Tom, the big fat cat, exhales a snowy little ball that expands into a pipe which straightens into a candle that sets Jerry, the mouse in flames. If you thought this was a prelude to some graphic design, ‘Contraptions', an event at ‘Shaastra – 2010' that had the simplest of materials put together, would be the journey of various innovations in motion. The skill of engineering brought about with complicated designs made simpler, marked the spirit of the third day of the fest at IIT– Madras.
Apart from ‘fire showers' that set the image of people between rectangular plates on flames and knock-out sessions between robots, the day saw the blending of various engineering disciplines by way of events like ‘Pentathlon' that showcased some exceptional innovations. Participants at ‘Project X' devised creations using everyday items such as a cavalier beam using pencils, and a propeller boat using ice cream sticks and balloons.
The theme for ‘Robotics' was Amazon Mystified, where manually controlled robots traversed simulated forests and held blocks to build structures. Motors, batteries, aluminium, sliders, wires, switches, efforts, persistence and some grey cells are what it takes to create these little men, says Kaustav Roy, an engineering student of IIT-M.
At ‘Hackfest', a group of students encouraged and trained programmers to take to free open source code and, young warriors fought to lay their hands upon the best available waste in a heap of junk in the final rounds of ‘Junkyard Wars'. “It is not about engineering alone, it is also about style,” says V. Ashwin, the co-ordinator of ‘Top Gun', an event that focusses mainly on the presentation and manoeuvring of technology. The air show in the evening saw planes, gliders and scaled helicopters create aerial magic, while laser beams flirted with hues of light, sliding and dancing to jazz tunes at the ‘Shaastra' Night.