Fun, robotics, videoconference talks from someof the planet’s big names in science and tech, and a drastic re-lookat alternatives to the copyright model are on the menu for this year’sTechfest2007, the student festival of one of India’s premiertechnology training centres, IIT-Bombay.
“In a little while, there will be something like 20,000 people takingpart here,” said Asst Prof Shishir K Jha, of the Shailesh J. MehtaSchool of Management.
Draped in a sea of banners that indicate the support from affluentindustrial and other sponsors to this event in a prestigioustechnology training-grounds, the IIT-Bombay was busy with students andothers thronging the three-day evening that begins on Republic Day andgoes on till Sunday (January 28).
Organisers project it to be a mix of fun, technology and brainpower.Technoholix, an “after dark” festival, will showcase “robowars” where30-pound and 60-pound robots will “fight it out” in a specially builtantenna.
Said organisers, “You may have seen it on TV, but we promise to demoit live for an altogether different experience.”
“Illusions” is the name for a virtual reality park, with French artistMiguel Chevalier projecting a special interactive wall mural.Chevalier is known internationally as one of the pioneers of virtualand digital art.
Playmotion! will let visitors play games like ShufflePack and socceron a screen — with their shadows!
One of the prominent speakers is Dr John Nash, eminent mathematicianand Nobel laureate. He was popularised by the Academy Award winningfilm ‘A Beautiful Mind’, a 2001 film inspired by the life of Nash andhis experiences of schizophrenia. Nash is to deliver a lecture viavideoconference on game theory and other mathematical concepts.
Thanks to videoconferencing, another of the world leading cyberneticsexperts — Prof Kevin Warwick, also known as the Human Cyborg — willtalk on coming Sunday evening about neural implants and its impact onthe human body, drawing on his own experience of having a chip implanted in his arm.
Giving the festival a social thrust, a debate on the “responsibilityof being an IITian” will also be focussing on “India’s most-hyped”students. Taking part will be IITian-turned-editor Sandipan Deb, LokParitrana president Tanmay Rajpurohit, Mastek CEO Ashank Desai, andWebaroo’s Rakesh Mathur, among others.
Others offering lectures include former Bell Labs president Dr ArunNetravali (via video conference), Centre for SETI (Search forExtra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Research Dr Jill Tarter, India’sleading astrophysicist Dr Jayant Narlikar, Skybus and anti-collisiondevice rail pioneer Rajaram Bojji (formerly of the Konkan RailwayCorporation), and political activist Dunu Roy on how society isclosely interlinked with science and technology.
The Royal Society, Britain’s oldest existing scientific society, willexhibit its Summer Science exhibition for the first time outside theUnited Kingdom, at Techfest 2007, IIT Bombay organisers said.
Exhibits will include a life-sized model of the winged dinosaurPterosaur, mind-reading machines, systems to forecast unpredictablenatural disasters (like tsunamis and earthquakes), and specialstructures that can be used for construction in space, apart formalternative sources of energy.
IIT Bombay’s own R&D exhibition will focus on a “silicon locket” tomonitor cardiac disease, “virtual surgery” and prosthetic designsystems, and an urban disaster management plan, among others.
If you want updates of the events, you can get them via SMS. And toadd to the “fun” there are events of juggling and others taking place,of all places, in the swimming pool, apart from promises of “sandanimation”.
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