Many of you might have watched the latest Malayalam flick – Android Kunjappan ver 5.25 starring Soubin Shahir and Suraj – with a sense of disbelief when the multi-faceted humanoid robot Kunjappan provided emotional support to his boss Bhaskaran Poduval at a crucial juncture of his life. It has been reported that the movie's technical team took great efforts to create the robot.
Now, 16-year-old Tanisha Cijo has proved that creating a humanoid robot is not an impossible task with the development of Cadrick, a humanoid robot that functions with the help of sixteen, 60kg-high torque servo motors and Arduino Mega microcontroller. Cadrick performs over 27 moves in response to the command inputs.
A Class XI student at Harishree Vidya Nidhi Higher Secondary School in Thrissur, Tanisha's passion for robotics grew after watching Real Steel, an American science fiction sports film. "The movie has a humanoid robot named Atom. Tanisha loved Atom and started dreaming of making one on her own. We guess that was the beginning of her journey," her mother Thushara said.
Tanisha's parents – Cijo Jose and Thushara – are doctors by profession. They hoped their only daughter would pursue medical profession. "But God has different plans. Tanisha was drawn to coding and programming right from her childhood," Cijo Jose said.
At 12, she made automated bicycle
Tanisha was just 12 years old when she asked her parents to buy a few goods, including a set of small 300Wh batteries. When asked, she said she was planning to automate her bicycle. She had to fight hard to convince them about her plans. She explained the process and connectivity, which were all new to her parents. However, they bought her the goods. Within days, she transformed her bicycle to a mini-bike, which ran on motors.
Cijo George said she never asked for a toy or make-up accessories in the past six years. "Instead, she would occasionally give us lists of book on coding and programming. Neither my wife nor I took it seriously. We considered it as her hobby," Cijo Jose said.
Tanisha dedicated all her free time to master computer programming and robotics. Cadrick, the humanoid, was the result of her six months' effort.
Tanisha developed the robotic hand – which performed three simple moves in response to human commands – when she was in Class 9. "I felt surreal. I was apprehensive and suspicious. Who taught her all these? How could this happen to a child who has no background in computer engineering?," the mother wondered.
In June 2018, Tanisha developed Pete, a robot which is obsessed with lines, when she was in Class 10. She first prepared the hardware component of Pete with the help of an arduino uno microcontroller chip, a USB cable, two infra red sensors and an ice-cream stick. Then, she wrote down a code of her own and uploaded it to the chip using USB cable. The result was Pete, who moves forward following lines. Pete could be distracted off his track using an overlapping line. Pete's making video and the code she wrote are available on her YouTube channel.
Cadrick can be controlled using an infrared (IR) remote, which is quite similar to a TV remote sensor. It has an IR receiver fixed on its head. The robot is 30 inches tall and 34 inches wide. Cadrick weighs five kilograms. It works with the help of an external power supply. Cadrick's body is made out of aluminium frame.
Tanisha aspires to master robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning with the whole-hearted support of her parents.
Cadrick has danced to the song 'Njan Jackson allada...' from the movie Ambili in her school auditorium on Tuesday.