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Priya Gupta Iitd

Priya Gupta Iitd

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nnovation is the new buzzword today and everyonefrom your employer and fam-ily expects you to be innovative.Many a times the word is con-fused with “entrepreneurship” but is quite distinct. From a business or any other complexventure perspective, it is clear that both innovation and entre- preneurship is required to makea mark but that doesn’t makethem synonymous. To me entre- preneurship relates to one’sability to pool in all resources(time, human, material and fi-nancial) effectively to achieveone’s objective. These resourcesneed not necessarily belong toyou but it is your entrepreneur-ship which makes them accessi- ble to you. Normally this re-quires clear thinking, intensework and communication abili-ties to convince others of your objective.On the other hand, I consider innovation to be a reasonably“simple” ability which unfortu-nately in my opinion very fewdevelop. Innovation can be inany area including that of “copying assignments”. Human beings tend to be naturally“innovative” if it can reducetheir effort and I will not dis-cuss this further as I am sureyou are already aware of real“experts” in the area. Many of such innovations are not scal-able; it reduces their effort butgenerally at the cost of muchhigher additional effort by peo- ple around them.On the other hand, one is al-ways looking for innovation insolving problems associatedwith the society. Here againthe word is confused with“invention”. Invention issomething much more funda-mental and has a longer termimpact on the society. Unlikeinnovation, it may or may not be useful even in the longer term and is done with the joyof discovering something newor solving some unsolved puzzle. Time frames and re-sources available for generat-ing innovative solutions aremuch smaller compared towhat is acceptable in an in-vention. The abilities and/or the training required to per-form invention are muchhigher and beyond the scopeof this article.Innovation in our field is pri-marily technology driven. Itrequires clear understandingof the potential as well aslimitations of “current” de- ployable technology, and“common sense”. Many atimes I find my colleagues aswell as students suggestingsolutions which in my opinionare in the realm of sciencefiction as they do not corre-spond to deployable technolo-gies. It is true that every daywe are pushing the boundariesof “deployable technologies” but having a clear understand-ing of the current boundariesand one’s capability to push itare the keys to the success of any innovation. The word“common sense” suggeststhat most of us would possessit but unfortunately that is far from reality! Common sensein social behavior relates toour ability to see the others’ point of view but that goesagainst the basic human traitof “me” being at the centre of any analysis. What is possiblein one society or organizationmay or may not be possible in(contd. on Page 2)
Cover Article:
Innovation: A Challenge for theCreative to be Productive
 
 Editor’s Column
From the sweltering sun,You require some shade;Hectic exams & assignments;Also need to fade;Coming from you & for you,Ideas here are laid;With such motives,This newsletter is made !Ideas, Inventions and Innova-tions– what’s common is the ‘I’.I gives rise to all these. Andhence this edition of the news-letter inquires, intrigues andincites you to discover the ‘I’ inYou. Sometimes it is difficult,sometimes it is the ‘aha’ mo-ment, sometimes a stroke of luck. But when an idea comes,not only should you be joyousabout it, but also preserve it, notlet it go to waste, for you never know in what form and at whattime it could solve a problemthat you encounter. Our cover article in this issue, is on chal-lenges in innovation by Prof.Balakrishnan.Knowledge management is a hotresearch topic today and the projects section features thesame. Articles on innovationfeature the work of a recentgraduate from CSE, IITD inrobotics and a brief understand-ing of the various types of inno-vation. Besides these, we havethe regular fun section featuringcrosswords and a caption con-test. A poem by Aditi alsoseems to be a regular featurenow.Hope you will like this editionof the newsletter as much as youliked the previous ones. Thiswill be the last edition with meas the lead editor. At this point, Iwould like to thank the team of this year for their immense sup- port, and also welcome the teamfor next year and wish themgood luck.
 Anubha Verma(Editor)
   C   S   E   N  e  w  s   l  e   t   t  e  r
Innovation in our field is primarily technology driven. It requires clear understanding ..
 By Prof. M. Balakrishnan
 Volume 1, Issue 3 (May ‘08)
   B   R   O   U   G   H   T   O   U   T   B   Y    A   C   M    S   T   U   D   E   N   T   C   H   A   P   T   E   R 
Inside this issue:
Innovation—Challenge for Creative to beProductive1Open House 2Personality Profile— Charles Babbage 3Robotics and Healthcare 4Project 5Faculty Profile— Vinay J. Ribeiro
 
6Department News Flashes 7Who Innovates? 3Linux User Group @ IITD
 
9Fun Section8,9,10Caption Contest10Perspectives — PhD Survey
 
6
I
 
 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 3 (MAY ‘08)
another society or organization and thisgives an unlimited scope for innovationin any situation.In my earlier discussion, I hinted that thecapacity to innovate can bedeveloped. For that youneed to do a test whether you are innovative or not. Asimple test revolves aroundanalyzing what you dowhen you come across longdelays in a queue or proc-essing time or when you get shellshocked by the unexpected, exorbitant price of a service? One reaction could berecreating the service process and think-ing of applying some technology to pro-vide more efficient or economical ser-vice. Alternatively, you can vow to listento the
bhavishyavani
in the morning TVchannels before you start on the samemission next time.Finally, I would like toshare with the readerssomething which bothersme a lot these days. IITCampus, in our day to day,living has one thing miss-ing and that is technology.Technology remains con-fined to our laboratories. The society isfacing huge challenges in terms of en-ergy, environment, transportation, accessfor the disabled etc. We may be workingon “inventions” in all these areas in our laboratories but I would like some of youto work on innovation in deploying theavailable technologies in a sustainablemanner. This could be solar heaters in thehostels, water recycling plants or greentransport for the campus. All these re-quire formation of interdisciplinarygroups and huge innovations as one hasto look at the complete process includingcosting and operational issues and createstake holders for sustainability. Onlywhen this happens, we can upgrade our-selves from the current College of Engi-neering and Science to the name IndianInstitute of Technology.-Prof. M. Balakrishnan proaching buses,These projects have been completedthrough a collabora-tion between IITDand The NationalAs-sociation for the Blind.Another interesting project was the "SmartPassenger Alert System", which is a smarttechnology solution that sends automaticSMSes to all passengers when the bus isabout to reach their bus stop, so that pas-sengers don’t need to wait outside in harshweather conditions. Other embedded sys-tems projects from our department includethe bicycle vending system, automaticlights system, among many others. Theresults clearly reflect the long night outs put in by students involved in the projects.One could see the diversity in the areas of research with projects related to simulat-ing explosions by fundamental principlesof physics like Black Body radiations andfluid dynamics, in order to create photo-realistic renderings with improved stabil-ity, crowd behavior analysis to assist sur-In the midst of final projects and assign-ments submissions for the semester, was thetime to showcase proudly the hard work  put in by the students, professors and other staff. The Open House,as it has always been,was a brilliant event,with over 200 innova-tions ranging from aneasy Braille reading device to a leaves col-lector displayed to school and college stu-dents, teachers and other visitors from in-dustry and alumni associations. The entireBharti building was alive with school stu-dents and teachers beaming with joy andcuriosity, jostling each other in order tocatch a glimpse of the inventions.One distinguishing achievement among all projects displayed was the "Smart Cane for the visually impaired". The gadget de-signed for the blind can detect objects evenabove their knee height like a table,through a user-triggered wireless identifica-tion system with vibration as a warningsignal. This along with another projectwork can be used to assist a blind in usingthe bus transport with ease. This isachieved by giving audio instructions at bus stop about the bus numbers of ap-veillance and crowd management, realtime rendering of minute details present onsurfaces and an efficient implementation of ray tracing implemented on GPUs by using bounding volume hierarchies. Some of these projects left the school students spell bound.An interesting project incomputer vision was ontime-lapsed photography, atechnique wherein recordedvideo frames are timewarped linearly or non-linearly during playback to create interest-ing visual effects. Events that extend over a long period of time are captured, ana-lyzed and meaningfully condensed to con-vey the concept more expeditiously. Itinvolved implementing some of the exist-ing techniques to generate time lapse videoof continuous processes such as growth of a flower from seed to full bloom and ex- ploring newer visualization techniquesinvolving event detection i.e. a time lapsevideo generated by picking up only therelevant parts, from a video, in which anevent takes place. Instead of selectingframes at a uniform interval, adaptiveframe selection was done depending on therelative importance of the frame in therecorded video.(..contd. on Page 5)
Page 2
Cover Article
(Contd.)
Open House: Display of research & technical innovations
 
...a brilliant event, with over 200  innovations ranging from an easy Braille reading device to a leaves collector  I would like some of you to work on innovation in deploying the available technologies in a sustainable manner.
 
 VOLUME 1, ISSUE 3 (MAY ‘08)
Mathematician, philosopher, computer scientist are the various roles whichCharles Babbage, a renowned personal-ity, assumed. He was the man behind theinception of the idea of a programmablecomputer. Here we try to explore some of his lesser known dimensions.Born in 1791 in London in one of therichest families of that time, Charles re-ceived his elementary education fromseveral elite schools and teachers. Butaround the age of 8 he was sent to a coun-try school near Exeter to recover from alife-threatening fever. His parents orderedthat his “
brain was not to be taxed toomuch
” and Babbage felt that “
this great idleness may have led to some of mychildish reasonings
.” He then joined a30-student Holmwood academy whichhad a well-stocked library that promptedBabbage's love of mathematics. He stud-ied with two more private tutors after leaving the academy. The young Charleswas always interested in mechanical giz-mos and this experimental approach gotreflected in one of the greatest innovativeexperiments of that time- walking on theriver Dart. He attached to his each foottwo boards closely connected together byhinges fixed to the shoe-sole. Accordingto him, when he would lift his leg up, thetwo boards would close up towards eachother while on pushing down his foot, thewater would rush between the boardscausing them to open out into a flat sur-face, thereby offering him greater resis-tance towards sinking in the water. Hetook a pair of boots for the experiment andcut a couple of old volumes with thick  bindings. In this way, he fixed the boards by the hinges.Equipped with his machine, he went downto the river to test his discovery. He couldmanage to float down the river with a veryslight exertion of force. Unfortunately theapparatus malfunctioned and Charles wasnearly drowned. Nevertheless, the experi-ment became the torchbearer of manyfuture experiments. Babbage went toCambridge in 1810, his eyes twinklingIt is important here to revisit the differ-ence between invention and innovation.Innovation is invention + commercializa-tion, i.e. putting the invention to a use for the people. While new firms have thecapability and incentive to go for radicalinnovation, existing companies might nothave the same, and contribute to onlyincremental change. At the same time,The debate over who is mostlikely to innovate dates back to,at least Schumpeter, who firstsuggested that small entrepre-neurial firms innovate. Later  people suggested that largefirms with some degree of mo-nopoly power in their businesshave the potential and will toinnovate. The focus has shiftedto individuals and then back tofirms. But with the evolutionof study on ‘innovation’ per se, better classification mecha-nisms have arisen. These at-tempt to categorize the type of innovation and then explain thesource of the same.The first is a simple distinction betweenincremental and radical innovation, whichas the name suggests is based on the extentto which the technological knowledge re-quired for the innovation differs from ex-isting knowledge. Similarly one couldclassify it as radical or incremental basedon the economic impact of the innovation.there have been examples of largecompanies like GE adopting radicalinnovations while well-established players like Xerox have failed torecognize incremental innovation.To solve this dilemma, other inno-vation models have been proposed,which are quite interesting. Theseclassify the innovation on the basisof the architectural components thatthey alter or on the basis of the mar-ket disruption that they cause. It’soften believed that well establishedcompanies have more marketknowledge and they can thus cater to the requirements of the customersin terms of the innovation.While all these are static ways of classify-ing innovations, the actual technology goesthrough different life-cycles, and hence thedynamic nature of innovation is also impor-tant. In this respect, many people are famil-iar with Foster’s S curve, which shows thattechnology goes through the phases of slowgrowth, then rapid growth and finally ma-turity. (Contd. on Page 10)
Page 3
 Personality Profile
:
 
Charles Babbage Unplugged Who Innovates?
with the joy of getting hisdifficulties in Mathemat-ics explained. But hishigh hopes of Cambridgespeedily dissolved as hewas also disappointed bythe professors there. Charles found him-self actively participating in various so-cieties and associations formed in Cam- bridge. At the age of 30, he began to con-struct a machine for making mathemati-cal tables. Building his first DifferenceEngine led to crucial advances in ma-chine tools and engineering techniquesaffecting the whole development of preci-sion mechanical engineering. In 1834,Babbage started working on the AnalyticsEngine. These are one of the greatestintellectual achievements in the history of the mankind. While constructing his firstengine, he developed his doctrine for the
union of theory and practice
. He also ledmany campaigns for the application of scientific methods to solve industrial problems.
Compiled by: Anshuman and Rahul 
Attacker's Advantage, R. Foster, 1986

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