Kavya Vignesh, a class seven student of Delhi Public School, likes art, dance, and singing as much as she loves robotics. Kavya Vignesh and her team are the youngest to represent India at a robotics competition in Denmark with their unique solution to save bees. Kavya and her team were part of the FLL, a robotics competition where almost 200,000 children aged between 9 and 16 years from 60 countries participated.
1.When did you start working on your project?
During one summer vacation, when I was nine, my mother enrolled me in robotics classes with RoboClub and since then there has been no looking back. I am 12 now, and my team Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is India’s youngest ever to qualify for the First Lego League (FLL )-European Open Championship (EOC).
2.Who suggested the name “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”?
The name was suggested as a joke but somehow stuck and to keep the consistency we carried the legacy forward. It means simply awesome or amazing. The team is made up of six students and two teachers. All are associated with the RoboClub of which I have been a member since I was nine.
3.How many hours do you work on a project with your school?
I have been working on this along with my school work. Initially, the team used to have a weekend session of two–four hours a week but as the competition gets closer, they practice five days and 18–24 hours a week on an average.
4.How did you manage to complete the monetary requirements for this project?
To compete in Denmark, the team needed money for their prototype, travel, and other expenses. Unlike other parents, my parents were supportive of crowdfunding and hence I took the crowdfunding route to raise money for the team.
5.How does the competition work at the international level?
National competitions are held in each country. Winners from the national competition are selected for the international competition where teams from across the globe are pitted against each other. I and my team made it to the top eight and were the youngest team on the list. Now, they will represent India at the FLL-EOC competition.
6.What is your project based on and what is it called?
The project that our team is working on is called the “Bee Saver Bot” which removes bees safely and carefully without harming them or humans. We visited a bee keeping farm and training center in Uttar Pradesh and learned all about the bees and built their Bee Saver Bot.
7. Explain how does the “Bee Saver Bot” idea come to you?
Whenever people see a beehive in their houses, they call the pest controls and burn the hive. That kills about 20,000–80,000 bees. So we thought of building a solution that can safely relocate the beehive without harming the bees because more than 85 percent of the world’s crops are pollinated by honey bees. Every third bite of food comes from a bee pollinated crop or animal that depends on bee pollination.
8. Explain how does the “Bee Saver Bot” work?
It is a flying drone with a 3D camera which scans the hive and the area around it and gets 3D measurements. The measurements are then fed into a CAD-CAM software which designs the shape of the enclosure which is needed to cover the hive and the bees altogether. The design is fed into a wood-based 3D printer, which prints a biodegradable, breathable, and reusable enclosure. The quadcopters go up again near the hive. Two arms enclose the hive completely, while a third arm uses a sharp blade to slice off the hive from near the wall and seal the enclosure. The enclosure is now transferred to a vehicle to be transported to the nearest bee farm.
9.What is different about the project “Bee Saver Bot”?
We are using EV3 large motors, color sensors that are used for line following, gyro sensor to take accurate turns, and pneumatics for multi-tasking. The pneumatics are just like hydraulics, they store the air in them and then use it for various tasks. Our robot consists of simple mechanisms such as gear mechanisms, incline planes, and lever mechanisms. We did so to minimize the use of motors during the tasks.