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February 18, 2019
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Inventive Manipuri School Boy Uses Scrap to Build Robot For Domestic Work!


From the childhood, Nandalal was more fascinated by the internal workings of electronic objects and was quite fond of dismantling electronic toys to study them.

We are fascinated with Terminator, RoboCop, Wall-E, R2-D2, C3PO—these iconic robot characters from films. Those movies have influenced most of us & made us to wish that we had one of our own becoz their superhero-like abilities would help us finish our homework and jobs in a short time.

Many of us would also remember attending innumerable science exhibitions during our school days. There, a few students would showcase astounding robotic contraptions and gadgets that they had created, and when these would perform specific actions on command, everyone would be left flabbergasted!

Often, the exoticism that children have about the world around them drives them to wonder about how such stuff works. While some are drawn to nature & want to understand its many mysteries, and there are others, for them, it’s science and technology.

Thiyam Nandlal Singh 18 YO student of Class 12 at the Johnstone Higher Secondary School in Imphal, it was most certainly the latter. Right from his childhood, Nandalal was fascinated by the inside working of electronic items & was fond of dismantling electronic toys in order to study them & once that was done, he would arrange everything back together.

In fact, this inquisitiveness soon changed Nandalal’s focus from observing to applying what he learned and understood. He began to efficiently repair home appliances & gadgets like the radio, television & emergency lamps @ home that would otherwise require the service of an electrician. He even ruined the devised in his own way of checking electrical wiring & circuits.

Interestingly, Nandalal who hails from a family of farmers has had no formal training or expertise in this other than his own observation-driven knowledge.

People who have known Nandalal wouldn’t be astonished if they found out that he has created a robot all by himself.

Well, guess what? Last year in Manipur, Nandalal created a robot, JON17, which went on to reap him many accolades across science exhibitions.

But there is something different about JON17 that makes it even more impressive than just being created by a teen – each part of the robot comprises dumped scrap materials like emergency lamps, electronic toys, DVD drives, speaker frame, syringes & even IV-fluid tubes.

During the interview with The Better India, this Young Innovator said:

“The idea to create a robot with scraps took form in my head after watching an English film that inspired me to tackle the issue of garbage heaping up in our surroundings, with robots.”

Firstly he built a model of the robot using discarded emergency lamps as its arms, a pair of old toy binoculars as the head, and an empty bottle as the body that was attached on an unused speaker frame. “The main mechanical movements of the robot are rendered by the DVD drives used which are connected to a pair of syringes filled with water & inter-connected with IV-fluid set tubes. This functions as a hydraulic system & allows parts like the head & hand to perform their purposes. The robot can move forward, backward & sideways. The head can be rotated left to right & the hands can perform some simple activities like picking objects, holding objects, etc. All the movements of the robot are controlled with remote,” he demonstrates.


Nandalal’s Chemistry teacher Jaichand Oinam, who was incredibly impressed with JON17, decided to make a short clip on his creation & circulated it on Whatsapp as well as posted it on the school’s Facebook page.

“In a very short span, the video went viral of his robot & ended up reaching Th Kirankumar, the Director of Education (State), who took a special interest in Nandalal’s project and provided him with sufficient funds so that he could make the robot properly. This encouraged Nandalal, who took about 15 to 20 days to develop the robot with various discarded materials,” says Oinam, who has been the guiding strength in Nandalal’s journey as an innovator.

Oinam too helped Nandala to coin the name JON17 for the robot where JO abbreviation is Johnstone, N from his name Nandalal & 2017 to mark the year of invention.

After much prodding from his school administration, Nandalal started participating in various science fairs & exhibitions across the state, where his creation would go on to win many prizes & accolades.

From winning the 2nd prize at the Zonal Science Exhibition and the 1st prize for being the Best Individual Exhibitor at the State Level Science Exhibition last year.

He went to bag the Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose Best Individual Prize at the 2018 edition of the Eastern India Science Fair held at Birla Industrial Technological Museum, Kolkata, and for mentoring the young innovator, Oinam received the Best Guide Teacher prize at both the state exhibition & the science fair in Kolkata.

Earlier this year, his school felicitated the achievements of the growing innovator in an event jointly organized with the Information Centre for Hill Areas Manipur (ICHAM).

The event was attended by Th Kirankumar along with Kangujam Modhumangol Chief Advisor (ICHAM ).

Presently, Nandalal is a local celebrity in Manipur & most Northeastern media agencies & publications have widely covered his innovation. In fact, the young boy got the rare chance of competing in the Indian Science Congress 2018 at Manipur University recently. he was sent as a representative of the education department of Manipur.

Nandalal lives with his parents, grandparents, and 5-siblings. Besides his passion for electronics & robotics, he is also a keen footballer & has played for his local club in many tournaments.

Because of his love for robots & electronic gadgets, Nandalal utilizes most of his free time to create simple devices containing waste materials & discarded electronic toys.

Our country is chock-full of such young individuals brimming with great talent & creativity, and they can achieve great heights with proper guidance and motivation. Had it not been for the encouragement & support of Nandalal’s mentor Jaichand Oinam and Th Kirankumar, JON17 would have probably just remained just a dream for Nandalal.

We wish the young innovator a great future ahead and hope his story will inspire other students in India to work never stop chasing their passion.

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