Anwesha Ghosh
Monday, 13 April 2020

With the rise of new digital industrial technology, known as Industry 4.0, robotics is an integral part. Keeping this in mind, a group of young engineers from across Goa have come together to incorporate and enhance their skills in robotics, reports ANWESHA GHOSH   

With the rise of new digital industrial technology, known as Industry 4.0, robotics is an integral part. Keeping this in mind, a group of young engineers from across Goa have come together to incorporate and enhance their skills in robotics, reports ANWESHA GHOSH   

Technology is something that is upgrading in bullet’s speed. Students were not even aware of robotics five years ago but now robotics is being taught at school level as well. Robotics is something which is the need of the hour.

Professor Shivkrishna, Assistant professor at Mechanical department at Agnel Institute of Technology and Design (AITD) emphasises that nowadays every field has robotics involved in it. 

Prof Shivkrishna, who is the founding member and faculty in charge of the club says, “The club was formed after two years of constant effort and is a stepping stone for the students. We train students by conducting workshop on robotics by inviting industry specialist to give them motivation and hands on experience. The idea behind the club is to make students aware and keep them informed of the latest trends in the world of robotics.”

A final year mechanical student and president of robotic club at AITD, Shridhar Shirodkar says that at present robotics is a very important subject as the world turns tech savvy and manual processing of data decreases. “Today in this era of Industry 4.0, we cannot just be depended on classroom courses; practical knowledge is very necessary especially when it comes to robotics,” Shirodkar says.

Besides being the president of the robotic club at AITD, Shirodkar also heads a robotic team called ‘Phoenix’ which brings together like minded students from across Goa with a common interest in robotics. “In 2014, few of my friends and I came up with this idea to form a robotics team and that’s when ‘Phoenix’ was formed. We are a government registered team and have participated in several national and international robotics competitions,” Shirodkar says.

“We started with five-six members and now we have forty-eight members from different colleges across Goa. Not just this, recently we have formed another group in Karnataka as well,” he informs.

Speaking about the recent achievements of his team Shirodkar says, “We were the champions at the 8 kg robowar and runners-up at 15 kg competition held at IIT Bombay. We also got invitation of competitions to be held in Brazil and Malaysia.”

highlighting the activities undertaken by the club, Shirodkar said, “We conduct workshops for students and guide them how to make drones, line follower, war robots, work on motors to participate in robotic competitions like robowar, robo soccer etc. We have trained at least 3000-4000 school students till date.”

Talking about what he plans to do in his future Shirodkar says, “My motto is to make people aware of robots and how it works. As a team head, I would want the students to train and educate the students each and every aspect of robotics so that in the next workshop they themselves can become the resource person. I am willing to share whatever knowledge I have with my fellow team members as well as others. Besides, I would like to set up my own start-up on robots with the same name ‘Phoenix’.”

Throwing light on a special project which he has been working on recently Shirodkar says, “We are working on a smart watch but unlike any other smart watch with just GPS and calling facility, this smart watch can alarm a person, if he or she is going to suffer a heart attack. There is a sensor in the watch which has records the pulse rate, and alert the person if it is irregular. We are on the prototyping stage and plan to launch it next two months.”

Just like the captain anchors the ship Carlton Rebello, a fourth year mechanical engineering student Padre Conceicao College of Engineering (PCCE), Verna, controls the robots in the competitions. He is also the designing and manufacturing head. “As the designing and manufacturing head, my role is to design robots and get it structured as per the requisite. We have to manufacture most of the robots from outside Goa as here we don’t have the required resources,” Rebello says.

Highlighting the key point to keep in mind while designing and manufacturing a robot Rebello says, “To design a robot, we need to take care of the weight and dimension of the robot. We have competitions categorised in weights so a slight difference in weight can also affect our participation. Also it depends on what kind of robot we want to make, an offensive wedge or a weapon bot.”

Carlton was first introduced to robotics when he was in first year. “I built a drone when I was in first year and realised my passion towards robotics. I want to continue my further studies in robotics,” Rebello says.

Tanya Naik a second year student from PCCE says that she first got introduced to robotics when she attended a robotics competition at her college and since there has been no looking back. “I was fascinated to see how robots work, their designing and coding and that when I decided to join the club.” Breaking all stereotypes, Tanya became the first and only girl to join team ‘Phoenix’ which till that date comprised of boys only. At present there are thirty five boys and only four girls.

“When I joined this team, I was absolutely an amateur but I now I have learnt a lot of things about robots. I have even worked on many projects like line follower, automated robot, a race robot and also on a war robot which the most difficult one,” Naik adds.

Uma Masurkar, a first year student from Goa College of Engineering exudes that with every industry going digital and manual workforce being reduced, demand of robotics will boost in the near future. “Robotics will be taking over sooner or later as industries go digital. Thus, it is worthy to gain knowledge when I am getting the opportunity to do so,” Uma says.

Responding to why there are few girls in her team Uma says, “Many girls think robotics is something which can just be studied by boys, which is a wrong perception. Girls should not think that any lesser than boys and should at least try before giving up hope.”

Third year student of electronic communication department, Pushpraj Ghosarwadkar was into robotics in his school. “I had participated at a national robotics competition in Mumbai when I was standard XII. I joined team Phoenix just last year and have been heading the marketing team. Joining this team has helped me sharpen my knowledge in robotics from designing to knowing every minute details of a robot,” Pushpraj says. Pushpraj is also part of the team making the special smart watch.  

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