What could small motors, wires of different colours, paper, plastic bits and a few pairs of hands achieve? If the place is Indian Institute of Technology-Madras and the event ‘Shaastra 2010', you might get to see these materials transform into some interesting machines, including hovercrafts.

Participants' potential

This scene at ‘Aerobotics,' one of the events on Thursday – day one of IIT-M's annual technical festival – offered a glimpse of the creativity and potential of the participants.

The task given to the students in this contest was to design and build a hovercraft – a vehicle that travels over surfaces with the support of a cushion of slow moving, high-pressure air.

Teams were given points for every task the hovercraft accomplishes in its set path and points were deducted every time the machine collided against the walls, said Bhargava C.V., one of the coordinators of ‘Shaastra 2010'.

The team from VIT University looked a little confident after its hovercraft did well in the preliminary round. Even as P. Samir Senapati and Aniket Deepak Umale explained how the micro-controllers were being used, their team-mate Mehta Krupal said it was a good learning experience.

“While we have learnt the electronics in class, we get to learn the mechanics when we actually make hovercrafts here,” he said.

Another highlight of day one was ‘Toy story', where participants could try and fix manufacturing defects in toys. Later, the toys would be given to children from underprivileged sections, organisers said.

This was in line with ‘Imagineer impact', the theme of this year's Shaastra, which sought not only to imagine and come up with innovative solutions to various issues, but also bring about change through impact.

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