Hi! I am Abhijeet Agnihotri. You can call me ‘a bee.’ I’m a human-robot-interaction (HRI) researcher, designer, a serious hobbyist musician, and an avid runner. On a single day, you can find me doing all of these things.
I like to create and explore. I help discover ways that robots can solve problems for people as well as finding ways for robots and humans to have natural, intelligent, and enjoyable interactions. This requires the involvement of multiple engineers, researchers, and designers, my strength is in liaising with different people, which my background has prepared me for!
I am currently working as a UX developer within the robotics user experience and industrial design team at the Toyota Research Institute, in Cambridge, MA, USA. To learn more about my background, take a look at my ‘CV’.
I was always interested in technology and robotics. However, the turning point for me was my internship at Stanford after my junior year. That year, I built a robotic chair that roamed around in a hall and could approach people in “interesting” ways. For example, gently bumping into a person to persuade them to follow it or signaling different intentions through its motion. The goal behind the chairbot project was to explore different interactions between a human and a robotic object. This explorative experience was transformative for me because it showed me how creative the field of robotics really is.
Ultimately, I realized that robotics is actually about the human interacting with the robot rather than the other way around.
Oh and also, I was the first roboticist to be part of Conan O’Brien’s podcast. I have always been a HUGE fan of his humour and here is a funny video excerpt from the interview. The C.U.T.I.E. podcast is funny, entertaining, and personally a memory for me to cherish for the rest of my life 😌.
Music and me
I have a deep passion for music, composing and writing songs. I have bunch of guitars and a mini-studio at my home. I primarily play guitar, record and am learning to produce songs. Here is an original song that I recorded sometime ago.
If I were not a roboticist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.
I had always been a chubby overweight kid with no interest in running. I could have never imagined being a Marathoner. What changed? you ask - well, the covid years had been “crazy” for everyone, including me. Although one good thing that did come out of it was my “passion for running”. What started in April 2020, in the form of a simple 5k run for charity - I continued running to keep my mental psyche intact and also for my physical fitness. Little did I know back then that I would be attempting to run a marathon. In my own way, I tried to capture the excitement, the struggle, and the overall relief felt on that day in this video.