Three students from Delhi have created a miniature battle tank that they say could help Indian soldiers fight terrorism by providing wireless spying and photography.
“This tank could have helped soldiers during the 26/11 terror attack at Taj,” said Rajeev Bhatia, 21, a third-year electronics engineering student at Manav Rachna College of Engineering in Faridabad.
The three-member team beat 150 teams from all over India — including from engineering powerhouses like the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi and the National Institute of Technology — to win a place in the embedded development category of the Imagine Cup finals. Imagine Cup is an international student technology competition sponsored by Microsoft.
One more Indian team made it to finals, while two others won awards. The students demonstrated their design in front of media and judges at the finals in Warsaw, Poland on July 3.
Their invention, the neon-green Wizitank, is 70-cm-long and looks like a miniature version of a battle tank. Underneath the hood, the students have built wooden cages that house 11 electronic components, including a wireless camera for taking pictures, a digital magnetic compass that measures the direction the tank is facing, and several sensors that can detect obstacles.
"You just put in the coordinates of the location that you want the tank to reach and it can navigate there," says Bhatia.
Although the rules of the contest allow one month for building a prototype, the students completed theirs in 15 days, working around their exams.
"We've been here day and night," said Adeel Kidwai, 22, also a third year in electronics engineering. “It’s a great feeling when your robot wins," says Tushar Chugh, 21, the youngest member of the team and also its determined head.
"The hardest part of creating the mini-tank was finding the specialised parts," says Chugh. The students searched the Internet and Delhi’s electronics markets for a digital global positioning system for the tank.
Under the supervision of faculty mentor, professor M.S. Giri, they spent hours trying to configure the tank’s internal software to manage inputs from multiple components.