IIT-M’s tech fest sees students pushing boundaries and breaking records with their inventions

In one room, students sat blindfolded racing past one another to solve the Rubik’s cube; in another hall a record was being attempted to make the longest flight time for a quadrotor; and in another corner three students wearing wired gloves were generating music out of thin air, mimicking playing drums, the tabla and a guitar.

On Sunday the second day of Shaastra 2014, IIT-Madras’ annual tech fest, the impetus was on pushing the boundaries.

The fest that goes on till Tuesday will draw close to 20,000 people, and will feature 52 events and 24 lectures among other programmes, according to Shubham Jain, a student co-ordinator.

On the first day, for an event titled ‘Envisage’, IIT-M students presented seven projects including a virtual DJ, where music can be mixed just with hand gestures.

On the second day of the fest, Ganeshram Nandhakumar, a PhD student from IIT-M attempted to make it to the Limca Book of Records for keeping a quadrotor he made at the institute up in the air for 42 minutes and 39 seconds. The model was sponsored by Senthil Kumar Kandasamy.

“I made it under the guidance of my professor Prof. T. Asokan,” Ganeshram said.

Students also showcased some of the projects they had developed. Manudeep Choudhary, a second-year student of mechanical engineering at IIT-M, had made a model where a light turns on and off depending on the intensity of sunlight in the surroundings. “The project cost me only around Rs. 120,” he said.

Kishan Jani, a second-year student of engineering design made an anti-theft device. The device has a male and female tag and while the female tag can be embedded to an article such as a laptop or a smartphone, the male tag corresponding to it is kept by the person.

“The detector will start beeping if the male and female tag do not both pass through it within five seconds of each other,” explained Kishan.

One of the highlights of Sunday was the ‘Airshow’, where renowned radio-controlled (RC) model plane fliers from Austria — Gunther Gold, Wolfgang Krahofer and Marian Mader performed stunts and twists with their RC planes in the evening sky.

Some of the other events on day two were the Pan IIT-Research Expo, Robowars and lectures by eminent persons such as Michael Meyer, lead scientist, NASA’s Mars Exploration Program.