At IITB Techfest, a competition on finding solutions to day-to-day problems

Called Prayaas, the event will use participants' innovative ideas for making implementable prototypes

Known more for its nerve-wracking competitions and off-beat workshops, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay's (IITB) Techfest, one of the largest technology festivals, this year will have a unique competition called 'Prayaas' which is aimed at getting real-time implementable solutions to some of the persistent problems of the society by using the student resource.

Prayaas will attempt to use the participants' innovative ideas through stage-wise evaluation and guidance, which can be put to use for day-to-day lives. Sushil Shintre, media manager for Techfest 2009, said, "Every year, the competitions are more or less based around the theme of robotics and are restricted to paper presentations. We thought of Prayaas to channelise the efforts of the students for making some implementable prototypes."

The competitions under Prayaas will be related to renewable energy (Energize) for which participants will have to build portable devices which can run on renewable sources of energy for creating sufficient power to perform certain tasks like charging a cell phone or lighting a bulb and biomedical engineering (Elixir 2.0).

Unlike other events at Techfest which restrict participation to students, Prayaas is open to all. It has already received 150 entries so far. The ideas will be shortlisted by a panel of judges comprising IIT professors, members of NGOs like National Innovation Foundation and professionals from the field based on the feasibility of the application and who will then mentor the qualifying students.

In another first, Techfest will introduce Solar Robotics in India, through its national event Nexus which includes workshops at different centres in the country followed by a competition.

"Solar Robotics is highly popular abroad but is yet to catch up in India. Under this, participants will have to build machines which would cover a distance of one metre in the shortest amount of time using light as the source of energy with the help of halogen bulbs and solar panels." In order to tap talent in different regions in the country, Nexus is being conducted in Hyderabad, Patiala, Indore and Mumbai.

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