The rockets that students launched at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras on Friday lit up the faces of the school students who had gathered to watch.
The Shaastra aerial robotics competition was exciting for the students, who gathered around the college teams to understand how a water bottle could fly. For the judges, though, it was all about the perfect rise and fall of the rockets. If creating gadgets is exciting then testing their efficiency is an equally fascinating challenge.
At Shaastra, the ongoing technical festival of the IIT-M, students from across the country are engaged in a battle to ensure they better their best.
The competitions have been designed so that the contestants find them mentally stimulating. It is all about coding, controlling remotely how the robot will function on the field and tweaking the movements of the drones to meet the requirement of the contest.
The aerobatic manoeuvres exposition has drawn school and college students. The challenge is in coding precisely, say Krishna Vamsi and Prateek Mishra, coordinators of the aerobatics contest. Groups of students remained busy on their laptops while their team mates tested out the results of the coding.
The robot in the micromouse maze uses sensors to avoid obstacles. Though contestants are briefed about the contest the challenge is tackling the surface, the precise dimension of the obstacles and performing the manoeuvre in the given time.
According to the coordinators only two of the 21 team had managed to complete at least 50% of the micromouse maze by Friday afternoon.
For Yashwanth M., a 3rd year ECE student of St. Joseph College of Engineering and his team mates from the Madras Institute of Technology, the contest proved quite a tough game. “We saw YouTube videos and prepared for the game. They give us 10 minutes to move through the maze,” he said. His team managed to complete 80% of the maze.
“Many of these contestants are professionals, having participated in many events across the country. The challenge is to be able to code and manoeuvre the robot on unfamiliar surface,” explained K. Kamesh, a 3rd year dual degree metallurgical and materials student.