While autonomous (driver-less) automobile technology is being tried and tested worldwide, a 13-member team from India’s premier Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kharagpur is making waves nationwide with its ground-breaking dual-mode (manual + autonomous) bicycle.
The IIT-Kgp team comprising Ayush Pandey, Subhamoy Mahajan, Adarsh, Dhananjay, Aniket, Vikas, Shubh, Aashay, Hrishyank, Sourabh Dash, Arnab Mondal, P.N. Vamshi and Himanshu Chaudhary, won the bumper Rs.5 lakh prize for its revolutionary ‘i-Bike’ in KPIT Sparkle 2016 staged in Pune on February 2.
Organised by the Pune-based Kirtane & Pandit Info Technologies (estb. 1990) — a tech consulting and product engineering services & solutions provider — in association with the 162-year-old College of Engineering, Pune, the competition based on the theme ‘Smart Solutions for Energy and Transportation’ attracted 1,700 entries from over 10,000 students in 500 engineering colleges countrywide. Of them, 54 teams made it to the grand finale at College of Engineering, where product designs and innovations were reviewed and evaluated by a high-powered jury comprising eminent scientists, industrialists and academics.
The prize-winning i-Bike looks like an ordinary bicycle. But it runs on electric power and can self-navigate to a location specified in an SMS sent from an android device. It uses a global positioning system (GPS) for automatic manoeuvre, and responds to the GPS coordinates of the destination received via SMS.
“We had ideated the i-bike way back in 2014 bearing in mind the limited transport options of differently abled, especially leg/arm amputees with steering/pedalling difficulties. Our job was to design the final prototype working model within three months. In the process, we learned the value of team work as we wrote endless algorithms, customised and sourced the mechanical parts to put the i-Bike together,” recalls Ayush Pandey, currently a fourth-year electrical engineering student and team spokesperson.
Looking to the future, the team is focused on filing a patent for the i-Bike (current cost: Rs.30,000) with the intent of marketing the innovation. “We are now working on reducing the per unit cost to make our invention market-friendly,” says Ayush.
Way to go!
Baishali Mukkherjee (Kolkata)
MPS design duo
Nirmal Kumar Mahapatra (16) and Sailesh Ranjan (15) — class X students of Mother’s Public School (MPS), Bhubaneswar — were crowned champions at the National CBSE Science Exhibition 2015-16 staged in Delhi on February 8-10.
This annual science competition — open to class VI-XI students — conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education, drew 400 entries from 300 schools countrywide.
The MPS duo impressed the jury with their well-researched Wonder D-Rone, a robotic wheelchair designed for people with loco-motor disabilities, whose eye movements (left, right, straight, shut), determined by infra-red sensors, enable the wheelchair to move in the appropriate direction.
The theme of this year’s National CBSE Science Exhibition was ‘science and mathematics for inclusive development’. “We began to develop the initial prototypes in the Creya XEL Design studio on our campus using building blocks and miniature sensors. Subsequently, we acquired a life-size wheelchair and began sourcing infra-red sensors and powerful motors to put our full-fledged prototype working model together. Finally, we programmed the robotic brain which drives the wheel chair. By repeatedly testing for design accuracy and reliability, we ensured mission success,” explains Nirmal.
The duo freely acknowledges the guidance and enablement of their parents, school faculty and Creya facilitator Sumanth. “We are very grateful to our Creya mentors for their support and help in designing our robot by working continuously and beyond school hours with us. And without the support of our principal and science teachers, we would never have been able to complete the project,” says Sailesh.
Inspired by the slew of innovations showcased by other finalists, their next challenge is to improve the model design through more competitions before signing up for engineering degree programmes after Plus Two. “My dream is to design robots for the benefit of humanity,” says Nirmal, while Sailesh dreams of becoming an IT entrepreneur.
Wind in your sails!
Paromita Sengupta (Bangalore)