I have been a drone enthusiast since long, the news of a 14 year old “genius” signing an MoU with the Gujarat government caught my attention but what set me off is the claim that the drone was “invented” by him.
I decided to dig into the the claims made by him as well as the media. The first video I saw of him with the drone he apparently invented confirmed my suspicion. Harshwardhan Zala, the genius in question did not “invent” a drone.
Reddit user Makinjo took under 3 minutes to find the very same base being sold on several websites.
Here are his findings (which we independently verified but credits to him since he was the first to report)
screen grab from the NDTV website
Take a closer look at the marked part – “680PRO”, A quick Google search for the 680PRO drone reveals this:
This exact same drone!
We have the links for you to purchase them (In-case you want to be a genius too):
Link to purchase : http://www.droneshop.biz/tarot-680pro-series-arducopter-gps-hexacopter-fully-built-system.html
Another site : http://www.robotshop.com/en/tarot-680-pro-folding-hexacopter-frame.html
In summary, Harshwardhan Zala, the 14 year old kid purchased a ready to customize drone from one of the many stores online and made little modifications to it and claims to have invented it. In his defense he made the modifications to support carrying weight of 50 grams on the drone.
The Gujarat government is either outright stupid or saw this as a great PR opportunity since most of the us would not bother to check the facts (We are a country that believes in whatsapp forwards after all!)
It is pathetic that the main stream media did not bother to do a simple google search before reporting it in full glory. Even at the time of publishing this no media house has reported this blatant lying. We doubt anybody would even issue a clarification on this.
Next time lets really Make in India and not Fake in India.
Having said all this props to the kid for having an interest in drones at an early age, what he did is undoubtedly impressive but it neither is an invention nor something remotely worthy enough for having an MoU with the government.
Not many Indians take up drones/ quad-copters as a hobby but A good reason for it would be the tough laws governing drone import and flying. More on that later!