Degree 44

Last Sunday, a few of us friends met up and decided to go meet up and among other things we visited Degree 44. Degree 44 is a design show held by Industrial Design Centre, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. This time around it was held on 9-11th June at IDC, IIT-B and 13-15th June at Nehru Centre, Worli. It showcased various types of design concepts ranging from animations, short films to product designs, refined technology and much more.

We began our journey through the wonderland starting with a interesting concept called Illumiletter. It was a demo of touchscreen and how it can be used. The equipments used were a web cam hidden below a non-reflecting surface with a source of light above it. With the movement of hands over the touchscreen surface the light is blocked on certain region. As such the co-ordinates are calculated and movement detected. The actions are reflected on the screen. We have already seen such concepts around in popular technologies like iPhone for instance but what was different here was that this is a low cost technology compared to the other concepts. Though currently there aren't really many desktop applications supporting the technology, we could in the near future see a lot of usage of such designs. Although a bulky design this one, we can surely expect this one to get smaller, affordable and common in the near future. The software used for the demo was based on API's obtained from Natural User Interface. Some more information can be found here.

The next design was an audio tactile machine for the blind showcased by Mr. Hashim Bashir. The machine was equipped with a few sticks that would move up and down as the music played, a concept similar to visualisations seen on our digital music players. It was followed by some animations and short films by Deepa Chordia, two of which were Dada No Des(Gujarati) and Forbidden Truth. Next were animation films by Ajay Singh Suphaiya titled Arjuna and Purna Avatar. The above and more short films were filmed at the small auditorium next to the exhibition hall.

Next were projects on Auto Styling, where different designs were developed for automobiles, followed by Game Design which included developing games of various levels of difficulty and skill levels. Then came a project on Experimental Learning Kit for School Children and an interesting concept of Communications Device for Micro-Trade Network by Girish S. But, unfortunately no one was around to explain about it. It consisted of a software having 4 parts – a calculator, a rough pad, a ledger and a Balance Sheet. It is designed in such a manner to reduce redundancy and calculation errors.

Then, along the line was a nice collection of Educational Toys for Underprivileged Children by Benjamin Lourenco. We next came upon a design of Low cost ATM for Rural India, that caught our at