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Praxis: Tech Week’17

Innovation in a particular stream of engineering is not unheard of. However, when two streams of engineering join hands, the possibilities are endless. IE E&C: The Manipal Chapter and IE Mechanical Students’ Chapter got the electronics and machine tools to work together as they organised Praxis: TechWeek’17. Taking place from 30th January to 3rd February, NLH was buzzing as both the clubs came up with six different events over five days.

Flex-N-Flix

After qualifying the written quiz held on 30th January, four of the six shortlisted teams were subjected the nuances of Mechanical Engineering on 2nd February, in the Mechanical Workshop. Not unlike a pit crew of an F1 car, the participants had to completely disassemble a starter motor and a rack-and-pinion arrangement before putting back together the jigsaw puzzle of complex parts they had just created, faster than their competition.

Picture credits: The Photography Club

Since the contest was open to all students, thinking that the third year contestants had an obvious advantage over the rest owing to their familiarity and textbook knowledge would not have been a bad assumption to make. However, as the event progressed, it was clear that everyone was on even ground. Siddharth Shekhar, a first year participant opined on why it was so; “It is a question of skill, even if the opponents know of the motors beforehand, things like how to work a screwdriver efficiently or remembering what screw went where could be a difference-maker.”

The event head, Satwik Mohanty and the organizers capped off the event with an interactive explanation of some of the pieces of the puzzle. Flex-N-Fix wasn’t the best spectator-friendly event, but those in the room with a tool in one hand and a metal contraption in the other, would have a completely different notion.

Solderman

Not unlike the idea portrayed by the event’s name, Solderman was a test of one’s soldering skills. Like the other events, Solderman has two rounds.  The participants were asked to make IR sensors and solder all the components onto the board. The selected participants were then introduced to the intricacies of soldering in a workshop conducted on Day 3 of the TechWeek.

Picture credits: The Photography Club

The final round of Solderman took place on Day 5. Four teams made it to the finals, each given the task of producing the most durable product. Participants were asked to construct a box of given measurements and fit it with the printed circuit board they had assembled in the previous round. To determine the winner, a series of tests were conducted on these circuits. The circuits underwent the Leak test, the Payload test and the Bend test (to check for joint deviation). To the seasoned, this final event may not seem much of a challenge. However, completing the entire task within a stipulated time of 45 minutes turned out to be tougher than it actually seemed to be.

Lasertron

Lasertron was a new addition to the TechWeek. Unique in its own sense, Lasertron dealt with the particpants’ ability to comprehend the laws of light. The preliminary round of the event, a written exam was conducted in NLH 102 on the 31st of January. After a grueling session of answering questions ranging from aptitude to wave optics, six teams made it to the finals.

Picture credits: The Photography Club

Two days later, in a rather dark room of AB-5, the finalists were fist-deep (literally) in water as they schemed and implemented ways to  arrange mirrors, lenses and prisms in a miniature tank, filled with water. With four laser beams, a complicated grid structure was to be made, nothing short of the technology used to catch burglars. The participants also learnt the hard way (much to the delight of the organisers) that the water was laced with several drops of Dettol, which modified the entire dynamic of the medium, and the way light would behave in it. Notwithstanding all these complications, all the teams managed to complete the task within thirty minutes.

League of Geniuses

League of Geniuses was Praxis’17’s solitary quiz. The two round event, had a preliminary quiz as its first round.  Participants were present in  teams of two, and were required to answer questions as fast as they appeared in the form of slides on the screen. There were 59 questions in total, derived from a stunning variety of topics, ranging from logic, math, history, geography, etc. The turnout for the first round was quite respectable, with the NLH classroom almost full.

Eight teams qualified for round 2, held on Wednesday. Each team was given a buzzer, to press if they wished to answer a question. A correct answer was worth 10 points, and wrongly answering a question would make you lose 10 points.  There were various topics this time round as well, such as sports, logos, songs, current affairs, and so on and so forth. Each team had 30 seconds to answer the question. The event was reasonably successful, and was enjoyed thoroughly by the participants. The questions were engaging and kept teams hooked throughout, and it was, indeed, a league of geniuses.

Autobot

The event was spread out over four days, starting off with an initial screening test. After the pen and paper round, a total of five teams progressed to the next round. The participants were provided with a kit to make their own bot which could be controlled through DPT switches. The objective of the bot was to move through a track filled with obstacles and reach the finish line, garnering maximum points in the process. It started with a group of half-filled bottles which the bot had to push off the track, moving onto a series of balloons which were required to be burst and finally a bunch of random objects which had to be maneuvered through.

Anuj Jaiswal, a Board Member of IE-Mechanical seemed quite satisfied with the general proceedings and felt that with all the teams being on equal footing, the event had been granted an extra edge. The ever swinging expressions on the faces of the participants, from agony to happiness and back, can only attribute to the success of this well conducted event.

Industrial Problem

Industrial Problem was another two day event, having a single round. This event had the distinction of being judged by Professor Vittaleshwar, former Director of ICAS. The participants were asked to choose from four topics related to four different companies on 30th January. The topics posed a problem faced by the company and the participants were asked to make a presentation through which they would have to pitch their solution to Professor Vittaleshwar.

The questions ranged from HR issues to Chinese overcapacity and a smartphone company. Eighteen teams participated in the event, which took place on the fourth and fifth days of the event. “We were pleasantly surprised to see six or seven teams from the freshers’ batch. We thought that the nature of this event would make the participants think that they needed prior industrial knowledge, which would discourage the first years. Along with Professor Vittaleshwar, we were pleasantly surprised to see a good numbers of freshers turn up.”, said Mohit Relhan,  the tech-head of the IE-Mechanical.

Praxis’17 stood out in terms of organisation and participation. Pulling off an event which ran for five long days is a commendable feat. Both clubs worked in tandem and managed to organise events with an equal mix of electronics and mechanics. Judging by the success of their debut partnership, Praxis’18 promises to be bigger and better!

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