A 16-year-old boy from Thoubal district, Manipur, has made positive use of the COVID-19 lockdown period by creating a delivery robot which is remote controlled and capable of carrying goods weighing about four kilograms.
Ningthoujam Bikash Meitei, a class nine student from Heirok bazaar, with no professional training built the delivery robot. He finished creating the robot in June.
Bikash is working on another robot which will be capable of lifting and holding things, he said. His aim is to let the two robots coordinate together, where one will be lifting the things and the other will be carrying it.
Speaking exclusively to the Imphal Free Press, Bikash said, “I already have a concept of creating a manually run washing machine which can perform its duties without using electricity or fuel”.
Although Bikash has many plans and dreams, he has to struggle with financial constraints in buying necessary materials for making robots and other designs since his father Ningthoujam Prem Meitei, who is the lone bread earner of the family, is a daily wage earner in a brick field.
Bikash began to develop interest in making robots since he was studying in class three. The movies he watched while staying as a boarder in his school Grace Academy Heirok fueled his imaginations and led him to adopt a passion for robotics. However, owing to limited time and resources in the boarding, he could not find time to indulge in creating robots.
Later, after coming out of the boarding in 2019, he started getting himself busy on small projects such as a functional mini JCB excavator which is controlled by using a syringe as a pump to control the object. Since then, Bikash has never looked back and started chasing dreams of creating robots.
Making positive use of the lockdown, Bikash started building the remote controlled delivery robot in April and completed it in June. The robot could function at a distance of 100 metres from the person using the remote control.
Bikash said, “I wanted to create the robot with the size of a human but I do not have enough materials. However, I collected different materials from my friends and completed the present delivery robot by spending around Rs.1,000”.
He expressed confidence that he will be able to create a human size delivery robot, if he has enough financial support. In addition to that, Bikash said, “I already have the concept to build a manually run washing machine. I can build it once I have enough resources".
Without electricity, the washing machine will be connected to a cycle paddle. By stepping on the paddle, the washing machine will be able to perform its work, he said. If it works, it will save people's expenses in electricity and they will also be performing exercise while stepping on the paddle, Bikash added.
Since the delivery robot could only carry and deliver things, Bikash is presently creating another robot which can hold and lift things so that the two robots can coordinate and work together. However, the project is incomplete since he could not afford to buy the materials required.
Bikash's mother, Ningthoujam Premila told the IFP that her son has always been a top rank holder in his class since early age and he was into making small things for his own satisfaction. However, fearing that all those things may distract his son from his studies, she even had to throw some of his son's projects away.
But seeing Bikash’s interest and enthusiasm, his parents fully supported him and are willing to support Bikash in whatever they can.