CHENNAI: With wind turbines based on the air velocity of Mars and track wheels based on the planet’s ground texture, the robot built by a group of kids from the city aims to find solution to the challenges faced by Mars rover in the past. Now, armed with a second prize in the International Robot Olympiad held in Russia recently, the team of three hopes to go a long way.
The team comprising Arock Joe, 14, from St Michaels Academy, Adyar, Motheshwar from Akshayah School and Siva Manickam from DAV Public School, Velachery, is the first Indian team to bag the prestigious prize in the event, which saw over 367 teams from 62 countries. The competition was held in association with the Ministry of Education and Science, and Ministry of IT of the Russian Federation.
The theme for this year was ‘Robots and Space’. The kids took up the challenge of addressing the issue of power failure with Mars rover in their prototype. “In our research, we found that solar panels are used as the power source, and the wind velocity of mars is enough to propel a small turbine. So, we installed a windmill which will supplement the solar energy,” said Joe. They found that the wheels were getting stuck in some portions of the Curiosity rover, and replaced those with track wheels with larger surface area that could reduce the pressure.
The team began working way back in May. “We did our research on the internet and spoke to a scientist from ISRO,” said Joe. The judging was gruelling, with nine judges evaluating the students.