Bridging the Gap: Providentia’17
Organised by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the clubs’ annual tech-week, Providentia’17, was everything a mechanical or a civil engineer could desire: Strong and structurally sound. The event, which took place from 27th March to 31st March, catered to a decent turnout of participants and managed to tick most of the boxes.
The Kamath Circle area bustled with activity as participants called on their inner salesmen to get ahead of the competition in the first event of Providentia’17’s ‘Technathon’. Organised on 27th March, every team was allowed to take part in this event. The few teams, who managed to excel in this event, would be given the location of the next event in the ‘Technathon’.
The aim of ‘Marketing Mayhem’ was to sell certain products to nearby strangers. The items in stock were a bookmark, a key chain, and a candle. Once all the products were sold, the teams were handed a riddle which would lead them to the location of the next task in the event. Points were awarded on basis of the speed of the sale and the price each item fetched.
Finding friends in the area helped some teams, while a few teams elicited sympathy from strangers and tried to get them to part with their money. Participants tried their best to find buyers for the trinkets, with some teams selling them for as much as three times their value, making winners of themselves as well as the organizers.
Rig it Up
Out of the few teams that managed to sell their items within the stipulated time, the top six teams were given the location to Technathon’s second event,’Rig it Up’. While ‘Marketing Mayhem’ brought out the salesperson in every contestant, ‘Rig it Up’ put the participants’ electrical and electronic knowledge to the test.
An array of wires, bread boards, LEDs, resistors, and batteries were laid out on a table in NLH 303, where Rig it Up was scheduled to take place. A riddle had to be decoded by each contestant before getting hold of the electrical components. The answer to each riddle was a single digit number excluding zero. After deciphering the riddle and obtaining the number, the participants tried to connect the electrical equipment using various combinations and a cluster of wires. The final objective of this daunting event was to create a 7-segment LED display. 7-segment LEDs are electronic display devices and can be extensively found in many modern-day electronic devices. The catch was that each team had to display the number they had obtained by deciphering the code. In case two teams managed to score the same number of points, the team which took the least time to complete its circuit was awarded higher points.
Despite being eerily similar to a certain electronics lab, the participants took to the event like moths to a fire. The six teams that had managed to qualify seemed perplexed, but eventually got accustomed to the tricks of the trade.
One of Providentia’s many categories, ‘Fun Events’ was held on 28th March and consisted of four challenging, yet enjoyable tasks. The event, which took place in NLH and near the Chemical Block simultaneously, was mainly designed to give the participants a break from the technical events.
The event consisted of three different games, and the participants’ cumulative scores were taken into account at the end of the event. The first of the three events was called ‘Paper Cup‘, in which the teams had to create a stack of alternating sheets of paper and cups and then pull out the sheets of paper so that the cups formed a perfect tower. The second game, Pop The Pencil, required the teams to bounce pencils off a desk and into a glass. The final game, String and a Ball, which took place near the Chemical Block, involved maneuvering a ball such that it was perfectly balanced on a rope and eventually fell into a bucket. The three games were held simultaneously and the participants could compete in any event, in no particular order. Upon completion of these three events, the participants were asked to take part in a quiz, which required them to predict whether or not their teammate would be able to answer a particular question.
The participants, despite being small in number, displayed great amounts of enthusiasm. ‘Fun Events‘ managed to break the monotony of technical events at Providentia’17 and turned out to be a much needed breather, for participants and organisers alike.
Code at K.C.
‘Code at K.C.’ was organised on the second day of Providentia’17. At the end of day one, the top six teams on the points table were given an opportunity to take part in this event. True to its name, the organisers set up computer stations at K.C. for each team. Successful completion of this event would give the participants a huge boost in their bid to finish at the top of the table.
All six teams were given one complete computer code, riddled with six syntax errors. Each member of the team was given two minutes to identify and correct a maximum two errors in each turn, after which the team members would switch and the process was repeated. Time was of utmost importance; the first team to debug the code was awarded the maximum number of points. The teams were not allowed to compile the code until the end of the task, which made the event even more challenging. The fact that this was a make or break opportunity for many teams added to the intensity of the event. Setting up six functional computer stations without any major technical malfunction is not an easy feat. The organisers, however, exceeded expectations as the event was impeccably organised and thoroughly entertaining.
Held on the final day of ‘Technathon’, Water Puzzle was attended by the few teams that managed to make the cut in the previous rounds. Much like the name suggests, the event tested the scientific prowess of every participant in the field of Fluid Mechanics.
The objective of the event was straightforward: Participants were supposed to transport water from point A to point B by employing a series of pipes. A few hurdles were placed in the path to add a twist to the challenge. Points were awarded on the basis of time taken and the overall efficiency of the connections. The participants were also asked to attempt a questionnaire on the principles they had utilised in creating their plumbing systems.
The execution of the event failed to match up to the idea, as many participants were confused due to a lack of explanation. On the other hand, participants who were familiar with the concept of plumbing, left the event just as happy as the lucky plants chosen for this event.
The setting sun on 29th March witnessed teams of three rushing around and struggling to extinguish a candle with a cup of water. They were given an hour and fifteen minutes to do so. Of course, there was a catch to it – the teams were supposed to construct a contraption to complete this task with the help of a series of intricate and complex reactions. This event was inspired by cartoonist Rube Goldberg, whose cartoons depicted the same, leaving the readers anticipating the next frame.
The teams were provided with materials ranging from large cardboards to plastic bottles. They had the added liberty to bring their own resources. The marking scheme of the contest involved points for every working step, the types of energy converted, and the number of parallel reactions. Additionally, the most marks were awarded for successfully completing the task, with the deduction of ten points for every human intervention. “Goldberg’s Alley involves a lot of quick wit and thinking on your feet, so its quite fun,” remarked event-head Harshit Kumar. “It is pretty different too, because this is a very practical, every day, and enjoyable application of Physics theory.“
The dynamic Goldberg’s Alley concluded with the AB-5 foyer scattered with small glass balls and playing cards, and the participants left with a fairly clear idea of what the term ‘over-engineering’ could intend to convey.