Earlier this month, we talked about our theme of student startups and the initiative by Lenovo called DoNetwork. DoNetwork has been inviting ‘Doers’ and quite a few submissions have flown in in the three categories of “Classroom in a box”, “solution for traffic congestions”, and “invention of a new consumer project”.
“The Do Network from Lenovo is a platform for turning ideas into action. Every 90 days Do Network will introduce a new theme and will call for participation. You could win a Do machine or a $25,000 USD grant to help bring your idea to life.”
Here is our top picks from the submissions at DoNetwork, though not in any particular order:
PartiallySubmergedBridge: This is an innovative idea using Archimedes’ principle to design and construct bridges that are partially supported by the upthrust of the water underneath that. The idea is to have cable-stayed bridges, with the suspended part partially floating in the water. The bridge may have to have a part of it above water, allowing considerable height for ships to pass under that. The major advantage that could be achieved with this design is a reduction in cost, and an architectural marvel, and maybe permit construction of bridges across unimaginable spans of seas. There may be an extra cost involved in providing non-corrosive materials and coatings, and reinforcements to brace the kinetic energy of water, and maybe tides in certain cases, but longer spans means reduction in the total number of piers required, bringing down cost considerably.
TheUnstoppableUnstoppableMagneticWheel: The project page does not talk much about the applications of an unstoppable magnetic wheel created by means of four static bar magnets strategically placed around a four-pronged fan that has horse-shoe magnets on all its prongs, so that one side of the horse-shoe, say S-pole, is attracted by the N-pole of the static magnet and when it comes closer and the axis of the horse-shoe passes that of the static magnet, the N-pole of the horse shoe, which is now closer to the N-pole of the static magnet, is repelled. This wheel would need an initial push start, but once it maintains a kinetic equilibrium, it can perhaps run perpetually, providing a non-conventional source of cheap energy. Industry applications of this may have to be studied.
IndiaEngineered: This is a simple project, a kind of social network, aimed specifically at bringing students together from engineering colleges across the nation, and also with engineering alumni. India Engineered also aims at providing sharing of books and tutorials, online lectures, organizing contests and promoting tech fests, and providing answers to questions, a la Quora, only for engineers. While this type of model can easily go out of control with students trying to look out for other things besides engineering, but like every other social network, the success depends on the initial members that decide to become a part of it, and the lucrativeness and utility of the product, before it goes on to become viral and hugely popular.
Car-Com: This is an ambitious project aimed at reducing traffic congestion by making all vehicles on the road communicate with local and central servers. The idea is to use GPS to know the current position and speed of vehicles sharing the road on all the roads leading to the next traffic signal. Complex algorithms will then calculate the optimized timings for the red and green lights to allow minimum waiting time. While the number of calculations being done can easily reach astronomical levels in a metro city with hundreds of roads and thousands of vehicles, a real life implementation for this would mean all the vehicles on the road fitted with the GPS devices that send the location details to a configured set of servers in the vicinity, and also setting up those local servers that receive the data and sync up traffic lights. Nevertheless, it is an interesting idea, and can be put to other uses like finding parking slots, assisting in partial or complete auto-drive cars.
GravityAssistedMicroHydroelectricity: This project claims of a solution of providing hydroelectricity by lifting water from a large tank into two overhead tanks in tandem, and then letting water fall through turbines that would generate electricity.The overhead tanks will have siphons that would be raised by means of counterweights, thereby creating lesser pressure inside the tanks, forcing water to rise up by means of several smaller pipes with valves, ensuring very fast filling of the overhead tanks. The project’s files section provides detailed diagrams and there are quite some convincing animations that make you feel it may work. If successful, such eco-generators could be used in individual households or apartments as an alternative power source.
KeepSafeSafeDistance: This is a straightforward and simple though useful project that could bring down accidents on the road. The proposed system would consist of two indicators, one on the back of the car, meant for the car following it, and the other on the dashboard, for the driver of the car. The indicators would warn you if you are driving too close, within the breaking distance for the current relative speed at which you are driving. The safe distance may not be precise as it would depend on the road conditions and the quality of brakes, and the mass of the car, but can give you an approximate idea with some buffers added.
FriendsinFlights: This could well be an interesting application of social networking. As the name suggests, the application’s core would be an algorithm that puts like-minded people together and comes up with a seat allocation plan taking into account the passengers’ age, sex, likes, dislikes, profession, etc, or even the degree of separation between them Facebook, Google+ etc. The seat allocation would aim at coming up with an allotment which puts like minded people together or closer, in the hope that these passengers easily strike a chord and have a pleasant journey. Privacy concerns aside, this can be an interesting use for social networkers allowing airlines to use their public data and make the stranger next seat less so.
[Disclosure: DoNetwork is a sponsor/supporter of Pluggd.in’s student startup theme]