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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

At IIT Bombay’s TechFest Ideate, participants seek to find digital solutions to development issues

The annual competition puts students in real-life situations where they have to come up with solutions for some of the problems India is facing

mumbai Updated: Dec 05, 2017 11:17 IST
Musab Qazi
Musab Qazi
Hindustan Times
This year, the TechFest will be held  from December 29 to 31.
This year, the TechFest will be held from December 29 to 31.(HT File)

How does one convert conventional power utilities to digital ones? How does one improve the sanitation system? How can one create a sustainable agriculture model? These are some of the problems that students participating in Ideate, a competition that is part of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay’s (IIT-B) annual technological extravaganza TechFest, are tasked with solving.

Ideate seeks to address some of the pertinent issues in society from a technological point of view. Students are required to come up with innovative and implementable solutions to these problems. “The competition places students in real-life situations,” said Anirudh Poddar, media manager, TechFest.

In keeping with the theme, the competition has been divided in three parts: digitalisation, biotechnology and sustainability. “These are important sectors that are all facing very real problems in India,” Poddar said.

In the first part, students are tasked with solving pressing problems in the health care, education, agriculture, and energy sectors through computerisation. This requires them to create prototypes of their idea. In the second part, participants have to harness biotechnology to achieve goals such as environmental conservation and sanitation.

In the final part, they find ways to lower costs and increase productivity in rural trades, including agriculture, using renewable energy sources.

Festival organisers said most of the problem statements presented to students are open-ended, allowing students to identify the problems themselves, and then seek solutions.

Participants can seek advice and guidance from lecturers at IIT-B as well as other colleges, and are also allowed to use the institute’s laboratories to develop their prototypes. “The mentors will check the abstracts submitted by students and guide them,” Poddar said.

This year, the TechFest will be held from December 29 to 31. Students have already sent in their entries. After declaration of finalists, participants will get a chance to improve upon the prototype of their project by December 15. The teams will have to bring their prototypes to be judged and showcased at the event from December 29 and 31. Three participants from each of the three themes will be declared winners, who will be awarded prizes worth Rs3.2 lakh. IIT-B has received 284 entries this year, including participants from Iran and Bangladesh.

First Published: Dec 05, 2017 00:39 IST