Manav Kataria's Blog

Technology

Google+ Implements Our Hack! :)

It is a humble compliment to see how Yahoo!, Facebook and now Google have found the USP of our concept valuable.

FriendCircle was the winner of Yahoo! University Hackathon – HackU 2010 at IIT Bombay in October.

Yahoo! intended to use it in their products but we don’t really know how they’ve done it.

Facebook, in a few months had a small feature with a rather inconspicuous and not so convenient UI on their news feed settings which allowed the user to show more of <friend>.

Google, has recently released Google+ a new social networking platform with one of its USP based on Friend Circle. Though we have been a few steps ahead, they do seem to be heading in a similar direction:

Click to Enlarge

Google+ Circle

Click to Enlarge

FriendCircle

Want to try out FriendCircle? Leave us a note.

-Manav

(on behalf of my HackU team:
Sumit Somani, Mayank Singhal and Gaurav Toshniwal)


ECG Synthesizer Interim Demo

I had a wonderful demo! My guides seemed happy! Tho’ they didn’t say too much but did mention “Its finally getting somewhere!” :) … and the happiest part was when Prof Mukherji asked me to cleanup the user-interface so that they could use it in his lab! :D Its very hearty to know when someone finds the USP of your product useful! :D Me very happy!! :D

Tadaaaa! :D

I am just in a glee mood! :D

Here is a demo video showing 3-leads being produced from ECG Synthesizer.


My LED Fader Lamp Attempt

I am trying to make a simple fading LED lamp that fades-in and out multiple colors. I have 3 LEDs Red, Green and Blue in the same package. I turn them on simultaneously.

Trying to mix colors:

The combination colors were not very clearly visible. I haven’t made a diffuser yet. OK. I just placed a white envelope on it. The red being the most intense overwhelms the r+b, r+g and r+g+b with its color. Blue + Green looks sexy but I think I better diffusion would make it prettier.

Normalized Intensities:

Reduced intensity of Red.

I still would love to know

  1. What is the best way (accurate method) to normalize the intensities and produce better colors
  2. Better ideas to diffuse light

Cheers!
Manav

(more…)


My first ever investor meet! :) *satisfaction*

 

From FB:

‎@All: This investor is already investing in Wilcom – Prof’s Girish Kumar’s Start-up, EE Dept. He has intentions for investing in a Mobile-Apps startup. We discussed his ideas and analysed the marketability and feasibility of the idea, and devised few alternatives.

Like an investor he was very sharp and witty, but humble nevertheless. It was an interesting meeting! My first ever of the kind! ;)


Scrutinize before you Enterprise

Serial entrepreneur Aneace Haddad discusses his latest venture, Taggo with Peter Day (Extracted from BBC World > Technology > Start Up Stories > Taggo)
“Mr Haddad believes the failure of many entrepreneurs is due to the absence of any self-check or scrutiny on their ideas. He says, “I notice the vast majority of people don’t go through that…they’ll launch stuff  …and then after a few years they pull the plug.”
Peter:
“Some Advice from the heart for people who want to start a company”
Aneace:
“It boils down to three questions. And these are three questions you have to ask about anything you’re doing”
  • You have to ask – So what? – What does that mean? Why am I doing it?
  • You have to ask – Who cares? – identify real people are whose problems you’re solving (customers)
  • And then the third one, real important – Why me?

His advice is: “If you’re hard on yourself with those questions and you can find credible answers to them, you probably have something that’s very valuable.” All that’s left is to “remove the barriers…and get out of the way so it can explode.”

Another interesting/useful read:


Movember – Grow your Muchi

Refer the Movember style guide:

Image Source: http://www.meninternational.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Movember-Style-Guide.jpg


FriendCircle

Have hundreds of acqaintances? Tried of the irrelevant newsfeed on Facebook and find it difficult to manage?

My team recently developed a simple Facebook app that analyses your friend circle and identifies who is important to you. We believe future models of Social Trend Analysis and Personalized Marketing will target such information.

It automatically figures out who’s important to you using carefully researched heuristics. It saves you a lot of effort! And just in case we are wrong, we even allow an intuitive interface for you to modify your friend circle.

We were surprised with the initial results! Hopefully you will be too! Especially, if you’re single ;-)

Honors: Won the Yahoo! HackU at IIT Bombay, October 2010

Sneak Preview:

We did this hack in 24hours. The project is still  at alpha. Needs some work before we want to release it. At this moment its an invitation-only access. If you would like to try it, leave us a note!

-Manav
(on behalf on my Yahoo! HackU team, Mayank Singhal, Gaurav Toshniwal and Sumit Somani)


My first ever B-Plan

Avenues is the Annual Business Fest organized by SJMSOM – the School of Management at IIT Bombay. They have a Business Plan Competition called Navonmesh which works on a unique model of bridging real innovations to a well honed business plan.

The competition lists innovations that have a potential for success but lack a good business plan around them. The innovations were primarily selected from:
Department of Scientific and Industrial Research > Technopreneur Promotion Programme

The first step for the participants was to select an innovation to work from the list given by organizers and make an executive summary around it. We choose to work on “Retractable Auto-Disable Syringes” innovated by a Doctor.

They are basically Single Use Safe Syringes and have a huge potential market in India. The competition is significant but there is scope for big success!

Our Executive Summary (3-pages) made thru the initial screening phase, second only to ISB, Hyderabad. We were then required to come up with a comprehensive Business Plan (24 pages) addressing the specific pain points of the innovator.

Our Team: Chandrama Naha, Viral Thaker and Me

It was amazing to see how each of us adapted and relatively became experts on-the-fly in the domain we started to work on:

  • Viral lead the Market & Competition Analysis and Risk Analysis & Mitigation.
  • Chandrama did all the Financial Analysis, Operations and Logistics.
  • I handled the Business Strategy, Marketing and Strategic Alliances.

It was a lot more fun that I’d ever imagined! With all the discussions, fights, disputes and still sticking together! ;) :P And to have moved a step closer towards real-world entrepreneurship.

It wouldn’t have been possible without Viral and Chandrama. Kudos to them! And special thanks to Disha and Aaron for all their support! :)


National UID Project – Status, Questions & Concerns

Project Summary:
http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Nilekani_unique_card_project_bill_is_Rs_3,000_crore

Implementation: Phase One – 100Million UIDs
Timeline: December 2010  – March 2010

Pilot State Chosen – Karnataka

Three Pilot tests completed by June 2010. Quoting Deccan Herald

About 20 sets of gadgets comprising a two-mega pixel web camera to capture image of the person, slab finger scanner to record the finger prints, single finger scanners, iris camera are being used. The whole process takes about five minutes or even less than that. The details are being collected across 14 centres in Mysore

Queries and Concerns

  • Technical Security
    How do they ensure protection and manipulation of information once it is stored in their repository? What threat does it pose to the nation if their database gets leaked or hacked?
  • Information Validation
    How do they ensure validation of information at the time of storage into the database? What if the information was manipulated at source?
  • Paperless ID Verification
    If a (secondary) purpose is to avoid the hassle of providing identity support documents, it may not be a bad idea to provide address details to the organization as well. Kinda like a directory service with access control options.
    Otherwise, the residents would still have to submit documents of address proof -and we’re back to square one?!
  • Authentication
    “The authority will not issue any cards” — How do they authenticate my identity otherwise?

Official Project Document:
Creating a Unique Identity Number for Every Resident in India — UDAI Working Paper -Version 1.1


Martian Mouse!

Disclaimer: This post has no correlation with reality!

My touchpad driver was crashing quite frequently so I decided to uninstall it and upgrade to a new one thinking it would finally fix my problem!
And, did it?…

Remember those old science-fiction movies – and the eerie sound they made when a UFO floated-up in the Manhattan Sky — Yea? Well that’s how my touchpad sounds right now! Don’t believe me? Watch this video:

Credit goes to our cameraman Tej Vohra for his brave videography attempt to capture the aliens!  ;)

Wow! What’s going on?!
The touchpad is now a musician playing Theremin.

What’s a Theremin? - Invented in 1919 by a Russian physicist, Lev Termen is a musical instrument that is played without touching it! This is what makes it easy to play but notoriously difficult to master!

Playing Technique (from wiki/Theremin):

The controlling section usually consists of two metal antennas which sense the position of the player’s hands and control oscillators for frequency with one hand, and amplitude (volume) with the other. (The electric signals from the theremin are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker)

Playing Mario Bros on Theremin:
(youtube link)

Let me present to you, “Geeks Unleashed!
(youtube link)

I want to make my own Theremin someday! It would be a so cool to have one at home ;)


Powered Exoskeletons

Powered Exoskeletons

HAL5 - Cyberdrine

The Future is Bionic…

I have always fascinated about the powers of the Bionic man. Bionic man is a very wide term whose pinnacle would be to create an artificial being. Today research in that area is progressing – an example of that is the stem cell. But talking about that would be science-fiction. So lets talk about something more real.

…so what about the present?

Have you seen science fiction movies like Avatar, G.I Joe or Iron Man? They wear a suit that

  • enable them to lift extremely heavy objects
  • run at great speeds, and even fly!
  • among other things – Iron Man also had a power source in the suit that kept him alive but that doesn’t interest us! ;-)

Do you think such things could really exist, today? Yes, it happened last year at IIT. I was amazed when I saw people wearing a mechanical exoskeleton and jumping over a entire car in a single leap! During Techfest 2009 a team of performers called “3Run” from UK displayed a stunning Parkour performance! Two of them were wearing exoskeletons (3Run doesn’t mention this on their website) which I believe looks just like the ones produced by PowerSkip, a German company.

Read More: A report on Artificial Exoskeletons [PDF]

TODO: Engineering of Powered Exoskeletons


Air Mouse for Inertial Navigation

Air-Mouse could be used as an INS. Biggest problem with an INS is the unmodeled noise observed in the output. This course project is an attempt to fix that.

Every technical presentation needs a good motivation – Video: Quadcopter controlled by an iPhone.


H1 Tech Activities 2009-2010

Till last year, the concept of ‘Tech General Championships’ was unheard of in H1. This year, for the first time in its history H1 recorded #7 in overall Tech GC (+ Energy GC) – defeating H4, H9, H10, H11, H12 and H13 in the process!

Believe me, I didn’t expect any of this when we started:

  • With a vision to tap the fresh inmates this year, we conducted a small Tech Orientation at the beginning of the council year.
  • This was followed by the first ever PG Tech orientation at H1 PG with participants from H9, H10, H11 and H1.
  • H1-Tech – the tech forum was created to gather information from all the science and tech clubs of IITB and kept the students informed about interesting events and happenings around the campus.
  • H1 Participated in Tech GC for the first time in an event called “Transformers” – a mechanical contraption design challenge and bagged the best design award and the 2nd place! Surprizingly the entire team that pulled it off was from Electrical Dept with an exception of Anand Prateek! We called our bot the “Graviton:) (more…)

Elixir Report – Techfest 2010

A report on Elixir:

http://www.techfest.org/initiatives/prayaas/elixir/

Reviewed:

  1. User Friendly Helmet
  2. LivoSensor
  3. MultiAccess Incubator

User Friendly Helmet

Team: NIT Surat

Addressed Needs:

  • Heat-strokes are common for warm indian climates. Cited heat discomfort as the primary cause of people not wearing driving helmets.
  • Hence reducing safety of drivers and co-passengers.
  • Bulky, inconvineant to carry around everywhere.
  • Inexpensive solution to an important problem at Rs. 150/- extra cost.

Strong Points / USP:

  • Comfortable “joyous ride”
  • Cooling pad installed:
  • Cooled externally via refrigration
  • lasts 2-3hrs.
  • Foldable, hence portable.
  • About 1/3rd of original size when folded.
  • Sweat absorbing layer; Washable

Weak points / Aspirations and Gaps:

  • Modular design – sleek but makes it very vulnerable to impact damage. Hence putting the user at hazzordus risk. Defeats the primary purpose of safety.
  • No Impact Testing of equipment was performed.
  • Clips, screws etc. inconvineant and time-consuming to remove/fold and install back again while.
  • Removable parts not a good design idea. Prone to loss.
  • No temprature controller proposed in the design. I think resonable maintenance of temprature is essential. Too cold/uncontrolled temprature might be more damaging than comforting.

(more…)


Applications In BioMedical Engineering

A System’s Perspective: Computer Science, Embedded and Control Systems

Control Systems and Theory:

  • Understanding and thus modeling of human physiology and pathology.
  • Leading towards applications like controlled medication like drug delivery.
  • Factors like rate and dosage could be controlled.

Computer Science and Embedded Systems:

Integration of computer science with embedded systems has lead to many applications within medicince and healthcare.

  • Machines like X Rays, CT Scan, MRI help diagnose a disease/condition rapidly.
  • While others like defibrilators, pacemakers, dialators and cathetors help keep a patient under check and improve the response time of a doctor.
  • Hapitics enabled Surgical Simulators are a boon for providing high risk Medical Operations and Training today.
  • Visualization Systems that enable 3D Reconstruction of human body from CT Scan, X-Rays, MRI, etc, powered by computer graphics and imaging technology has greatly enhanced understanding & analysis of medical students and doctors alike.
  • Applications like Telemedicine and Telesurgery rely on backbone of Internet and Communications Infrastructure.
  • I envision integration of mobile and healthcare devices in future thus enabling the common man to keep himself under check while on the move.

Manav Kataria

10th January 2010
IIT Bombay

Assignment for BM600: Introduction to BioMedical Engineering


3D Photography: Fujifilm FinePix REAL 3D W1

After dealing with Depth Detection and 3Dimensional Rendering of regular 2D photographs in Tangible Images I do appreciate this gadget a lot more.

We perceive objects in three dimensions because our left and right eyes see slightly different images. Fujifilm mimics this setup in the first 3-D digital point-and-shoot camera, with two separate lenses—and two image sensors—placed three inches apart. They snap either stills or videos in tandem, and a processor combines their images into a single file. A 2.8-inch screen on the camera’s back can display the 3-D results instantly, flashing two backlights on and off to direct different images to each eye. (You can also view your shots on a $500 frame that uses a different, but similarly glasses-free, 3-D method or on computers with Nvidia’s 3-D glasses system.) And the W1 can still take ordinary 2-D pictures—in fact, it can take two at once, using different zoom settings for each lens.

Feature List
(Article Credit: Looking Back At The 100 Best Innovations Of 2009 )


Looking for Touch

Looking for Touch:
Haptics and BioMedicine – Discussions at IITM

I am looking for a Project in Haptics / BioMedical as my M.Tech Project (MTP). I love this field. It makes you feel useful when you contribute to the community. Not to mention there is a great potential in this field for entrepreneurship. To decide on a suitable project, I am here at IITM today, visiting Prof Manivanan.

I had a wonderful discussion with him today. Discussed a lot of projects from extremely challenging to not too risky. The most exciting ones are the most risky! Also BioMedicine will be a totally new field for me.

I need to evaluate whether IITB will accept these projects. Does it have enough control systems? Enough Research? Enough substance? Or may be too much! :P

Lots of things to think about. Will take sometime before I can decide. See them more clearly before I make a decision. That’s what this vacation time was supposed to be for! :)

Just for fun, wrote the rest here …


Tutorial – Using Novint Falcon with Matlab

Important: Hello Everyone, unfortunately I neither have the time nor the Haptic devices to support / respond to “help” comments on this page any longer. But I am glad to see people helping each other out; so feel free to continue doing that via this page / forum / comments and make Haptics a better technology! All the best!
-Manav

This tutorial will take you through the following:
  1. Installing Falcon Drivers and Haptik Library
  2. Configuring Haptik Library to use Falcon
  3. Running Example programs with Haptik Library
Tutorial Change Log:
  • September 2012: Newer versions of Haptik Library released (1.2RC). DLLs from previous versions (1.1RC) now deprecated. See this comment.
  • October 2010: Incompatibility with Version 4.x driver.
  • November 2009: First Release.

NOTE: This tutorial has been tested with Haptik Library 1.1RC in 2009. More recent version of the library (1.2, released Feb 2012) are available now. This tutorial should be used as a guideline and is neither tested nor guaranteed to work with the latest version.

Installing Falcon Drivers and Haptik Library

Haptik library allows you to use the Falcon with Matlab.
  1. Download the Haptik Library 1.1RC and Falcon Plugin from the Haptik Library website:
    http://sirslab.dii.unisi.it/haptiklibrary/download.htm
  2. Haptik Library is compatible with 3.1.4 version and above (Update: It doesn’t seem to work with Version 4.x) of Novint Falcon Driver. Download & Install it.
    Novint’s website:
    http://home.novint.com/support/download.php
    http://home.iitb.ac.in/~kataria/media/setup.Falcon.v3.1.4.a_090407.exe
Haptik Library Homepage:

Configuring Haptik Library to use Falcon

  • Once done with the installation of the above, try runing sample programs provided with Haptik Libary on Matlab.
    C:\Program Files\Siena Robotics and Systems Lab\Haptik Library\Matlab
  • You will Haptik Library throwing an error: Haptik.Config.txt unavailable.
To fix this you will need to install ‘Haptik.Falcon.dll’ plugin and update the ‘Haptik.config.txt’ for falcon to work with Haptik:
  1. Copy Haptik.Falcon.dll to
    C:\Program Files\Siena Robotics and Systems Lab\Haptik Library\RSLib\Bin
  2. Update the config file:
    C:\Program Files\Siena Robotics and Systems Lab\Haptik Library\Matlab\Haptik.Config.txtChange the line:
    HaptikLibrary.plugin4_0 = Haptik.Spectre.dll    to
    HaptikLibrary.plugin4_0 = Haptik.Falcon.dll
  3. Relocate(or copy) the config file the application working directory.
    Application working directory is given by:
    >> pwd
    ans =
    C:\MATLAB7\work

Running Example programs with Haptik Library

Lets try Matlab examples again,
  1. Viewing Available Haptik Devices:
    >> haptikdevice_list
    ans =
    [0]    ‘Falcon [0]‘    ‘Falcon’    ‘Novint’
    >>Success! Matlab and Falcon can now talk!
  2. Run the horizontal_plane.m and play with it. You should be able to “feel” a horizontal plane.

Concluding Remarks

This completes the tutorial! You might want to explore horizontal_plane.m for better understanding of things. If you intend to use Matlab / Haptik for programming, I recommend make a vertical_plane.m to get started.

Hope this helps you get started!

Manav


Why scientists aren’t so famous today?

Richard Hamming

Richard Hamming

I wanted to share this article “Why No Famous Scientists or Engineers?”:
http://boingboing.net/2009/06/12/why-no-famous-scient.html

I especially liked the answer in comment #4: “I think the problem is the lack of revolutionary and easily understandable science/technology”

It reminded me of the legendary talk by Richard Hamming on “You and Your Research” (Video | Transcript)

To summarize what Krishnan said in his reply to the above article (see comment):

  • The work of today’s scientists is not less important than what it used to be.
  • There is a bias in the author’s note.

I agree with both his points. But I also agree with the author’s central point – Today there are lesser scientists who are famous or their work!

Why is that? Where are we going wrong?

The article raised a beautiful point I wanted to share with you – simplicity.
Writing papers or patents today is an Art. Write on everything around the object and nothing about the object! Specifically hide intricate details to avoid leaking your intellectual property.Obviously this makes it difficult for the reader to comprehend the science being described! I have an impression that “in those days” a general scientist wasn’t so insecure about his idea being leaked or stolen. In defense of my very own scientific community,

It wasn’t so commercial, you know!
~ King Julian, Madagascar

What can we do to avoid it?

Why does science have to be difficult to comprehend? Nature didn’t intend it that way. Lets keep our work as simple as possible. To quote the smart guy:

Theories should be as simple as possible, but not simpler
~ Albert Einstein

Manav


Air Mouse goes Wireless

Yesterday we had Panju demonstrating the Wireless version of the Air Mouse on Accelerometer based Open Moko Neo phones. The wireless communication was over BlueTooth client-server implemented in Python.

We are now platform-independent! :)

Plethora of applications can now be integrated with the Air Mouse. I am eagerly waiting for us to do one nice 3D app. Pigeon kicks a$$! :)

Download Source code:

http://code.google.com/p/air-mouse/downloads/list


Tech Event: Formula One – as we played it!

Congratulations to Freshers who participated in

Formula One Tech Competition

The Event:

It was a dangerous event there were many obstacles blocking the path, an uphill incline and a water pit thru which the car had to pass! They had made a wirelessly controlled F1-car with a very good speed and a torque suitable to climb a 30degree incline uphill! It wasn’t a bullet-proof car but definitely water-proof! :)

The Race:

Unfortunately due to heavy rains on the track the road got slippery! One tyre rubber came off making our driver lose control and bang into the sides! The team struggled hard to keep the car under control and ultimately made it successfully to the finish line! Both the driver and the car are now safe! .. :)

And The People:

Congratulations to them for being the only PG teams to have made it to the track and completed it!!

Please join me in congratulating them:
+ KL Srinivas, Mohit Singh, Shashank Gupta and
Jatin Kanjaria (H1)
+ Jagbandhu and team (H9)

Congratulations also to the other PG teams who spent
tremendous efforts in trying to conquer the event: + Siddarth Jain, Mayank Pandey,
Amit Gaur & team (H9)

+ Badri, Bharat and team (H1)! + Husain (H1)

Oh! BTW, we witnessed Hostel 10 participation there as well! :)

Photos: on picasaweb

-MK
September 7, 2009 at 2:27 pm


Transformers at IITB – Tech General Championship

Problem Statement

Transformer disguised as a mobile

“A competition held at IIT Bombay as a part of Tech General Championship recently was to device a mechanical robot “Transformer” that fits in a 1ft x 1ft x 1ft volume and expands to a largest (enclosing) bounding box volume. There were no batteries allowed or any chemicals to be used. Your Transformer must only use stored mechanical potential energy! And to top it, all this had to happen with only single external trigger!” Here is the exact problem statement.

The hostels came up with some really innovative ideas and designs. They used everything from straws to springs to umbrellas to rock!

Top most expansions:

  1. Hostel #8 went upto 15 meter^3. About 530 times of the original size!
  2. Hostel #1 went upto 8.6 meter^3. About 330 times the original size. They had a very professional design and called their bot “Graviton”. They won the Best Design Award!
  3. Hostel #3 and Hostel #10 (ladies hostel) had a tough competition with their bots expanding to ~ 6.5 meter^3 230 times!

Photos and videos:

Album 1 and Album 2

Hostel #1

This was the first time H1 was participating in Tech GC. Nobody knows when was the last attempt. Their bot was impressive and as Sagar says, it casted a scary look on many other bots!

First Round – The Drama!

Graviton and H1 Team
“Graviton” & H1-Team

(more…)


Haptics – The Story of Touch

I recently wrote an article for a tech newsletter.

The Story of Touch

The plot:
Once upon a time, there lived a legendary computer wizard called  Dumbledore, who found
modern gadgets very boring! He wanted computers to behave and feel like the real world!
Having a keen interest in applied research, he set out on a journey to explore how humans
perceive the world.

Once upon a time, there lived a legendary computer wizard called Dumbledore, who found modern gadgets very boring! He wanted computers to behave and feel like the real world! Having a keen interest in applied research, he set out on a journey to explore how humans perceive the materialistic world.

Humans interact  with  today’s gadgets in many ways.  We punch in keystrokes,  move the mouse, touch and tilt the iPhone and if you are Stephen Hawking, even use brain waves to command the computer to perform a certain task! And how do these gadgets respond to you? Mostly,  just with visual and auditory output.

“Is that the end of it?” Dumbledore wondered … “Is this all what modern technology can do?!”  discontented he went on to take a deeper look …

Humans he found, start by a visual scan of an object, like to hear its sound, and touch it – to feel its shape, size, texture and weight to satisfy their curiosity of exploring new & interesting things.

Dumbledore  having   gathered   this   new  knowledge  wanted   to   share   this   information  with others, so he posted his findings online. Naruto – a student at IIT, having read Dumbledore’s blog, soon realized what today’s technology was truly missing – the sense of touch! Naruto called it: “Haptics-no-jutsu!”

What is this Hap-ticks??
What is Haptics?

The  science of sensing and manipulation  through  touch  is called  Haptics.  The word  originated from Greek root: Haptesthai, meaning “to touch”. Analysis of Haptics is subdivided into three sub-domains:

  • Human Haptics –  how we perceive touch as neuro-physiological signals
  • Machine  Haptics – design,   implementation  and control  of  a  human-computer-interface devices to send and receive force & torque
  • Computer  Haptics –  simulation   (encoding  &  rendering)   and  communication   of  haptic signals in digital environments

Recent advances in virtual reality and robotics enable the human tactual system to be stimulated electro-mechanically through force feedback devices! Such devices are known as Haptic interfaces. We have a device here at the Haptics Lab of IITB,  where we could feel a simulated rock,  sand, magnet and even ice! Imagine playing video games with Haptics! …

Why Study Haptics?

Naruto was very intelligent but lazy! It was not until he heard Srinivasan Sensei’s words that he was actually motivated to do Haptics research:

“Given the ever-increasing quantities and types of information that surround us, there is a critical need to explore new ways to interact with information. Our haptic system – with its tactile, kinesthetic and motor capabilities together with the associated cognitive processes – present a uniquely bidirectional information channel to our brain and offers such a fantastic medium!” – said Prof Srinivasan M.A, Director, Touch Lab, MIT

Limitless Applications:

Naruto joined Dumbledore to realize many interdisciplinary applications of Haptics:

  • Medicine
    • surgical simulators for medical training
    • remote diagnosis for telemedicine
    • hearing aids for the deaf and interfaces for the blind
  • Entertainment
    • video games than let the user feel and manipulate virtual solids, fluids and avatars
  • Education
    • giving students a feel of physical phenomena at nano or macro scales
    • High risk training
  • Art
    • virtual concert rooms in which the user can login remotely to play a musical instrument
    • art exhibits and museums that allow touching and feel of expensive and rare objects without the risk of corrupting them
    • imagine flying the first plane built by Wright brothers

The Awesomeness:

Naruto and Dumbledore decided to pass on their knowledge to the younger generation, which they believed could still fascinate the world with its awesomeness:

  • Imagine using a touch-screen versus a keypad. A keypad feels much better because you can touch and feel the keys and is also less error prone as compared to a touch-screen without any Haptic feedback.
  • One of the greatest things about Haptics is that it enables a non-visual feedback – an ability that could be used to aid the disabled. During the Haptics workshop (Techfest 2009) we prepared a gadget that aided deaf to hear using principles like bone-conduction!

Researchers even today continue to discover considerable benefits of implementing Haptics in modern-day systems. I reckon something new, better and versatile is yet to unveil! To-be-continued …

Manav Kataria
with Tapu Dum

Haptics – The Story of Touch [PDF]

Many thanks to Disha and Jyothi for their invaluable feedback!


Basic Python Workshop at IITB

A very neatly conducted workshop, driven by the open source initiative.

Basic Python [Slides]
Basic Python Exerciese Problems

Official Site with Videos and Downloads from the Workshop


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