Delhi lad hopes his robots will bend it like Beckham

July 12th, 2010 - 3:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 12 (IANS) Even as the World Cup held people in thrall, an 18-year-old Delhi boy is hoping his home-built robots would be able to show off their football skills at a world championship called Robosoccer to be held Sep 15-19 in Bangalore.
Diwaker Vaish is busy fine-tuning his three humanoid robots that will participate in the event to be hosted by the Federation of International Robosoccer Association (FIRA) from Sep 15-19 in Bangalore.

He is now programming the three soccer robots — a goalkeeper, a defender and an attacker — for the robot soccer tournament.

A Class 12 pass out, Diwaker said: “For the first time, the event will be held in India. I hope my three specially designed soccer robots will play in the tournament. I have finished the physical structure of one robot, I will finish the other two in another week, while programming for all the three would be done simultaneously. I hope my robots will win the world cup as they have unique features.” For this, Diwaker has already built a prototype — Isotope.

With an Atmel processor as brain, 25 brackets forming the skeleton and 16 servos in place of muscles, Isotope can walk, dance and stand on one leg and even dance to bhangra beats!

“With additional high-power servos (they are muscle-like parts that help a robot move like a human being), the newly-developed soccer robots are more stable. They won’t fall even if you push them with force.”

Diwaker, who has taken a break from his studies to follow his passion, say Isotope took seven months to create.

Now, he is confident that he can finish work on the soccer robots by August as he already knows the nuances of robot-making.

Talking about Isotope, he said, “With advanced artificial intelligence techniques, Isotope will be able to take instructions in both Hindi and English.”

But will these skill sets be enough for a robot to take on its rivals on the mini-soccer field?

“No, competing with robotic experts from Korea, Japan, Czech Republic etc is not a joke. My soccer robots are much more advanced and efficient than my first humanoid robot.”

Diwaker is being sponsored by A-Set (Advanced School of Engineering and Technology), a private computer institution in Delhi.

A gadget freak, Diwaker got interested in robotics after his first creation, a racing boat, won the first prize in Quanta in Lucknow in November 2009.

His boat finished the race in 18 seconds and won the competition in which students from 40 countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Russia and the Czech Republic, participated.

Speaking about her son’s skills, Maya Vaish said, “We have spent around Rs.4 lakh for procuring tools and material to build the robot. Initially, his father (Uday Kumar Vaish) who is into computer networking business, was apprehensive. But later we considered it as an investment in our child’s development.”

“Right from childhood, Diwaker has been very creative. When he was in Class 6, he burnt down our refrigerator as he wanted to check how long a candle will remain lit inside the freezer,” she said.

Diwaker studied in Bal Bharati Public school in Rajendra Nagar and scored 72 percent in Class 12. But he feels that the education system in India offers little scope for robotics.

“I learned the basics of robotics from the Internet. In counties like Japan, Korea and the United States, a school student coming up with a robot is very common. But in India only IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) students take up projects on robotics. Awareness on robotics and its possibilities are very few here,” Diwaker said.

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