Nishant Elkunchwar

Roboticist, Engineer (nishante@uw.edu)

I am a graduate student at the Mechanical Engineering Department at University of Washington. My interests include state estimation and control for mobile robots. My work at the Autonomous Insect Robotics Lab with Prof. Sawyer B. Fuller was centered around using size, weight, power and computationally limited robots for a wide variety of applications using simple biology inspired approaches.

I am looking for full time roles in the robotics / controls / mechatronics domain.


Brief descriptions of projects I have worked on over the years. Divided into sections based on the context of the project: research-oriented, academic (course projects etc) and personal (for education and fun).


Murder hornet radio tracking
Lab: Autonomous Insect Robotics Lab, University of Washington, WA, US
(Sep 2021–Present)
A bluetooth tag (approx 200 mg) that is attached to a live hornet with a sensor package consisting of accelerometer, light, temperature, pressure, humidity sensors. The tag stores sensor measurements to on-board flash memory and also transmits packets for nearby bluetooth receivers that log to SD cards
Toward battery-free flight: Duty cycled recharging of small drones
Lab: Autonomous Insect Robotics Lab, University of Washington, WA, US
(Sep 2020–Apr 2021)
First author of paper published at IEEE IROS 2021 conference. Demonstration of duty cycled recharging for small drones using solar power
Biology-inspired source seeking and obstacle avoidance on a palm-sized drone
Lab: Autonomous Insect Robotics Lab, University of Washington, WA, US
(Feb 2020–Oct 2020)
Seeking light and heat sources using the biology inspired run and tumble algorithm
Study of kinematics of flow in deformable media with Riemannian geometry
Advisor: Prof. Tapomoy Guha Sarkar, BITS Pilani, RJ, India
Bachelors thesis
(Aug 2016–Apr 2017)
  • Studied evolution of expansion, shear and rotation (ESR) in 2D manifolds
  • of different geometries with elasticity and damping.
  • Reproduced published data on ESR evolution and verified known phenomena near event horizons in black hole geometries
  • Visualization of element deformation evolution using geodesic congruences
  • Determined equivalent geometries for same ESR evolution in flat manifolds with given material properties


Cartpole dynamics prediction using CNNs
Course: AI based mobile robotics, University of Washington, WA, US
(Apr 2020–Jun 2020)
Implemented a CNN to predict delta state of a cartpole based on images from cartpole simulation. Takes in the last n images and the next image as an input and gives out the delta state vector as the output
A deep learning approach to motion planning
Course: AI based mobile robotics, University of Washington, WA, US
(Apr 2020–Jun 2020)
Implemented a CNN to plan optimal paths for holonomic and non-holonomic robots on maps with obstacles. The training dataset was generated using A* and RRT planners as supervisors
UR5e dual-arm manipulator simulation in Gazebo
Lab: Mechatronics, Automation and Control Systems Lab, University of Washington, WA, US
(Jan 2020–Mar 2020)
Developed a simulation environment in Gazebo for a dual-arm UR5e manipulator
Flight control board for multirotors
Club: Radio Control club, BITS Pilani, RJ, India
(Aug 2015–May 2016)
Developed a flight control board controlled via a WiFi module from a smartphone app or a computer with a Processing sketch. Implemented sensor fusion for accelerometer, magnetometer and gyroscope sensors and PID control for stable flight. Also implemented in-flight control parameter and channel tuning functionality.
Inverse kinematic modelling of a 6DOF Stewart platform
Course: Mechanisms and robotics, BITS Pilani, RJ, India
(Aug 2015–Dec 2015)
Derived servo motor actuator angles for a given state of the Stewart manipulator. Developed a Python program to simulate the platform
Simulation of MEMS gyroscope in a roll-over sensor for automobiles
Course: Introduction to MEMS, BITS Pilani, RJ, India
(Aug 2015–Dec 2015)
Designed and simulated a MEMS gyroscope roll over sensor using piezoelectric material in COMSOL multiphysics


IMU orientation visualization
(Jul 2018–Mar 2019)
Wrote a Python module for IMU orientation visualization from quaternions in PyOpenGL or Euler angles
Unicycle robot navigation behaviours
(Jul 2018–Mar 2019)
Implemented go-to-goal and obstacle avoidance behaviours for a simulated robot and appropriate behaviour switching in a Finite State Machine
Augmented Reality demo
(Jul 2018–Mar 2019)
Implemented a simple AR demo in OpenCV for camera calibration, object detection, tracking and drawing using coordinate transformation
Autonomous image processing based mobile robot
(Jan 2016–Mar 2016)
Implemented robot control and maze solving using A* algorithm on an overhead video feed. Won the iStrike competition at the technical festival APOGEE at BITS Pilani.