What do you think has been the most practical application of IoT so far? Self-driving cars? Smart homes? Smart breweries? No, it’s the Mars Rover – says Altanai Bisht, the co-creator of Ramu droid. And what is Ramu droid? It’s the ingenious robot prototype developed by Altani and her team that works on the Internet of Things!

With the Mars Rover as the inspiration, Ramu droid is a small-scale prototype that is designed to do a number of tasks and assist in bringing in cleanliness in our localities. A VoIP specialist and a software engineer by profession, Altanai had this vision of automating the entire process of brooming and clearning our roads when the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan campaign was launched on October 2nd, 2014.

Instead of individuals taking up the responsibility of cleaning up our localities, she wanted to leave that chore to the robots, who would be designed and automated to take care of these tasks. That’s how the idea for the prototype was born. With WALL-E being an inspiration as well, they started developing models with abundant support from their circle. And after a series of innovations, Ramu droid was born.

 

But why Ramu droid?

There’s an interesting logic behind it. Altanai and her team were very keen on adding an Indian touch to the revolutionary prototype and if you know, Ramu kaka is a very household name for assists in India. Everybody could relate to Ramu kaka and naming the bot Ramu droid would make things easier to connect with people. Let’s watch the expert speak about the idea and inspiration behind Ramu droid. 

 

 

So, what is Ramu droid?

 

Ramu droid is an IoT-based robot designed for the Indian roads to take care of keeping our localities clean. Altanai shares that instead of making this as a standalone device, she and her team wanted to connect it to the Internet of Things and keep the device connected to the cloud at all times. To achieve this, the team equipped the droid with a number of communication channels like BLE, Wi-Fi, and GSM modules. Through all these, Ramu droid consistently communicates and streams data and media from the cameras that are built-in on the device.

One of the pros of connecting the device with IoT is that it can add a layer of intelligence to the device and help it make informed autonomous decisions. Since the device will run on Indian roads, the IoT support will enable the device to make reroute itself, detect hostile conditions such as heavy traffic, weather change, situations that need manual intervention and more. The team feels that putting all these features on the cloud makes more sense that adding them on the device.

 

How does Ramu droid work?

 

Ramu droid arrives shattering some really conventional methods of operation. It does not rely on water or vacuum for cleaning purposes and instead, is reliant on just three simple brushes. These brushes rotate in clockwise and anticlockwise directions respectively, replicating a propel-and-collect mechanism of functioning. The bin attached at the back of the brushes collects the garbage that the brushes throw in its direction and collects it for dumping.

This consumes very less battery when compared to vacuum and water-based cleaning processes. The team feels that the simplest way to replicate the brooming process was to brush and collect the garbage and Ramu droid does exactly that.

 

Ramu droid and the Cloud

 

Being an IoT-based device, the droid communicates tons of crucial data and events to the cloud. Location, media streams, sensory information, the weight of the garbage collected and more. The last piece of information is crucial because the device has to be intelligent enough to know its capacity, dump the collected garbage in the garbage can and continue from where it left last. Again, Altanai feels that media streams are crucial for droids and devices because they should not just do their tasks but work cordially with their environment and surroundings, taking intelligent decisions at every step.

For instance, if the device stumbles upon an unlawful event, it must be intelligent in communicating the event to the concerned authorities or at the least, intimate the requirement of manual intervention. All these are datasets Ramu droid communicates with to the cloud.

 

The IoT Bubble

 

The onset of Ramu droid is a huge leap for us in terms of our progress in the Internet of Things and cloud computing. It’s more special because the functionality of the device is directly connected with an issue of national interest – cleanliness and hygiene. Though Altanai shares a lot challenges she and her team faced during the conceptualization and development stages, the final outcome of Ramu droid is truly commendable.

This again brings us to the aspect of the impact IoT is creating across diverse industries and sectors. The industry is booming and is open to all sorts of experiments and prototypes from the brilliant minds from all the corners of the country. This is the perfect time for people to venture into IoT and its allied fields and the industry is really welcoming young minds and aspirants to work on robotics, artificial intelligence and connected devices.

Altanai also shares that if you intend to switch to IoT, you should be multi-disciplinary. Skills in electronics and communication or software engineering won’t alone help you make it big in the IoT industry. You should have skills that complement the industry and you need to keep updating your knowledge about industry trends, requirements, and the tools, the operating systems and more.

Besides, IoT is evolving at a very rapid rate – faster than you or I can imagine. What was trending two months ago has become either obsolete or been replaced with a more powerful technology. So, if you’re an IoT aspirant, you should be open to learning and keep upgrading your skills to the latest technologies.

 

Big Data and IoT

 

Behind IoT is a very powerful backbone called Big Data analytics that takes care of some crucial aspects of operations. The data that Ramu droid (or any IoT device for that matter) collects is massive and one cannot rely on Excel or tables and charts to work and interpret them. That’s where Big Data analytics come into action, enabling you to work on the chunks of data real-time and update the device to make informed decisions then and there.

Ramu droid is the perfect example of how capitalizing on an emerging technology can bring about an amazing change in the world we live in, allowing us to grow in our life and career as well. So, if you feel your career is stagnating, switch to this interesting industry called the IoT and help make a difference like Ramu droid.

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