Students help young ‘techies’ innovate at IIT Bombay

The institute leads to interesting innovations such as an intelligent walking stick for the blind.

Written by Mihika Basu | Mumbai | Published: September 29, 2014 2:25:25 am
A humanoid. A humanoid.

The institute technical summer projects (ITSP), started by IIT Bombay’s Students’ Technical Activities Body (STAB) to explore the ‘techie’ among freshers, has seen a huge jump in registrations, from 16 projects in its inception year, 2010, to 121 in 2014.

The institute pays for the entire project and it has led to interesting innovations this year such as an intelligent walking stick for the blind that detects obstacles using ultrasonic sensors and generates audio commands to guide the user, a hovercraft which can changing the orientation of its propellers and convert into a helicopter for security surveillance, an all-terrain robot to help researchers, a gesture controlled glove that converts gestures into words for the mute, an ‘invisible’ Braille reader that is portable and helps the visually challenged to read books and a music player controlled by eyes.

The projects will be showcased next month on campus. “The STAB comes under IIT Bombay’s dean of students’ affairs. In April each year, we call for ideas from first year students and the idea is to give them hand-on experience. Instead of freshmen selecting any random project from any random field, this year we encouraged them to decide their interest first and choose the idea from that specific field, be it social or industrial. We saw students developing technologies in healthcare, agricultural, security surveillance and other industrial areas,” said Rahul Prajapat, overall coordinator of IIT Bombay’s STAB.

He said STAB supervises the amount of funding required for the projects and each team is approved Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000. “There is an initial demonstration in the May and the final demonstration takes place in June, before faculty members, doctorate students and Mtech students.

Further, the prototypes, which have the potential to be converted into marketable products, are reviewed at ‘Technovation’, an innovation programme under STAB, which encourages students to do real life application oriented projects,” said Prajapat. At Technovation, teams get larger amount of support in terms of funding as well as mentorship and infrastructure. A project can receive funding of up to Rs 1 lakh.

Among the ones being manufactured or in their final stages include a campus transport tracking system, which was initiated in 2012 and 20 of them will now be installed inside IIT Bombay’s ‘tum-tum’ campus buses, unmanned aerial vehicles capable of assisting in search and rescue operations during natural disasters, a Braille display for visually impaired people and a low cost CNC laser cutting machine, which are currently imported at high prices with added shipping and customs costs in India, and are used in manufacturing, fashion and textile, plastics, and rubber industries.

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