6 Best Projects from India’s Biggest Maker Exhibition
By Kevin B George.
The Maker Mela, one of the biggest Maker movements in India, saw the largest gathering of makers and tinkerers in India. The Mela was organized by the RiiDL incubation center at Somaiya Vidyavihar(Mumbai). It spanned over two days in their campus which spread across a vast and green area. It saw exhibits of more than a hundred makers from various fields like art&crafts, technology and life hacks. There was a diverse range of projects at exhibit for the Mela. From the many interesting and innovative projects which deserve praise, we have painstakingly selected seven, which we feel are really worth the attention. So here is a list of the 6 best projects from the Maker Mela 2015:
BrainChair- Use Your Thoughts to Move Around!
There are nearly 7 billion people in our world, out of which, a considerably large number of people have some affliction. One of the most distressing of these is the paralysis of body parts. Paralysis or paraplegia can force the affected to depend hugely on others even for daily life activities. This is what motivated the “TruFocus Life Sciences”, a startup from Thane(Mumbai), to do this project and unfold a solution to the problem.
The Brain Chair was developed by the startup to help empower paralytic and paraplegic people, by allowing them to use a wheelchair with the help of their thoughts or brain waves. This wheelchair is designed using BCI technique so that a person with any extent of disability can operate the wheelchair to attain self-independence in domestic locomotion. The team that consists of Soham Ganatra, Priyank Satra and Sunny Modi had also been to the Maker Faire Bay Area 2015 and won three editor’s choice awards! Check out their demo video:
Laser Harp- A harp that Uses Lasers for Strings!
The Laser Harp is a wooden harp that stands tall at six and a half feet and which plays different musical notes when a hand is waved through it. The seemingly empty center of the harp is actually filled with laser light strands and when any of these strands are cut across by anything opaque, the harp detects it and plays the corresponding note. The instrument was born when the makers, Rituparna and Suryansh, wanted to do something fun and subtle for Valentine’s day this year.
Rituparna is a computer scientist and DIY enthusiast who loves all things that deals with Arduino, Raspberry Pi and BBB. He is a proud member of the team that made Tah (the controller used in the project) and has been associated with Doothings in Pune, which encourages learning by doing. Currently, he is working in Mumbai with CuriosityGym to help expose kids to new technology like Arduino, 3D printing and doodling. Suryansh is a 19 year old aspiring inventor who is currently pursuing his B.tech in electronics. Insanely curious about the world around him, he loves DIY and the spirit of making! When he’s not tinkering around or lighting his house on fire he loves to travel, read and eat. Check out their project here:
You can also check out one of their other projects, where they have converted the stairs in a mall in Pune to a Piano: video.
Gaming Gloves- A Wearable Controller!
First person shooting games really get you hooked and you loose all sense of time once it does so. And these guys have added more reason to be hooked to them. As you can see in the picture, this project is a strap on wrist band that acts as a controller, just like a mouse on a computer. The motion of the hand is read via a gyroscopic sensor and given to the computer, which in turn manipulates the actions. It has four keys placed at the palm of the hand. The first key is for enabling and disabling the sensor(to reposition the cursor if it goes outside the field of play), second and third are the left and right clicks respectively and the fourth key is a customizable key specially reserved for gaming purposes. This glove is driver free and hence compatible with every OS(even OTG supported android phones).
The makers of this project are Hardik Upadhyaya, Gaurav Gadre and Kapil Goswami who are third year Electronics Engineering Students of K.J. Somaiya Institue of Engineering and Information Technology. They say this is just their first version and further iterations with more features and applications are to be expected from them. Game ON!! :) You can catch a video from their stall here:
Rubiks Cube Solver- Arduino Based DIY Rubix Cube Solver
If you ever thought that there is an age barrier to becoming a Maker, then this one will make you stand corrected! For most of us, solving the Rubik’s cube itself is a pain and the last time we see it solved is when it’s bought and before the first shuffle. But this young chap took us by storm and walked right into the best projects list when he showed us the cube solver he made out of candy sticks, servos and a few lines of code. Sarvagnya Purohit, an 8th grader at AK Joshi School- Thane, is the brain behind this machine.
To quote the young maker, he said: “My passion is making things. I follow my passion everywhere. During vacations I take on great projects. One of them was the Rubik’s Cube Solver. It is made out of candy sticks and wooden parts. The brain is an Arduino Uno which is coded with an algorithm that knows how to solve the cube. The user just needs to input all 6 sides of the cube either through a web cam or manually. Then it starts working and solves the cube in about 20 minutes. The whole project just uses 2 servo motors”. And “Age vs Tech” barrier: BROKEN!!
Customized Maker Gifts from MAD- Mind Art Design
Do you constantly run out of ideas to gift something special to the ones you love? Worry no more! We present to you: MAD- Mind Art Design. It is a one stop solution from Makers for your custom gifting needs.
M.A.D as defined by its Makers is where you can get customised gifts of your choice for any celebration. It could be birthdays, anniversaries, festive occasions or weddings for all your near and dear ones. They do quilling, wood art, different attractive cards, trousseau packing, 3d cards and much more. We found this to be the most colourful stall among all, filled with cards, table mates and Minions!
The team is made of four 20 year olds from different academic backgrounds, united by their passion for art. Pursuing undergrad degrees ranging from Law to Engineering, Simran Sisodiya, Kevin Mehta, Anjali J. Sheth and Jahvi Thakkar are the right brained makers behind M.A.D :)
Bio Hacking! An Eco-Friendly Alternative to Coconut Fiber Processing
The concept of BioHacking or DIY Bio is catching on fast with more Makers using DIY equipments for conducting bio research that yields the same results as the expensive high end machines in research institutions. This time at the Maker Mela, we found among the many stalls by students, a teacher who joined the maker wagon and earned a title in our best projects list!
Conventionally, coconut fibres are extracted from husks by immersing them in lakes, ponds, rivers or seawater for nine to eleven months. The retted fibres thus extracted are whiter, softer and of superior quality as compared to fibres extracted in a defibering machine. However, in this process, natural phenolic substances are released leading to extensive water pollution thus affecting the aquatic life. Ms.Soniya Shetty, an associate professor at the Department of Microbiology in K.J. Somaiya College of science and commerce, has come up with an alternate method for the same which is faster and more environment friendly. An anaerobic closed tank retting process for softening of mechanically extracted fibres has been developed by her which cuts down the time for processing to a few weeks. Enriched microbial consortium are used for delignification and biosoftening of these fibres. The fibres are subjected to anaerobic retting for just two to ten weeks and the quality of the resulting fibre is much higher than the one from the conventional process.
Though we limited the list to 7 best projects, the Mela witnessed many more interesting projects. More than the sheer number of participants, it was the spirit of making that kept the program alive. And hats off to the organizers and volunteers who made everything seem so brilliant and effortless. Great job guys!! :)