Robots that can sow seeds in a farm, robots that can remove weeds, robots used for fertilizing crops and robots that can even pluck fruits from trees — these were some of the final entries presented at the e-Yantra Robotics Competition (e-YRC) this year at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) on March 28.
This year e-YRC used robotics to develop indigenous solutions in the field of ‘Urban Agriculture’. The objective of the competition this year was to bring awareness to problems in the agriculture domain by assigning themes that involve processes in this domain.
The ministry of human resource development (MHRD) sponsors e-YRC under the National Mission for ICT in Education (NMEICT) programme. The initiative aims at providing hands-on learning-infrastructure to engineering students who have limited access to labs and mentors.
Through e-YRC lab, the overall mission is to grow a rich eco-system of ideas and applications through intelligent funnelling of robotics in the day-to-day life developed by students working on such projects at engineering colleges in the area of embedded systems. More than 6,000 students had registered for e-YRC 2013 from across the country, of which only 80 members (20 teams) were shortlisted for the competition.
“e-YRC-2013 aims at bringing awareness to problems in the agriculture domain by assigning themes that involve processes in this vital domain. Four themes are used as exemplars of important stages in the agriculture production lifecycle: seeding, weeding, fertilizing and harvesting.
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Student teams from across the country worked on prototypes of robots such as the Seed Sowing robot, Weeding robot, Fertilizing robot and Fruit Plucking robot,” said Prof Kavi Arya, principal investigator, Project E-Yantra.
The pan-India robotics competition is open to all undergraduate students of engineering. Each group gets to program a given robotic platform to solve a given problem with the given resources in 12 weeks. Dr Saraswathi Kirthivasan, senior program manager of e-Yantra said, “The e-YRC provides a platform for students to demonstrate their knowledge and programming skills in Embedded system and Robotics to solve real life problems with the given hardware.”
Kirthivasan added, “What sets this competition apart is its unique model. While other competitions expect students to build their own robots, e-Yantra presents them with a robot developed (robotic kit) at IIT-Bombay, and expects them to develop solutions to pre-set tasks using these robots.
This makes robotics accessible to students across a variety of disciplines and from remote regions.”
The competition will be followed by e-Yantra symposium to be held on April 10 and April 11. Winning team members will get an opportunity to do internships at IIT Bombay during summer vacations.