Run on brainpower
From developing cell phone applications for efficient parking to combining music with maths, there’s no end to innovative solutions at Delhi University’s Cluster Innovation Centre, writes Gauri Kohlieducation Updated: Feb 13, 2013 18:29 IST
Imagine using an Android application on your cell phone that gives you the shortest or the greenest route from north to south Delhi? Or using another application that can solve parking woes in your city? These out-of-the-box and innovative ideas may soon turn into real solutions, thanks to the students at Delhi University’s Cluster Innovation Centre (CIC).
Solving parking woes through technology
Elaborating on the mobile application, Madhulika Mukherjee, a student of the BTech programme in innovation with mathematics and IT, says: “The app is a tool that will help make parking and retrieval of cars from valet parking much easier. The valet can simply ask the car owner for how much time he plans to park the car there, enter the time on his app, and tap the slot on the screen where the car has been parked. As time passes, the colour of the particular slot on his parking lot map darkens.
Having done this for each car that enters the lot, the valet can, by just a glance on his screen, estimate which cars are due to be out in some time and which cars still have a lot of time to go. This not only facilitates and increases the efficiency of parking new cars as they come, but also eliminates errors due to human memory when allotting new slots to cars.” This application is part of the IT model for parking space management: optimal and efficient parking-retrieval of vehicles project.
As part of the project on traffic space management, electronics and communication technology will be used for synchronous real time tracking of a large number of vehicles within the parking area. Mathematical algorithms will be developed to use the gathered tracking information for optimum use of the available parking space and for computing the most efficient entry-parking-exit scheme for each vehicle.
Further, the servers of all parking blocks in the city can then be integrated with a central server for higher-level parking management. The system can also be used for national-level security and intelligence applications.
Innovating through research
“At CIC, research and innovation form an integral part of the curriculum even though an undergraduate programme is considered too junior to include an element of research,” says Sahil Mathur, a student of the BTech programme in innovation with mathematics and IT. CIC was initiated by the university with the aim to foster innovative learning among students.
“It aims to encourage youngsters like us to think out of the box and come up with innovations that would help create an ecosystem of independent and novel thinking,” says Anurag Kumar, a second-year student of BTech programme in innovation with mathematics and IT.
Before joining this course, Kumar was enrolled in statistics (hons) at Ramjas College. “The course structure of this programme fascinated me because of its uniqueness.
The concept of ‘engineering kitchen’ or the technology lab and the freedom to design our own course structure were unheard of,” he adds.
Kumar likes the fact that he gets to experiment with technology. “Be it the 24x7 water supply project or road management through the traffic simulation project, we have already engaged ourselves in some very innovative and large scale projects that would have direct impact on society,” he says.
In another project, a mathematical model will be developed for real time simulation of traffic flow on some of the selected Delhi roads. In this one-year project, three road segments will be studied: BRT Corridor, a segment on outer Ring Road, including Rao Tularam Marg, and a segment on Ring Road near the north campus of Delhi University.
Music with maths
Says Tushar Mishra, a student of the same programme who left St Stephen’s College to study at CIC, “I always wanted to go out of the conventional blackboard learning set-up and actually experience, experiment and learn. This is what CIC has given me. I have the freedom to pursue interdisciplinary project involving distant topics like music and mathematics together with IT and do something real. We have no constraints when it comes to our projects, be it financial or anything else; I can even ... do a project on water quality monitoring for which I work in laboratories of IIT Delhi.”
Giving details of his music project, Mishra says, “The project aims to find a correlation between different personality types and musical genres using different statistical tools. This involves surveying a sample space of 100 students and categorising them into different personalities using already available psychological methods, then letting them listen to a sample of five musical genres and grade them from one to five. Next we analyse the result and find a correlation between them. Lastly, we try to find best composition for a song.”
Ideas get a fillip
There are three projects funded by the university that has sanctioned Rs. 10 lakh for each. In addition, students involved with these projects get a stipend of Rs. 1000 per month. DU has also tied up with institutions such as the Defence Research and Development Organisation to set up a centre of excellence under CIC. CIC is tying up with PHD Chambers of Commerce and FICCI to place students with small and medium enterprises.