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CONTRAPTION ~ The roundabout way of doing things
Remember the scene where the chota clown Kamal avenges the first of his dad’s killers in CONTRAPTIONS! Believe us when we say that none of us knew what a contraption Aburva Sagothargal or the ingenious pranks the kid in Home Alone pulls on the dim wit- was. Our only aim was to just take part in it. ted thieves? That’s CONTRAPTION for you! CONTRAPTION is the ultimate applica- It was not what we had studied or the books we referred to, that came to our rescue while tion of the most basic concepts of mathematics and physics. Of course, you would ques- building our CONTRAPTION. All the funny thoughts that crossed our mind took shape tion: “Why use 100 odd steps to achieve something as simple as switching on a radio (see as a physical unit. The implementation phase was a chaos. We had to sacrifice some of the pic!) when it can be done by the simple press of a button within the blink of an eye?” our best ideas for the lack of equipment, yet we emerged successful. This is because CONTRAPTION drives you to understand and apply every basic theoret- Lessons learnt: ical concept we have studied right from projectile motion to Hooke’s Law. Never try to burst a water balloon with a pin. The most difficult task in the world is to make a ball stand at the top edge of a slope. Engineering books provide the required elevation for placing contraption units. The best lesson is when working as a team never work seriously as it spoils the fun and makes the work boring. -E. Vinoth Kumar III Year, EEE The five of us (Vinoth Kumar, Subramanian, Thennapan, Arun Prabhu, Prasanth) were introduced to the concept of CONTRAPTIONS in QUEST ’10 and indeed it was a fun and brain cracking experience. We let the maximum level of perplexed confusions run over our human in-built CPU (that’s the CONTRAPTION way of referring to the brain) and finally came up with a number of sequential steps to do the mundane task of lighting a serial bulb. Sounds easy right? But then this was no easy task in the world of
HOW STUFF WORKS?
SUGAR - A NATURAL EXPLOSIVE ? It’s amazing that most of us are not aware that sugar is inherently flammable. Anyone who's had a bad experience caramelizing custard sprinkled with sugar can attest this. Imagine you're in a closed room coated with a thick layer of sugar dust. You smack your hand down on a table top, disturbing some of the sugar dust and dispersing it into the air. If you light a match, you could see the ensuing explosion in slow motion, what appears to be a single, instantaneous burst is actually a chain reaction. The ignited sugar dust particle ignites another particle and so on. The entire process is fueled by the oxygen in the room, and since the dust is suspended in the air, it interacts with the oxygen more easily than when it's settled on the table. The chain reaction produced from the ignited sugar dust particles produces energy. This produces compression of air. When this buildup occurs fast -- as can be the case indoors -- you have an explosion. -P. Subramaniam III Year, Mech
What’s the big fuss about ANDROID??
It’s not that I often take fancy to a gadget. I encounter tons an app for that. News, Facebook? Check. to Sudoku. And yes all Angry Bird versions are available of them, not physically maybe but through online reviews Well when an Android phone is not connected to the ‘net, and many are free of cost. and friends. Most of them are superfluous and are nothing it’s just a normal phone. But give it an internet connection, What started as a small project in 2003 turned into one of more than objects of geek-chic .Maybe that’s what gadgets boy wait until it springs to life. Your Google calendar will the biggest game changers of the current era! From its are about, but to me a gadget is good only if it serves you in some way. I want to write about the Android OS that runs on my phone. It’s simply powerful if used in the right way and has tones of features that make it very useful in your daily life. Android phones come in myriad designs and versions. The most popular ones are 2.2 and 2.3 (as of now). Android has a well-designed UI, is fast and has lots of sesync with your Google account. humble beginnings, Android has displaced many OSes and Your Gmail app will automatical- traditional phone makers to become the market leader in ly download all your mails and OSes. What really make it successful are its constant innoattachments. Want to send the vations in terms of features and user experience. With supphoto you clicked to your friend port for Near Field Communications and the Embedded in Chennai? Just mail it right API for controlling Home electronics, Android is all set to away without having to login into become the center of your world where you use it control your account. all the electronics around you .Its key strength is its always
curity features. But what truly makes it different is its abil- Traveling has never been this easy or simple. As long as built with the user in mind , making it a truly successful ity to serve as a platform for a mind boggling number of you have the GPS, G-maps and an Android phone, your device err, gadget. So, if you itching for a phone get an applications. For e.g., the PNR tracker, lets you find info chances of getting lost are very less unless you are in the Android. The experience will truly be wonderful. for your railway PNR right from your mobile. No need to middle of the Sahara or Siberia. reload the crappy IRCTC website or stand in a queue at The Android market is full of cool and delightful games the railway station. Need some Bollywood gossip? You got that will keep you engaged for hours with sniper shooting -N. Govindarajan II Year, M.Sc (SE)
SCIENCE IS FUN
With every passing day new discoveries, inventions and new theories are being made. With each passing moment new revelations come into limelight. Have you ever wondered how things around you actually work???! Well…it’s this inquisitiveness that has and is turning a man into a noble laureate. Here is an archive that quenches the thirst of all those curious and inquisitive minds reading this article… KUMBAKARNA EFFECT: What is the consequence of over filling your stomach with your favourite delicacies?? Naturally you feel sleep defeating your conscience. What in that food which you ate causes this?? In reality, not the type of food rather the quantity of food takes over the responsibility. In the human body the mechanism is such that the oxygen we breathe in and the vital nutrients in the food that we eat are absorbed by the blood and supplied to the different organs. This job is accomplished efficiently by about 5 liters of blood that circulates in a normal adult. The amount of blood supplied to each organ depends on the oxygen and nutrition requirement of the tissues of the organ and the importance of the function it plays at any given time. When we eat, the food needs to be digested and the nutrients absorbed by the blood. That is the focus of the work shifts to digesting the food and so more blood is sent to the stomach walls. Automatically the flow of blood to the other parts of the body, including brain is reduced. Only a few other very important functions like the functioning of the heart and lungs are continued. Once the blood flow to the brain is reduced, the body becomes lethargic and sleep sets in. So folks, better take a nap after meals, it is only natural!! RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK (LITERALLY!): All of us would have seen athletes competing to be on par with the speed of the light. If you had carefully noticed, you will find the athletes always run in anticlockwise direction. Ever observed this??!! Science behind this is quite simple. As the heart is on the left side, for humans and animals, running anticlockwise makes the centrifugal force in the body to act from left to right. Whereas it is from right to left for clockwise running. Superior venacava, (the principal vein carrying blood to heart) takes blood to the heart aided by heart suction. This vein carries blood from left to right. Centrifugal force due to anticlockwise running helps this suction. That is why even merry-gorounds run only in anticlockwise direction Also the racing tracks, animal shows in circuses, bullock-drawn pelton wheels, all almost have only left turns. Stairways in temples also have only left turns for going up. Are you wondering how, many tiny things go unnoticed!!?? That is the beauty of nature. s -S. Poorvaja III Year, ECE
Who could forget Princess Leah’s message to Obi Van slice of lithium niobate crystal, which produces sound waves through R2-D2? More than the message, it was the mode of in response to the current. These waves then diffract lasers deliverance that struck a chord with people. Star Wars left through the crystal, turning them into hundreds of slices of not only the audience a legacy to cherish and also scientists light. That light travels through two mirrors that project it at a lot to take inspiration from. Hologram is one such. Holog- various angles onto a screen, where the slices stack up on raphy was invented in 1947 by physicist Dennis Gabor for either side of the display to create a 3-D hologram. which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1971. How- For a hologram video, you have to refresh the scene every ever it gained wide recognition only after the release of Star half a second. Refreshing ordinary video is fine, but refreshWars. ing holographic video isn’t that easy. Until recently, refresh Any shining seal present in text books for authenticity is a 2- rate of only once in four minutes was possible. It would be D hologram. Just like images, we have 2-D as well as 3-D like “OBI VAN (write two lines of the assignment) YOU holograms. When light from any source falls on an object, ARE (write again) OUR (another two lines) ONLY part of it is absorbed and the rest is reflected. When these HOPE”. Before the whole message was delivered you reflected rays are captured by a light-sensitive plate we get a would have finished a page. But save your regret, as they photograph. If you restrict the process: by allowing only the have achieved a refresh rate of once in two seconds at Arilight from a coherent source such as laser, to illuminate the zona University. Someday we might send a holone (holoobject and collect the reflections on a more sensitive plate, Voila! - You get a hologram. The display converts the recorded video signal into electricity that it uses to stimulate a clone!) to attend classes and if someone throws a duster on it…My bad! -K. Karthikeyan Final Year, ECE
WEBSITES TO PONDER
www.instructables.com Instructables is a website where passionate people share what they do and how they do it, and learn from and collaborate with others. It is an excellent site where one can get a lot of cool ideas for mini-project, improvise and work on them. www.symposiumz.net Just sign up for this website to get periodic emails on symposiums, technical fests, cultural fests and workshops that happen throughout India. The best one of its kind. www.gizmag.com Gizmag covers invention, innovation and emerging technologies – everything from computing, communication and automation, through social innovation, new ideas and inventions. Gizmag is entirely free to readers, listeners and viewers.
MATH MADE EASY
This technique can be used to find the cube root of a 4 or 5 or 6 digits number mentally. It can be used to find the cubic root of 970,299 i.e. 99 at the maximum. This technique works only for perfect cubes, it will not work for any arbitrary 6-digit number. It works only for integers.
Say you have to find the cube root of 79507 a perfect cube. Divide this number into two parts. The right hand side should always have 3 digits. Remaining digits will come in left hand side. 79
Find the largest cube in 79. This is 4 = 64, so the tens-digit of the cube root is 4. Knowing the cubes of numbers 1 to Now go back to the last three digits. Look at the last digit 7. That's the same ending as 3-cubed (27). So the units-digit of
10 will be helpful. your cube root is 3. The cube root of 79,507 is 43.
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