With a variety of robots, interesting workshops, competitions, and lectures by intellectuals from around the world, the 16th edition of the annual technology festival of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) began on Thursday. The first day of the Techfest saw an audience of around 24,000 at the Powai campus of the premier technical institute.
With deadlines on music proving to be party poopers, Techfest introduced the silent disco concept this year, allowing party animals to continue dancing to the music for as long as they want without disturbing even the person standing next to them. Equipped with their own headphones, students danced throughout the day. The concept is similar to the other silent discos wherein the participants get a wireless headphone and music is transmitted via FM transmitters, thereby creating no noise in the surrounding areas.
Another interesting event was the virtual tree plantation. A unique concept brought to Techfest by artist duo Mestaoui Naziha and Yacine Ait Kaci is an art installation which emulates a 3D forest. When a user steps up, motion sensors follow him, planting a tree in the 3D forest. Once the tree is planted in the virtual world, a real tree will be planted in the user’s name in some of the college campuses across the city by IIT-B volunteers. By the end of the day, over 4,000 participants had registered for the virtual tree plantation.
On the literary arts front, Techfest managed to bring in interesting personalities to address the participants. Some of the big names present were P Sainath (renowned journalist), SA Bhardwaj (director, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited), Osamu Hasagawa (creator of HIRO robot) and Jocelyn Goldfein (director of engineering, Facebook).
Apart from these interesting activities, visitors had a great time in workshops, which were seen pulling most of the crowd, and the board games section, which allowed participants some relaxed moments.