Budding scientists of human engineering to showcase work

June 8th, 2008 - 1:31 pm ICT by IANS  

By Prabhat Sharan
Mumbai, June 8 (IANS) They are budding Edisons. For them synthesis and fusion of ideas, plucked from nature with physical laws, opens a limitless universe of ergonomics - the science of human engineering. They are the Indian Institute of Technology (Bombay)’s masters in designing students, who have adorned a hall for their Design Degree Show 2008 with gadgets that seem to jump out from a sci-fi novel, but having a ‘desi’ touch.

Riding a cycle on backwaters to school, a book for the visually challenged, a child carrier for two-wheelers, redesign of Indian coins, and protective shelter for animals like star back tortoise seized from smugglers, are some of the designs that are going to be put up for DDS 2008.

“In all, 44 students are putting up their works for the six-day DDS 2008, to be held at IIT (B) Powai, starting Monday,” Industrial Design Centre (IDC) head Ravi Pooviah told IANS.

Pooviah said DDS is a platform aimed at “creating design awareness in the society.

“Moreover, it offers students an interaction with the industry. IDC students are usually from the fields of architecture, fine arts, commercial arts, engineering, animation, product designing and computer engineering and most of the gadgets are holistic in nature and have an everyday application.”

He said most of the designs or innovations “have an intrinsic social value.

“For example, there is a design of a mobile kiosk that can be carried to a remote village where farmers harbour a psychological complex against computers or the use of internet. This kiosk helps in overcoming that psychological barrier of farmers who can gather around like they do under a banyan tree and access not just information, but also use it as an ATM. Similarly, there is a cycle that can be ridden over water.”

Puskhar Ingle, a final year student and designer of “personal water vehicle”, said the International Forum for Rural Transport and Development, in its studies, reported that a sizeable chunk of populace living along waterways were “in need of a water transport which would provide them independent movement. That was in Congo.”

“In our backyard, in Kerala’s Kuttanad district and Sunderbans, even school children have to travel in boats. And my water cycle is a small non-capsizing one-seater boat. Even a child can easily pedal to school,” he said.

“I got this idea from a water skater insect which zooms across the water. The water cycle has a split hull in three parts and the manufacturing cost is just Rs.4,000. Thus a person living in backwaters or water inlands can easily commute without worrying about the boat timings,” he added.

Nikhil Mantri, another final year student has designed a paddy thresher that “not only minimises accidents but also farmers with small land holdings benefit from its use. The machine is portable and can be made and repaired from locally available materials.”

DDS spokeswoman Kavita Krishnamoorthy said: “The students have not confined themselves to just rural or pure industrial designs. If one student has redesigned a pressure cooker for bachelors, then there is one student who has designed school furniture for kindergarten children.”

“Some students from the field of animation and computer engineering have also designed a book for visually impaired children with tactile graphics. There is even a Haptic (tactile or touch) technology based keyboard called ‘Sparsh’ for visually challenged people,” she said.

Hashim Bashir, the designer of ‘Sparsh’ said: “For a visually challenged person, the world of perception is different and ‘Sparsh’ has sensors emitting tactile stimuli on the palm and is a purely audio-tactile experience. It is a misconception to think that animation is limited to moving images or is screen bound.”

Bashir said the world of Haptic technology is vast and its applications are immense.

Aatish Patel, another student, has designed a user friendly map “to help people in reserving railway tickets through mobile phones”.

Patel said: “Several people have problems in sending text messages for railway reservation. My design primarily helps by allowing them to reserve their rail tickets by just touching the locations of their journey on the map.”

The exhibition, commencing Monday at IIT (B), will after three day be put up again at Nehru Centre, Worli in Central Mumbai, for another three days starting June 13.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Sci-Tech |