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India’s second humanoid robot unveiled

Prakash Kamat



The team with Acyut 2.

Panaji: India’s second humanoid robot, which was formally unveiled during Quark 2009, the ongoing three-day technical festival, at BITS Pilani Goa campus on the first day of the festival on Saturday, was the cynosure of all eyes.

With Acyut 2 expected to get more ‘facelift’ and learn more ‘tricks of trade’ in the next few months, a five-member team of the Centre for Robotics Intelligent Systems, BITS Pilani, Rajasthan, is all geared to participate in the RoboGames 2009 in San Francisco, U.S.

Acyut in Sanskrit means “one that never falls down,” said Samay Kohli, leader of the team, and exuded confidence that Acyut 2 would live up to that image in the RoboGames ahead and romp home with a medal!

Mr. Kohli told The Hindu on Sunday that Acyut 2’s predecessor, Acyut 1, India’s first humanoid robot, was showcased at the RoboGames 2008 in San Francisco last year and it managed to get the sixth position among 30 to 32 countries that participate in the games.

He said the project cost for the Acyut 2 was worked out to Rs.24 lakh, of which already Rs.12 lakh has been spent and they are confident that the balance funds, needed for adding more functions, to make it more automatic and give it more human-like structure, would be mobilised in the near future.

The team of young engineers of the Robotics Centre has been gaining in confidence, which can be seen from the fact that Acyut 2 is much bigger, more professional in skills and much closer to a human being as compared to Acyut 1.

“Getting attached”

The five-member team of Mr. Kohli, under the supervision of the centre’s professor-in-charge R. K. Mittal, has spent already over two-and-a-half months in putting up the humanoid robot in shape, but would burn more midnight oil to add more functions and gaming skills to their “brainchild.” Mr. Kohli admitted in lighter vein that “they are really getting very attached to him.”

Among others, the Acyut 2 is presently able to do a kung fu match, a demonstration dance, stairs-climbing and running race.

When asked about the future plans of his team and the Centre for Robotics & Intelligent Systems at BITS Pilani, Mr. Kohli said, “We want to start up a robotics market. There is a huge potential in India; people can afford to buy them. We want to increase robotics awareness.”

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