A teenager in Rajasthan’s Kota has built an all-purpose robot to help farmers assess soil and crop health, their water needs, and detect pests. Aryan Singh, 17, built the AgRobot at his school’s Atal Tinkering Lab, a central government initiative to help school children hone their building skills.
The son of a farmer, Aryan spent four years building the robot which won him the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar under science and technology category. Aryan was the only boy from Rajasthan among nine boys and ten girls from 18 states and Union Territories who won awards.
He got the award from President Droupadi Murmu in New Delhi on January 22 this year. “I belong to a farming family, grew up watching my grandparents and parents working in the field. While studying in class 10, I conceived the idea of developing a multi-task device and later developed a prototype that can reduce farmers’ labour in the field,” Aryan told PTI.
The boy sent his proposal to NITI Ayog’s Atal Innovation Mission and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, who is an MP from Rajasthan, as well as, then Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomer, who all praised his device.
“The AgRobot is able to perform multiple tasks like cutting, irrigation, loading, soil-tracking etc,” Aryan said, adding, he has received over 15 national and international awards and appreciation for his innovation.
Though building the prototype cost him Rs 50,000, “it will cost less when manufactured in large numbers,” he said. The boy, as well as his mentor at SR Public School in Kota, are hopeful that AgRobot would hit the market within a year.
The initial funding for the robot came from iStart, a flagship initiative of the Rajasthan government for startups. “They incubated me and I got a place to work, labs and support from them,” Aryan said. AgRobot is fitted with cameras to analyse crop’s condition. There is also a dropper on the top which helps spread seeds and irrigation in the field, reducing manual labour for the farmer.
The robot is also equipped with soil moisture sensors that help farmers assess the soil health and look for any pests in them. The robot uses Artificial Intelligence which is trained on different farming data, he said. It can also be controlled remotely.
“Using IoT, we have made the robot remotely controllable. For instance, if you want to use the robot from Jaipur city and your crops are in Kota, you can simply log in to the application that I have developed and use it,” Aryan said.
The robot is fully run on solar energy with the help of a piezoelectric panel installed in it that uses pressure to produce electricity. “For instance, the pressure created on the tyres and the panel will produce electricity that can be stored in the batteries for use when the sun is down,” he said.
The boy added, “So this creates a chain of power, once the solar energy is exhausted you can switch to a piezoelectric panel. The robot will not need any external source whatsoever to work.” Prakesh Soni, his mentor at ATL, said Aryan was moved to build the prototype after his family facing troubles farming, and the lab helped him convert his idea into AgRobot.
“Today, this device is so helpful that his father, sitting at home, operates through internet all the works in agriculture field, like switching on or off a water pump for irrigation in field, assessing amount of water, measure release of water in accordance with requirement of particular crops, detect infected and wormed crops, monitor andguard the field and there are several others,” Soni, a physics lecturer, said. SR Public School Director Ankit Rathi said the robot is just the beginning for the talented boy.
“It is in the prototype stage but it will soon be taken into business proposition and I am receiving offers for investment in manufacturing of AgRobot,” Rathi, who did his BTech from IIT-Bombay, said.
“Aryan started this project in 2020 and every year he worked on improving on it and modifying it,” he added.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)