site.btaProf. Kostadin Kostadinov in BTA Interview: From a Child's Dream to Become Wizard to Robots
How a child's dream to become a wizard can lead you into the world of robots is what one can hear from Kostadin Kostadinov, a robotics and mechatronics professor at the Institute of Mechanics at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. His name was entered November 18 in the Bulgarian Patent Office Golden Book.
BTA finds him in the laboratory, in the company of the creatures of the future whose calling is to help the people of the present: the silent tin men waiting for a heart from the Great Oz.
"I come from a corner of Bulgaria that is 3 kilometres from the Turkish border and 3 kilometres from the Greek border. I am originally from Svilengrad and the person there who perhaps set me on my path was the school headmaster, Ivan Krantov. I had a dream then as a child to become a wizard, and if I didn't become a wizard, I had a Plan B of becoming a principal.
These two desires lead the way to the Emerald City for Prof. Kostadinov, who has over 35 years of work in the field of industrial property. He is the author and co-author of 20 patents in the field of robotics and mechatronics, 11 of which have been implemented in various industries, science and medicine.
"To create a robot is to create something like yourself, to see your own image and likeness, which is the biggest challenge for a scientist and for a wizard," says Prof. Kostadinov.
On his way to the Emerald City, he first invented electromagnetic grippers for various items in the military industry, and after that robots for assembly of hydraulic pumps. In the mid-1990s, he was already working on his first European project for designing a robot to control the quality of production in the Pnevmatika plant in Kurdjali, southern Bulgaria. Then, the investor transitioned from the robots for the heavy industry to the microrobots for biological applications.
Those earned him NATO's recognition in 1999.
"Before that, nobody talked about the application of robotics in biology, and with this award I started a new field in robotics and worked in Germany, in Konstanz, where I made the RoTeMiNa robot for cell manipulations," says the investor.
The RoTeMiNa robot for cellular surgery was presented at the 2003 Nanofair in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Somewhere along the way to the Emerald City, Prof. Kostadinov developed and implemented the Microna 01 robot for in-vitro fertilization, as well as the Hydro-Mina robot which is designed on a modular principle and is a combination of regional and local structures for micro- and nano-manipulations and surgery.
"Robotics will enter, together with man, in an extended virtual and real environment, where we will communicate with robots and based on artificial intelligence we will develop our abilities so that we can be responsible to society," Prof. Kostadinov says.
His current project is micro and nano robots for a single cancer cell. He says, though, that his focus is not fighting cancer. "I am an engineer and I can do things to assist the specialists who are doctors, biologists and others, to give them a tool to go into a single cancer cell and put some substance and see how it works. My mission is to assist the process – not to lead it," says the professor.
Prof. Kostadin Kostadinov Sc.D. has over 35 years of experience in industrial property work. Professor of robotics and mechatronics at the Institute of Mechanics with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Founder of GIS-Transfer Centre for supporting the transfer of technologies and innovations, which has been part of the global network for technology transfer, Steinbeis, based in Stuttgart, Germany. Member of the Board of the South-East European International Institute for Sustanaible Technologies (SEEIIST) from its establishment in 2017 to 2021. The main purpose of the organization is to create shared research infrastructure for the countries in the Western Balkans, Bulgaria and Greece for hadron therapy for cancer patients. Trains master students in mechatronics from the Mie University in Japan (since 2014).
Prof. Kostadinov is author and co-author of 20 patents in the field of robotics and mechatronics, 11 of which have been implemented in various industries, science and medicine. His first inventions were implemented back in 1988-1990. His device for robotized assembly deployed at the Beroe factory for hydraulic pumps won a Gold medal at the International Plovdiv Fair in 1988. His rotating digital table was deployed at the National Centre for Standardization and Metrology and a device for vibro-separation of materials was deployed in the cast iron mill in the town of Ihtiman.
Prof. Kostadinov was recognized as a pioneer in robotics when he won the NATO and DAAD awards in 1999 for his project for micro robots for biological application, which he developed at the Konstanz University of Applied Sciences in Germany (1999-2003). His Microna 01 robot for in-vitro fertilization was deployed, too, as well as the Hydro-Mina robot which is designed on a modular principle and is a combination of regional and local structures for micro- and nano-manipulations and surgery.
For his outstanding achievements, Prof. Kostadinov has received multiple honours: The Pythagoras award of the Education and Science Ministry in for exceptional achievements in the engineering science - 2011; The award of the Union of Scientists in Bulgaria for contribution to the engineering science – 2012; Gold medal from the autumn edition of the Plovdiv Fair for the Microna robot for in vitro fertilization – 2014; The Pythagoras award of the Education and Science Ministry Exploitation for outstanding achievements in the use and commercialization of research results – 2017.