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July 1: It’s a long way from Lucknow to Calgary, Canada. But five schoolboys did it very easily. The students of City Montessori School (CMS) went to participate in the World Robotics Championship and almost pocketed the entire championship. They won five golds, four silvers and a bronze medal. Among the ideas that won them these medals was a “seeing” cap for the blind, and a robot that can trace the place from where a fire starts.

What’s more, one team member’s creation even defeated the entry of the man who started these robotic games! His name is Mark W. Tilden.

Although the team of Yousuf Fauzan, Vaibhav Pankaj, Diwakar Shukla, Chetan Mehrotra and Devvrat Shukla had very little time to prepare, they managed to defeat better equipped teams from countries like Japan, US and Canada.

Lucknow Students Win Robotics Trophy in Canada
Lucknow Students Win Robotics Trophy in Canada [Illustration by Sudheer Nath]
Among the creations that excited great interest was Vaibhav’s cap for the blind. The cap’s peak gives out infra-red signals whenever it sees an object before it. These signals come back to the transmitters that are connected to a buzzer. The buzzer warns the person. Such a cap would enable a blind person to walk without a stick.

However, there was one category in which the CMS boys had to admit defeat – the Sumo Robot category. What is the point of making two robots and have them wrestle with each other, asked Yousuf Fauzan, while speaking to a journalist from ‘The Telegraph’ newspaper.

So, what impressed the organisers of the Millennium BEAM Robotics Games about the Indian team? It was not just the creations; it was the thought that went behind them. A cap that helps the blind walk without sticks and a robot that can trace the source of fire are good solutions to problems that affect many people in society.

Vaibhav’s reasons for creating the cap impressed the organisers of the Games. He had seen a little blind boy bang into a truck, despite the walking stick. That’s when he decided to do something that would help the child and others like him.

The schoolboys made such a great impression that the organisers have agreed to let the CMS host next year’s Robotics Championship, in their city. That is a big achievement for the students and for the man who runs the school – Jatin Gandhi.