February 6, 2014

How It All Began

From the verge of desperation

“You gave me the greatest gift that anybody’s ever given me……. Desperation”.
-Iron man 3

It all began with RoboCon 2012, an international robotics event during the last quarter of 2011. 20-25 interested students went ahead. Great efforts were put towards the competition scheduled on March 2012. Vacations were spent in the campus, and after a series of strenuous night-outs, the designs of the robots meant for the competition were prepared. But funds for the purchases, fabrication and transport were pretty much in-existent. So the institute authorities were approached with lots of hopes.

The designs and other requirements were presented before the authorities. The reply to the humble request snuffed out the glow of expectations: “Students, You haven’t done anything materialistic hitherto to prove your credibility. And the institute cannot offer any means of funding to such a group. We are really sorry”. Shattered and disheartened, the plans for RoboCon 2012 were wound up.

Though disheartened and helpless, it was then that the idea of thinking beyond RoboCon was put forward by two of the team members, Jibin and Harish. A group of about 14 students, interested in Robotics, banded together. The team had no other better option in front of them, than to approach Mr. Sudheer A P, Assisstant Professor , MED, a pioneer in Robotics from the campus. He took up the team and assigned the task to learn certain topics and do a project. Corridors, Classrooms and staircases became meeting venues. Hostel rooms transformed into workspaces and pocket money got added to the project fund. Infact, First year members had to face even better challenge. As most of meetings happened to go till midnight, they had to fight with the hostel security guards to get into the hostels, late in the night. Thus the first robot : Plotterbot v1.0 was born.

As a second stage, the repair and automation of the 5 degree of freedom manipulator in the lab was assigned by Mr.Sudheer A P. Lab access was possible only during the regular working hours ie., 9 am to 5 pm. The mechanical issues of the manipulator were solved and CAD modeling and IK modeling of certain other robots in the lab were carried out. The works were presented to the then HOD, Dr R Sridharan and permission to access the lab till 10 pm was granted.

Several projects were taken up, with the aim to gain credibility in the eyes of the authority. A major part of the semester vacations were spent in the campus and work was carried out strenuously and desperately to finish off as many projects as possible. On May 20, a presentation was given to the institute director and this time the response was different. The team was officiated and given 24X7 access to the lab. Sufficient funds were also provided to carry on with the projects and for participating in RoboCon 2013.

The value of knowledge gets enhanced only when it is shared. Therefore the next step was to conduct a hands on workshop for the students of NIT Calicut on the Fundamentals of Robotics. The number of participants grossing to 222. The feedback was highly encouraging and the team got many more offers from outside the campus as well.

If we had lost hope when we were rejected, If we hadn’t decided to try again, probably, there wouldn’t have been something called RIG Today……

Dare to explore every ray of hope and work passionately towards your goal. Success will definitely accompany you at a later stage.

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