Note: I have never met the kid and never saw his drones in real. This article is based on the information I gathered from different news sources. I have no intentions of hurting anyone. He is still 14-years old and his interest in drones is inspiring. He is still younger for drones and its customization. But faking something is wrong.
The story has been updated because I had a chance to talk to the ‘Harshwardhan Zala’ and he explained how his system is different than the one that is being shown in media.
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For past few days, I have been seeing an inspiring news for a 14-year old kid Harshwardhan Zala. He is news for getting a deal with the Department of Science and Technology, Government of Gujarat, to facilitate production of the drones. These drones will be used to detect and defuse land mines on war fields.
I also want to add that there have been few landmine detection systems. A few years back Afghan brothers launch new mine-hunting drone. Seeing similar invention from a kid is something we should be proud of.
Aaah! great.. Most of the news and media publications have been reporting him and showcasing him as a hero and inspiration to all kids. I was happy to see how our young generation is looking towards inventions. But there is something wrong in the story and story is full of lies. And yes, I still believe he is talented because he managed to do something wrong many of us couldn’t do at that age.
I saw demo video and read the news about the drone. According to different sources, I managed to grab few information.
“Zala said he started work on the prototype of the landmine-detecting drone in 2016 and created a business plan too,” reports Times of India.
“I spent not less than Rs 5 lakh on the three prototypes of the drone. While the teen’s parents shelled out approximately Rs 2 lakh for the first two prototypes, he was granted Rs 3 lakh from the state for the third prototype.”
And this is how it works
“The drone is equipped with infrared, RGB sensor and thermal meter along with a 21-megapixel camera with a mechanical shutter that can take high-resolution pictures as well. The drone detects land mines and covers eight square meter area while flying at the height of two feet. It also gives a signal to the base station. The bomb is capable of carrying a bomb weighing 50 gram that can be used to destroy the landmine.”
I initially thought that the drone was customized in a way to defuse landmines. But it was only about detection with the use of camera and then drop the bomb on it to destroy it. There is nothing that says if there is something special to detect drone or it is just a camera and laser sensor to detect.
Where is the invention?
We already have drones with camera, sensors, and capability of carrying things. And if it just carry bomb to destroy the landmine, there is no process to defuse the landmi
When I looked at the drone, it was something I have already seen in past. Yes, this was nothing news to me. You can also note that the drone is was showcasing had ‘680PRO’ branding. A simple Google search will show you the same drone available in different marketplaces. This drone is a basic structure that can be customized to integrate more components and make it even better. You can even search on YouTube and see around 40,000 videos showing the same drone. All the features he explained are already in the drone. He just told us how to use that drone for detecting landmines.
Link to buy this drone
There are many other websites selling the same drone for different pricing. The most basic variant comes for less than $150.
You can also watch the video of the same drone.
YouTube has hundreds of videos teaching how to customize this drone to add more components.
Now watch the video of the drone this kid made.
What did the kid actually do?
He could be interested in the drones and started learning about it. He also thought to use the drone for defense purpose and just talked about a use case. Was there any real invention involved? I couldn’t find any. He just bought a drone and demonstrated.
The sad part is that he pretended to be an inventor who built the drone. He was also even talking about the patent. Wait what? ‘A patent’?
Harshwardhansinh Zala has confirmed few things on the matter and I want to add his side of the story as well.
He told me that the system he was demonstrating was not just about the drone but the payload he developed to detect landmines. He calls it “Landmine Detection System” and this is the tech for which he has applied for the patent. The drone is just a base system to work with the Payload. At the summit, he had just the drone as the Payload was at home because of development.
Due to the pressure of media, he just demonstrated the drone that looks like a drone to capture the photos and videos. It was without the payload. This is why, we could only see the basic frame of drone.
He is just of 14 years old and he has a long life ahead to learn and built big things. I am happy to see his interest in drones. For a kid of his age, it is not easy to even think about drones. So, I am still impressed with his skills and the things he talks about.
But showcasing him as a hero for something he faked will give him a wrong a direction. A fake popularity will encourage him to fake more things and ultimately fail one day.
I hope no one will get me wrong. In past, we have already made many wrong heroes including ’Ankit Fadia’. We should encourage the kid to learn and invent something real. Faking something can give only an initial boost in popularity, but he wouldn’t be able to run for long.