IISJ Participates in Online Robotics Exchange Program


Ten students from IISJ Tokyo and 2 from IISJ Yokohama take part in the Robotics Workshop.

IISJ students were challenged to come up with robotic solutions to everyday problems during a 3-day online robotics exchange program. The program was sponsored by Saitama University and also featured student groups from Japan’s Komagome High School and Ahlcon International in India.

“The experience was unique,” said Sneha Vanmali, an IISJ sophomore who participated in the program. “I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I learned a lot,” she added. All together 12 IISJ students – 10 in Tokyo and 2 from Yokohama – took part in the program. In full disclosure, Pal and I also took part in the 3-day event. 

Ms. Vinothini oversees the work of Riya Kulkarni and Sneha Vanmali during the workshop.

Mr. Hiroshi Yoshino, an IISJ board member, kicked off the online program with an introduction to Japan for the students in India. He also talked about Japan’s famous bullet train technology. Sakura Science Program’s Mr. Yuji Nishikawa then discussed the importance of robotics.  

But the real fun began when Saitama University’s Professor Tairo Nomura introduced his students from Komagome High School and presented the robotics projects they had been working on. All the students had to solve everyday problems with robotics. I was particularly impressed by an automatic heat sensor that warned you when there were chances of a heat stroke. 

Professor Nomura then challenged us! We were given one hour to build a robotics project that, if built on a life-size scale, could help the disabled community. We had to use electric motors and sensors in our projects. In the end, we had to present our projects to the students watching on Zoom from India and Japan. 

Professor Nomura instantly got Pal and me engrossed in the process of building our very own machine. All of us racked our brains for ideas. In the end, we managed to present six new and innovative ideas. They included an automated car parking mechanism, robotic storage units, and pulleys controlled by sensors. Presenting live through Zoom, we then shared our machines with Professor Nomura and the participants from other schools.

“As a senior (12th grader) I never thought of playing with LEGO, something I left 8 years back!” said Samran Shahid, a senior who participated in the program. “The experience was unique in that we used something as simple as LEGO and connected it with something as complex as artificial intelligence,” he added. Samran and his partner Chinmay Kulkarni created a smart door paired with a sensor that could control a door’s opening and closing. 

Chinmay Kulkarni demonstrates his gate for the teams in India and Japan.

Through this program, we learned fundamental programming skills, various techniques for using different sensors and motors, and basic knowledge of functional designs. It offered a unique learning experience and bound real-life lessons with scientific inspirations. Pal and I were inspired!