Research Saturday is an innovative initiative by School of Engineering, GD Goenka University to inculcate the spirit of research in undergraduate students as well as to develop their research capabilities. Dr. Sandeep Nagar undertakes an exhaustive 6 hour session on Saturday’s where in the first phase, students are being trained to use Arduino microcontroller and taught Python language to solve hardware and software engineering problems. So far, 3 sessions have been conducted and already a number of projects have come up.
Arduino microcontroller is an open source hardware which is now globally known to be the most popular microcontroller both for hobby and commercial projects. A person needs to be trained to use Arduino in terms of understanding the working voltages, pins and their signals, programming the hardware, connecting circuits to implement desired application. Robotics was made simple using Arduino and students so overwhelmed started making robots the same day they were introduced. Arun Kumar Tayal and Rahul Biswash are two enthusiastic students among many who learnt Arduino and immediately started working on their own to make various kinds of robotics configurations. They also conducted a Robo-Race during annual fest, Acceleron 2014, on a semi-automated track using Arduino which they made with great personal efforts in just one day. Rahul is presently engaged in making a 4 legged robot which is project to mimic walking style of a four legged animal. Likewise, Arun has succeeded in making a series of Arduino control machines for his own personal use. Recently, he has learnt to repair an Arduino using another Arduino for loading programs. These key troubleshooting skills are essential for any active laboratory member.
Learning Python programming language is another part of Research Saturday as it is known to have a lot of scientific packages for a variety of applications. Students are trained majorly on IPython, Matplotlib, Numpy, Scipy and Sympy packages to perform various mathematical tasks. Learning them is essential for undertaking software development as well as simulation experiments.
At present, the students are engaged in two projects: (i) a 3D printer and (ii) a programmable energy monitoring system. 3D printers are latest technology marvels which have high commercial and academic values whereas, a programmable energy monitoring system helps keeping a tab on power consumption and using the data, one can device optimum power consumption strategy.