Young minds in overdrive

Young minds in overdrive


Young minds in overdrive

If you are a sports fan and want to learn the sportsman’s moves or if you are a gaming freak and encourage 3D when you play or if you are a doctor and want to monitor your patient’s gait, it might sound like a far-fetched dream but this is possible now. Made possible by a bunch of five friends from Delhi IIT.

‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ is right in the case of these five boys – Ankit Kumar, Anurag Jain, Himanshu Gupta, Rohit Taneja and Manas Paldhe, who became part of project IMU-Avatar and made possible a module that is capable of being used in all the above mentioned areas and even more.

IMU-Avatar is basically a proposed concept which has light-weight wrist-watch sized bands that can be strapped over different parts of the body. The sensors in these devices sense the jerk or motion of the body and transmit wireless communication to the central server. The module thus receives these messages and recreates the whole motion after an hour.

Ankit from electrical engineering, who was in the software team with Anurag explains, “This module has various application but the major one is in medicine where if the sensors are placed on the body of a patient suffering from cerebral palsy, then his gait can be monitored. This shall prove to be of great help in his treatment.” Sounds like a boon. But this is not all, the gadget has other applications too. For instance, it will help sportpersons understand their postures and movements while playing the game which will serve to improve their personal game and reduce risk of injury. “These sensors are so small that they will easily fit under the sportsperson’s outfit.” says Ankit. For a perfect simulation one has to wear nine of these sensors.

Anurag, a video game lover says, “Currently image-based technology is largely used in video games and sensor-based technology is not used by many. But this module will help video games evolve.” While Anurag and Ankit are the brain behind this, it was the hardware team comprising Himanshu and Rohit which had a tough time putting together this gadget. Himanshu says, “We thought of working on an embedded system so we thought of designing a self-sufficient low cost Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) capable of wireless data transmission. We discussed its potential applications and then started designing the module. Our initial designs failed. It was only during the process of re-designing that we thought of reproducing the human gait,” he recollects and adds, “We did not have a background in hardware design as we had done no course in it. So it took us long time to come out with a module.”

Finally, it was Manas who got stuck between the two teams since he was responsible for collaborating the efforts of both. But having done the needful, it was he who suggested the name, IMU-Avatar. “The basic proposal is to use IMU to track player positions, movements and then broadcast the data. The TV receives this data and recreates the exact match scenario. Then the viewer can choose any viewing angle.”