TOYING WITH GEEKY IDEAS

MEET CITY’S TALENTED CELEBRITIES-IN-THE-MAKING with Priya Adhyaru-Majithia

A 13-yr-old led his team to victory at the regional round of 8th Indian Robot Olympiad. He hopes to win the finals, too

Ordinary boys pester mommy for toys, but Kanhai Parikh likes to design his own stuff using sensors, micro-processors and wireless units. An ace at designing robot toys, the 13-year-old from Ahmedabad International School and his partner Aman Shah, 11, from Zydus School For Excellence pipped more than 400 teams in regional rounds at Pune to enter the final round of the eighth Indian Robot Olympiad.

The contest tests logical, analytical and engineering skills of young participants. If they win this contest, they qualify for the international competition to be held in Indonesia this year. In the regional rounds, Kanhai and Aman had to build their robots out of Lego Mindstorm bricks to solve pre-defined missions.

Kanhai says, “Since I first attended a workshop on robotics at a club in the city about two years ago designing robots has become my passion. By creating your own robot, which is required to do tasks like playing football, you promote creative thinking, improve communication skills and fine tune your problem-solving abilities.”

The boys developed and experimented with their own programming language to create a robot that could sort five different coloured objects and put them in their respective bins after crossing the hurdles. “We were given two minutes to plan, programme, design and carry out the task. We could finish the task in 35 seconds at the regional level,” says Aman.

Devika Jain, an engineer, who trains Kanhai and Aman, says that it is the rigorous practice of creating robotic models that has helped the boys come this far. “I aspire to become a robotic engineer when I grow up. Till then, I can keep myself busy winning competitions,” says Kanhai.

The write up appeared in Ahmedabad Mirror on Sept 16, 2013

Published by Priya J. Adhyaru-Majithia

Journalist and writer, currently writes for Ahmedabad Mirror – the largest daily news-tabloid in city.

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