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He is all of 23 years but that has not stopped Akshay Ahuja from guiding and training even nine-year-olds with his engineering skills and helping them create robots. He's even planning a mega-event where 20,000 children will be part of the country's largest robotics show to create technology marvels.
Ahuja, an engineer himself, through his 'Robotics Education World' start-up, wants to make science fun for children and help them with robotics.
Having started his company in 2013 to train engineering students, Akshay soon figured out that with a bit of tweaking to suit the interests of young minds, even school children could be imparted engineering and technology skills.
"The idea was to make things more practical than theoretical. On doing research, I realized that the education system doesn't encourage students to explore how the theories are derived. As a test of my observation, I trained one student who happened to be cited in India Book of Records for creating his own robot," Ahuja, who hails from the industrial city of Ludhiana, told IANS here.
"Our company had only 29 engineering students who joined the workshops. It was during these workshops that I realized that the workshops, which were crafted for engineering-level students, if modified a bit, can also interest a school kid," Ahuja pointed out.
Having obtained his engineering degree in 2015, Ahuja, who started working on this project when he was in his second year, now heads a team of around 40 to fulfil the vision of 'RoboChamps' - to revolutionize the education system.
"While working with college students in 2013, I asked a nine-year-old kid to join the same training that college students are undergoing. At the end of the training, which was of six months, I found that the kid had learnt more than engineers. I trained some more nine-year-old kids and they went to IIT-Delhi and competed with engineers. Out of 32 teams they stood third over there," Akshay excitedly pointed out.
"It was one of these youngsters who, at nine years of age, figured in the India Book of Records as the youngest boy in the country who created a line-following robot using an Atmega 16 chip," he said.
Ahuja does not want to stop at that.
He is working to hold the biggest robotics event, Build Your Bot (BYB), in July in which over 20,000 schoolchildren will participate in the national capital New Delhi.
"There is also a social cause attached to it as several hundred underprivileged children from slums are being trained free of cost by the 'RoboChamps' team and would be a part of the record-breaking event," Ahuja said.
"Over 500 children from other countries, including Bhutan, China, Nepal, Pakistan and the US, are also expected to be a part of the event to compete with students from across India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be invited to be the chief guest," he said.
"Students will start from scratch and make their own line-following robot. While making the robot, they will come to know many concepts practically rather than theoretically. The idea is to enhance the science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills of the children," Ahuja, who is passionately working for the mega-event, concluded.
(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org