Innovative projects with a “high societal impact” are set to be showcased at the 12th edition of the annual IIT Delhi ‘Open House’ scheduled to begin on April 23.
From a hip protective device for the elderly, diagram books for blind students to a system of better drainage systems in Delhi, ‘Open House 2016’ will have over 500 research projects and 80 demo projects on display for the visitors.
“The idea of IIT Open House is to identify projects where a new product or technology is created with high societal impact. We are going to connect with agricultural and healthcare institutions and would like to work on multi-disciplinary projects offering societal benefits,” V Ramgopal Rao, who assumed office as the premier institute’s Director two days ago, said.
The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) is expecting over 40,000 school students to visit the exposition.
The institute has been working towards providing aid to the visually-impaired for quite sometime now and had come up in the past with technology-driven devices like the blind cane, that have shown positive results.
Their latest project focuses on providing blind students access to non-visual representations of diagrams and figures in subjects like maths, science, economics and geography, in tactile form at an affordable cost.
Prof M Balakrishnan, who is guiding the project, said it uses the process of thermoforming with durable PVC sheets as opposed to the more expensive swell paper or the less durable embossing, while using 3D printing technology.
“Thermoforming lies between embossing and swell technology. While embossing might be economical, it is less durable and prone to wear and tear. Swell technology is expensive with each paper costing Rs 100. With thermoforming, more durable diagrams are created at a nominal price of Rs 10-Rs 15 per sheet,” Renu Kaushik and Vibha Chaudhury, who are working as research scholars for the project, said.
The team has been working with NCERT to bring out a map book for Upper Primary grades in blind schools.
They have also brought out science and maths textbooks for ninth grade and economics textbook for the eleventh grade, besides a Yoga book for the Iyengar society that can be used by visually impaired individuals to practise yoga.
Rao also emphasised on the need for tech-based initiatives and said that it will be among one of the primary areas of focus for the years to come.
“I have seen that a lot of start ups are coming up but there are hardly any tech-based start-ups. We have to focus on tech and tech-incubation is what we will focus on in the next few years,” he said.
Another project offering a high societal impact is ‘Preparation of Master Plan of Drainage for NCT of Delhi’ that was awarded to IIT-D by Delhi government to formulate the master drainage plan for the city by 2021.
The team, lead by A K Gosain, studied the existing natural drainage system, urban storm and waste water systems
and evaluated their water carrying capacities.
The city has been divided into three areas: trans-Yamuna region, South Delhi and Najafgarh area and region wise guidelines have been prepared to rehabilitate and augment the storm water management system.
Satish Kumar and Dhanya C T, who are working on Gosain’s research team said “We found that although the existing drainage is not inadequate, the drains are choked. The drains that are meant to carry rainfall are carrying sewage. People are building homes over the drains which lead to flooding of the upstream.”
According to the team, the first draft of the plan was submitted in February and the project is expected to be completed by the end of this year.
IIT Delhi’s ‘Open House’ is open and free for public. While demonstrations will close by 2 pm the laboratory will
stay open for visitors till 4 pm.