3 November 2022 TB Members Calling


TB Members Calling #42 | Bharath Sankaran “Evolution comes from change, not stability”

3 November 2022 TB Members Calling

Bharath Sankaran (Madras, India, 1985) is the CTO and co-founder of Scaled Robotics, a Barcelona-based construction startup and cloud-based platform that uses data captured on sites to automatically compare it against the project (BIM model) and schedule.

As a computer scientist and roboticist, with experitise in Computer Vision, Machine Learning and Mobile Manipulation, Bharath Sankaran has worked at world-renowed research labs in industry and academia, namely the University of Southern California, Max Planck Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University, Qualcomm, Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs, and Bosch RTC. He also has degrees in aerospace engineering and mechanical engineering.

“I am generally interested in leveraging the state-of-the-art in machine learning and computer vision to solve complex real-world inference problems in unstructured environments”.


TB: What is the purpose of your project?

BS: The purpose of our project is to inspire people to make better decisions to build the world that we want to live in.


TB: A good idea you have had.

BS: Using first principles, reformulating the problem of waste reduction in construction as a problem of manufacturing process control; and how AI can be leveraged to tackle this problem by comparing real-world measurements against virtually designed models and plans.


TB: A bad professional experience.

BS: There’s nothing good or bad about an experience if you view it as an opportunity to learn. Experiences come in two forms, things you want to repeat in the future and things you don’t.


TB: The best advice you’ve ever been given.

BS: If you are not making yourself uncomfortable, you are not learning. Evolution comes from change, not stability. Hence don’t be deterred by failure, tomorrow will always be a brand-new day.


TB: A professional reference that inspires you.

BS: Prof. Ružena Bajscy and my former classmate Diana Trujillo (NASA).


TB: A technology that will shape the future.

BS: Artificial Intelligence, especially the subfield of Machine Learning. With the advances we have made in computing and algorithms, coupled with the massive datasets we have built over the last couple of decades, we are now at the beginning of a new era of whirlwind change. We can now extract deep insights into fundamental problems we have been working on for decades. This will see a transformational impact in all fields that touch everyday life from healthcare and education to energy and construction.


TB: What are you concerned about?

BS: Global inequality and Climate Change (the least fortunate amongst us will be the most affected by the actions of others).


TB: A startup.

BS: Zipline.


TB: A book to recommend.

BS: “A short history of nearly everything” by Bill Bryson.


TB: A series, movie or song that defines your moment in life.

BS: As a series, “Star Trek Enterprise” (the original). As a movie, “The man from earth”. It’s a deeply profound movie. Artistically it shows you can convey a lot with very little. And as a song, “Manithan Enbavan” from a 50’s Tamil movie called “Sumai Thangi”. The song’s title translates to “The one who calls himself human”: the lyrics are also profound, and the composition is soothing. Listening to it calms my mind. For the internationally acclimatized, I would recommend reading a translation of the lyrics other than just listening to it.


TB: A recipe, a meal, a restaurant.

BS: Sri Lankan Sothi with idiyappam, my mom’s fried coconut sambar with sauteed okra, and Disfrutar (Barcelona) or La Giostra (Florence).


TB: One city, one trip.

BS: Kyoto. And Leh (Ladakh) bike expedition from Delhi on a Royal Enfield Bullet 500.


TB: Where would you invest 100k?

BS: Early childhood education.


TB: And one million euros?

BS: Solving problems in the accessibility of education.


TB: If you were not an entrepreneur…

BS: I am an accidental entrepreneur. I will always be a scientist first.


TB: What is Tech Barcelona for you?

BS: An opportunity to connect, learn, and if possible, inspire.


Check out other TB Members Calling here.