Scintillations showcase at IITB Techfest 2010

If you are any regular at the IIT Techfest, you would be used to all the terms such as Technololix or Lecture Series, but this year a new segment added to the techfest is “Scintillations”. Proving that we are out of recession there are things in Scintillations like the Eiffel Tower, that does little more than telling us that we are out of recession :P. On a serious note Scintillations gives you some marvels of technology. Lets see what we had at this new segment @ Techfest 2010.

 Mezatop:

 Before heading for this one I was of the opinion that this is some display by Microsoft with a different version of their Microsoft Surface. But to our surprise it turned out to be a Research Associate from City University, London. Meirion Williams the inventor of the Mezatop spoke with us explaining how the multitouch surface had a humble start with a cardboard box, small VGA camera, an infra-red sensor and a transparent glass surface with a couple of sheet of tracing paper. He has arrived here with a scaled up version of the same model, but this one costs around £1,400 (i.e. around Rs. 1,oo,000).

This uses a Mac mini, a Sony Playstation WebCam, a standard projector and a translucent screen which again detects the hand motions with the help of an infrared sensor. Interestingly he hasn’t been approached by any MNCs, likes of Apple or Microsoft as such. He is interested in exploring the possibilities of commercialising the Mezatop, although he believes the Mezatop is still in the beta stage, and it has still much scope for improvement. Currently it can only detect finger touch and cant detect touches by a stylus (this can be improved by using a better quality camera).  He sees it developing into an entertainment (gaming) device also, something similar to Microsofts’ Surface as it is compatible with many of applications for the Surface. I personally loved the feel and response of the device. (Besides it’s 50% cheaper than the Surface) Not sure though if this one can challenge the Surface.

Light Ripples:

Light Ripples created by ENESS Australia is one of the unique concepts that we have come across in years. Its creators claim that research and programming of about 10 years have gone into the making of the product. As a result of which it has acquired A.I. of its own. Ok now to cut the story short and tell you what it is about (it has to be in detail though for you to understand). This one has a pool full of soya milk with eight balloon balls floating in it. The balloon balls are fitted with IR sensors, mercury and a battery that activates it when dispatched in the pool. Now these balls are tracked by the IR sensor located at the top of the pool which sends data to the program in the computer which in turn relays information to the projector which generates the light ripples and the resultant circles around the ballons that generate midi notes (music) as these  circles intersect with each other. Now the A.I. part is that Michael the presenter claims that these circles get attracted towards each other and create different music notes depending on the angle at which they intersect with each other. I know it sounds vague and complicated, but the setup looks quite different, sophisticated at the same time. You might find it interesting check  it out.

 Eiffel Tower:

 The scaled down model of one of the seven wonders of the world failed to do any wonders for Scintillations. It failed to amaze the crowd and impress us at the same time. The only good thing about this model is that its powered by very low voltage LED lights. (This power is driven by solar panels which store it in a battery during the day.) We are left wondering whether this fest will be as good as the last ones. Only the days hereafter will be able to reveal that.

 Flickr Getter

 This system consisted of a touch screen control panel placed at the center of 3 projector screens. You had to enter a keyword in the system by touchscreen which would then look-up all the images related to that keyword. This resulted in different flickering images displayed on all the 3 screens simultaneously. It gave you an interesting and a pleasant display. Check out the video.