“Oh, see, they have used Kinect,” “I think, C# for the back-end would have been a better choice instead of VB,” “No DC motors, how come?,” “Did you think of using the hydraulic actuator?”, “We used a gyroscope,” “Debugging in Matlab is tough”….and many more.
But that didn’t take away the sheer joy of watching the mini-machines moving, rotating, jumping, digging, and flying at the Robo Carnival 2016, that took place at BUET from November 29 to December 1, 2016.
“You don’t need to understand the science of robotics to appreciate a robot. Watching a mechanical object moving with the command of a human is pure fun,” said Sagar Hasnat, a student of BBA of a private university who came to see what was happening.
Saiham Ahmed, a second year student of electrical engineering of Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology, however came to learn. “I plan to pursue a higher degree in robotics. So I came to see various projects.”
And as much fun as robots are to play with, robots are even more fun to build, he said.
“Besides, my friends from BUET have robots here. I came to cheer for them.”
Meanwhile, on Thursday , Nayeem Reza, a fourth year student of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (EEE) of BUET was found fixing his robot for the round of industrial automation challenge.
“This robot is going to pick up different shapes from the platform and place it into appropriate holes. This is important because the technology used for this robot is scalable and can be integrated in the industry,” he said.
Fahim Faisal, secretary general of BUET Robotics society, said that the Robo Carnival was arranged with certain focuses in mind.
“The robots that we asked for at the carnival will do practical things. We wanted robots for industrial automation and for conducting rescue operations during disasters. That’s why the carnival has segments for industrial automation challenge and rescue bot challenge.”
Here the students submitted design and prototype of robots for these two functions, he added.
Faisal said that they also have a separate segment where students need to submit and pass the line challenge.
Explaining this, he said, in this segment, student groups are challenged to program robots with light sensors to follow a black line. Learning both the logic and skills behind programming robots for this challenge helps students improve their understanding of how robots "think" and widens their appreciation for the complexity involved in programming industrial scale robots.
Sumaya Saima, a third year student of the Mechanical Department of BUET, who was given the charge of organising the workshop during the Robo Carnival, said that she was overwhelmed by the response she received.
“Over 200 HSC level students from different colleges took part in our workshop where basics of robotics were discussed and taught. Their enthusiasm made the workshop a big success.”
Saima said that the idea behind the workshop is to educate college level students about basic robotics. “At the HSC level, students already get to learn computer programming language like C. They also learn about electronic circuits. Our plan was to combine the theoretical knowledge along with practical implementation to fulfill the learning process.”
She said that during the workshop, the college students were taught the basics of robotics practically. “The look on their faces when they first lit a LED light on a breadboard was priceless.”
Dr Reduan Hasan Khan, a former student of EEE of BUET who was one of inspiring figures behind the formation of BUET Robotics club, said that the idea of robotics has changed.
“The word robot doesn’t have to create an image of a mechanical thing moving something from one place to another. The core idea behind robotics is automation and improving the performance of machines and lessening the burden on humans.”
He said that the world has entered into the era of ‘internet of things’. “Almost every action which previously used to need manual labour is being automated these days. And these actions are connected with each other through cloud computing. Imagine that you can now control the room temperature from your office. Robotics played the role here.”
“We are dreaming of taking the robotics of the country into that level where we can create industrial scale invention and market it for the benefit of the people. Our students have the capacity. All they need is little help from the policymakers and industries.”