Allwyn Mascarenhas
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru

Mangaluru, Mar 18: At 21, when most of us are busy deciding what to do after graduation, Vion Joseph Martis has more inventions to his credit than his age, has bagged the first place in a paper presentation competition and an individual championship at Christ University, besides training students on automation and robotics.

The best part is, there's still no stopping him. Vion is a fourth year mechanical engineering student of the prestigious St Joseph Engineering College with a lot of interest in electronics. Automation is his field. Any field where there is manual power, he will design systems to make things automated. While other students learn things in class and go through the educational process, Vion stands out as he is more hands-on. Studying at SJEC, he has acquired lots of skills in the past four years.

Vion has developed a 3D printer indigenously that prepares engineering models and structural components for robots and other projects developed in the college, developed a drone indigenously for photo and videography and an unmanned aerial vehicle UAV and automated and installed a wind turbine in campus. Vion provides training on LabVIEW, automation software, and basic electronics to fellow students, provides inputs and help for all academic projects in the campus and is currently developing a fully functional robot that delivers messages from office to all classrooms. Moreover, he also bagged multiple recognitions for his 3D printer exhibition.

Currently the president of Automation and Robotics Club in the college, Vion is busy developing an areca nut processing machine as his project for his final year in mechanical engineering. had a little chat with him where we came to know more about his inventions, his inspiration and motivation to start inventing and what the future holds for him. Read on.

Q: Hello Vion. We have all heard a lot about your inventions. Could you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

A: I come from Thirthahalli. My parents are into agriculture. I did my schooling and pre-university in my native. I used to see my parents do laborious work from my childhood. Hence, I used to dream about inventing something to reduce their burden of work. After my pre-university, I wanted to study aeronautical engineering, but my lecturers advised me to go for mechanical engineering. They said, studying mechanical engineering will allow me to go into any engineering field. Thanks to Fr Gerald Isaac Lobo, bishop of Udupi, who advised me to join St Joseph Engineering College and also inspired me to work hard.

Q: What inspired you to do your first invention? Where you inclined to inventing since a young age?

A: As I said earlier, I always used to dream about making my parents' work less laborious. The passion to create has been there since I was a child. After school hours I used to run home and start working on motors, batteries and other small accessories. I would also see my uncles working on electronic equipments and motor winding. All I would do is sit along with them and observe what they do. From Class 6, I started taking part in Prathiba Karanji, a state government sponsored programme, to showcase my projects.

Q: So how was the transition from being a little researcher to a recognised inventor now?

A: I was very much interested in automation and robotics when I started off at SJEC. I enrolled myself in a training institute in industrial automation and instrumentation. It helped me a lot in my studies. I then got to learn about 3D printer at a workshop in our college fest. Studying on the subject for two years, I manufactured a 3D printer. I also made a drone for a tech fest and many other projects followed. Videos from Youtube and an informative programme 'How It's Made' on Discovery Channel were the only sources for me. None of the students in the mechanical branch were aware of automation and robotics. I got along with faculty member Binu to start an Automation and Robotics Club in the college to introduce more students to the interesting subject.

Q: We have heard about your project on areca nut processing. Could you elaborate on it?

A: As we had areca nut trees back home, I used to see my parents do a laborious process of debunching and dehusking the raw areca nuts to get the final product. The entire procedure takes 8-9 days. So I planned an automated processing unit which can do the same procedure and the get the final product in nine hours. The debunching, dehusking, cutting, boiling with color and drying will be done by one single machine. The drying process which takes at least seven days will be done in 2-3 hours. There will different varieties of areca nut as the final product. The design for the machine which is fully automated is ready. The machine will be ready as my final year project.

Q: How does it feel to be recognised by people and organisations now?

A: Well, it gives me an immense pleasure of course, to get recognition in any form, for my talents. This drives and motivates me to come up with more inventions, that can empower and provide effective solutions to someone in need. Winning an individual championship at Christ University is really a big thing for me.

Q: What do you aim to become in life?

A: I want to be an entrepreneur. Setting up an manufacturing company which produces agricultural related automated products is my prime objective. Labourers in farming do exist now, but that may not be the case in future. The labourers' children may not come to work in agricultural lands as they might find better jobs to pursue. That is the reason we need automation. If not complete, even a bit of automation will do wonders.

Q: Who do you look up to as your idol?

A: I have always admired president and scientist A P J Abdul Kalam. I remember waking up early in the morning to watch satellite launches by ISRO on Doordarshan and Chandana TV channels. I even aimed to pursue my aerospace engineering at the Madras Institute of Technology in Chennai where our late president did the same. But I had to stay back in Mangaluru according to my parents wish.

Q: How has SJEC helped you display your talents and how did the college contribute in your growth as an inventor?

A: Joining SJEC was the best decision of my life. I could enhance my talent further here. The faculty and the management help me generously for all my projects. The encouragement from faculty members like Yathish and Poornesh earlier and Anil Melvin Rego and Binu now has helped me to achieve a lot here. I used to do the projects of my seniors when I was my first and second year. I gained enough knowledge from that.

SJEC also helped me in my personal growth. It is a good college with a track record in discipline. I am part of the college choir too which is an amazing experience spiritually. I love the college for its classrooms, faculty and campus. The education here is excellent. A special thanks to all my lab instructors for their timely help in my projects.

Q: What are the other things you devote your time to when you are not studying or inventing?

A: To be frank, I do not find any free time. I used to spend time on crafts, pencil sketch and glass painting in my leisure time earlier. I also used to do embroidery work with my cousins. The only thing I do in my free time nowadays is playing the piano. As part of the college choir, I keep playing and practicing the keyboard.

Q: Did you ever think of giving up on inventing at any point of time? If yes, how did you come out of the situation?

A: Yes. I have been through that a few times whenever I was lagging behind in completing an assigned task. In such situations, I try to give my best and leave the rest to God. Even at the recent event at Christ University, only the 3D printer and the drone was ready on the penultimate day, but not others. Thanks to my hard work and perseverance, we finished all our projects on time. All stalls displayed our projects. When the faculty and the judges saw the 3D printer printing the logo of the event, they asked it to be displayed in the front. I felt elated when they advised other participants to watch and learn from the project.

Q: Any message for our young readers who are aspiring to become a successful inventor like you?

A: All students focus only on studies and scoring good marks. They attend seminars and workshops just to earn certificates for their resume. Nothing is being done to gain knowledge. My advise to students is to chose something which you can be an expert of. You can learn other things, but chose only one and dedicate yourself to that. Have knowledge of other things, but be excellent in one.