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He Built a Robot to Prove a Point About Refugees


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The robots legs were fashioned from two-liter soda bottles.

In building the Athena robot, Karimi also had in mind using her to help disabled children adapt to orthotic devices and exercises.

Credit: Loulou d'Aki/The New York Times

Afghan refugee Saidullah Karimi built a robot from pieces of trash to symbolize what refugees can accomplish and contribute to their new societies.

The Athena robot is comprised of what Karimi calls "recycled objects," including plumbing pipes, a printer, and motors and transmitters removed from broken remote control toys.

The robot's fingers were made from razor handles, its feet and limbs from plastic bottles, its ankle joints from suitcase wheels, and its knees were reinforced with metal from a CD player.

Said Karimi, an orthopedic technician now living in Athens, Greece, "I wanted to make a robot and fix sensors in the orthotics so that when the child moves his knee, the robot knee moves too. I wanted the robot to copy the gait, hand movements, everything."

From The New York Times
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