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Thursday, 23 March 2017

12-yr-old invents robot-operated vacuum

As kids and probably even as adults, we have all at some point been curious enough to dismantle electronic devices to understand its mechanics. While some of us might have been reprimanded for it, a parent in Gurugram district of Haryana nurtured their 12-year-old son, Aryan Srivastava's curiosity, who went on to create a battery-operated robot, Vaccumate, for cleaning floors.
The idea to create this robot dawned upon him a year ago when Aryan was preparing for Class 6 exams and needed his mother's help, who was then busy arguing with their maid. At that point, Aryan wished there was a robot to do the household chores. Although this idea developed over a year, it wasn't the first time Aryan was creating something. “As a child he was very fond of creating stuff with things that he could lay his hands on at home. Initially it was in the form of craft as shown on the television show Art Attack but soon it evolved into pulling apart his toys, cars and other electronic items like calculators. We realised his interest for machines. Even today, when we want to dispose a mobile phone, he is more than happy to take it,” says his mother Deepti Srivastava, an engineer who took up teaching as visiting faculty in a university in Haryana to ensure her presence around Aryan. To nurture Aryan's interest, his father Anirudh Srivastava, an engineer and an MBA graduate, suggested Aryan to join his school's robotics group when he was in Class 4. In a few months, Aryan realised that he enjoyed creating things and started participating in inter-school robotics competitions. His curiosity was fuelled with an introduction to arduino, a micro-controller board that is similar to a processor in functioning and works as a programme, a year later by his father. “He introduced me and told me about arduino in brief. I was on a vacation when I thought of learning more about it and started browsing videos on arduino and coding lessons,” says Aryan. The idea of a vacuum cleaner that can be operated by a robot underwent several stages of improvisation, after he was enrolled in a Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) programme in 2016, and was asked to devise a business model. “That was when I thought of reworking on it and taking it forward as a business idea,” adds Aryan. His then wishful thinking turned into a business model that earned him a funding of Rs 10,000 from the YEA investor panel last month. Explaining the making, Aryan shows various components that went into creating this device, “For the robot part, I have used an arduino for programming, two motors for functioning, one castor for fluid movement, an object avoidance sensor and a battery. For the vacuum, I have used the lower portion of a bottle with holes in it for passage of air, a lid, a pipe and a fan working in reverse direction to suck the dust particles.” He also points out that the usage of batteries is to avoid dependency on electricity.
“In the prototype, the suction and movement of the robot doesn't function together as the movement is faster at the moment,” adds Aryan and ensures it to be aligned in the final product that will reach the users.