UAE-based whiz kid's eco-robot to be showcased at Expo 2020

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Nine-year-old Harshith is a Grade 4 student of Bright Riders School Abu Dhabi.- Supplied photo

His project is mentioned in the startup kit of Young Innovators programme.

Seeing his mother struggle with home chores, Putsala Harshith made a small robot to clean rooms. That was the start of many other inventions - one of which is now being showcased at Expo 2020 Visitor Centre in .

Nine-year-old Harshith is a Grade 4 student of Bright Riders School Abu Dhabi. His project, called 'Robotic waste segregation to organic composting', was chosen to be part of Expo 2020 Young Innovators programme.

"My robot, Wsegrebot, segregates waste into green, wet, metal, paper, wood and plastic. The wet and brown waste, like paper and wood, will be shredded. Then the waste is converted into organic compost, which turns into soil when mixed with sand," Harshith said.

By turning waste into something that would be useful for farming, he seeks to "turn the desert into a garden".

"My vision for the project is to make the UAE green, and promote chemical-free agriculture," the little eco-warrior said wearing the Expo 2020 badge given to him by officials.

"I make my projects from waste materials. I had to buy a motor, sensor, micro-controller and other equipment."

He has also made a cleaning robot using old cars, cardboard and motor. "I had made a smaller robot to help my mother. Now I have made a bigger one to help with cleaning."

'We must act to save our future'

For the past few years, Harshith is also leading a campaign against plastic use. He makes paper bags to replace plastic bags in baqalas and other shops.

"I was inspired by a session in my school on the ill effects of plastic. I have removed as much plastic possible from my home. I have urged my parents and others to use tetra packs, instead of plastics. If we change, our parents will act, too."

He will continue and expand his drive when he returns to his native city of Srikakulam in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh during vacation.

"I have taken my campaign to 20 schools in Srikakulam. I want to reach out to schools in Abu Dhabi, too."

Brilliant start

Harshit showed sparks of brilliance at an early age, his parents said.

"When he was three years old, we used to make him solve math question papers of KG1 and KG2, which he would do quickly. It was an eye-opener for us," said his mother Sirisha, a homemaker.

"Harshith likes reading and has photographic memory. He will read books for the new academic year during April holidays. So that for the rest of the year, he can find time for extra-curricular activities like robotics, karate, swimming," she added.

Thanooj, his father who is a software consultant, was hopeful that Harshit's project would be featured at Expo 2020.

"His project is now mentioned in the startup kit of Young Innovators programme. He wanted to learn robotics as a birthday present. He continues to learn new things. His sister Haasini, Grade XI student, is his support base," Thanooj said.

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Ashwani Kumar

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