The usual saying is ‘Necessity is the mother of all invention’, but that is not what four students and a teacher from Gundecha Education Academy, Kandivali, Mumbai had in mind when they set out to create something for the Gizmo Geek competition a couple of years back. Four students Jairaj Desai, Ishti Gupta, Nirbhay Singh and Akshay Gupte put their thoughts together and with guidance from physics teacher Shashikant Pandey came up with a Robot, aptly named the “X Picker” to pick up litter from the school campus.
The picker approximately about 20 inches high has metal body and is fitted on caterpillar track wheels. The arm or crane of the robot is fitted with a claw-like handle which can be moved up or down and can be opened or closed. The mechanism is remote controlled and works on a 12 watt rechargeable battery. Small circuits connected to leavers pull up, push down the arm and open or close the claw of the machine to enable easy picking up or dropping of litter. The wheels, body and claws of the robot came from the toys, the young inventors brought from their homes. The robot is the result of an extensive research conducted by Shashikant Pandey. “The children had already decided to make something that would be of use to society. So we decided to go out and ask people to name one thing that affected their day-to-day lives the most. Surprisingly, 80% of the people complained of the frequent absenteeism by domestic helps.” Taking cue from that, the children went about planning, designing and creating a prototype of their working model.
The first model, called the “Dust Buster”, looked like a rickshaw and comprised of nothing more than a plank of wood which had wheels and rollers attached to its base. The battery operated model could collect small amounts of litter as it rolled on the floor. But that litter would have to be manually picked up and put in the dustbins. This model won them the third price at the Gizmo Geek competition in 2006. The following year the children created a bigger model, which housed the circuits and the battery on different levels in the house like model. This model won them the second price in 2007 and gave them the extra surge of energy to make a bigger and better model.
The 2008 Gizmo Geek competition saw them replacing conventional for modern, wood for metal, rollers for claws, opting for a new name and using only
र 5000 for funds. Unfortunately their hard work and new look didn’t win them the much anticipated first price as the judges refused to believe that the children could create a metal framework by themselves! Refusing to get disheartened the students are already planning the next X Picker which will have a better design, larger body and will combine the functions of the roller (which collected trash) and the claw (which actually picked up trash and dumped it in bins). Also impressive is the fact that the children used readily available material, dedicated two to three hours per day during school hours, managed to study for the other subjects and stay on top of their class too.
Of the four students involved with the project, Nirbhay Singh has been with the project throughout the three years it took to evolve from a rickshaw model to the current modern metal picker. Currently in class XI, Nirbhay wants to study computer engineering while Akshay still in class X wants to pursue his passion in automotive engineering. Jairaj Desai, Ishti Gupta also want to pursue engineering, but all four still spend time in the Physics lab with their mentor Shashikant Pandey and help him help other young students construct innovative projects.
The X Picker is not the only invention in the physics lab of Gundecha Education Academy. There is this ‘mini gym’, which is nothing but a pedalling machine that can be used while working, reading a book or watching TV. The students have also created a model of an insulation cooker and are thrilled that a similar product is being marketed at
र 1500. Their more ambitious plan involves inventing a machine that would take CO2 in a room, mix it with alumina and form carbon. This carbon could be used as kaajal or as ink for pens. With such talented students in the school, the principal Seema Buch is sure of having many “Gundecha patented products in the market soon”.