By Sathya Prasad
IE – E&C and Robokart conducted Microlite 2.0 in collaboration with Innovation Cell, IIT Bombay, and the Department of E&C. This event was part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of MIT. Participants were required to form teams in order to create a robotic arm, and a glove which would control this arm. Previously, IE – E&C had conducted Microlite 1.0, in which teams had made a line-follower bot.
The event spanned two days. On the first day, a tutorial presentation on various parts of the device was given by Nitin Acharya, who works for Robokart. Despite the lack of basic air-conditioning, the presentation went by swimmingly.
Teams were briefed on how the different components worked and the method of constructing the arm. It was a mechanical assembly of two limbs such that it could imitate the gripping action that a human hand is capable of. This animatronic ‘hand’ is based on a concept known as ‘haptic feedback’, which basically allows the user’s hand to ‘feel’ what the robotic arm is feeling. Servos and potentiometers were used to give the robotic arm three degrees of freedom.
A software known as Arduino was used to program and link the arm and glove to each other in such a way that the glove controlled the arm. Teams were also given a wireless module which eliminated the clutter of wires between the arm and the user, and allowed control from a distance. This technology is gaining popularity worldwide as it finds a myriad of applications in industry and science, since it greatly reduces human effort while simultaneously improving productivity.
After the presentation was complete, the second day was dedicated to assembling and testing the entire construct. The event was attended by about 60 participants. Aditya Raju, the event head, said that he was impressed by the turnout given that the cost of the kit was very high. “The proximity of the end semester exams and lab exams discouraged many people from signing up for the event.” He added. At the end of the event, all participants were given a certificate from Robokart and IE – E&C.
Despite inhibitions about participation, the event was carried off as a marked success in the endeavours of the two clubs.