Richard Kokštein

Junior Researcher

Research focus: Parametric vacuum gripper generation with focus on additive manufacturing

My interest in technology started when I was in high school. I studied mechanical engineering for 4 years where I learned the basics about machines and their components. Then I decided to continue my studies at the Czech Technical University in Prague at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering. After three years I graduated with a bachelor’s degree. The high school and the first few years at the university were mainly focused on theoretical knowledge from the narrow view of mechanical engineering, e.g. computer aided design and mechanics of materials. I wanted to learn more about the interdisciplinary topics such as mechatronics, robotics and hardware programming. Therefore, I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Automation and Industrial Informatics at the Department of Instrumentation and Control Engineering. Around the same time I joined the CIIRC Testbed team as a junior researcher. I am currently working on designing and implementing an add-on module to Siemens NX CAD for generating parametric vacuum grippers for robots. My work consists of software development and design of 3D printed components. In the future, I would like to learn more about control theory, numerical computational geometry and robot path planning strategies. I would also like to add more hands-on tasks to my work schedule.

Would you have any piece of good advice for students?

Prioritize gaining experience over getting good grades in school. The only people who want you to get good grades are usually your parents or grandparents. Industry values experience. Join a school team working on a project that interests you and try to get as much hands-on experience as possible.

What was the biggest trouble/headache in your research so far?

The biggest headache was trying to decode the vague goals set out in the project documents I was given. I had to fish relevant and actionable information out of a pool of buzzwords and overly broad project descriptions.