IIT Bombay hosted India’s biggest robotics symposium, e-Yantra 2017, on 7 and 8 April. Students from engineering college around the country demonstrated their innovative projects. There were keynote speeches and panel discussions from experts and leaders in the industry over the course of the two days. High on the agenda was encouraging robotics startups, getting engineering colleges to solve problems, and developing indigenous technologies.

This was the fourth year of the symposium, and instead of first, second and third prizes, the teams were awarded prizes based on different criteria. Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Shikshan Sanstha College of Engineering from Aurangabad and PES University from Bengaluru both won prizes in the “best hardware design” category.

The team from Ram Meghe College of Engineering and Management showed a drone that can be used by farmers to monitor the health of crops.
The team from Ram Meghe College of Engineering and Management showed a drone that can be used by farmers to monitor the health of crops.

Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Shikshan Sansthan College of Engineering showcased Automation for the process of Paper bag Manufacturing System. The robotic system had a number of active suction cups to fold a sheet of paper into a paper bag. The current system used hand rolled paper handles, but the students plan to improve the system and incorporate an automatic mechanism to create the paper handles as well. The process allows for stamping of a logo on the side of the paper bags.

PES university from Bengaluru had come up with a glass wall cleaning robot, for use in the glass facades of skyscrapers. The robot uses active suction cups to stick to the sides of walls, and an attached sponge cleans the surface. After cleaning an area, the robot automatically moves sideways and starts cleaning another area. It is only necessary to feed in the dimensions of the glass wall, and the robot automatically proceeds with the cleaning. The project was called Microcontroller Based Glass Wall Cleaning Robot With Slider Mechanism.

The “Close to Market” category had two winners as well, Vivekanand Education Society’s Institute of Technology from Mumbai, who had come up with a multilingual kiosk for making air travel easier. The device is aimed at users of regional languages in India. The other team to win in the “Close to Market” Category was the Faculty of Technology from the Dharmsinh Desai University in Gujarat, who had come up with a fingerprint authentication system for electronic transactions, which could potentially be used with the Aadhaar database.

Fr. Conceicao Rodrigues college of Engineering, Bandra, in Mumbai presented a robotic solution designed to reduce the work load of doctors in hospitals. Robotic Assistance For Tuberculosis Patients, used an RFID system to keep track of patients and dispense medicines. The robot is designed to make rounds of a hospital ward automatically. The team is planning to pitch the idea to hospitals in Mumbai city, after developing the idea further. The team won the award for the “Most Innovative Solution”.

Rachel Joseph, student of Fr. Conceicao Rodrigues college of Engineering, Bandra from Mumbai said, “Our e – Yantra Idea Competition project which got nominated for the Symposium was inspired by the poor conditions of patients in Sewri TB hospital. We designed a simple medibot which dispatches medicines based on the patient rfid, the judges feedback helped us to make the system foolproof.”

The team from Reva University, Bengaluru won the award for the Best Demonstration and Presentation. The team showcased a portable robot that can be installed in manholes, and automatically cleans and retrieves blockages at the push of a button. The robot is designed to protect human dignity, as a replacement for human cleaners in sewage systems, which is a hazardous occupation. The height and reach of the robot can be modified as per the requirements.

Cluster Innovation Center from Delhi won the award for “best algorithm design”. The team presented a wearable belt that used a Kinect camera, a Raspberry Pi and a smartphone app to alert the visually impaired about objects and obstacles in the surroundings. The team used a variation of Google’s Tensor Flow framework to create an artificial neural network, which was trained to recognise objects that users are likely to encounter. The paired smartphone app can not only alert users of what object is there in the surroundings, but also use depth perception to inform them of how far away the objects are. The system works in real time, and responds to changes in the environment.

Dr. Kavi Arya, Principal Investigator, e-Yantra project highlighted the importance of getting the academia deeply involved with the private industry, for the success of the “Make in India” initiative. Dr Arya pointed out that there was a necessity to come up with low cost solutions for Indian problems, as developed economies are not likely to solve the problems that Indians face in their daily lives. Dr. Arya said, “the role of e-Yantra is to empower youngsters with the ability to build machines to solve real problems.”

Publish date: April 9, 2017 5:27 pm| Modified date: April 9, 2017 7:50 pm

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