Student builds robot from old toy parts using course materials from 6.270.
Mohamed Harding is a 17-year-old student from Freetown, Sierra Leone, whose passion for electronics lends a whole new meaning to the notion of “do-it-yourself.” Despite growing up in one of the poorest countries in the world, where a decade-long civil war devastated both educational and living standards, Mohamed recently taught himself how to make a sophisticated, programmable, autonomous robot from nothing but junk.
Armed with just a soldering gun, some broken toy parts and knowledge gained from MIT OpenCourseWare, he built a “grab and spy” robot that could easily have competed in the famous 6.270 Autonomous Robot Design Competition course that inspired him. “I used a chip which I extracted it from a spoiled toy, and the components of dinosaur legs which have a gear system to make robot arms,” Mohamed says. “The trunk has a USB webcam and LED lights to spy. I have tested it and shown it to my friends and they have all assured me that they are going to use OCW to make similar things.”