Held from 7th to 9th January, 2011, the 14th edition of Techfest was well received. Unlike last year, where the main emphasis was on high end science and technology, this year Techfest focused on portraying ‘technology’ in a way that even the layman could appreciate it. The organization and management was especially commendable. Other than the traditional crowd-pulling events like TechX and Robowars, Techfest’11 boasted of many new initiatives and interactive events.
Techfest kick-started the pre-fest publicity through ‘India Unmute’, which essentially tried to mimic the Olympic torch travel, moving across 60 colleges to get new ideas, opinions and solutions on various issues that confront India.
Prayaas has been a very strong initiative since the past two years. The team lived up to the tradition by providing great opportunities for innovators and visionaries to work on fields ranging from rural technology development (Utkarsh) to healthcare technology (Elixir). Verizon, a social entrepreneurship event, was added this year while Energize had a new problem statement, related to geothermal and ocean energy.
Crossroads was introduced for the first time with a view to make the streets livelier during the fest. It had street shows: BMX stunts, Zlwin Magic, Parkour performances and short workshop sessions ranging from Solving Rubik’s cube, Boomerang Throwing to Parkour basics and Kenjutsu (an ancient Japanese sword art).
Exhibitions, this year, saw some very interesting displays. Apart from the regular exhibits from the DRDO, there were exhibits from the very famous Ars Electronica from Europe as well as the Da Vinci machines, known for their elegant simplicity. The PR-2 Robot was the show stealer. With its capability of self-recharging, it’s one of the first steps towards the future of artificial intelligence.
The aim of Competitions at Techfest has been to cater to all genres of engineering and technology. This was ensured by having competitions like AutoBots, ArchiTech, Nexus and iNexus. Robowars, like always, saw a huge turnout both in terms of enthusiastic participants and an exuberant audience. There were some issues with its location (SOM Well) leading to complaints about space scarcity but the organizers claim that it was the most feasible venue for the event. It was also strategic in getting hold of a floating crowd and ensuring huge numbers for any announcements/news etc.The new event named Technopreneurship was pulled off nicely. It was done in collaboration with TiE with an aim to provide a technical dimension to innovation and entrepreneurship.
Almost everyone who attended TF’11 would agree that Lecture Series was indeed its highest point. Even though the highly anticipated David Griffith lecture got cancelled, it was more than compensated by other truly eminent personalities coming down to the Institute – a Nobel Laureate, Inventor of the Bluetooth, Father of String Theory, Founder of Google Earth, Director of Council of Antiquities, Egypt. Also, the pre-fest lecture by Richard Stallman on Free and Open Source Software attracted a very enthusiastic crowd.
Continuing with the success of Lazertag last year, Ozone kept the focus on gaming this time as well. They brought in ATV, Zorbing, WiFi Sports, etc which made sure no one stayed unoccupied during the fest. Virtusphere, a virtual reality gaming device was brought to India for the first time and received a great response. While the gaming zone was brilliant, the on-the-spot competitions didn’t live up to their previous standards. Sci-Tech, which garnered wonderful reviews last two years, was shabbily organized this year on all fronts, be it the publicity or the magnitude of the event.
Technoholix, the ‘Pronites’ equivalent of TF, was quite repetitive and similar to previous years. The Double Dutch Force, the world’s best Double Dutch Crew, came for the first time to India and was well received. Euphorie 1024 showcased a totally new genre of performances consisting of great synchronization of neon guitars and lights with electronic music. The Fest concluded well with a performance by Quick Change, The Magical Costume Change Trio. ■
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