At the age of 8, he built a robot. By the time he turned 17, he was already a prolific inventor

Angad Daryani

The story of a young student entrepreneur, who has developed many low-cost technologies and loves to learn through practical experimentation

Angad Daryani

He is currently 17-years-old, and is already a star entrepreneur, covered by almost all the leading news publications in India.

He built a robot when he was just 8, and by the time his 17th birthday rolled around, he has achieved far higher heights than any of his peers could ever dream of reaching.

Meet Angad Daryani, a student in a Mumbai school, who already has, to his name, a mobile electro-cardiogram (ECG), a virtual Brailler for the visually challenged, a 3D printer, an automated gardening system, and a motion detection device.

A social tech entrepreneur

Daryani’s life has been all about exploration right from hobbies and education to company profiles. He loves using technology to empower people and change lives. So, he calls himself a social tech entrepreneur.

“I’ve been part of the global maker community and working towards promoting the concepts of self-education and ‘Do It Yourself’. I love learning new things and building further on what I have learned by practical experimentation,” says Daryani.

Daryani loved automobile design, marine biology, robotics and zoology. While learning more about each of these disciplines from books and TV shows, he developed a fascination for technology, design and sharks.

He started watching various programmes on National Geographic, Discovery Channel and Art Attack on Disney TV, which is when he began making things.

“Pursuing this, I took help from the engineers at my father’s office to build all the small projects I wanted to build after getting introduced to robotics through the Lego Mindstorm Kit my parents bought me when I was 8. The interest grew to such an extent that I started participating in tech competitions at IIT Bombay’s Techfest under the guidance of Shailesh Sansare, who taught me frugal innovation,” says Daryani.

“Moving on, I started developing my skillset following online video tutorials by Make Magazine and built anything and everything I found fascinating on the Internet.”

This led him to launch SharKits, a DIY startup providing low-cost kits designed especially for youngsters to start them off with building technology. “Our goal is to build more tech developers and makers so that they pick up real world problems and come up with elegant solutions to those problems using technology,” he says.

Not a big fan of learning-based education

Daryani studied in a state boarding school in Maharashtra till grade 9 when he got frustrated with the learning-based education in school, even though he was doing academically well.

Under the guidance of his tutor Vinit Ajgaonkar, he quit formal schooling and began what is now known to be Open Schooling. This saved his time spent on post-school subject tuition and unnecessary assignments and projects.

“I quit formal schooling, but not education. While Open Schooling, I learned and improved on my Mathematics, Sciences, Economics, English and life skills. I appeared for my 10th grade high school exams as a private candidate through the IGCSE and NIOS boards. My tutor guided me on how I could give the 10th grade exams directly without appearing for the 9th grade exams and I followed exactly that gaining a year to do what I loved to — making!” he said.

“It was during this one year that I emailed professor Ramesh Raskar from the MIT Media Lab and was lucky enough to get to be a part of the ReDx India Initiative they were running in India in the form of a research student at their Build-A-Thons.”

Then he worked on a few projects with them from July 2013 to January 2015.

Back to school

He stopped Open Schooling in 2014 and rejoined formal schooling in July 2014.

“There were several reasons behind this decision. During my free year, I spent 70 per cent of my time everyday doing entrepreneurship, research, building more technology and travelling for public speaking and events. Drowned in my passion, I didn’t realise that my academics were getting neglected and didn’t anticipate the level to which this was harming me,” says Daryani.

“Many times, I had ideas but lacked the skills or knowledge required to go ahead and build the project or to pursue the idea forward.”

“It was no longer tech, but it was engineering. Skills like Image Processing, Signal Processing, Machine Learning and Power Optimisation required at least an undergraduate education in Mathematics, Physics and Computer science.”

“Moreover, making these projects into sellable products required skills of which, I lacked many. Understanding that education was the only thing which could get my research and entrepreneurship back on track, I rejoined school,” he concludes.

Along with this, inadequate time spent with his peers caused loneliness and confusion. Thus, going back to school helped him gain a structured formal education along with a much better understanding of social norms and the development of communication skills.

Other Ventures

His other project, SharkBot, is a low-cost 3D printer.

“Existing 3D printers available in the market are very expensive and are not reliable. They break down very fast. SharkBot is low-cost and visually appealing printer,” says Daryani.

Daryani is currently working on several other projects, including a m-ECG (a mobile, wearable and reusable ECG diagnostic tool), a Virtual Brailler (a device that converts digital text from Roman to braille in real time to give tactile braille feedback to the tracked finger of a visually challenged person).

As a hobby, he has also developed an automated gardening system, which automatically waters and gives light to plants when they require. He has built a water-level detector to help detect the level of water in any container (glass to dam) and can be modified to warn the user when the container is about to overflow.

Finally, he made a solar-powered boat and an audio-sensitive LED display.

Daryani, who plunged into entrepreneurship at a young age, is an inspiration to the millions of young kids across the globe.

If an ordinary middle-class kid like him can build products catering to the bottom-of-the pyramid of society, young aspiring entrepreneurs can create many things to change the lives of the common people.

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