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  • Writer's pictureDilip Kumar

Never Stop Dreaming!

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

A quote from Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam, Scientist and a humble being

Had anyone asked me where I would be 20 years from now when I was a 5-year-old kid, I'd have been grossly inaccurate. I dreamed of being an aircraft Pilot, an Olympic athlete, a professional pianist, and so many other things.

I had a curious mind even when I was only 6. I would intentionally disassemble fully functional electronic toys trying to understand how it's internals worked. Especially RC cars with steering control and flashing lights. I would then try to put them back together after exploring what was inside.

I developed a strong liking for computer games when I was 8. Those were the days when only one in 20 households had a personal computer. And the most popular OS was Microsoft DOS. I would run to my neighbor's house after the end of every school day to pester the brother next door to play Dangerous Dave or Lion King while I ran live commentary.


I was 11 when I discovered my passion for computers. It was the year when I got my first PC with an Intel Pentium 4, 256MB SDRAM, 80GB HDD, ATI Rage 128 Pro graphics card, and a Sound Blaster Live! audio card running Windows XP. It was a decent configuration at that time. 🙂 I would open up the cabinet to see how the RAM modules were connected to the motherboard, how the CPU and its cooler fan were connected. I started fiddling with it so much, that I soon learned how to remove the CPU from its socket and cleanup the thermal paste which had dried up causing overheating issues. When I was 13, I was introduced to a game from Rockstar Games, GTA Vice City. Things changed for me dramatically from there.


It was a game way beyond its time even in 2005. I loved its open-world design which allowed the player to explore different parts of the game map rather than follow a fixed story-line. You could do all sorts of crazy things roaming around the 2 main islands. I was mesmerized by the options this game allowed. I would sit in front of my computer cruising around the town and performing stunts for days altogether, forgetting to take a break even for food. I got the occasional threat from my mom that she would throw the computer out. But the computer was too precious at that time, so I knew the chances of my mom's threats becoming a reality was very slim. 😀

It was not long before I had finished the game and I knew every inch of the map by heart. But my curiosity had not died. I started wondering how it was possible to create visuals that looked so real (at that time). This got me to learn about graphics cards, OpenGL, textures polygon meshes, and shaders. I started modding the game map files and adding more places to explore in-game.


Outside of the game, I was exposed to Nvidia for the first time for being the leader in the consumer graphics cards industry. I thought to myself, how do they always keep the crown for graphics processing power? I read about Jensen Huang who co-founded Nvidia and leads the innovation of tech, and growth of the company. Fun Fact: Did you know that it was Nvidia that made the term "GPU" a common household name by launching the GeForce series of graphic cards? I had a thought: "How crazy would it be to meet the guy who leads one of the greatest tech companies in the world, in person?"

With all thoughts about my dream aside, I chose to be an engineering undergrad in 2009, with Electronics and Communication as my specialization, hoping that it would give me a chance to work on electronics and other computer hardware. By the time I was finishing my course, I got recruited in 2013 by e-con systems, who were one out of the only 3 companies that recruited for jobs in electronics in my college. I began my first step in my career focusing on building embedded devices and cameras.

Credit: and

This is also where I got an opportunity to work on Nvidia products. It was in 2014 when Nvidia introduced the Jetson Tegra K1 to the world. It went on to become the most popular developer kit at that time because of its ability to run desktop-class graphics applications on the edge and at such a low cost. Nvidia had shrunk a desktop GPU and fit it inside a small SoC!! Innovation that would soon lead to many wonderful things!

Soon, a lot of hobbyists and creators were building something amazing with it. Despite being so popular, It lacked support for high throughput cameras. The Nvidia Tegra K1 had support for a 4-lane MIPI CSI2 interface but no camera products that utilized it. People were using the USB 3.0 interface of the TK1 dev kit which used the UVC drivers. This would work fine for low resolutions and framerates. However, when higher resolutions were needed, due to the limitations of the USB and UVC drivers at that time, the cameras would be buggy and crash often.

I was tasked with interfacing an image sensor to the TK1 dev kit. After a year of research about the completely new Jetson platform and it's software and hardware architecture, I finished the sensor drivers for three image sensors and tested them all by wiring up these sensors to the Jetson TK1. This was at a time when there were no official support channels for the embedded platform from Nvidia other than the developer community and the technical documents. In 2015, we launched e-CAM130_CUTK1, the world's first MIPI CSI2 camera solution for the Nvidia Jetson TK1.


The e-CAM130_CUTK1 received immense response from consumers which made us realize the need for MIPI CSI2 cameras for the Nvidia embedded platforms. Nvidia also realized the potential for growth in the embedded domain and they released the TX1, TX2, Xavier, and Nano to cater to different needs over the following 4 years. And you know, the rest is history. We all know how Nvidia's Jetson platform has changed the edge computing landscape. Over the years, I built over 12 camera products for the Nvidia Jetson family of processors. And e-con was awarded the Prefered Partner status for cameras by Nvidia for it's Jetson line of SoCs. I also got the opportunity to work on other cool embedded tech on the side.

A simple Augmented Reality demo running on the Jetson TK1

The years went by and in 2019, e-con was invited by Nvidia to meet with various other partners from around the world in the Nvidia Jetson ecosystem. I and the co-founder of our company, Maharajan Veerababu traveled to Santa Clara for this event. I got to meet with many of the wonderful people in Nvidia's camera team to learn about the latest research and development they were doing. We also got to showcase the things we build using the Jetson platforms to internal Nvidia stakeholders.


This was when I came face to face with 'the man in the black leather jacket' for the first time. Jensen was donning the same leather jacket we all have come to know from his keynote speeches. I'm not sure if anyone has ever seen him without one at a business meeting. 🤔

It was a breathtaking moment for me. To meet the person from your childhood dreams in real life, is something we would all cherish. I and Maha explained the multi-camera solution we built for the Nvidia Jetson TX2 / Xavier SoCs to Jensen Huang. We explained how our customers use this hardware platform to build intelligent video analytics products for the edge. Jensen listened patiently throwing a few curious questions here and there. When we had finished, he smiled and congratulated us on the work we did and offered to take a picture with him.

Me with Jensen Huang CEO of Nvidia, and Maharajan co-founder of e-con Systems at Nvidia HQ, Santa Clara

I would never forget the happiness I felt for getting recognized by the leader from my childhood dream. It took me 14 years to meet Jensen in person from the day I wished for it. It was not easy to achieve though. There were many hardships along the way which I had to overcome. Anyone who puts in the effort can make their dreams come true as well. It takes perseverance during tough times. Even when you do not know where your life is moving towards, you push through as hard as you can. You never let your dreams fade away!

Dream, Dream, Dream. Dreams transform into Thoughts. And Thoughts result in Action. - Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam

For me, This is not the end of my dreams, this is just a milestone. This is just the beginning!

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