Meet Swarit Acharya, the robotics enthusiast who built an automated fish feeder

Meet Swarit Acharya, the robotics enthusiast who built an automated fish feeder Cover Image

Swarit Acharya is a fourth grader from Harvest International School in Bengaluru. With a keen interest in Robotics, he invented his own bot named Sam and went on to present it at TEDx Balaji!

Swarit Acharya was all of 9 years when he invented a robot that feeds fish in your absence. A perfect solution for home aquarium owners, this young man also created an app to help you control the robot. He went on to become the youngest Indian TEDx speaker. This is an exclusive interview with Swarit:

BB: What piqued your interest in robotics?

SA: Last year, I attended a 2-week robotics workshop conducted by Qtpi Robotics, where I got the chance to build simple bots and it was so much fun. During the workshop I developed a keen interest in robotics and wanted deeper understanding of the subject.

BB: How did you think of a fish feeder?

SA: I always wanted to keep fish at home but my parents gave me reasons such as, “who will feed them in case we go out?” Then I thought of making a robot to feed fish in our absence and that’s how I made my Sam, the fish feeder.

BB: How long did it take you to design, build and test your product?

SA: It took us around a month. Besides construction, a lot of thought has gone into the design keeping in mind various scenarios.

BB: Did you have any guidance along the way?

SA:  Yes, of course! Qtpi Robotics helped me make my Sam. Mr. Henrich who is a third year Mechanical Engineering student doing internship at Qtpi, mentored me and taught me complex programming for such robots. It was real fun working with him.

BB: How did it feel to present your idea on an international platform?

SA:  TEDx Balaji was one awesome experience. It was my first TEDx talk so I was a little nervous and excited at the same time. There were 17 speakers, some of them international and I was the youngest. It was indeed a huge learning experience for me. I presented my Sam, the fish feeder in front of more than 500 people.  They all loved it and I am now more motivated to work for my society.

BB: What has been the most fun part of your journey?

SA: I had to do a lot of research on fish, their food, their metabolism, how often they eat etc. It was so exciting to know how amazing these little creatures are. Then came the programming. Once I learnt it from Henrich Sir, I used to surprise him almost every day with my logic and programs. We had real fun.

Then we drove to Warangal for my TED talk, which was a 11 hour journey. My family loves long drives and I really cherished this one.

BB: Have you faced any challenges along the way? How did you overcome them?

SA: For me, there were two challenges, first the programming with which Henrich Sir helped me. He guided me on how to program complex Robots. Secondly, I had to decide on the mechanism by which fish feeder will feed the fish. I eventually used the servo motor which rotates 180 degrees and it solved the issue.

BB: What keeps you inspired? Who is your inspiration?

SA: My parents are my biggest inspiration. They motivate me and inspire me every moment. I want to be practical and logical like my mother and hardworking and positive like my father.

BB: How have your parents supported you through your journey?

SA: My parents have always supported me. They tell me not to limit myself because I’m young. They encourage me to think about how I can make this world a better place for myself, for people and for animals. And then they tell me to work hard to achieve that goal. They will always be with me and my brother, Kanha.

BB: How do you keep up with this given that you have school and other activities?

SA: My mother made it very clear to me from the outset that studies should not be compromised at any stage. I play football for my school team and do robotics and dance. I have football practice everyday after school. Once I’m home, I study for my tests and finish my homework. I then teach football to a few small children in my apartment. On weekends I don’t sleep late. I like to get up at 6 and study for a couple of hours before starting robotics and dance. I don’t watch much television, but Friday night is movie night for my family at home!

Swarit has already started his research for his next project. He is keeping it a secret for now, but promises it will help lots and lots of people and animals! Show him your support and watch his TEDx talk.

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