Innovation Garage, a place of solace for all those tired of the monotonous academic curriculum and wish to get their hands dirty by doing ‘real’ stuff was back with yet another initiative to satisfy that geeky keeda in you – Makerswave 2020.
Now, if you are not one of those who’s just waiting to get done with Engineering, make money and grow a paunch doing a job that you hate, and instead actually want to make use of your degree, start taking part in events that give you a chance to explore and experiment; Makerswave, a 3-day fest did just this – it had a series of events for students to channelize their energy into things that were both fun and educational at the same time. It created a buzz in the campus with events like Makeathon, ACM Code fest, Phantom CTF 2.0, BizTech Quiz and Speaker talks over the previous weekend, 28th Feb – 1st March. This year, the theme of the fest was ‘Jugaad’, an art that every Indian is familiar with and practices it with pride on a daily basis – ‘Minimum resources, Maximum faida ‘.
The fest kicked off with its prime event, the 12th edition of Make-a-thon at 5.30 PM on 28th Feb. It’s a one-of-a-kind event where students had to take part in teams of 2-4 members, work on an idea and come up with a prototype and a proper pitch for it in less than 24 hours of time. Students were also provided with a mentor, Madhu Vadlamani (Senior Lead – Web and Data Analytics Kony, Inc.) to give them those insider tips and tricks of the industry that would help them in their projects. It saw a participation of 67 teams, most of them from first and second years with a total cash prize of 30k up for grabs. It had two categories for projects – Software, Hardware and three checkpoints at different intervals of time that people had to clear. Participants were provided with snacks, coffee and dinner to keep going because free food is something one cannot turn down! This year, pastries were a surprising bonus.! With adrenaline and caffeine running their mind and body, many groups pushed themselves to the limit and worked all night. There was also a talk by the Kalam team (Startup) on ‘How to pitch your ideas effectively’ at 12 midnight. The morning of 29th Feb – there were bloodshot eyes and ruffled hair everywhere. It was a nerve-wracking experience for everyone, trying everything possible under the roof to make their project work within the deadline. But some groups finally made it and presented their work by afternoon: Creative Garage, Mind Blenders and Spartan stood first, second and third respectively in the hardware category whereas Techbusters, Mr.Robot and Rejolt bagged the first three spots in the Software category. “We didn’t have a 360 degree servo motor for our project. So we used two 180 degree motors to do the job.”, said Biral of the Mind Blenders team, which created a model that captures written text on its camera and converts it into Braille script. “We really wanted to do something to help disabled people. I think most people don’t put in the effort to do their research and go deep to work on their idea. Hence, the decline in the number of innovators.”, said Vishal of the same group.
There were two other events on the same day in the evening. For all the tech-buffs out there, the BizTech quiz was conducted by the Quiz club in collaboration with Makerswave on business and technology. Around 25 people attended the prelims, among which six teams made it to the finals and battled for three more rounds. The winning team consisted of: Aabhaas, Pratham and Soumyajit.
The other event, ACM Codefest was conducted for all the coding lovers out there. It had two rounds- the first one was already conducted online a while back. The second round was an offline coding round and was the deciding factor for the winners : Sai Teja, Raj Sahu and Charan Sriramula in the first, second and third positions respectively.
On the last day of the fest, Phantom CTF 2.0 was conducted by Cybsec, NITW which offered a whooping cash prize of upto 7K. We have all been fascinated by TV Series like Mr. Robot and wished to wear that hoodie, sit in a dark room and hack some system at some point of time. Phantom CTF was one such Capture-the-Flag type competition where participants had to use skills like ethical hacking, decrypting code language and information extraction to complete the challenges given to them within a time limit. Winning teams were as follows: 1. Butter Overflow, 2. Kamikaze, 3, Weebs.
The fest ended with a valedictory ceremony at 4 PM where speakers Mr. Vamsi T. Mohun and Mr. Hariprakash Agarwal advised students on how choosing a career path after B.tech depends on a lot of factors and not just one’s ‘passion’. One needs to judge their personality, their skills and the market and weigh their options carefully. This was followed by prize distribution and giving away goodies to participants.
Pulling this off was definitely a herculean task for a group of around 30 people. It took months of planning and hardly getting few hours of sleep during the three days. “More than the mentor, it was the IG members who really helped us with our projects and gave us useful insights. They were really nice to us!” said Tanzeela, a first year student who took part in the Makeathon event. From discussing ideas to serving food, they did it all. On being asked what drives you to do this, Bristi, a 3rd year IG member replied, “It’s partly the sheer enthusiasm of the students which inspires us. And then there’s the satisfaction that, at the end of the day, because of what we are doing, the college is finally embracing the maker culture which has always been the motto of IG.” This was also the last big event for the final years of IG. “I’ve had beautiful memories in my first and second year as a participant and winner in Makeathon, but the feeling that you’re able to guide 200 students by interacting with them gave me goosebumps. That’s when the blues hit you hard, when you realise that you’re doing it for the last time.” said Anirban Panda reminiscing his time at IG.
We hope that with Makerswave, NITW has moved one step forward in imbibing the spirit of innovation in its students and continues to do so in the future.