Of Dualities and Singularities—IEEE’s Tech Week
IEEE held an engaging week of technically challenging tasks which they named ‘Singularity’, calling upon students to apply their knowledge in the electronic field as they put their penchant for innovation to the test. Read on for more information about how the proceedings went.
It is not often that an electronics-based event happens to garner attention of such magnitude. But Irradiance, a premier Arduino event, managed just that. The event, held between 28th and 31st March 2018, was conducted without much ado and added another feather to their adorned cap. The top two finalists were also eligible to win cash prizes.
It had 2 rounds, the preparation for which was aided by a free Arduino workshop before the competition began. This workshop was structured strategically with the final goal in mind—to create a genuine interest in Arduino as a language amongst the diaspora. Few people, apart from a spattering of Electronics students, are aware of the dynamics behind Arduino. It not only affects every sphere of our current lifestyle but is also a key component to unlocking a better and safer future.
Most students attending it were new to the hallowed mazes of Arduino, so a very basic model of teaching was followed. The workshop began with the basics of the language along with its syntax and gently swelled to tasks such as the lighting of LEDs. Deeper concepts such as PWM, analogue inputs, and interfacing with basic censors were taught later on.
To test the participants’ logic and skills, an initial written round was held, with questions focusing on electronics and some aspects of Arduino coding. Only the top 4 teams made it to the finale. In the final showdown, the teams got to work firsthand with electronic components and execute their ideas. The teams with the greatest success were slated to win the cash bounty. The infectious enthusiasm of IEEE rubbed off on the participants, giving rise to a fantastic session of theoretical learning and practical implementation. Events such as these are the primary reason for the resounding success of Tech Week.
Amidst the tension of the assignments and the upcoming endsem exams, IEEE held its tech weekend with a plethora of interesting events. JARVIS was a prime example of the innovation and technical prowess that the students possessed. The event started at 8:30 pm on 31st March 2018, and ended at 12 pm the next day. The competition required the participants to build a device of their choice from scratch in the given time span. Their efforts would be judged on the basis of the ingenuity, working, and practical relevance of the products by the judges, Mr Ujjwal Verma and Mrs Veena Mayya. A total of 10 teams of 2-3 people each participated, each one coming up with a unique take on day-to-day issues.
The devices ranged from gesture-controlled robots and robotic arms to automatic water faucets and organisational apps. One of the teams that stood out was one that made an app that focused on making life easy for visually disabled people. It consisted of two separate parts, with one being capable of recognising the surroundings and telling the user about them using a voice output. The second part consisted of depth filters that helped the user navigate through his surroundings.
Another team focused on gesture-controlled wheelchairs that would allow the afflicted person to control his or her movement without anybody’s help, just by moving their torso. One of the teams even gave an idea that would be of tremendous use to everybody in Manipal. They proposed an app that would act as an organised database of all the events happening in and around MIT, allowing all the students to wisely choose which events to participate in.
The event proved to be a success with the judges being extremely impressed with the students’ projects, despite facing slight issues with the demo of a few of the products. The only complaint from the students was the time and material constraint which resulted in them not being able to give their best in terms of efficiency and durability.
Students who wished to present their research papers at the Paper Presentation event organised by IEEE Student Branch Manipal gathered at AB-5 205 at 2:00 p.m on 30th March 2018. Students could register by forming teams or individually, and each side could have a maximum of three participants.
Only the ones whose field of research was either Computer Science or Electronics could participate by registering online paying a sum of Rs. 50. Moreover, they had to submit an abstract about their research, and ensure it did not exceed the 100-word limit. Based on the screening and whether the abstract followed IEEE format, teams were shortlisted to present their ideas at the main event. The winner would win a cash prize of Rs. 3000.
The judges for the event were Dr Pallavi Mane from the Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering and Dr Srikanth Prabhu from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. The organisers welcomed them by handing out bouquets, following which they acquainted the judges and participants with the rules of the presentation. Each team had 15 minutes to present their ideas, after which the floor was open to the audience, and they could ask any questions they had in their mind.
Students from various branches and different years of study participated, and the presentations were incredibly insightful as the contestants supported their ideas with solid PowerPoint presentations. The judges paid full attention to every word the participants said and asked the contestants questions throughout their talks.
Most of the participants answered them with a lot of confidence since they had done a great deal of research. The contestants’ ideas found applications in several fields including healthcare. Some brilliant ideas were discussed, in due course of the event, and the amount of effort put in by the participants was quite evident through their presentations.
IEEE conducted an Arduino workshop on the second day of their Tech Week. The event saw NLH 204 filling up with students, eager to learn and take on the vast world of Arduino. The enthusiasm in the room was palpable. The workshop was set as an intermediary path, aiding the contestants to succeed.
It was open to all and cost nil. Focusing on Arduino Uno in particular, the workshop set off with the attendees installing the interface software on their computers. The organisers provided each student with an Arduino Uno microcontroller.
Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. The software is used to convey instructions to the microcontroller on the board, thereby controlling its actions.
As promised, the organisers covered numerous applications of the microcontroller ranging from the periodic glowing of LED bulbs to analogue applications, and even infrared sensors.
The presenters started by stating the increasing growth and ubiquity of microcontrollers such as Arduino in today’s world, and the feasibility of the interface, highlighting its unique features and ease of comprehension.
They had the participants, which mainly comprised first-year students, applying the contents of subjects learnt so far in their engineering course to a practical application, thus encapsulating the entire essence of engineering.
Starting off with digital applications, participants learnt to operate and control devices through the microcontroller using the Arduino IDE, making use of its various inbuilt libraries and functions.
The event ran for 2 hours, giving the students hands-on experience in using this microcontroller, for applications in different fields.
“The workshop was thorough and beneficial. Since this is relevant to my field of study, this workshop has inspired me to study further on it, and I am sure I will reap the benefits in the coming semesters!” said Shruti Singhal, a participant, on being asked about her experience. The workshop had the participants thoroughly engaged and provided a glimpse into the vast world of Arduino, thus providing the participants with a boost of encouragement to explore this world.