What we saw at Cutting Edge 2016: Part Two

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Cutting Edge 2016, IIT’s student showcase happened on 23 and 24 June. On Day 01 we saw our fair share of projects by students putting the lessons they’ve learned into practice. When we walked into IIT on Day 02, we saw a lot more happening. Here are some highlights from Day 02 of Cutting Edge 2016.

The day started off with a hackathon. Staring at their respective screens, 6 schools were ready to battle it out for bragging rights. Stopping only to mumble to themselves or shake off some nervous tension the young coders raced against a two-hour timer. Amid their own intense clicking, the A-Level students at IIT’s second-floor lab barely noticed the carnivalesque atmosphere outside.

Cutting Edge 2016
Image credits: Kaveen Rodrigo

We decided to leave them at it, and strolled through the exhibition space, hoping to catch those we missed on the first day. Picking-up where we left off, our day at Cutting Edge 2016 started on the fourth floor.

Fourth-Floor Exhibits.

Here we found project Auto Touch. “It’s a mobile car-care center” we learn. Accessible via a mobile application, the system will see to the deployment of a vehicle to the user’s location or simply route a nearby mobile garage to the spot. “This only covers minor damages,” the creators of this innovations say, and will be a convenient service to all those using a vehicle. “We found” they share, that garages take “over 3-5 days” for a quick paint job because “they work on first-come-first serve basis.” Dolling out quick fixed of this kind “in a few minutes,” Auto Touch they say will limit the need to visit orthodox garages.

Team AeroSense’s table had a menacing looking contraption laid-out in their display space. When someone hoisted it, we noticed that the black straps were connected to a mast- think Bane style face-gear. Interestingly though the mask named AeroSense 2 was built for nothing sinister. Using cloud-computing “it can measure pollution levels, and even tell you how long you can survive in a particular environment.” Designed with those in an industrial atmosphere, patients with respiratory diseases and athletes the mask can even deduce data based on its wearer. “It can measure things like pulse” we’re told which will come in handy for “coaches, now they know exactly how far to push their athletes.”

Cutting Edge 2016
Image credits: Kaveen Rodrigo

Archangels have over history been relied on for protection. This team at Cutting Edge 2016 which goes by the same name have charged your protection to a virtual representative- called Dhutaya. “It’s an accident warning system” which warns a host of respondents of a vehicle accident. Sensors placed in vital locations like the axels, rear and front ends will activate a warning on impact, we’re told. This, in turn, will let the victim’s details such as the current location appear in the application. “Relatives and loved ones” can also be instantly informed via mobile notifications and can call for help if the victim is unable to.

Drones come in all shapes and sizes. Team DROCH’s version seen at Cutting 2016, however, is so small, it sits around your wrist. Like a watch. It’s a matter of creating demand for their product for this team who have created this drone-watch hybrid with “teenagers” in mind. The complete product should come with a voice-activated app and can be controlled via smartphone the tell us. Flying off the wearer on command to capture the “perfect selfies” or any areal-views which are all the rage at the moment, “we should be able to produce it at around 15,000 to 20,000 rupees.” Like many premium watch brands, DROCH is to be a customizable product where users choose colors and features like a GPS tracker to add-on as per their need.

Cutting Edge 2016
Image credits: Kaveen Rodrigo

Project Tracer is for those who take the bus, and those who wouldn’t mind hopping aboard if they know there’s a seat waiting for them. Tracer is a mobile app which not only tracks a nearby bus but also lets you know exactly how crowded it is. “We used two infrared sensors” to detect how many hop on and off at each halt. With enough research on the optimum placement of the doors of the bus, Tracer the teams says will be ready to implement.

The next team we met didn’t have a name. Senthuran Ambalavanar spoke to us on his group’s behalf when he explained what their creation does. “We call it the real-time vehicle parking guidance system.” When they found out that around 30% of traffic cities are caused by motorists aimlessly looking for parking, they knew this was a problem to solve. Through sensors placed at each parking slot, their mobile application not only maps out the nearest parking lot but also how many slots are currently available.

Second Floor Exhibits.

On our way down to the second floor, we noticed the foot traffic had increased as more schools had decided to drop-in. Visitors filed up the stairs as we squeezed past talking about the peculiar projects they’ve just seen.

Here we found an application for those who hate waiting for their bus. KONDA, by team Asphalt, lets you plan your day better by letting you know “exactly how far away your next bus is.” The tracker works simply by tracking users of the application already aboard a certain bus. Naturally, the apps use needs to be wide-spread and the creators feel it can be achieved through incentivizing to both travelers and the bus operators.

Cutting Edge 2016
Image credits: Kaveen Rodrigo

Piquing our curiosity was a banner that said ‘Journal- Wear it and Forget it.” Created by two photography enthusiasts who generally find themselves alone with “a lot of images to process at the end of the day” and lesser memories. “Our device” is a clip-on camera which snaps pictures and edits snaps so that you can just sync them into a device at the end of the day and simply upload to a platform of your choosing. “We didn’t even build a screen” so no playback is possible on the Journal device itself, since it would defeat the purpose of “letting people live in the moment” and not behind a screen trying to capture it.”

Next, we came across an interesting-looking water bottle. At first glance resembling a snug thermos-fitted water container, but in fact, we learn it’s a system that lets you keep track of how much water you consume. Genisys as the product is called consists of two elements- a sleeve for any water bottle and an application. “The user will need to enter basic details like height, weight and if they have special health or dietary complications” after which the device will let you know each time you need a swig off the bottle.

In calculating when you need to hydrate the app even takes humidity and other climatic conditions to count. Once you’ve had a sip, the app measures how much you’ve consumed as you return the bottle into the sleeve.  “What is unique” team Genisys tells us is that the sleeve can operate independently, as can their app. Which means notifications can either be accustomed to pop up on the screen of a device you might be using or even beeping from the bottle-holder.

Cutting Edge 2016
Image credits: Kaveen Rodrigo

We then took a trek back upstairs to the fifth floor. It was there that the final years were presenting their work at Cutting Edge 2016.

Fifth Floor Exhibits.

Here we met Uvin Withana whose project- Membrane can help in diagnosing dermatological diseases. Skin diseases are most likely to be misdiagnosed he says, given the very similar symptoms and manifestations. “For instance,” he says eczema and psoriasis are very easy to confuse when visually diagnosed. His system at Cutting Edge 2016, Membrane uses image processing methods to arrive at a more accurate result. Digitally analyzing the damaged tissue and the shape of the outbreak, placement on the body and vector-based features he’s achieved an accuracy of “around 84%.” This could possibly change the length of time before patients are treated for the skin ailment they suffer since normally investigations to narrow them down take months of analyzing patient behavior such as diet. It could also mean the need for face-to-face interaction is reduces since Membrane only requires an image to arrive at a conclusion.

Mayowa Blawale Ajamu’s project is for those in advertising. M Predict is his take on text-mining which is able to determine age and gender based on the vocabulary and style of posts on social media. Twitter wasn’t a viable option simply because the sample was restricted to 140 characters he says, but data on Facebook was ideal. “Sometimes I’ve canceled adds” that distractingly pop-up on the right corner of his Facebook homepage he admits, and this system will enable more relevant advertisements to reach the correct target audience. So far he’s managed around “65% accuracy.”

Cutting Edge 2016
Image credits: Kaveen Rodrigo

Pratheishna Vekneswaran’s project was inspired by Cyber Foraging which crystallized in 2002. His innovation is developer platform, which supports the optimizing the use of smartphones. ‘Architectural Formalisms for Cyber Foraging in Smart Phones’ is his proposition and it embodies a light framework to supply the “never ending need” more power. His method of harvesting processing power from devices he says improves performance “up to 19 times with better energy consumption and developer effort” than already available solutions.

The end of Cutting Edge 2016

As they say, all good things must come to an end. Just as previous years, Day 02 of Cutting Edge 2016 came to an end with an awards ceremony. This was an award ceremony recognizing the projects with the greatest potential that we’ve seen on display over the past 2 days. With the conclusion of this awards ceremony, Cutting Edge 2016 came to a close.

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