Bilal Ahmed is only 11 years old but what he lacks in years he makes up for in sheer talent and a love for robotics, driving this young boy from Pakistan to build his very own drone at the Microsoft Innovation Centre in Karachi.
In fact, Bilal who is currently a student at The City School in Karachi, has built a number of robots on multiple platforms. He hopes to one day develop a Bionic Suit which is a type of external robotic suit that helps paralysed people walk again, and also allows people to do more work using less effort and power.
Quite a big a dream for an 11 year old, but when you’ve already built a few robots and a fully functioning drone at such a young age, anything is possible.
Never too young to learn
Bilal’s love for programming stems from his father who encouraged the young boy to learn how to code from an early age.
Ozair Belal, from Developer Experience and Evangelism (DX) at the Microsoft Innovation Centre in Karachi, first noticed Bilal’s talent at a local robotic competition. Bilal’s father then contacted Ozair to support Bilal in learning a to integrate “Raspberry Pi 2” for his robots and drones.
“After interviewing Bilal to evaluate his technical skills and knowledge it was evident that the 11 year old had the potential to do great things,” says Ozair.
A keen hobbyist himself when it comes to building things that fly, Ozair decided to take Bilal under his wing by providing him with the mentorship and guidance to start building his own Quadcopter.
The result? A drone with military capabilities
Bilal’s drone can fly up to a height of 1500 feet and is similar to those used by security and defence agencies. It is made of aluminium and has a camera which can take photos and videos. It is programmed so that it reduces turbulence and is self-stabilising.
It also has GPS capabilities and automatic landing and take-off functionality. Live telemetry data and graphs can be viewed on a radio controller for post flight checks.
When asked why he decided to build this drone, the 11-year old said he wants to make the world a better place to live by learning how to combine man’s capabilities with robotics.
More about the Microsoft Innovation Centre in Karachi
It was at the Microsoft Innovation Centre where Bilal worked tirelessly after school to build his drone using Microsoft products such as Raspberry Pi 2, Visual Studio and Windows 10 IoT Core.
According to Ozair, the Microsoft Innovation Centres aim to create real opportunities for entrepreneurs and start-ups.
“It doesn’t matter if you are a recent graduate, high school student or an 11-year-old boy with a dream to build a drone, the Centre exists to empower people to develop their IT skills and pursue a job in any IT-related field,” he says.
“Bilal is proof that if you have a creative mind, an interest in robotics, engineering or programming, and the right support, tools and resources it is possible to achieve your dreams and do great things no matter how old you are,” adds Ozair.
If you want to learn more about this extraordinary 11 year old, follow his YouTube channel BatLab.