Rudra Potluri - dreaming up the future | Aga Khan Academies

Rudra Potluri - dreaming up the future

Rudra Aryan Potluri entered his second year of the Diploma Programme in August 2018, but he already has the makings of an academic. Unlike other academics, however, his studies aren’t purely theoretical. “My favourite extracurricular activity is engineering,” he says, “I spend most of my free time building robots, quadcopters, drones and smart home systems.”

Rudra has grown into himself since joining the Academy in 2013, most notably through the enrichment programme through which he discovered robotics and design. His work with robots stems from his enthusiasm for engineering, but Rudra has gone beyond just tinkering. “When I was learning robotics as part of enrichment, I never imagined that I would become captain of a robotics team,” said Rudra. Rudra captained a robotics team in January 2018 at the FIRST Lego League competition in Bengaluru. This was the first ever robotics competition that Academy students entered in.

“It didn’t stop there,” he continues, “the Academy provided a platform for me and my team to share our learning and knowledge with the community by letting us conduct a workshop for government schools.” Rudra was part of a team that hosted 48 grade six students for a day, teaching them about robotics and design. “The most unique thing about the Academy is that it doesn’t just stop at teaching, it makes sure that students apply their knowledge in the real world and give something back to society.” Rudra also participated in the Chinna Shodha Yatra, travelling around rural Andhra Pradesh to understand nuances of life in local  communities.   

In 2014, India's ambitious Mars Orbitor Mission came to fruition and Rudra had the opportunity to take part in a live telecast discussion about the mission on state TV. The following year, Rudra was selected as a Microsoft student ambassador and got to attend a workshop at the Microsoft headquarters in New Delhi. In grade 10, he used his MYP personal project as a chance to explore his interests in engineering and software and built a home automation system. "My aim was to make it for my grandparents, who are older and can’t move around as easily anymore,” he says about the Smarthome Automation System. His SAS, at ₹2,000 per room, is a cost effective alternative to existing systems in the market, which can cost upwards of ₹70,000. In the same year, Rudra showed initiative in his design project, choosing to build a quadcopter. The drone was created to support the Academy's existing security system.

In May 2018, outside robotics events, Rudra also headed the IT and design unit of the Academy’s first ever TEDx. It comes as no surprise then to know that Rudra is considering studying computer engineering after school. Rudra has applied to the Michigan Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA, and the University of Waterloo, Canada.

Rudra earned a fellowship to spend the 2018 summer vacation in Ryerson University, Toronto, to take part in the Ryerson DMZ Sandbox Basecamp, a workshop for socially conscious young innovators. The urban university is a renowned research institution and we are positive Rudra's contribution will be significant and impactful.