The IIT Techfest 2012, the annual international Science and Technology festival conducted by IIT Bombay flagged off today. This broad platform offers opportunities to explore and display newer inventions, conferences to bring like minds together, promotes social entrepreneurship and awareness, organizes competitions and pep talks to motivate the youth.

As we walked past the geeky lot and wished for brain patterns to be called an IITian, the tech imbued environment showed varied facets of technology and how well it can blend with art and entertainment, which otherwise arguably do not appear quite related. Here, we've dished out the highlights of the IIT Techfest 2012 for our readers.


This platform is to implement those budding thoughts into a project that could probably make it big in the future. The international exhibition was dominated by robotics. It was inundated with robots of all types and kinds, from one that can play football to a robot that could efficiently replace a pet dog and one that can help with surveillance, and more. Humanoid and Surveillance seemed to be the favorites among these exhibitors. Watch out the space for an all-inclusive coverage on the robots displayed at the Techfest.

At the TechConnect exhibition, which displayed projects in varying fields like physics, chemistry, human sciences and so on, we were pleased to come across a social networking-based project. Tweets are opinion-based and this web-based system categorizes these tweets pertaining to a search string as positive, negative or objective. It gives an aggregate sentiment score that represents a sentiment snapshot for a search string. It presents a qualitative evaluation of this system based on a human-annotated tweet corpus. Who could use this analysis? Well, it could prove to be handy to sales and marketing organizations to know and learn their customer base. Moreover, prospective customers of a product/service can know what other users have to say about the product/service. A similar process was earlier seen calculating the overall happiness of the tweets.

Tweets for business analysis

Tweets for business analysis


As the name suggests, it is robots at war who battle it out for survival. Robots crafted by students from varying colleges across the country fought bravely amidst a large crowd. We spoke to  two colleges that were competing next – G.H. Raisoni Institute of Engineering and Management and IIT Kanpur. The Transformer (Yes, that’s what the makers from G.H. Raisoni named it) boasted of Neumatics technology and AAAXE (the other bot) was build of mild steel, brushless DC motor and capable of shell spin defense. Watch out the final combat in the video below.



The Diwheel caught everyone's attention as it moved across the campus roads. Using the latest drive-by-wire technology and control, Diwheel or Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping has two huge side-by-side wheels. Built by students at the University at Adelaide it is capable of taking a single passenger up to a distance of 40 km/hour. Designed to have a high centre of gravity, it has a maximum inclination of 12 degrees. Obviously, the speed isn’t as your motor bike and the battery life is about an hour. The high centre of gravity restricts maximum acceleration/deceleration to about 0.2G. However, it can be achieved using alloy wheels and frame, and by keeping the weight low. A design with a deceleration of 0.7G, which is not much lower than most vehicles can be built. It also sports a unique feature enabling the rider to drive the vehicle when 'upside down.'



Also on display was Miwheel, probably Di's younger cousin. The Miwheel has been built for commuting and claims to be easy to carry at 25kgs.The microcontroller it equips ensures that the frame of the machine is upright all the time. With a battery life of 8 hours, its top speed is 18km/hour. The maximum load it can carry is 100kgs. 



Freighter 15

Freighter 15 alights the competition (literally). With machines competiting in the air, this competition is all about you taking your wirelessly controlled aircraft to a safe, desired destination, while competing with students across the country. The participants have to adhere to a spec sheet and built a light wireless remote controlled fixed wing using electric motors only that can carry maximum payload. It has to complete a specified path and land on a specific zone.


Tech Talk at INK Conference
This platform had speakers and eminent personalities from varying fields express their views on new innovations. Present were Shantanu Moitra, a renowned Indian music composer, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay, founder of IDEAL ORGAN and Elixir Excellenza, Madhumita Halder, founder of MadRat Games and also the creators of the first Indian Language word game,  Vishal Gondal, founder and CEO of Indiagames, Mahesh Samat, managing director of Walt Disney India, along with Lakshmi Pratury.

With key aspects like inspire, incubate and impact, it’s about how technology meets various genres for the betterment of both. Lakshmi Pratury, featured on the list of 100 most powerful women by Forbes Asia in 2010 and the host of the INK conference said that INK looks towards harnessing the power of youth at the IIT Techfest to come up with better and greater ideas and advanced tech for the future. It showed the essence of technology blending with art, medical music and so on. For instance, a new iPad app was promoted about storytelling and traditional art (at least the picture said so), bringing a new dimension to story telling and how artists have been adopting technology over time.

Vishal Gondal expressed the future of gaming, starting off with how gaming business is bigger than Hollywood in America. Pointing to one similar desi story is Ra. One, which arguably may not have done well, but the game managed to get over 9 million downloads, out of which 2.5 million alone was contributed to by Nokia users. The gaming scene in India is expected to grow and is poised to become the fastest growing entertainment segment of the country. There are several factors, which will aid achieving this – like Unlocking of broadband with wider acceptance of 3G and introduction of 4G, market expansion with varied people indulging into gaming not just teens, several appstores and freemium content with in-app purchases will play a vital role, says Vishal. Some more trends are expected to creep in like end of operators, mobile payments, more tablets and new iconic brands.

An IIT Bombay alumni and co-founder of MatRat Games, Madhumati Haler, said that if the last decade was about social networking, this one will be about gaming. In an attempt to bring board games to students in India, she has been a part of the forming of Aksharit, an Indian word game and also managed to sell it to government schools of over 4 states. Nokia, Intel and Google have partnered with MadRat Games and launched Aksharit on half a million devices.

So, could this year also see more Indian players in the app-building game?

Mahesh Samat, M.D., Walt Disney Company who started with arts and economics spoke about the amalgamation of art and technology. Giving the different perspective of arts meets technology, it would bring in growth of animations, better way of story telling with animations, gaming and much more. He also said to explore newer ways and not just be confined to a small area. Shantanu Moitra plans to use the power of the Internet to preserve the vast and natural musical resource of India. 

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