The Bangladeshi robot

Rakibul Azam Rana talks to Saifur Rahman, a student of Rajshahi University, who plans to develop a humanoid robot in the near future

inn1Debate around robots and their use has been a popular argument over the past few decades. It all started in 1206, when scientist Ismail Al-Jazari described a band made up of humanoid automata. Then in 1495, Leonardo de Vinci designed a humanoid automaton that looked like an armoured knight and has been identified since as ‘Leonardo’s robot’.
As scientists continued to research on robotics, real robot production began in 1920. After World War 2, research in robotics gained new momentum.
After 1990, this robotics research was further revolutionised by computer technology and nano technology. Currently, many young scientists are experimenting and developing new robots. One of them is Mohammad Saifur Rahman, a student of physics at Rajshahi University, who has made an innovative human robot.
‘I was drawn to electronic goods since school life,’ says Saifur Rahman. ‘But I began robotics-related work while in HSC first year. In my second year of HSC, I began work on robotics. Around 15 days prior to final exam in 2010, I finished the primary work on my robot,’ he adds.
‘My father is a school teacher. As a little boy, I happened to ruin plenty of electronic goods. Any other father would have stopped talking to me or barred me from touching or using any electronic goods. But he never did this. Rather he inspired me. I received the main inspiration from my father about robotics,’ recalls Rahman.
After his promotion to HSC first year, Rahman made his first robot with guava woods and shuddering pipes. ‘I used a 12 volt motor from a broken cassette player. My robot first walked on the eve of Eid-ul Fitr. As soon as it received power, the robot began to run automatically,’ says Rahman.
‘This robot is my third robot. Its height is 36 inches. It is controlled by manual remote. A power of 12 volts can activate the 15 motors inside it allowing it to walk. Each gear, pinion and chains were handmade,’ he says.
inn2Currently, the robot can move back and forth, from left to right.
Although the robot has hands which are 14 inches, it can extend the hands 10 inches further to pick something from the soil. The robot also has HD lens that can be controlled from a distance. It can move its head to 360 degree angle to observe each and every corner.
The robot is also capable of voice recognition by use of android app. Thus, it can also understand verbal instructions.
Rahman explains that robots can be used in hostile environments where it will be harmful for humans to go. ‘The robot can be used in a radioactive environment as well,’ he claims.
The robot also uses remote access through which owners of the robot can control the robot despite being far from home, says Rahman. He also adds that the robot can be used for bomb disposal.
Rahman also feels that the robot can be used in the construction of high rise buildings. ‘If I can develop neural schema, then we can use it to monitor the activities of senior citizens. We can also export this robot abroad following mass production,’ he says.
He also says, ‘It may take me a while to complete a human-sized robot with similar features. The costs will be monumental, but I will try my best to develop it.’

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