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IIT-M wunderkinds steal the show

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The two-day ‘Open House 2008’ at IIT-M from Saturday serves as a forum for exposing youngsters to various equipment and innovations.
The two-day ‘Open House 2008’ at IIT-M from Saturday serves as a forum for exposing youngsters to various equipment and innovations.

Aloysius Xavier Lopez

Open House showcases success stories of departments

CHENNAI: Even as an automated unmanned aircraft designed by students of IIT-Madras took to the skies amid tremendous applause, two curious four-year-olds V. Chiru and Deepan asked in unison, “Is this a bird.”

The question reflected the seed of innovation planted in those young minds and seemed to be a harbinger of success of the two-day ‘Open House 2008’ being held as part of SHAASTRA celebrations of Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

The display of scientific talent by IIT-students on Saturday traced a thin line that separated science and magic. A bicycle in motion without a rider may seem magical for some. But it is science for these IITians.

A group of students led by Ravi Teja, an IIT-student, successfully demonstrated a self-balancing bicycle. “This technology can be extended to unicycle robots with advantages of many degrees of freedom. This may revolutionise future transportation,” said Ravi Teja.

“Our success in designing a self-balancing bicycle will fuel our interest in robotics. Our country is lagging behind in robotics and we will strive for excellence in the field,” he said, adding that he wants to start a company to addresses the need for cutting-edge research in robotics.

Many technological success stories of the departments of IIT-Madras and their impact on society were showcased at the Open House.

It provided a sample of some of the research projects in cutting-edge technology in IIT-Chennai. Thousands of students from various schools interacted with IIT students and research scholars and got a glimpse of the state-of-the-art laboratories of the institution .

“The professors give us autonomy and do not interfere in our initiatives on innovation. However, they constantly monitor the research developments and help us contribute optimally with our out-of-the-box ideas,” said Ravikanth Andhavarapu, a final-year aerospace engineering student.

Students also observed the designing of a racing car by the students of IIT. “The car will take part in Formula SAE to be held in Melbourne this year,” said Pravin Carvalho, a core group member.

Renault Nissan displayed a Formula one car. “We want the students to derive inspiration from these activities. As there is not enough manpower in automotive industry, we have to nurture talent to support our research and development,” said Kaustubhan B Srivathsan, vice-president, Engineering, Renault Nissan.

Technology in the realm of defence was also on display. Demonstration of various experiments of the departments included Suryajal, a solar photo voltaic powered seawater desalination plant and experiments on nanomaterials.

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