Plato famously wrote in ‘Republic’, “Our need will be the real creator”. Many centuries later, this echoes far away from Greece in Goa’s Bethora village, where a man has once again proved him right.
Bipin Kadam has built a robot to help his disabled daughter eat food.
What makes this invention even more special is the fact that Bipin has no background in robotics. After studying till Class 10, he had to start working due to family circumstances. He started off as a helper at a manufacturing company, and has worked his way up to being a CNC designer and programmer.
“My daughter will turn 18 this year. She is fully dependent on my wife and me for all her needs. Although she is physically 18, mentally, she is still like a child, and needs all her meals on time. If she doesn’t get them on time, she starts crying. My wife has vertigo and is sometimes unable to feed my daughter. I am at work for 12 hours a day. In such a situation, who will feed my daughter?” Bipin (43) tells The Better India.
With his wife’s frail health and impending old age, this father of two was plagued with the question of how his daughter would manage in their absence, or when they were unwell. Hearing the government’s pitch for an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, he wanted to make his daughter also ‘Atmanirbhar’, or self-reliant.
“We take our daughter to school also. There are many children like her. I also wanted to help them, when I thought of building a robot,” says Bipin.
So about three years ago, he decided to build a robot that could feed his daughter.
Building a robot in four months
Although Bipin doesn’t have a traditional college education, he was interested in acquiring knowledge. Thanks to the internet, he was able to read up and watch videos that would help him. Moreover, being a CNC operator and designer made him adept at designing the spare parts needed.
“I learnt programming for building the robot. I would also watch a lot of tutorials on robotics. I took permission from my boss to design and print the spare parts I needed,” says Bipin.
After his 12-hour shift at work, he would spend a minimum of two hours daily in building the robot. The ‘Maarobot’ works on a voice sensor. Based on the food item that his daughter Prajakta mentions, the robot, which has attached spoons and cups, picks up the food and feeds it to her.
“I have used a robotic motor and nylon material. To make the outside look good, I designed things like ice cream boxes and bottles. I used my creativity to make it look good. It cost me somewhere between Rs 12,000 and Rs 15,000. Currently, you can record 15 voice commands on this robot,” says Bipin.
He says that with a little tweaks, the Google voice assistant can also be used in the robot. He has also built a button version of the same robot for a child who cannot speak. Instead of a voice sensor, the button would inform the robot to execute a command.
The robot was ready sometime in 2020. Unfortunately, it didn’t get noticed then due to the pandemic.
According to PTI, the Goa State Innovation Council has commended Kadam for his innovation. They are providing him financial assistance to work on the machine further. They are also working on developing a commercial product. The Council’s project director Sudeep Faldesai said that the product is scalable and can help others.
Bipin hopes that the government will spend more money on research and development to develop such devices for disabled children.
“I hope that more children like my daughter get assistance. Many parents won’t be able to build or afford such items. I hope more people are aware of my robot and I can help other children,” says Bipin.
He is also working on building new robots that would help the elderly.
Edited by Divya Sethu, Images Courtesy Bipin Kadam
‘Goa Daily Wage Worker Builds Robot To Feed Daughter With Disability’ Published on 25 September, 2022 Courtesy NDTV
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