The IEEE International Conference on the IMPact of E-Technology on US (IC-IMPETUS) began with the Inauguration on January 10th, 2014 at 10:00am. Dr. J. Surya Prasad, the Director of PESIT-Bangalore South Campus welcomed the dignitaries on the dais: Dr. S. Sadagopan, Founder Director of IIIT-Bangalore, the Chief Guest for the morning and Prof. D. Jawahar, CEO of PES Institutions, who presided over the function, as well as dignitaries, delegates, authors and the audience watching the live-stream. The ceremonial lamp was lit, symbolic of igniting the minds of the attendees from electronics engineering and computer science and information technology backgrounds to use their learning to make a difference for the better. The convener of the Conference, Dr. Gowri Srinivasa, shared details about the Conference including the reviewing process for shortlisting of the papers presented in the Conference (about 24% acceptance rate), the student project exhibition and the lineup of distinguished keynote speakers, most of whose talk focused on their work in the Indian context but applied more generally as well. Dr. Sadagopan, the Inaugural speaker, discussed the question, “Does IT matter to India?” and through various examples and statistics drawn from economic, political and social aspects drove home the impact IT has on our country today and the potential it has to continue to make an impact in our future.
The next speaker was Dr. Anand Vinekar, Associate Professor & Head, Dept. of Pediatric Retina, Narayana Nethralaya Postgraduate Institute of Ophthalmology, Bangalore and the Program Director of KIDROP one of the most successful public-private partnerships in India in the Healthcare space. Dr. Vinekar shared his work on prescreening premature babies for eye pathologies and setting up mobile campus and tele-ophthalmology units in rural Karnataka. It was very inspirational to see how his work had saved thousands of babies from blindness. This talk was followed by a couple of sessions of paper presentations that included eclectic work on using virtual 3D modeling in education, rehabilitation and retraining people with a leg injury or surgery to walk using roller shoes, tele-ophthalmology efforts shared by a team from ForusCare, etc. and papers on the design of sensors and embedded systems for various applications. The last keynote talk for the day was delivered by Mr. Abhinandan Dodamani on the nuances satellite communication and its impact in various application areas.
Day 1 came to an end with students exhibiting their ideas on how technology can make a difference. It was an impressive show put up by enthusiastic students from the second and third year of undergrad; two projects on cardiac healthcare monitoring shared the first prize and a project on speech controlled robots (for rescue) and one on a smart e-belt to assist those with vision impairment shared the second prize.
The second day of the Conference opened with a keynote talk by Mr. Kannan Lakshminarayan on his innovations for the rural poor: GrammaTeller, an ATM that consumes as much power as a 50-watt light bulb, Microspin, a technology enabled spinning machine that has enabled farmers who grow cotton to spin their own yarn, and a state-of-the-art training simulator to teach trainees MIG welding (despite it being the most sought after skill, this is typically not a part of the training at ITI, etc. due to the high cost of consumables) and thus empower them to get jobs. This talk was succeeded by two sessions of paper presentations on Networking and Data Mining and Natural Language Processing. The fifth keynote talk was delivered by an alumnus of PESIT: Mr. Mekin Maheshwari, the Head for Payment and Digital Media at Flipkart. His talk touched upon how smart minds can be harnessed to build smart products for India. He shared his experience building Flipkart and delivering services in a way that met, if not exceeded expectations of the customers. There was a lively Q and A session that followed this talk. The last paper presentation session had work from signal and image processing domains. This was followed up by the Valedictory function that included a talk by Mr. M. N. Vidyashankar, the Additional Chief Secretary to the Government, Department of Commerce and Industries, Government of Karnataka. He shared mind-boggling statistics from the State and the effort underway to bring in e-technology to Governance. The State of Karnataka is one of the foremost in the country for implementing various e-governance programs. Mr. M. N. Vidyashankar’s talk was lively and filled with a mine of information and the hall was packed with an attentive audience to the very end.
The talk was followed by a brief feedback session from the participants. All those who spoke shared their appreciation for the effort put in by the Organizing Team in hosting the event and executing it impeccably. They were very grateful for the inspirational keynote talks and presentations over the course of the two days. The curtains closed on the Conference with a vote of thanks from the Convener, who thanked the technical co-sponsors: IEEE and the Bangalore Section of the Consumer Electronics Society for their endorsement, distinguished guests who readily accepted the invitation and gave their valuable time to the Conference, to the authors and delegates, some of whom had travelled from far to participate in the event, to all those involved in various aspects of organizing the event and to the Management of PES for its inspirational leadership and encouraging support.
The event was a grand success in that the goal of IC-IMPETUS 2014—to inspire engineering students, faculty, researchers and practitioners alike to ponder on a myriad of problems in various applications areas and how e-technology can be harnessed to address these and to resolve to contribute their bit to make a positive impact—was fulfilled.