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issue: August 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

People
Indrajit Purkayastha of iRobot Corp.


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Over the years, Indrajit Purkayastha’s career has grown with the technology he has helped develop. Mr. Purkayastha recently assumed the position of senior vice president for New Product Development at iRobot Corp. (Burlington, MA, U.S.), a consumer robotics company known for its Roomba® Robotic Floorvac.

Mr. Purkayastha’s engineering background dates back to 1976, when he received his bachelor’s degree in Technical Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (Kanpur, India). He went on to obtain his Master’s in Electrical Engineering from the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO, U.S.

After graduating, he began working as a design engineer with General Electric Company in the Aircraft Control Systems (Binghamton, NY, U.S.). He also held multiple roles in General Electric Company’s Distribution Equipment Division in Plainville, CT, U.S.

In 1998, Mr. Purkayastha transitioned to Electrical Distribution and Control, working as manager of New Product Introduction until he became manager of Technology for the Power Equipment Business of GE Industrial Systems. Mr. Purkayastha’s final position at General Electric was general manager of New Markets and Technology for Infrastructure Sensing (Billerica, MA, U.S.).

After working with General Electric for 27 years, he decided to further expand his engineering skills by venturing into the world of robotics. His current position at iRobot entails many responsibilities, such as product development, manufacturing qualification, and production quality.

One of his most challenging tasks involves introducing new technologies and products to employees of the company. “In these situations, my strategy has been to go to the early adopter and customer community for input and suggestions,” says Mr. Purkayastha. “Asking the customer to shape the new product is a way to bring the whole internal team on-board with a project.”

Another way Mr. Purkayastha deals with challenges is by not taking anything personally; advice he received from a manager he respected enormously early on in his career. Mr. Purkayastha says this advice helps him maintain balance in extremely stressful situations.

Mr. Purkayastha also likes to work closely with internal teams when introducing new products to market. He comments, “I make sure they understand the challenge at hand, empower them with the right resources and tools, and get out of their way.” After all the hard work is done, Mr. Purkayastha enjoys seeing that product come to life and satisfy the customer.

Looking to the future, he looks forward to seeing the advances that will be made in technology. “I see certain technologies such as wireless and nanotechnology proliferating wildly and revolutionizing the design landscape the way the Internet has transformed the communication and information realms in the last 15 years,” he says. “I would like to stay ahead of this curve and help iRobot deliver robots that continue to help people with mundane chores.”

When he is not working with the latest technologies, Mr. Purkayastha is an avid student of military history and enjoys playing tennis.

 

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