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The Manipal student who made the longest selfie stick in the world

In April 2016, when actor Ben Stiller tweeted about holding the record for having the world’s longest selfie stick, Armaan, a second-year engineering student at MIT wondered why that feat could not be broken.

Without wasting much time, Armaan started working on it but realized that it was no easy task as he previously thought. After multiple trials and errors, Armaan came up with a selfie stick made of aluminum, of which the length was 10.39 m. The next task was to get it certified by the Guinness Book of Records people.

Armaan, along with college authorities, arranged for an event on the picturesque college premises itself. The event was attended by the Institute Director, professors, local DSP, journalists and Armaan’s family.

The Guinness guys got convinced and the record was bestowed on Armaan. Just for the context, Ben Stiller’s selfie stick was only 8.56 m long.

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This is only a bit of Armaan we all know. Or what he actually is. An all-rounder of sorts, Armaan has dabbled in sports, arts, technology and what not. At the Manipal Institute of Technology, Armaan is turning his dreams into reality.

Armaan goes down memory lane to share his campus, life experiences.

I am the eldest son along with two other siblings. My father is a businessman who deals in Electronics goods and my mother, a homemaker. I spent my childhood in Mangalore, a city situated on the western coast of Karnataka. I studied at Milagres School, which used to be boys school during my time but has since become co-ed. In my school days, I actively took part in Sports, Drawing and Science Fairs.

Since my childhood, I have been fascinated by technology. Most of it came from my father’s (Abba) shop, where I would spend a lot of time. I developed the skill for soldering and repairing minor electronics at a very early age. Most of the time at the shop, I used to fiddle around with batteries, LEDs and DC motor, building useless things. Now when I look back at it, I think those were the moments in my life that helped me grow. I once built a washing machine (at the age of 14) for which I won the prize at science fair in my school. That and the medals I got from sports are what gave me a sense of accomplishment. Not my marks. I knew it by then, what my path would be. I have also been a part of the NCC (Air Force wing), which taught me discipline and leadership.

I chose science as my stream in Pre-University education. I made some pretty good friends in those two years though I have not met any of them for the past year. If you guys are reading this, let’s meet.

The peak of every student’s frustration comes at the end of the Pre-University. It was time to get admitted into a University. My choice was very clear, Engineering. I also had serious interest in the Armed Forces, and I tried NDA. But one thing led to another, and I got admitted into Manipal Institute of Technology which was completely out of the blue. I choose Electrical and Electronics Engineering as my major, one of the toughest branches in Engineering.

When I attended the orientation at MIT, I was overwhelmed by the number of clubs the college had. For anything and everything. It was like Charlie and the Chocolate factory for me except for the bad parts. There is a lot to tell in these four years at MIT. Just to avoid confusions I will just divide it into phases

Formula Manipal

In my first year, I joined Formula Manipal, a team that manufactures open-wheel racecar. Initially, I was a part of the electronics team but eventually moved into management. To date, this is the project for which I have spent the most amount of my time. I spent three years here. It is very difficult for a Formula Student team to make do in India. Being in Manipal added to our woes. Every weekend at least 3-4 team members travelled to Bangalore to source parts and machinery. All our hard work paid off when we bagged seven awards at Formula Bharath, India.

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In 2016, I along with the team travelled to Germany and Czech Republic. Despite facing a lot of technical difficulties there, when I sat in that car and drove the car on the track, all my hard work was paid off. It is an amazing feeling to see such a thing come to life for which you have spent years of hard work.

Guinness World Record

Around April 2016, I saw this tweet where Actor Ben Stiller had achieved a Guinness world record for the world's longest selfie stick.

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Foray (Novel)

Amidst all this, in secret, I was working on a fiction novel. After three years of writing and proofing, I got a publisher to publish my book. The most difficult part of writing a book is patience. I have never written a novel in my life and was not fond of reading my book either. I am more of a video person. To date, I have sold over 2,700 copies, mostly outside India. My book got placed in multiple libraries, which is a huge deal for me. I am not very proud of this book. My writing was very bad. In the end, I do not regret it and am happy that I did that.

The last Semester

I consider the last six months as the happiest six months of my life. I had a job offer and I was doing well with my academics were going well. If you have not already realized, this semester in my most favorite semester among them all. There are no classes, no exams. The only thing to do was work on an Engineering project and submit your thesis. By now, you might all know how enthusiastic I am about science projects. I went all out on this project. I created an IoT based smart home with Solar panels and multiple sensors and actuators. I had started my work on this project from my 7th Semester. After a full 9 months, I was able to complete it and successfully present it to my professors.

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Apart from working on this project, I spent six hours of my day along with friends at Marena (Sports complex in Manipal). This was one of my favorite places in Manipal. I used to play badminton for long hours and do the gym until my body asks me to leave. *I also ran half marathon (21km) organized by Manipal University. This run made me realize that we humans have a lot more capability than we think we have. It is all about pushing the limits.

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*I have been doing many other projects, some of them are incomplete and some of them have failed. But one thing is sure. I want to keep doing it.

I have travelled to different places as part of my Career, to Greater Noida, Delhi, Indonesia, Jaipur, and Bangalore. My aim in life is to Innovate and help society using what I best do - Engineering.

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Armaan is a software engineer at Cisco– Infosys in Bangalore

AUTHOR'S APPEAL

I have a friend Piyush Raj. We were close friends but somehow after college, he changed all his numbers and deleted all his social media accounts. I haven't heard from him and nobody knows where he is. If anyone knows his whereabouts, please do reach me.

Here is the link to my instagram ID Click Here

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