13th year at the IIT Bombay Techfest

by Mohit

I remember dragging my dad to the IIT Bombay’s annual Techfest when I was still in high school back in 1999. It was called Yantriki at that time and had very few events on the list, but none the less, was one of its kind in India. Students building machines, robots, bridges and all kinds of different projects and competing against each other. And today after 13 years, it has grown to be Asia’s largest student technical festival. Students from all over India come pouring in buses, trains, airplanes and cars to be a part of it.

I also got to be a part of it on numerous occasions. In 2003, I was invited to exhibit my BEAM robots. In 2006, I came in 3rd  in the Micromouse competition. 2007 saw me as part of a team representing Thinklabs. And in 2011, I got to represent my lab, Modlab, UPenn. So many cherished memories!

This year, the highlights were as usual: the robot competitions, international exhibits and guest lectures. Willow Garage’s PR2 was flown in last year, while this year they had Aldebaran. In addition, they had the crazy little Quadrotor from Sweden and University of Adelaide’s EDWARD, an amazing dicycle contraption. Well, there were plenty more but these are what caught my eye.

There was such a huge crowd/line outside each event that getting in was a challenge in itself. But I had my good friend, Pradeep to the rescue. Being an IITB alumni, he was able to sneak me in through all of the events :)

This reminds me to pull out a scanned photo of my BEAM robots exhibit at the IIT Techfest back in 2003. It was a privilege to be invited where we we had ISRO on one side and DRDO on the other.

Above you can see (from left to right): A BEAM style Hexapod Walker prototype, Quad Walker, Photovore, Photophob and the Light Tracking Head with its daughter board.