IIT Bombay’s pan India Robotics competition: e-Yantra 2012 to conclude with a meaningful Grand Finale
Out of 6000 students across nation J.K institute Of Applied Physics And Technology, From Alhabad one of the winner the e-yantra robotic competition they have created Robot which can fill Pothole on the road
Over 6000 registrations, 500 participants, 25% female participants, 131 teams, 20 finalist teams, 4 themes
Winning team from each theme wins coveted summer internship at IIT Bombay along with cash prize
Mumbai, March 22, 2013: What started, as an impossible dream five years ago is today a nationwide phenomenon. In July last year (2012), IIT Bombay announced the launch of e-Yantra — a pan India challenge on robotics with a single-minded focus of making robotics accessible to undergraduate students from engineering colleges across disciplines, especially those who don't have access to facilities and/or mentors. Brainchild of two of IIT Bombay’s open source evangelists and veteran professors in Embedded Systems, professors Kavi Arya and Krithi Ramamritham of the institute’s Computer Science & Engineering department, e-Yantra is an MHRD sponsored project under the National Mission on Education through ICT (NMEICT).
Pegged as an â€˜exciting but meaningful’ grand finale, the day-long event saw the 20 finalist teams including teams from Allahabad, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Salem, Jalgaon and Shimoga. These 20 teams will be competing with each other today for the top three positions at the IIT Bombay campus. The initiative seeks to provide hands-on learning-infrastructure to engineering students who have limited/no access to laboratories and supervisors. With an overall objective to create a practical outlook to help students recognize problems they observe and solve them using a little robot developed by the IIT-Bombay team over the last 5 years.
This nine-month long competition, kick-started with over 6000 registrations coming in from all over the country including some of the remotest towns and villages such as Jorhat (Assam), Sivakasi (Tamilnadu). Of these 6000, 500 students made it to the shortlisted 131 teams who competed to solve one of the four themes. These themes - pothole filler; room cleaner; pick and placer; and line follower - are scaled down problems from everyday life. Another noteworthy statistics is that of the shortlisted 500 students, 25% were female. In general the girls have fared well and 11 girls feature among the finalists.
The winner gets…
Throughout the competition, e-Yantra never announced what the winning teams will secure. However, the way all the 500 participants went about earnestly competing in this competition, it was clear from the beginning that the biggest reward of e-Yantra competition was not just winning it but also participating in it. Yet another proof of perceived currency of IIT Bombay’s commitment to education being higher than any other cash prize that the winning could have received. A gratifying trend brought to light through this competition.
Keeping the same philosophy, the winning team from each theme is offered the highly coveted summer internship with e-Yantra. In addition to certificates, the first, second and third place teams will also receive a cash prize.
Taking the analogy of a garden, Prof. Krithi Ramamritham said, â€˜e-Yantra’s role is to nurture a vibrant ecosystem by making sure that the garden has enough variety and enough gardeners all over the country to let "a million flowers bloom - and tonnes of vegetables grow." In the process we are confident these e-Yantra empowered engineers will step forward and play the important role demanded by a country with lots of challenging problems for them to solve’. â€˜e-Yantra has discovered talent in little colleges all over India. For instance, it has discovered teams of girls in a small town like Sivakasi (TN), who held their own and have now reached the final,’ he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Kavi Arya said, â€˜we contend that an engineer is someone who solves societal problems with the help of technology. We believe that through our pedagogy we encourage a "can do" attitude amongst students that might prepare them for a career in research or as technology entrepreneurs. We encourage them to use our robots to "solve real problems." We do this by taking inspiration from real problems to define projects’.
â€˜Students learn better when they play with a subject, use their hands, see things move and lights flash, etc. under their control. While distance education works on many levels, when it comes to teaching Embedded Systems and Robotics, it is difficult to get the concepts across because the students don’t have access to any labs or appropriate supervision. The competition may look like a game but in reality it is a process that has enabled these youngsters to evolve into a practical engineer with proven problem solving skills, to take on real world problems and arrive at solutions,’ he added.
Mission objectives addressed by e-Yantra:
- Experimentation and field trial of low cost access devices for use of ICT in education
-- Deployment of robots at engineering colleges across the Nation to aid hands-on learning
- Availability of e-knowledge content, free of cost to Indians
-- Web-based embedded system courseware
-- Video tutorials on programming robots
-- Robotics projects and code available under open source for students to build upon
- Spreading digital literacy for teacher empowerment
-- Workshops for teachers in embedded systems
-- Competitions for teachers to encourage hands-on experiments with robots
- Identification and nurturing of talent
-- Competitions for programming robots to solve “real” problems
-- Preparing/selection of students for World Skill Competition, etc.
Traditionally when students wished to do a robotics project, they had to first build a robot, then work on the project, often faltering at the first hurdle. The resultant project was often a crude robot and little else. Now they have a commodity robot and an existing open-source code base to draw upon to devise a sophisticated solution to a problem.
The â€˜open-source’ e-Yantra initiative by IIT Bombay aims to create the next generation of Indian embedded systems engineers with a practical outlook to help provide solutions to some of our day-to-day problems. Solving a problem in the small is the way even â€˜grown up’ engineers first approach a real problem - this helps us to understand things better to provide a better thought out solution.
It is believed that due to the drastically lowering costs brought on by robotic manufacturing technology and the increasing cost of transportation, a lot of manufacturing sector jobs are going to migrate back to developed countries. It is therefore not a question of whether we can afford to get into robotics but whether we can afford to keep out of this most important race in the future.
For further information, please contact