The students of Amrita won prizes for coming up with astonishing solutions, including national security problems, during Robotsavam 2017 - India's first ever International level tech fest exclusively for Robotics. Robotsavam 2017, organised by the IEEE Student Branch of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham's Amritapuri campus, was held at the campus on July 28-30, 2017. 

The eye catcher of the event was "ASTRA-Attack Suspecting and Tactically Responding Army Machines" a swarm robot system of Unmanned Aerial/ground vehicle which has bagged the first prize. This was designed by Ragesh Ramachandran, Research Assistant, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Sidharth Narayanan and Sriram S Nair, 4th year, Department of Computer Science Engineeering, Sankar K. S. and Vivek Sridhar Mallya, 3rd year, Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Amritapuri Campus. This special IOT project was designed for the BSF (Border Security Force) forces. It is dedicated with an intelligent path planning algorithm which allows the robot to map and explore unknown areas. Another feature of this project is the use of unusual object tracking across borders using image processing and machine learning. Infrared thermal cameras are used for the surveillance which can map temperature at any light conditions thus helpful to detect weapons. It also includes a communication chain with the base station to alert the main authorities.

The first prize winners shared their experience, "We are really proud to be the winner of India's first International Robotic Festival. The victory of the project ASTRA gave the team courage and made them more confident to continue with their work in the cutting edge robotics field. The exposure of this victory through the media helped us to gain attention of the Indian Army who is ready to fund this project for large scale manufacturing and implementation for military purposes. We are really thankful to Ragesh Ramachandran and Sidharth Narayanan, our mentors, who were focused on the perfection of the work which was the main reason for our victory. This victory is just a stepping stone for our project and we expect to reach greater heights."

Mr. Sumesh K. J., Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Amrita School of Engineering, Amritapuri and the Co-Mentor of the ASTRA team, emphasized that Swarm robots designed in this project can assist the people at borders or the people at the similar areas, where security is a main concern. "This surveillance application will make the life of the people at defense safe, secure and comfortable, so it is a humanitarian relief project. The team was invited to present their project in a meeting with FICCI and army, as the first step towards funding this project," he added.

The second prize was won by Binu Mohan and Manu S. of Ilahia College of Engineering and Technology, Muvattupuzha. Third prize winner was "Sakha", designed by Niraj Mohan Nambiar, 3rd year, Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Akshay V. P., 3rd year, Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Aparna Ajith, 3rd year, Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Anaswar Ajith, 3rd year, Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Ragesh Ramachandran and Sidharth Narayanan, Amritapuri campus. It is a controller for an industrial robotic arm which can be used in factories, medical facilities and manufacturing companies. It also has a teaching arm which can be controlled by a human, and thereby control the main arm. It can replace the present version of controllers which are used in industries and make them easier to use and precise. Their design removes the complexity of programming a robotic arm for doing each and every different task. It uses the concept of ‘Master-Slave manipulator. It can record the movements of the arm, store them and manipulate it. This enables any person to use the robotic arm without any prior knowledge. The main intention of this project is to reduce the distance between robots and humans.

"The victory was made possible to us through the Mechatronics and Intelligent System Research (MISR) Lab which served as a platform for us to organise our projects and excecute the project. We are really thankful to Dr. Ganesha Udupa, for providing us all the Lab facilities and Ragesh Ramachandran for guiding this project to achieve victory. The victory is a result of a month's hard work and we are really proud because our hard work paid off. Most important thing which we learned from this victory is that there is nothing in this world called 'impossible' we just need to try our best," said the third prize winners.

Another notable robot of the event was "Dhruv" - the Disaster Hazard Rescue Unmanned vehicle. It can be used in rescue missions caused by chemical leakages, fire accidents, as well as natural calamities. It can detect temperature, humidity various hazardous gases. It is equipped with punctureless tyres, is specially build with aluminium chassis and a 6 DOF robotic arm which can lift up to 30kg. It can detect whether the conditions are suitable for rescue operations and also assists the rescue workers in removing debris and checking for dead bodies under debris. It is powered by sealed lead acid battery and can work for 8 hours on one full charge. This was designed by Syam Prakash, 3rd year, Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Vaishak Babu, 3rd year, Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, T. R. Sangeetha, 3rd year, Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Noopura Parvathi, 3rd year, Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Ragesh Ramchandran, and Sidharth Narayanan of Amritapuri Campus.All these projects were done in Mechatronics and Intelligent Systems Research Lab (MISR), Department of Mechanical Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri. Dr. Ganesha Udupa, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ragesh Ramachandran, Research Assistant, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Arjun Nair, Research Associate, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Anjai Krishnan, Faculty Associate, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Amritapuri campus, are the mentors who provided all their support and help to the students.

"The  surveillance & security using swarm robots ( ASTRA) is a perfect example of humanitarian as well as border security project wherein the students combine the concepts from multiple engineering disciplines.  As Amma says awareness is very important for human beings in every activity.  These robots have perfect awareness of executing the task in a coordinated manner and work as we want. A survey on over 70 percent of our security people says, they were not getting adequate rest and sleep. Inorder to ease their task and automate the security functions of our country, ASTRA is a new innovative solution," shared Dr. Udupa, who guided the students."This was a good learning experience for the team and they have gained a lot of experience in the implementation of the projects, presenting their work to the audience and also working in a team to achieve victory," said Dr. Udupa.  "It is a remarkable achievement as two teams won, out of the three which participated for the competition." 

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