A Sample Motivation Letter
I am interested in deeply studying mobile robotics and robotic manipulation, specially the problems of large scale navigation, UUV design, 3D perception in robotics, and cognition enabled mobile manipulation. My background in Electronic engineering from the most reputed engineering university of my country, with emphasis on automatic control systems, and experience of developing six different robotic projects make me a strong candidate for your esteemed graduate program.
While my fascination with robots originates from the same source as for many – namely science fiction novels and Hollywood movies – my experience with robots and love for building them is no fiction. I have demonstrated my interest by building from scratch: mechanical structure, electronic circuitry (including sensor and actuator architectures), and control software for a number of robots. The recurrent theme of my projects has been service robotics with a certain degree of autonomy. In this regard, I have developed a dexterous robotic arm for automobile part painting (funded by industry) and an electronic wheelchair (funded by a local welfare foundation). The proudest moment of my student career was when I was selected as sole designer of electronics for Pakistan’s entry to Formula Student Spain 2012 (a Formula-1 type racing car). My notable tasks in this team were replacement of ECU of ATV by performance electronics, design of the dash board, brake lights etc. To pursue these projects I had to learn on my own, a number of mathematical modeling techniques and software/hardware tools – such as Finite Element Analysis (FEA) of mechanical designs, calculations for torque of motors to actuate joints of robotic manipulator, forward and inverse kinematics, SolidWorks for CAD/CAM, different families of microcontrollers (for different memory sizes, built-in ADC banks, different speeds) etc. Unfortunately since academic research culture is only beginning to develop in Pakistan, I did not manage to collaborate with any formal robotics research group or co-author a paper in top conferences and journals. However I am hoping to do make some valuable research contribution to the field of robotics, and get atleast 1-2 ICRA/IROS publications from my Master’s project work specially my thesis. Kindly visit (website or any) for projects details.
My attraction in VIBOT springs from its world-class faculty specially in UUV navigation and robotic perception as well as the multi-cultural experience that the program provides. I know that Prof. J. Salvi from Girona is a world-renowned expert in structured light sensing, and have seen some of his papers. I did a project in which my robot had to pick an object and place it at another location, which I implemented in open-loop. I read about depth-from-stereo and how the problem of missing correspondences in untextured image regions can be solved by structured light systems in the context of trying to make the system work in closed loop. Unfortunately, I did not have access to a projector system nor the understanding to implement the relevant algorithms on an embedded platform. Another great scientist from whom I can learn about autonomous mobile robotics is Prof. Y. Petillot (HWU). I am completely flabbergasted seeing his seminal work on sonar based path planning for UUVs. Another area that fascinates me is increasing the automation of operation theatres in hospitals by computer assisted intervention (for example, using augmented reality). In this regard, the important work that Prof. F. Meriaudeau (Burgundy) and Prof. R Marti (Girona) are doing in multimodal registration and segmentation is very interesting and I would love attending their lectures and doing my projects under them.
Last, but not the least, an immensely attractive feature of the VIBOT program is the multi-cultural exposure that it provides and also the living experience in multiple European countries. This would clearly be a once in a lifetime opportunity, that I would never want to miss. All in all, I firmly believe that my previous hard work and demonstrated experience in robotics, and my fascination and familiarity with the influential research that VIBOT faculty is doing makes me a strong candidate for the scholarship. Thank you very much for your valuable time spent in evaluating my application.