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Summer 2019 Interns at HP Labs – Bhargav Srinivas Vasudevan

By Simon Firth, HP Labs Correspondent

July 15, 2019

Bhargav Srinivas Vasudevan joins HP Labs this summer from Clemson University, where he is studying for a masters degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a special focus on electronics. A native of Chennai in south eastern India, Vasudevan received his undergraduate degree in Electronics and Communication from Chennai’s Anna University and worked briefly for Tata Consultancy Services before moving to South Carolina. Outside of work, Vasudevan enjoys playing soccer and exploring different musical genres. He’s also a keen vocalist in a variety of music styles, including a progressive form of traditional Carnatic music from southern India.


HP: Tell us about what you are working on this summer.

I’m working on two projects in the 3D Lab to do with 3D printed electronics. In the first one, I’m trying to 3D print a Stylophone, which was a pioneering miniature musical synthesizer developed in the 1960s. While we can’t yet print components like speakers or batteries, we can use HP’s research 3D testbeds to print both circuit boards and electronic connections between components. I’m printing a Stylophone circuit board in plastic and the connections with a conductive printed agent. What’s really significant – and what I’m exploring with this project – is that it allows us to print the circuitry in three dimensions.  

HP: Has that not been possible before?

Yes, it has, but not in the way that we conventionally create most electrical circuitry, which is laid out on boards in two dimensions. Now we are able to 3D print the circuitry. In particular, we can use 3D printing to optimize the space we’re working with and to reduce the number of separate components we need to build any specific electrical device. The original Stylophone had several different circuit boards, for example. I’m designing mine to have just one.

“Circuitry design now literally has a whole new dimension added to it and I’m excited to learn more about what that enables us to do.”

Bhargav Srinivas Vasudevan, HP Labs Intern

HP: What’s been the biggest challenge for you so far?

What’s been challenging is that I’ve been taught to think about creating circuits in only two dimensions, so it’s taken a while to train myself to think in 3D. But it’s also really interesting to do that, because circuitry design now literally has a whole new dimension added to it and I’m excited to learn more about what that enables us to do.

HP: How’s the project been going?

Pretty good so far. I'm done with the design phase and I've printed out a few test boards to help me think more about space constraints and where I’m going to place the non-printed components. I’m pretty confident I’ll get it working.

HP: How about your other project?

I’m going to try and create a 3D printed drone where much of the circuitry is printed directly onto the drone’s chassis while the chassis itself is 3D printed. The idea is to replicate the circuitry on an existing drone but again use fewer circuit boards. I’ve started on the design and will move to test printing as soon as I get the Stylophone working.

HP: What’s your research interest there?

In this case the value is obviously in weight reduction, which is important for anything you are trying to fly. You also reduce your risk of failure if you have fewer parts. But both projects are also helping us learn more about 3D printing of electronic circuitry in general. We can compare the 3D printed drone or the Stylophone with their 2D circuit versions on dimensions like performance and accuracy and use the results to think about how the HP 3D printing technology can provide unique capabilities to open a bigger design and manufacturing space for printing electronics.

HP: What have you most appreciated so far about interning at HP Labs?

It’s been really great to work on world class equipment in the Labs. But what’s been mind blowing, honestly, has been how accessible some of the highly esteemed people who work here are to interns. On my very first day I got to have lunch with Mr. Chandrakant Patel, HP’s Chief Engineer, and I’ve met all kinds of other people who are highly respected experts in their fields. They are all very down to earth and also interested in learning more about the projects you’re working on and helping out wherever they can. Just talking with them has really helped me develop the way I think.