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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

It’s the year of the robots

Bhavya Dore & Vishesh Parnerkar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, January 03, 2012
First Published: 00:54 IST(3/1/2012) | Last Updated: 00:57 IST(3/1/2012)

There will be robots that can mimic one-year-olds, play soccer and attend conferences for you at this year’s Techfest, the annual technology festival of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B).

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The fest, to be held at the Powai campus between January 6 and 8, will showcase products designed by the IIT-B students as well as others from across the world who have been invited to share their products.

“The Techfest has been instrumental in showcasing the research produced at IIT-B as well as in displaying several state-of-the-art technologies from around the world,” said Ronnie Philip, media manager for Techfest 2012. “The robots are likely to be the biggest craze [this year].”

Every year, the Techfest team sends out more than 1,000 invitations to universities and private developers after creating a database of technologies from around the world that they are looking to showcase. For every 30 invitations, the organisers get at least one response.

With 40 exhibits from 16 countries, the event has grown in both scale and scope this year. In 2011, the fest had 30 exhibits from 12 countries.

The impressive array of high-end technologies and research projects is expected to attract around 90,000 visitors over three days, the organisers said.

This year, for the first time, school students will be able to visit the fest. “School students were not allowed since it was always a college festival. But this time we thought it would be a good experience for them since they are as fascinated by robots,” said Philip.

The Techfest will also include a series of lectures by recently knighted Nobel Prize winner Sir Venkataraman (Venki) Ramakrishnan, who will speak about his research on how antibiotics target a cell’s ribosomes.

Other speakers include Karlheinz Brandenburg, who is credited with having helped develop the mp3 player; SA Bharadwaj, director (technical) of the Nuclear Power Corporation of India; and Simon Singh, an award-winning filmmaker and writer.

The  fest is open to anyone carrying a photo identity between 9am and 5pm from January 6 to 8.


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