Dancing hammers and pulsating strings create mellow sounds; stairs produce musical vibrations similar to the notes of a piano when you jump on them; a pair of hands rattling in the air, playing hypothetical drums creates dense rhythms - sounds like a magical performance, doesn't it? Only that the strings of the harp are laser beams, and the piano stairs have inbuilt sensors, while the invisible drums work on ultrasound signals - all part of an exhibition at the annual IIT Madras tech fest, 'Shaastra-2010'

The second day of the fest saw a display of creations that reflected an engaging fusion of technology with innovation and entertainment.

The highlight of the day was ‘Innovation X', where selected projects of students from different engineering colleges in the country were evaluated. From pulse monitors, underwater innovations and unconventional use of mobile phone to aid daily life chores, the exhibition presented a wide range of technical designs. “It depends a lot on the individual and less on the institution, because some students from lesser known colleges have come up with extremely innovative designs,” said Prathap Haridoss, associate professor, IIT-M.

A noticeable trend, according to Richa Agarwal, assistant professor, IIT-M, was that most projects had a touch of concern for disability, environmental consciousness, and energy conservation.

Meanwhile, as students of the automobile society of IIT-M busied themselves in procuring parts and putting them together to design a linear expandable car from scratch, the audience watched them work with abrasion cutters and hand-held grinders with utmost dexterity. “It is a different feeling when you get into a car you have designed,” said one of the designers, K. Sampath, a mechanical engineering student.

Cars for display, engines to study, an unmanned guided vehicle operated by sensors, aircraft, prototypes of remote sensing satellites, military tanks and weapons were some of the other exhibits. A science fiction writing competition, math modelling contest, technical quiz, interface between experts from industry and students and workshops on forensics and astronomy were other attractions.

Keywords: IIT-MadrasShaastra

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