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Time travel, farmers’ drones at Techfest

By Priyanka Sahoo, Mumbai:
PUBLISHED ON JAN 04, 2020 12:53 AM IST

The annual technology fest of the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, ‘Techfest 2020’, started on Friday with the institute showcasing its latest research and innovations in various fields. An estimated 48,000 people attended the first day of the three-day event. The annual robotics competition, ‘Robowars’, continued to be the star attraction of the event. VR Lalithambika, Director of Gaganyaan, the Indian Human Spaceflight programme, also attended the event and spoke about pipeline projects of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) such as propelling humans through space with a 100-billion-Watt laser. Dasho Tshering Tobgay, former Prime Minister of Bhutan, was also part of the event and spoke about the importance of technology in solving the climate change crisis.

What to lookout for

The Time Machine: This innovation by a Japanese firm, NHK enterprises, uses virtual reality to recreate memories from old photos. If one has a photograph of a cherished event or a place, this technology can create a 3D interpretation of it, which can be experienced through Virtual Reality(VR). Hence one can relive the memory, almost like time travelling.

Droneage: This Mumbai-based startup provides drone technologies for a myriad of sectors including agriculture, surveillance, mining and wildlife conservation. One of the major attractions of the startup was a drone, with a capacity of 10-litre, specially designed to spray fertilisers on the fields. The drone will be available for farmers at a rent of Rs 500 per day.

Prosthetics for sports: A unique prosthetic arm-- the ARM-XR—is a completely mechanical limb, specially designed for cycling, motorsport, jet-ski and snowmobile. “The arm can mimic reactions based on your human arm. It comes with a safety lock that is unlocked automatically when there is an accident,” said Peter Bango, the innovator of the prosthetic arm.

Not designed in California: This was a collage of small technology disruptions built in collaboration with communities in India, Kenya and South Africa. One of them was PickCells, which helps in connecting touchscreens of various devices.

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