If there’s one positive thing to be said about the recent pandemic, it’s that it has forced the world to adapt in the most creative, inclusive, and innovative ways. While it obviously would have been best for the pandemic to never have happened, there is undoubtedly some good to be found in such a terrible situation. Virtual museum visits, new charities, opera and ballet from performers’ kitchens, worldwide TikTok collaborations—the past year and a half has seen the world come together in little ways, building communities and fostering a sort of wholesomeness that can only be found when people contribute whatever they can to help others out.
In an Indonesian village, that creative contribution comes in form of a homemade delivery robot.
The purple and white robot, affectionately and ironically named Delta, is made up of discarded household items. With a rice cooker for a head, a toy car for “legs,” and an old television monitor for a chest, Delta rolls around the village of Tembok Gede as a much-needed Good Samaritan. Indonesia is one of the countries hit hardest by the pandemic, recently topping the world’s highest count of new infections. In heavily populated areas, it has become hard to deliver much-needed supplies to those villagers who are sick or who can’t access basic necessities for themselves due to quarantines.
Enter Delta, the brainchild of a group of local villagers. Originally created to be a waitress at a local food stall, Delta is able to be controlled remotely from up to 600 feet away, allowing access to areas that are unsafe for actual people to enter. She can safely deliver supplies, carries disinfectants to spray on surfaces around the village, and has quickly become indispensable to those who are self-isolating.
Aseyan is one of the community leaders who helped create Delta, and he’s also the man behind her remote controller. “With this new Delta variant and the surging number of COVID-19 cases, I decided to turn the robot into one used for public services such as to spray disinfectant, deliver food and meet the needs of residents who are self-isolating,” he said when speaking of Delta’s origins. When a villager first asked for supplies to be sent to her house, he had the idea to put food in the robot’s torso and deliver it that way.
Delta is unfalteringly kind, wishing peace upon those she delivers to. “Assalamu’alaikum,” she greets after arriving at a house, using the voice of Aseyan’s wife. “A delivery is here. Thank you, and get well soon.”
Now, two weeks after first being put to use, Delta has become famous for her hospitality and the role she—and, of course, her creators—has played in helping out those most affected by the pandemic. It’s a testament to the fact that, while the world can sometimes be dark and lonely, there are always pockets of light to be found. With her kind words, endearing appearance, and the use she has had in helping out those in need, Delta is certainly one of those bright spots.