Growing up in a cramped but loving home in the Onle tribal village of Odisha, Sakyasingha Mahapatra drew his inspiration from the way his father, Suresh, honed a deep passion for science.
The principal of a secondary school in the village, Suresh, was pushing his son to participate in it Various science fairs happen in and around their area. On other occasions, he would let his son accompany him on whatever projects he was working on.
“I was a ‘useful boy.’ I would run around with cables and tools and help him. That was how my interest in science grew more and more over time.” India’s best.
As a teenager, the young boy also found newspaper clippings from over a decade ago from the science section of a local newspaper, which Suresh had been collecting since 1981. “On top of those papers, he would write questions or his analyzes of topics,” Sakiasinghe recalls.
Years later, this collection of journals became the source for the first encyclopedia of Odia language sciences – Fijian Giancoush in January 2006. Sakyasingha says his father chose the language so that the book would reach the most remote corners of the state.
Sakyasingha’s father’s passion took science deeper Odisha tribal villages It was the inspiration for his project Sakrobotix Lab, which he launched in October 2012, he says.
A platform that provides courses in robotics for a small fee, Sakrobotix has so far set up 100 such labs in schools and colleges in cities like Delhi, Hyderabad and Bhubaneswar. In October of this year, she was awarded the Mitchell Award for Entrepreneurs at YEA’s G20 Young Entrepreneurs.
The 37-year-old, who wants to make India “the robotics capital of the world,” says that while the inspiration came early, finding his own path has been challenging.
In 2002, a few weeks after his book was published, Suresh died, leaving Sakyasingha, then 17, desolate and in despair. He says he felt his world collapsing and he lost his idol, refusing to take his class 12 exams.
“The rock, inspiration and sole breadwinner for my family is gone. Faced with pressure from my family, I took the test and somehow passed with 37 percent. Although I was fully prepared, I couldn’t do well because I was in shock and grief. We were getting 1,800 Rs as pension which made the house financially unstable,” he notes.
While engineering had been his dream all along, he found himself lost after his father’s death. He couldn’t choose whether he should try to bring home some money or pursue his dream. The struggle to find a foothold drove Sakyasingha to different cities. Driven by his father’s desire to see him do something big with his life, he chose to research colleges.
“My mother and a relative promised me 500 rupees each when I joined a college in Jeypore in Koraput district. It was a polytechnic diploma course with fees of only 3,500 rupees a year,” he says.
When his mother was unable to send him money, he decided to support himself by working part-time. “Soon, I started taking private survival lessons, along with repairing people’s home electronics. Later, I found an institute that offered computers training to students. With my savings and my mother’s help, I took the course and soon I was repairing computers.” computer too.”
After completing his degree, he decided to go to Hyderabad and look for a job. “I still felt lost, but my mind was now full of dreams. The good thing was that every corner of the city had a training center for teaching Programming languages such as JAVA and Oracle etc,” he adds.
A room, a few mattresses and a big dream
In a class where he was learning the programming language, Sakyasingha met a couple who encouraged him not to take any jobs and instead attend an engineering college. In 2006, he moved to Chennai after gaining admission in a private college.
“Their advice changed my life, I found a cheaper college in Chennai and got into it. By this time my family was doing better financially because my brother was working as a teacher. The professors in Chennai were very supportive and pushed me to go to different fairs and to IIT Madras Library To learn as much as I can,” he recalls.
At one of these exhibitions, he saw a robot for the first time. He says the student who created it won the competition and a cash prize.
“I started spending hours in the library wanting to learn more about robotics. When I had enough knowledge, I would casually give lessons to juniors in college. They called me ‘Robot Anna,’” he says.
In 2009, after obtaining his degree, he moved to Pune to work for a friend who was paying a penny for his services. Working with his friend made him realize that he wanted to apply his knowledge of robotics by teaching the subject.
He decided to go to Bhubaneswar after a year with a view Take the robots to every village In his state and gradually in the country.
“There was a coffee shop where I would spend hours brainstorming. I asked the owner if I could hand out some brochures to some clients advertising my robotics classes. They looked at me in disbelief but gave me a chance.
“By this point, my family was pressuring me to not get into any of that and find a job. They needed me to help them financially and having a job was the way to go, definitely not entrepreneurship,” he recalls.
Regardless, he received a good response from the ad. So he rented a small place and bought mattresses. This is how Sacrobotox was born.
“I want to live by my work”
Later, he started doing workshops in different cities like Delhi and Bhubaneswar and made good revenue. This revenue later funded his work under the company.
But again, there was the question of, ‘What do I do to take this into rural areas?’ In the year 2012, I decided to launch a web portal to provide robotics training courses so that anyone with an internet connection can learn easily. We also collaborated with colleges and schools across the country like ODM Global School, Demonstrate Multipurpose School Bhubaneswar, St Xavier High School At Cuttack, we study robotics for just Rs 1,500-2,000 per year,” he says.
Shalendra Kumari, Principal, ODM Global School, Bhubaneswar, has been conducting robotics classes with Sakrobotix since April 2022.
She says, “The children loved the classroom. Normally in an Indian school, students are not entitled to apply what they have learned in the classroom. But the Sakrobotix path gives students hands-on experience. They use their creativity to make different robots. For example, a student recently made a robot that blinks green if I answered mohavaris (idioms) correctly. This is the kind of learning environment students need.”
Sakaisinga, who calls himself “primarily a teacher” and “accidentally an entrepreneur,” says he set out to create robotics curricula and kits for schools and colleges.
With Sakrobotix, Sakyasingha designs specific courses for schools and colleges that contain both theoretical and practical courses. The labs he creates have all the necessary equipment such as electronic parts for the given project, 3D printers, tools, etc.
“To take something to the rural areas, I know very well that it must be affordable. The sets we make are mostly priced at Rs 5,000 as compared to the Rs 10,000-Rs 15,000 sets. Coming from a financially weaker background, I realize that dreams can be crushed for lack of money” .
Sakrobotix has training courses in 10 Government ITIs and 10 Government Technical Institutes in Odisha.
“My vision is simple – give people from every corner and every village a chance to learn robotics. I know I won’t be here one day, just like my dad. But just as his book continues, I also want to live through my work,” Sakisinga says.
Sakrobotix offers online summer and winter camps that offer affordable robotics training courses. To learn more about the courses you can visit website or call: +91 81143 47999.
Edited by Divya Sethu
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