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Final year Electrical Engineering degree student Armando Bourgknecht, based at the University of Applied Sciences Fribourg, Switzerland, has been working with Vivent as part of our Swiss Government funded Project PISA, under the supervision of Marco Mazza at HEIA-FR, applying Deep Learning techniques to plant electrical signalling data. I caught up with him to chat about his career so far.

Armando was born in Fribourg, Switzerland and not surprisingly decided to live, work and study in this beautiful, ancient city.

What lead you to get into the world of electrical engineering?

After school Armando, who had a great love of Mathematics and problem solving, was enrolled on one of Switzerland’s legendary apprenticeship schemes in the field of computer science. However, he never really felt this was exactly right for him and realised after a series of placements that engineering was where he wanted to be. After initially enrolling for a BSC in Telecommunications at the University of Fribourg he switched to a degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering and found his ‘home’!

What’s the most enjoyable thing about your work?

He’s enjoyed working on the complexities of the next generation PhytlSigns device, despite initially feeling alarmed by the size of the data sets! He’s been using Deep Learning methods to translate the signals from plants in order to predict crop attacks. He sees clearly that the benefits of our device for growers is helping them to respond fast to attacks on crops.

What are the big things in your world that will really shape the future?

He says that although it’s becoming a bit of a cliché to say this, Machine Learning and Deep Learning definitely are the areas that will have major impact on life, for example the automation of vehicles and the accurate diagnosis of health problems.

What’s next for you?

After working on an exciting space shuttle project he will be heading out to San Francisco to the University of Berkeley for a summer placement working for an eminent physicist in the area of image processing. Life is tough! After that he hopes to study for a Masters.

All of us at Vivent would like to thank Armando for his hard work on Innosuisse funded Project Pisa and wish him well for the future.

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