Punit Kunjam

I'm a

"The screen is a window through which one sees a virtual world.
The challenge is to make that world look real, act real, sound real, feel real."

- IVAN SUTHERLAND

Who am I?

Hello! I'm Punit Kunjam, currently a graduate student at the University of Waterloo, pursuing Master of Mathematics in Computer Science with a fully funded scholarship. I anticipate graduating in August 2024 and am actively involved in research at the Haptic Experience Lab, which is affiliated with the Games Institute at the University of Waterloo. Under the guidance of Prof. Oliver Schneider, my work focuses on advancing the field of human-computer interaction (HCI).

I earned my bachelor's degree in computer science and engineering from the International Institute of Information Technology, Naya Raipur, India, in 2021. Throughout my academic journey, my research interests have centered around HCI, particularly in creating innovative immersive systems to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities. Additionally, I'm passionate about developing simulation-based surgical training systems, leveraging robotics and mixed-reality technologies. These systems aim to provide cost-effective solutions for surgeons to practice procedures in a virtual environment.

My prior research experiences include collaborations with esteemed institutions such as Johns Hopkins University (JHU), MIT Media Lab, and the University of Canterbury. Notably, my work from MIT Media Lab and JHU has been published in prestigious venues like ACM SIGGRAPH and Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering: Imaging and Visualization. I've received both a monetary prize and an outstanding paper award for my contributions.

Beyond my academic pursuits, I have a keen interest in travel. During breaks, I indulge in trekking, exploring new places, and immersing myself in diverse cultures worldwide. In my free time, I enjoy playing chess and have participated in national-level tournaments during high school.

Looking ahead, I aspire to become a research scientist and envision myself contributing to cutting-edge developments in leading research and development organizations.

Collaborations

News

Skills

Programming Language: C#, C++, JavaScript, Python
Tools/Frameworks: Unity3D, CHAI3D (Computer Haptics and Active Interfaces), OpenGL, Visual Studio, Git
Technologies: Augmented & Virtual Reality, Haptics
Hardware: Arduino, ESP32
Industrial: Game Development, Simulation, Computer Vision

Education



Master of Mathematics in Computer Science (Thesis)

September 2022 - Present

University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, CA

Cumulative GPA: 92/100

Pursuing Master of Mathematics in Computer Science with a fully funded scholarship. I am actively involved in research at the Haptic Experience Lab, which is affiliated with the Games Institute at the University of Waterloo. Under the guidance of Prof. Oliver Schneider, my work focuses on advancing the field of human-computer interaction (HCI).

Coursework -

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Advance Topics in Computer Graphics (Rendering)
  • Introduction to Haptic Information Design


  • Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science & Engineering

    August 2017 - August 2021

    International Institute of Information Technology, Naya Raipur, IN

    Relevant Coursework -

  • Introduction to Computers & Programming (C)
  • Data Structures and Algorithms
  • Operating System
  • Object Oriented Methodologies (Java)
  • Design and Analysis of Algorithms (C)
  • Software Engineering
  • Big Data Technology
  • Experience

    Research Experience

     

    Graduate Student Mentor

    January 2024 - Present

    University of Waterloo, ON, CA

    Engaged in the WiM (Women in Mathematics) Directed Reading Program as a mentor, currently supervising an undergraduate student (mentee) on an ongoing mathematical project.

     

    Graduate Research Student

    September 2022 - Present

    University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, CA

    Currently working as a Graduate Research Student at the Haptic Experience Lab under Prof. Oliver Schneider. I am actively engaged in cutting-edge research that explores the convergence of haptics and human-computer interaction (HCI). My focus is on investigating how tactile feedback can be leveraged to elevate user experiences in digital interfaces, contributing to the continuous evolution of interactive technologies.

    [Currently involved in a research project with pending publication. Further details will be shared post-publication to adhere to confidentiality requirements and research protocols.]



    Graduate Student Mentor

    September 2023 - December 2023

    Computing Research Association, Washington, DC, US

    Mentored two undergraduate students as a part of the UR2PhD program, a national initiative focusing on engaging women and gender-marginalized students in computing PhD programs.

    Achievements/Tasks -

    • Guided and supported students in navigating the research process with their respective projects, fostering their interest and engagement in computing research.
    • Facilitated weekly virtual meetings to guide students through research methods, troubleshoot challenges, and provide academic and career guidance.
    • Monitored and evaluated students' progress, providing constructive feedback to enhance their research and professional development skills.
    • Actively participated in the virtual mentor training program, refining mentoring strategies to better support undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds.
    [Completion Certificate]   [Letter of Completion]



    Research Intern

    January 2021 - June 2021

    Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, US

    Worked as a research intern at the Laboratory for Computational Sensing and Robotics (LCSR) under Professor Mathias Unberath. The work is related to surgical procedures where I developed a drilling simulation for mastoidectomy surgeries.

    Achievements/Tasks -

    • Collaborated with a multidisciplinary research team for developing a virtual drilling simulator for lateral skull-base surgery.
    • Ideated and developed a collision algorithm to provide haptic feedback on the drill shaft’s collision with the anatomy.
    • Leveraged CHAI3D framework for developing haptic applications
    • Programmed OpenGL in C++.



    Research Intern

    August 2020 - January 2021

    Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, US

    Worked on a research project "Pockets" under the supervision of Mr. Aubrey Simonson (Graduate Research Assistant) at the MIT Media Lab in the Fluid Interfaces Research Group headed by Professor Pattie Maes.

    Achievements/Tasks -

    • Designed and developed a system to minimize the necessity of 2D menus in 3D space.
    • Built a prototype for paint application using unity3D to define the concept of Pockets.
    • Successfully tested the functionality of Pockets in VR with Oculus Rift.
    • Wrote scripts in C# programming language.



    Research Intern

    June 2020 - December 2020

    University Of Canterbury, Christchurch, NZ

    Worked on a research project on Computer Vision and Virtual Reality to build a collision-avoidance system in VR. I worked under the supervision of Dr. Adrian Clark (Senior Lecturer) at the Human Interface Technology Lab (HIT Lab), University of Canterbury New Zealand.

    Achievements/Tasks -

    • Implemented a system to avoid collision between users who may or may not be immersed in the virtual environment.
    • Compared different methods of hazard indications for users immersed in VR.
    • Achieved the tasks employing a machine learning-based human pose estimation framework.



    Visiting Research Intern [Cancelled]

    May 2020

    Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, US

    I was accepted as a visiting research intern at the Sensing, Manipulation, and Real-Time Systems (SMARTS) laboratory in the Department of Computer Science, Johns Hopkins University, for Summer 2020 which was rescinded due to COVID-19. I was going to work under the supervision of Professor Peter Kazanzides on an Augmented Reality head-mounted display research "ARssist" to provide guidance for surgical procedures.



    Professional Experience



    Research Engineer

    May 2022 - July 2022

    Uhmazing, Denver, Colorado, US

    Uhmazing is an interdisciplinary team of machine learning researchers, data scientists, designers, and medical professionals innovating at the intersection of machine learning and XR technologies.

    I worked as a full-time research engineer to contribute building an AI companion.

    Achievements/Tasks -

    • Developed a low-fidelity prototype of an AI companion product using the Unity 3D engine.
    • Utilized speech-to-text API to enable natural language processing and interaction with the AI companion.
    • Collaborated with a team of engineers and designers to ideate, prototype, and iterate on the AI companion concept.


    Business Technology Analyst (Software Engineer)

    January 2022 - April 2022

    Deloitte USI, Bangalore, Karnataka, IN

    Deloitte provides audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax, and legal services with approximately 457,000 professionals globally, and operates in over 150 countries.

    I worked Worked as a full-time Business Technology Analyst (Software Engineer) contributing towards the developement of a financial auditing tool.

    Achievements/Tasks -

    • Maintained a financial auditing tool using Java that improved the efficiency of the auditing process.
    • Collaborated with a team of 5-10 to gather requirements, design, and implement new features and enhancements to the auditing tool.
    • Conducted extensive testing and debugging to ensure the reliability and accuracy of the financial auditing tool, resulting in an increase in data accuracy.
    • Kept up-to-date with the latest technologies and tools relevant to the financial auditing industry, and shared knowledge with team members to improve the overall quality of the product.


    Other Experience



    Gradaute Teaching Assistant

    September 2022 - Present

    University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, CA

    Currently involved as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) for an undergraduate-level course on CS230 - Introduction to Computers and Computer Systems.

    Previously TA'd courses: CS 115 - Introduction to Computer Science 1, CS230 - Introduction to Computers and Computer Systems, and CS 246 - Object-Oriented Software Development

    Achievements/Tasks -

    • Grade assignments and provide constructive feedback to students.
    • Assist in proctoring exams and maintaining academic integrity in the classroom.
    • Demonstrat strong communication and interpersonal skills to effectively interact with students and fellow teaching assistants.
       

    Unity Developer Intern

    June 2019 - July 2019

    Mimyk Medical Simulations, Indian Institute of Science Bangalore

    MIMYK is a deep-tech spin-off from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru. They build intelligent and immersive solutions for medical procedures. These systems are powered by AR/VR, Robotics, and Visual Computing technologies.

    I worked as an Intern at Mimyk Medical Simulation, IISc Bangalore under the supervision of Dr. Nithin Shivashankar and Dr. Shanthanu Chakravarthy. I contributed to the team's efforts in developing a novel endoscopy simulator (EndoMIMYK).

    Achievements/Tasks -

    • Created 3D interactive training modules using unity3D for EndoMIMYK.
    • Identified major problems in medical disciplines.
    • Researched various applications of VR in surgical procedures.


    Intern

    June 2019 - July 2019

    WowExp Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore, Karnataka

    WoWExp is building a Generative AI product called WoW FinGPT. It is A revolutionary product to assist the investment and trading analysts with the power of fine-tuned LLMs and selected datasets.

    Achievements/Tasks -

    • Developed 3D content using open-source libraries for the company’s website.
    • Worked with babylon.js to simulate 3D graphics on the website.
    • Learned how a startup works at an early stage.


    Game Development Intern

    January 2019 - March 2019

    StareOut Games, Hyderabad, Telangana

    StareOut Games is a game studio with the vision to build games in the hyper-casual and casual segments.

    Achievements/Tasks -

    • Designed and evaluated the prototype for a game using the unity3D game engine.
    • Learned to develop games for the android platform.
    • Programmed in C# to implement gameplay mechanics.


    Volunteer and Leadership Experience



    Game Development and AR/VR Lead

    July 2018 - August 2021

    The Society of Coders (TSoC), IIITNR Chhattisgarh

    The Society of Coders is IIIT-Naya Raipur’s official coding club. Started by students in a bid to spur the coding culture at this fledging college, the club is responsible for hosting and conducting a diverse range of coding events - hackathons, workshops, coding competitions and much more.

    Achievements/Tasks -

    • Conducted workshops for unity3D and its applications.
    • Delivered lectures on applications of AR/VR and the basics of game development.
    • Mentored junior developers and provided guidance on technical issues, resulting in improved team performance and increased productivity.


    Event Head

    March 2018

    Technovate (Technical & Cultural Fest), IIITNR Chhattisgarh

    Achievements/Tasks -

    • Planned and executed a successful LAN gaming tournament as part of a technical fest.
    • Oversaw all aspects of the tournament, including equipment setup, rule enforcement, and prize distribution, ensuring a smooth and fair competition for all participants.
    • Developed marketing strategies to attract participants and promote the tournament.
    • Demonstrated strong leadership, communication, and organizational skills throughout the planning and execution of the event, receiving positive feedback from both participants and organizers.

    Projects

    • All
    • Research Projects
    • Personal Projects
    • Hackathon

    AMBF+ (Asynchronouos Multibody Framework Plus)

    Pockets

    Collision Avoidance System in VR

    EndoMIMYK

    Slingshot

    Tower of Hanoi

    Proxy Interpreter

    AI Assistant Jarvis

    Computer Vision + Unity

    Game Development with Unity

    Game Oasis Hackathon

    Publications

    Pockets: User-Assigned Menus Based on Physical Buttons for Virtual Environments
    Simonson, A., Kunjam, P., and Maes, P.
    In SIGGRAPH '21 Posters: Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, ACM (2021).
    [PDF] [DOI]

    Virtual reality for synergistic surgical training and data generation
    Munawar, A., Li, Z., Kunjam, P., Nagururu, N., Ding, A.S., Kazanzides, P., Looi, T., Creighton, F.X., Taylor, R.H. and Unberath, M.
    In Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering: Imaging & Visualization (2021).
    [PDF] [DOI]

    Contact

    Location:

    45 High Street, Waterloo, ON N2L 3X7