Spreading the wings
The kit was premiered at the EFY Expo 2013, held recently in New Delhi, as a project concept for students.
Varkey shares, “A trial run for the product has already been done at some engineering colleges by way of live demonstrations, and almost all of those colleges have placed orders for our product. They said that this is something very new and they would love to have such a useful product in their college.”
Varkey plans to market the product by directly contacting the engineering institutes, through dealers who are already selling kits in the market, and by seeking help of media outlets like Electronics For You and the likes to spread word about this product.
Varkey adds, “Another way we have thought of is by utilising the open source way. Our kit is open for all sorts of customisation. If a software guy comes up with a neat applet that can be integrated into the robot to perform some particularly specificfunction, we will work out some sort of revenue sharing method. If a mechanical guy comes up with an end effector that works great, he can put it on our website and we can look at the revenue sharing angle with him as well.”
Patents and future additions
DPD has applied for three patents covering the drive mechanisms. One is for the drive mechanism being used, which deals with how different mechanisms can be put together on the same axis. Another patent is for the direct drive mechanism that allows any linear member of the kit to become a linear axis. For example, consider the making of a box-type robot. In this case, the 12 sides of the box now become 12 axes of the robot. The last one is regarding the specificdrive mechanism where you can use any member of the kit and drive it directly through the stepper motor without using any type of belt. In the system, you can have a linear drive with the stepper motor using a screw-drive while having a DC motor on another axis, which has a wire-drive to move around—all of them independently working together on different fields and different actuations.
Regarding additions to the design, Varkey says, “Adding new features is the basis of all innovations and we at DPD are no different. We have plans to increase the amount of customisation available and improve the graphical user interface of the microcontroller and a host of other features.”
The author is a tech correspondent at EFY Bengaluru