Mumbaikars shine in Washington

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It was a proud moment for India when a group of seven students of different age groups from Mumbai led by Rahesh Saraf, the youngest member in the group, won gold in the category of Zhang Heng Engineering Design Award and bronze under the Global Challenge Match category at the first Global Robotics Olympiad in Washington, where teams from 157 countries participated. The team members: Rahesh Saraf, team leader; Aadiv Shah, team spokesperson; Harsh Bhatt, alliance strategist, Vatsin,alliance analyst, Adhyyan, robot tactician, Tejas, robot controller, Raghav, robot driver, and Nilesh Shah, mentor.

Brainfeed interacted with Rahesh Saraf and Aadiv Shah on their experiences during the Olympiad. Excerpts:

How did you and your team prepare for the project?

From May 2017, we practiced for 47 days. We would go to our workshop everyday for about 6-8 hours and constantly try to improve our design perfection. In the later stages we stayed for longer hours, making sure we had the most efficient and simplistic design that completed all tasks. How prestigious is it to win the Zhang Heng Engineering Design Award? To win such a prestigious award on a global stage is truly memorable. This is probably the greatest achievement for all of us. To win the Engineering Design Award amongst 163 teams is like a dream come true.

Why your bot was named ‘Neutrino’? What are its features and benefits?

Our robot was extremely fast and energetic just like the neutrino particle in quantum physics. We built the robot according to what we thought would best suit the challenge. We had three channels to collect balls and three independent colour sensors to differentiate between blue and orange balls. It can also deploy two arms that hook onto a bar 2.5 feet above the ground and which are capable of lifting the entire robot off the ground. Our unique design ensured that we could collect many balls and increase the capacity of our bot. It is designed to solve the challenge in collecting the water and contaminant particles, sort them and deliver them in their respective areas.

As the youngest member to lead the team, how did you manage with your seniors?

I didn’t really lead the team as they were familiar with their roles and responsibilities. My
role was to ensure that the work was getting done on time and the team was motivated.

Teams from 157 countries took part in the robotic Olympiad. Were you confident that you will be winning in any category?

At first, we were extremely nervous and wanted to check out the other robots so that we
could get a fair idea of where we would stand. Later, we knew we were in good shape and felt confident.

What did you learn from other country participants? How was your interaction with them?

We learnt about their culture and the way to strategise according to the strengths of other
teams and coming up with the optimal solutions. It was fun and something to cherish.