The story of inspiration and innovation at ‘Kurukshetra'

Most engineering students and even their faculty members would agree that that the students pursuing mechanical engineering often look the shabbiest, especially on days they have their ‘workshop practical.' There is more to this practical learning that happens in the midst of lathes, manufacturing machines, saw dust and steel appliances.

“Every time, we finish a practical, we were asked to clean the lathe, and invariably, one of us gets injured with the blades. Sometimes, we just leave the difficult scrap on them; they fly when the machine is on, only to hit one of us,” says C. Vivek, a second year mechanical engineering student.

A few injury marks on his fingers stand testimony to the reason that he came up with the ‘Skrot Bot' (which means a cleansing machine in Danish) with four of his friends. The machine, using the principles of electromagnetism, automates the process of cleaning the corners of huge lathe machines. “Instead of military projects and snake robots, we decided to work on something that can make the lives of students easier,” says Vivek. Scores of such projects which seem to lend a comprehensive solution to the everyday challenges, were the highlights of Kurukshetra, the tech fest of College of Engineering, Guindy, on Friday.

Engineering is also a lot about how many of the projects get appreciated outside. “These matter a lot, especially while during interviews of core manufacturing firms,” says Roshan Reddy of Saveetha Engineering College, who along with his friends has visited at least 15 tech fests in the last three years. “It takes at least Rs 15,000 to make a proper electronics project. The prize money helps us make better projects,” he adds.

Influences from movies seem never-ending. From Tamil blockbusters to Hollywood science fiction, it's almost a world panorama in projects.

It is while watching the movie ‘Transformers' that Vignesh Kumar, an ECE student, hit upon the concept of ‘Optimus' a wheeled car that transforms into a humanoid robot, all by controlling a few servo motors.

Elsewhere, a sequence from ‘Apoorva Sahodarargal', where the hero commits murders using marbles that tick off arrows so that no finger prints are left behind, inspired a device that could considerably help your morning routine. “The difference is, here it just prompts an alarm to ring, and immediately sets the calendar for you and gets a bucket of hot water ready,” says A.G. Padmanabhan a participant from Government College of Technology, Coimbatore, on his entry to ‘Contraptions' - an event that tests you ability to automate.

Techno-management events that had students debating on ‘Price hikes – a boon or bane' and ‘How to improve the dismal performance of the Indian cricket team' were also part of the fest.

So was an informal event on ‘NRI boys seeking Indian girls,” a mock show on brain drain, held to lighten the otherwise ‘technical' mood of the fest.

The Hindu is the partner for the event.

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