Bilal Ahmed may look like an average 11 -year-old Pakistani kid but what sets him apart from other kids his age is his innate talent in the field of Robotics. His immense passion coupled with his undeniable flair in Robotics led him to develop his very own drone at Microsoft’s Innovation Centre (MIC), Karachi.
Bilal’s drone is made of aluminium and can fly up to height of 1500 feet. It is GPS-enabled and comes with automatic take-off and landing. Interestingly, in order to make it self-stabilizing, it is programmed in a way to reduce air-turbulence. It comes with a camera for taking photos and videos and it allows you to check live telemetry data and graphs on a radio controller. His drone is extensive to the level used by security and defense agencies – a drone with military capabilities!
The person behind Bilal’s genius is his father who urged him from a young age to learn programming. He was first noticed by Ozair Belal, from Developer Experience and Evangelism (DX) at MIC Karachi, at a local robotic competition. Ozair then urged his father to support Bilal in learning how to integrate a Raspberry Pi 2 for his robots and drones. He has since taken Bilal under his wing, providing him with the right mentorship to build his own quadcopter.
When Microsoft asked Bilal why he made the drone, he simply answered that he wants to make the world a better place to live by learning how to combine man’s capabilities with robotics. Bilal has built numerous other robots on various platforms other than this particular drone. He hopes to one day develop a ‘Bionic Suit’ that can help paralyzed people walk and also help us perform laborious tasks with less effort. A small man with a big dream. But the skill set he has developed at such a young age will take him a long way!
You can keep up with Bilal’s inventions on his YouTube channel called BatLab – an ode to his favorite character, Batman!