As long, jostling queues formed outside liquor stores in India during the easing of a coronavirus lockdown, Karthik Velayutham found a way to maintain social distancing -- by building a robot to shop for him.
The humble machine -- a cardboard box resting on a four-wheel wooden platform -- took the computer engineer two days to make and cost 3,000 rupees ($40).
But it is performing a crucial job for its creator at a time when social interactions carry the risk of catching a virus that has infected more than four million people and killed over 297,000 worldwide.
"I ran my robot to the wine shop as a trial to demonstrate how someone can use it in a crowded place and to create awareness about the importance of social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus," Velayutham, 31, told AFP.
"I have tested this device on the streets and it has no problems and goes smoothly, even over speed bumps because I have used a gear motor."