Bekarys Nurtay

Specialization: robotics and mechatronics. Internship: National University of Singapore.

Bekarys is from Atyrau, he is 21 and he is passionate about robotics. In a hard fight the guy won a grant from the Shakhmardan Yessenov Science and education Foundation and spent three months in one of the modern robotic laboratories of Singapore.

What is Soft Robotics? This is the topic of your internship in Singapore.
This is the so-called “soft robotics”. It deals with materials similar to those found in living organisms. In my case, it was a robot-ramp and exoskeleton (auxiliary mechanism for the elbow joint).

Where and how did you get interested in robotics?
I can’t say for sure, but I remember exactly what happened when I was in the 10th grade. I was in friendly relations with one of teachers back then. We were talking about space projects and he suggested me to make a robot that collects space debris. That sounded ambitious. The teacher’s confidence prompted me to start studying this industry.

Tell us, what was interesting for you personally at the competition when you fought for the Foundation grant?
When we interviewed each other – it was the most interesting for me. There were many deep questions, which contestants made out themselves, even more interesting were the answers. And, of course, a contest to test your horizons. I just saw the questions and already realized how my horizons lack wideness yet. 🙂

Tell us about your internship at the Singapore Advanced Robotics Centre?
My supervisors are Professor Marcelo H Ang Jr and Dr. Raye Yeow Chen Hua. I worked on two projects in the field of soft robotics. I’ve been assigned a mentor. What I did? He prepared the power drive of the robot arm movements in the elbow joint and helped the mentor with his project to assemble and test the manta-robot, printed on a 3D printer and cut out the details. I also collected experimental data (my robot was swimming at a speed of 9 m/min). But not less important for me was the fact that I felt the atmosphere of this work, real scientific researchers and in one of the best laboratories in the world in its field.

For me it was the first experience abroad. For the first time I went alone to a completely unfamiliar country. I had a culture shock at first. And it was hard to make new friends, but gradually I became friends with the laboratory staff and other trainees. By the way, I am fond of street dancing and even attended several dance workshops in the city and participated in dance battles. Dancing helped me to get acquainted with many interesting people and brought some variety to the working routine.

What have you achieved?
During the internship I learned how to use a laser machine for cutting parts and 3D printers Upbox! and Lulzbot and basic three-dimensional printing skills. I learned how to work in the program for three-dimensional design called SolidWorks. Deepened my knowledge in mechanical design. By the end of the internship, I had made four prototypes of the exoskeleton drive, but the work on the project continues in order to achieve greater flexibility and strength of the robot arm.

How do you apply that knowledge today and what’s next?
Now I’m in my third year of studying and what I learned during my internship was useful to me in the mechanical design classes, which were mandatory for us at the faculty of robotics. The internship gave me experience in manufacturing soft robotic drives. Soft Robotics sphere in Kazakhstan is undeveloped and my knowledge opens up great opportunities for its development in our country. At the moment, I have already started my own project for the production of exoskeletons on a 3D printer. There are still thoughts to enter the master’s or doctoral studies in other laboratories of the world, for example, in Harvard BioDesign Lab, where I can continue to develop and do what I like.

4.03.19, Success stories

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