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Friday, July 20, 2018

Spotlight on Oculus Rift as IIT-B’s Techfest kicks off today

Techfest is IIT-B’s annual science and technology festival to promote technology, scientific thinking and innovation.

Written by Tanushree Venkatraman | Mumbai | Updated: January 2, 2015 3:05:34 am
Students check out the Oculus Rift; ‘Beach bot’, capable of creating large-scale sand art, will also be on display. Students check out the Oculus Rift; ‘Beach bot’, capable of creating large-scale sand art, will also be on display.

The virtual reality, head-mounted set is touted as the next generation gadget in the gaming world, as it takes a gamer into a 6D simulator setup, allowing him to step inside their favourite game and virtual world.

For gamers across the city, a visit to IIT-B’s annual Techfest on Friday will see their avatar moment, with the organisers showcasing Oculus Rift as one of the prime exhibits. The virtual reality, head mounted sets is touted as the next generation in the gaming world, as it takes a gamer into a 6D simulator set up, allowing him to step inside their favourite game and virtual world. IIT-B students claim that this is the first time the head set will be exhibited in the country. “In the US, innovators are already looking at using the Rift for training their police officials, using it during warfare, flight simulators training, advanced surgeries and also learning driving.

This year, the Techfest is scheduled from January 2-5.

The Rift allows you to become a part of literally any virtual reality environment,” said Anuraj Gupta, media coordinator and a second year student at IIT-B. The pre-publicity to Techfest has seen the students take the Oculus Rift to malls in the city. In the city for an entire week, the gamers can experience a roller coaster ride, or opt to hit a sixer at a cricket pitch, or better, hit a penalty win to a cherring football game, all sitting in a chair. The students also are hoping to see a wider audience and some collaborative outcome.

“This exhibition will give also us an oppurtunity to present it to people from different institutions and think-tanks in the country, who can make efficient use of the technology for better services,” Gupta added.   The Rift was founded by Palmer Luckey, a self-described ‘virtual reality enthusiast’ and hardware geek from the US.

“The Rift uses custom tracking technology to provide ultra-low latency 360° head tracking, allowing you to seamlessly look around the virtual world just as you would in real life. Every subtle movement of your head is tracked in real time creating a natural and intuitive experience.” “We have been planning the fest since nine months, it was quite difficult to get the Rift because it is still in the development process. We also had to make sure that we had the required sponsors in place to get the Rift,” said Ayush Bandil, a third year student at IIT-B, who is also in-charge of managing the event.

Techfest is IIT-B’s annual science and technology festival to promote technology, scientific thinking and innovation. The even sees a footfall of more than 135,000 people comprising mainly of the youth from across the nation and an outreach of over 2,500 colleges across India and over 500 overseas universities. The event will see a lecture series by former President APJ Abdul Kalam. The exhibitions will also comprise scaled down models of ships and submarines, artillery gun and BMP-2 tanks.

Gesture-controlled ‘hand’, robots that play football other attractions

Even as the world’s first autonomous robot, ‘Beach bot’, capable of creating large-scale sand art, a technology which has been developed by Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich, soccer playing robots from Germany and a gesture-controlled hand from France will be the primary attractions during exhibitions at Techfest, IIT Bombay’s annual science and technology festival. It is launching a public exhibition this year, where faculty, students and corporate personnel will get a chance to exhibit their work. Accordingly, for this segment, exhibits were invited across various categories, including robotics, electronics, engineering, fine art, architecture, automobiles, design, pure science and energy.

While Sanket Panchal, an engineering student from Parul Institute of Engineering and Technology at Limda in Waghodla, Vadodara, is showcasing a manual paddy translator, a machine for Indian farmers who having labour and health problems during farming of paddy crops, Sonam Kumari and her team from MIT, Manipal, will display a solar electric car, a car that runs on solar energy and is capable of reaching 120 kmph and 30 kmph cruising speeds when powered only from the solar panels. In all, there will be five IIT Bombay exhibits, 15 other Indian exhibits and 16 international exhibits.

Yet another attraction at the festival will be ‘technoholix’, which is, according to the organisers, “a perfect blend of science and technology filled with pure entertainment, providing a visual feastfor the audience”.

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