workshop you will get a unique chance to meet some of our friends outside of the lab who are doing some amazing work.. They will be around during the workshop period to guide & co-create with student teams.


Mike Toutonghi

Mike Toutonghi, CEO, Founder, and Chief Scientist at Functionalize, is a recognized leader in the software industry, a named inventor or co-inventor on 25 issued patents, and a former Microsoft Vice President and Technical Fellow. Mike has been a serial entrepreneur and intrapreneur throughout his career.  From his first startup, CAD Innovations, which made 3D computer aided design workstations in 1982, to co-founding the Microsoft .Net Platform and Windows eHome Divisions at Microsoft, to building out the WebFives social network, Mike has been driven by his passion for making technology easier and more useful for everyone. Just prior to founding Functionalize, Mike was the CTO at Parallels, serving as Parallels’ technical visionary and driving alignment across Parallels cloud and services platforms.

Mike Toutonghi will be traveling to this years workshop to explore possibilities of how F-Electric, a breakthrough 3D printing conductive filament, can help build smarter environments.


Kalyan Varma

Kalyan Varma is a wildlife photographer, filmmaker, naturalist and explorer specializing in environmental issues in India. He freelances with many of the world’s leading magazines, environmental NGOs and television channels like National Geographic and BBC. With his in depth experience with elephant conservation in South India, Kalyan will be looking to work with teams to explore possibilities of how smart use of technology can help humans and wildlife co-exist peacefully.


Balaji Lakshmanan

Balaji Lakshmanan, founder and CEO of Geeky Robotics / did his research in robotics and robot learning from IIT Madras. With over 10 years of experience in robotics, he has developed various types of robots from tiny bug robots to Humanoid robots. He has worked with the Indian army’s robotics division and has also designed robotics, animatronics products for our very own Rajnikanth movies, amongst others. He has built indigenous, autonomous six feet humanoid robots with 7 degrees of freedom, one of the first of its kind in India. His work “Robo fingers”, affordable robotic prosthetic fingers for amputees has received accolades in prosthodontics conferences. He is also involved in designing a non intrusive breast cancer diagnosis robot in collaboration with IIT Madras and Patterson cancer institute and the world’s first banking robot in collaboration with Polaris financial technology limited. Autonomous telepresence security robot platform “Ubi” developed by him and his team, has been selected for demo in international presentations in USA and Europe.

Balaji will be looking to humanising our approach to robots and broaden our vision beyond their steely exteriors.