Chandil resident Dipak Dhibar with his ice cream stick robot that can lift upto 100gm. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
College-goer in the morning, fish vendor’s help by evening and scientist at all times, the slightly-built boy who looks younger than his 18 years is a complete surprise package.
Dipak Dhibar scored a mere 45 per cent in matriculation in 2009, dropped out for a year and enrolled in Plus Two arts at a local college. But this “third division matriculate” has invented a robot, a hydraulic forklift and a battery-operated crab.
“Nothing is impossible,” says Dipak at his remote Chandil Station Basti home in Seraikela-Kharsawan, 40km from Jamshedpur, quoting his hero Rancho from the blockbuster movie 3 Idiots. It is easy to see why the teenager draws parallels between himself and the character played by actor Aamir Khan. Rancho too was the so-called under-achiever in IIT who believed in grey cells, not textbooks.
Dipak’s fish vendor father Kirti Dhibar earns around Rs 2,000 a month. To put it mildly, the teen doesn’t have a lab at his disposal. What he has are ice cream sticks, used batteries, discarded auto spare sparts, ply boards, DVD spares, syringes and plastic pipes.
He also has a friend with a cable TV connection. And it was while watching Discovery channel that he learnt how to make a robot.
He used around 100 ice cream sticks, a self-made remote control, wheels and DVD spares to make a robot that can pick up articles weighing between 50gm and 100gm. The cost of making the robot is less than Rs 300 because all its parts are “waste materials”.
For the hydraulic forklift, he used ply boards, ice cream sticks, syringes and plastic pipes used to administer saline. He fills syringes with water, presses them like pistons to create pressure in the pipes that gets the device moving. “It is simple logic. Water has great power,” he says of his device that again lifts small items. “I hardly spent Rs 250 on it.”
The battery-powered crab is “just a moving toy”, which is made at a cost of Rs 50. Once again, ice cream sticks and batteries came to his help.
Like a true inventor, he says: “It took me only 10 days to make the toy, six months for the forklift operator and nearly 18 months for the robot.”
Dipak’s inventions fascinate his neighbours, but his parents worry about his future. He has low marks and his family almost no money. An unfortunate combination. The teen had wanted to study science, but his father couldn’t afford it. He wanted admission in ITI-Jamshedpur, but cash constraints played the spoiler.
But, hardships have pruned his dreams. “I don't like rote learning, I love creating things. I would like some funds from the government so that I can complete a course from ITI and get a job in the machinery sector,” he said.