Each year the management of IIT along with the students combine forces to bring to life “Cutting Edge” – a tech exhibition showcasing the talents of IIT’s students. Participation is voluntary and students from either one of the 4 years can take part in the exhibition which usually revolves around a central theme.
This year Cutting Edge 2015 kicked off on the 26th of June and carried through to the 27th of June. The theme for this year’s exhibition was gaming though the ages, from the first 8bit games to the blockbuster blistering graphics masterpieces that are available today.
In keeping with standard IIT traditions, the exhibition started off with the opening of the iFM radio channel which is IIT’s own intra University radio channel. Available for listening on 103.1FM, the channel was first launched in 2010; now it is in its 5th year of running. The opening was carried out by The Dean of IIT – Prof. Alfred Perera, Director and General Manager of Pearson Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, CEO of IIT – Dr. Sampath Kannanngara, A representative of University of Westminister, Kamalini Sivagurunathan who is also heads the department of Distributed Information Systems, Naomi Krishnarajah, Head of Department – School of Computing and Kumudini Sarathchandra, Acting Head of Department – Business School. (Images by Malshan Gunawardane)
The traditional lighting of the oil lamp took place with several distinguished guests along with the Dean and faculty members.
Once all the formalities were done, the exhibition officially opened to the students and to the public and students of leading schools in and around Colombo.
The layout of the exhibition seems a tad confusing at first but we managed to work it out. Basically each of the 5 floors of IIT was an exhibition area for students of both Business Management and Software Engineering students based on their batches. In addition to the projects, there was also a mini gaming area set up with FIFA and Counter Strike 1.6 and even a mini coding competition.
The hackathon, or rather the coding competition was a two hour event from 10.40am to 12.40pm. Similar to how HackerRank works, the students were given a list of problems to solve using an online portal, in this case, CodeChef. The students were from leading schools in Colombo and there were even a few familiar faces. The winners of the competition will be awarded tomorrow.
We took a look around the entire building and decided that it was of too large a scale to be covered in one day, therefore, it will be in two parts. Having planned all this, we geared up and made our way to the first batch of students who were students following the ISBM Programme.
The projects showcased here are the ones we found interesting.
- Know Your Limit – This was a conceptual application designed as a measurement to gauge the energy used by an appliance. One simply connects the device to a wall socket and then connects any appliance to the device. From there, the user can monitor the energy (wattage) of the appliance. This is useful if you want to see which appliances in your house consume the most amount of power. In comparison to global brands, the device would be significantly cheaper and thus more affordable to the Sri Lankan consumers.
- VRIDGE – A virtual reality app that has potential be used for medical applications, gaming, and educational applications. The main factor that was emphasized here was the platform. The platform has been created by the student from the ground up for a PC environment, and as such there are no platform and language (programming) barriers. There was a demo unit available in the form of an Android smartphone and a device resembling a Google Cardboard. Once connected, we were able to stream a video played off the laptop onto the smartphone’s display in a VR layout.
- Taxi Station – A community driven taxi booking app that allows you to locate nearby drivers and call them if required. A driver can register on to the system by paying a registration fee, but from that point onwards, there is no other charge for the driver. A customer can rate a driver based on various criteria such as road safety, politeness etc. The app is for both drivers and users and drivers but no information regarding the customers is recorded. The location of the taxi is monitored via GPS so you know where exactly they are at a given time.
- VirtuaTours – A virtual tour of IIT. That’s pretty much it. Points do go to the students for creating the entire IIT building though. The user is able to navigate through the building using the W,A,S,D keys, simulating game controls. The entire project was completed in 4 days using Unreal Engine 4 and Blender. As for future plans, the students said that they will be able to model any architectural construction as required. Pretty cool.
- Mikhi Ultra toolbox – Think of it as your go-to toolbox if you are a fresher at a University, especially if you’re studying software engineering and a lot of mathematical calculations are required. It includes tools such as scientific calculator that includes most if not all functions of a real calculator rather than most seen in the app market at present, a unit converter (length, weight, temperature) and a number systems converter (decimal to hexa decimal and vice versa).It even has a QR code generator and scanner for that extra touch.
We then decided to take a break to recharge ourselves, and our laptops. We then pushed forward to the next floor.
First Year Students
- No Traffic – A project by Team Paradox whom we saw at Hackathon 2015 organized by Mobitel. It is basically a traffic monitor and a traffic controller that uses CCTV systems to reroute traffic. It uses real time computing to track the flow of traffic and then reroute them to alternate routes thus alleviating traffic congestions. Since it uses a CCTV system, it can be easily incorporated into an existing CCTV environment with minimum hassle.
- TukCheck – Now this will appeal to all the Sri Lankan users. Especially those who travel by tuks. The app allows you to track your distance by tuk by creating time stamps at predetermined intervals and measuring the distance between the timestamps. In addition you can also report fraudulent tuks if they try to charge more than the standard rate or if the fare per kilometer is higher than normal. It also shows you the shortest distance between any two locations to make travelling more cost effective. Interface wise, it complies with material design guidelines and is also compatible with Android M. They use two APIs, namely the “Fused Location Provider and Distance Matrix API.
- The next project is sweet, literally, it’s a cookie for diabetic people. A project of ISBM students, the cookie uses a medicinal herb known as Maadan, 90% rice flour and 10% wheat flour and has all of the taste and none of the diabetes inducing baddes. According to research done by a leading University in Sri Lanka, Maadan has the medicinal properties known to keep Diabetes at bay. From cookies, it’s only a matter of time till they come up with other delicious goodies that won’t leave a bad taste in the mouth.
- Destined2Rule – Quite an awe inspiring name, with a novel concept to boot. They tackle the common problem of food losing its warmth after a given period of time. If you have cooked food and it’s getting cold and if you’ve travelled a great distance, they plan to introduce a mechanism that would keep the food warm by using heat from the exhaust of a bike to heat your food. This is mainly aimed at carrier bikes as they sport the required physical requirements for this to be carried out. A copper tube would run from the exhaust to a separate chamber that would be heated up when the bike revs.
- Cares.lk – They aim for it to be the quintessential platform if you are in need of a house maid. One can simply get a maid for say gardening, house cleaning etc. Once a request has been put through, you can interview the maid and they even provide a police report proving that they are eligible for work. Quirky, but interesting.
- Humzearch – Think of it as Shazam. Actually, it basically is Shazam but with one defining feature. If you can’t find a song you want, you can ask the community for help. If a user identifies the song, those details are uploaded and you are notified of it. If the details are correct and you accept that user’s choice, he/she is awarded with points. The app uses a number of filtration methods to identify the sound waves, namely Doreso. It’s also gamified with users getting points if their answers are accepted.
- Reflex – Now this was a pretty cool concept from the first year students. A mirror like device that acts as an RSS feed and also helps you automate daily tasks. Made up of a surface that has a 70/30 reflective mirror, the panel actually has a monocolor LED backlit monitor behind it to show the relevant details. It can display and an RSS feed, Facebook notifications and even your email. It also includes a small camera with face detection protocols for added security and to prevent unauthorized use.
- DriveAssist – This takes a common vehicle component, namely an Elm327 Bluetooth interface and extends its capabilities. The device plugs into the OBD PORT of a vehicle which is located just uinder the steering wheel. The device usually acts as a diagnostic tool to measure various elements of the vehicle, but here the students have modified it to act as a blackbox for your car. But that’s not all. It also has a sensor that keeps an eye on the driver’s eyes. If you fall asleep while driving, the sensor will trigger an alarm to wake you up. In case of an accident, the system will automatically dial 5 preset numbers. It even shows you the nearest fuel stations if youyr vehicle needs to be refueled. The device also has the ability to share your location in case you get lost and or the vehicle is inoperable. The key feature is that when compared to the global market, the device is very affordable and thus anyone with a vehicle can get one.
- Driver Assistance Sensory System – Another tool aimed at vehicles. This one uses an array of optical sensors to measure the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you and warns you if it is in close proximity than normal. Think of it as one of those features you find on a spaceship that warns of incoming obstacles or other spaceships and you’ll get the idea.
Another session of recharging took place and we then went on to cover the final section for the day.
Second Year Students – Software Engineering and ISBM
- Eyeris Creations/The Logo Patrol – The brain child of 4 IIT students. Eyeris Creations was founded in 2012 by two students, namely Raveen Wijetilleke and Ranuk Wijesinghe when they were in school. Since joining IIT, Eyeris Creations has joined forces with The Logo Patrol which was another startup from IIT itself. They primarily deal with the creation of content such as logos, websites, animation and video editing and social media management. They cater to startups as they feel that these are more flexible rather than established companies. As for videography projects, they mainly deal with projects from within IIT itself. They are also behind projects such as Social Causes and StreetHarassmentHurts. In addition, the founder of Logo Patrol, Nimila also has a side project titled “Helping Hands” which is in collaboration with SocialServices.lk. With regard to a business model, for Logo Patrol, there are packages which include banners, posters and social media and a fixed price per a logo. For Eyeris Creations in contrast, it’s more of a contract basis.
- Project Street Blaster – Quite a novel approach to road safety, Street Blaster takes the concept of gaining knowledge of road ethics to a new level by applying a level of gamification to simple road rules such as stopping at a red light and keeping to the speed limit. The safer you drive, the more points you’re awarded.
- The Judgment Day – A 2D runner game developed for Windows. The concept is simple. There are two worlds, our world and the magical world. The player’s brother has been kidnapped into the magical world and it is our duty to rescue him. There’s also a catch. When human overuse resources on the planet, it affects the magical world. So the player must find balance between both worlds in order to win the game.
- The Shower Challenge – With the rise in population, the demand for water grows each day. But on the other hand, we also tend to waste a lot of water for no real reason. Enter The Shower Challenge. A gamified approach to taking a shower. It makes use of a device that gets attached to the water line and records the amount of water used when you shower. The next time you take a shower, you will receive a notification on the amount of water used previously and a challenge will be issued for you to use less water and take a shower. These details will also be added to a leaderboard where your friends too can compete to see who can take a shower by using the least amount of water. In addition, the water monitoring feature can also be used for industrial purposes to see the levels of water that are used in factories and such.
- CrimeReporter – A simple app that can be used to report a crime as and when it happens. You can call an emergency number via a key combo or by pressing the onscreen button. You can also discreetly record videos by using the phone’s front camera. When used in that mode, the user has no clue that the phone is indeed recording as the only thing he/she sees is a black screen. It also has user tracking where the user’s location can be sent to an emergency number either via message or email.
- Shmoovi – Another contender for Microsoft’s Imagine Cup, this aims to be a product where people would collaborate and get together in order to create memorable videos. You can team up with your friends and take into account all videos you have of a particular event and then select the best sections from that and create another video. Compared to the heavy video editing tools we see in the market today, this offers a more fun way of doing things in collaboration.
All in all, quite an eventful first day. We’ve seen a number of projects, some old, some new. Stay tuned for Day Two where we bring you projects from the students who are in their final year, and the icing on the cake: The Award Ceremony.
Till then, we’re signing off.