Innovation, Invention and Fun



“Coming together is a beginning.

Keeping together is progress.

Working together is success.”

Started in 2008 and funded by the Batch of 1981, the Center for Innovation(CFI) at IIT Madras has been the fore-front for student-organized and managed technical projects since its inception. Over the years, it has steadily built a reputation for producing some of the best student-managed projects the campus has seen. Many of the projects are now being tested and implemented in real time. CFI also has served as the base for students participating in National and International competitions, some of which include the prestigious Robocon, DRDO Student Robotic Competition, and the International Aerial Robotics Competition.

One of the major objectives of CFI is to promote the culture of collective ideation- it does so by allowing students to take up projects under the Spirit of Engineering (SoE) banner. Broadly classified into 5 categories- Electronics, Mechanical Design, Aero-modelling, Image processing and Coding- the SoE projects undertaken by CFI this year are mostly composed of small scale projects and four to five long term projects. The project proposals for the upcoming year are expected to be competitive and large in number and only a few will make the final cut.

A number of the CFI projects undertaken and completed in the past year such as the GSM Bot(which follows instructions intimated to it via SMS/GPRS), the Path Follower Bot(which follows a strict path, avoiding all obstacles), the Ball Follower Bot(which was developed for Robo-Soccer) and the Orienter Bot(Provides aural support for the visually challenged) were displayed and demonstrated at Shaastra this year and enjoyed a phenomenal response from the students and industry alike.

One of the SoE projects, inSense, the interactive sensing surface, made from low-cost materials such as foam and acrylic sheet, won the General Electric Industry Defined Problem (GE IDP) Challenge. Two projects, the Human Computer Interface(HCI) and the License Plate Recognition System(LPRS) received media coverage and LPRS is being developed for implementation on campus. Another project, developed last year called Travel Live!(Institute bus tracking system) is also being developed for implementation in the upcoming semester.

One of the major initiatives undertaken by CFI this year is the expansion of Hobby Clubs. Acting upon feedback received from the student community (that the CFI Hobby Clubs were narrow and focused only on Robotics and Aerobotics), CFI expanded its spectrum to include a number of new clubs like the HAM Radio Club, the 3D Animation Club, the Auto Club, and the Computer Vision Club.

Says Rohit Reddy, Head, Center for Innovation, “The main thrust is to enable groups of people who are passionate about anything ‘Tech’ to pursue their interests and become the best in their field and contribute back to the learning of the entire student community. Also, we thought that this would make CFI and its facilities easier to access by students due to the broad scope and variety of the clubs. Most importantly, we want to create a fun environment for everyone to come together, to learn and to succeed – to imbibe in everyone that tech is fun, indeed!”

Seemingly, the response received to the call for new clubs was tremendous. “There is a healthy enthusiasm among all the CFI members on the direction the Hobby Clubs are taking and we hope that this encouraging trend continues in the years to come,” he concludes.

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