Two city-based teams of robotics enthusiasts have won the opportunity to represent India at two different international events — the World Robotic Championship in the USA and the Open European Championship. The teams are coached and mentored by Prakalpa and Chris Bastianpillai, founders of Robominds, a technology workshop for children based in Pune.
Bastianpillai believes that robotics and automation are finally picking up pace in India as parents have understood the importance of this field, when it comes to the scope it provides to understand and polish the application of mathematics and logic among children. “It is one of a kind hands-on learning experience, especially in times when education is all about theory,” Bastianpillai adds.
Team Ripple comprising Shreyasi Joshi, Shaunak Karyekar, Om Gandhi, Shaashvat Sekhar, Saurav Athavale and Yash Gala will be representing India at the Open European Championship to be held in Estonia later this year. They have won the Championships Award and the Robot Performance Award at the Regional competition as well as the Best Project Research Award at the National competition.
Om Gandhi, a 13-year-old member of Ripples, says that he discovered his love and passion for robotics simply by playing with LEGO. He believes that the curiosity of knowing more and more about robots got him into the field of robotics.
When asked how they are preparing for the Championship, Gandhi said, “We are going to work as a team and work on our weak points.”
He mentioned that they had difficulty with documentation and at the robot games in the previously held Championship because of which they decided to practise harder this time and champion the tasks.
Talking about the career prospect he and his friends are looking forward to, Gandhi said that artificial intelligence (AI) is the next big thing and the human race will definitely benefit from it, for which they want to work harder. They believe that AI is the key to ease out work and have a smooth transition from manual to automation. “Some work areas do not have safe conditions for humans to work in, with constant danger to their life. AI will eliminate the numbers of risks,” added Gandhi.
Team Horcruxes, a group of potterheads, believes that automation is required in today’s world as it’s accurate and fast. The team includes Riva Verma, Kanish Thiagarajan, Sidharth Iyer, Piyush Kolhatkar and Sajal Deolikar. They have now become the National Robotic Champions by winning the coveted FLL 2018 Championship Award and the Rockwell Automation Robot Performance Award at both the regional and national competitions.
Said Iyer, “Robotics is an ever evolving field; there are so many advanced discoveries happening in it. There was a time when robots were thought to be dangerous to be around, but that outlook is now changing with the dawn of robotics which is now being efficiently used for the betterment of humans. Robots being machines will never have an emotional side to them, still with the breakthroughs in technology and science, even this fact might change in the near future.”
Team Horcruxes will be the only team representing India at the FLL World Championship to be held in Detroit, Michigan in April.
The teams believe the World Championship event is a great opportunity to showcase India’s capabilities and talent is terms of science and technology at a global platform.