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Glimpses of the annual R&D Showcase ( 26-27 Feb 2011) of IIIT-H. Top left: Exhibits draw eager crowds all day; right: Sreekanth Reddy shows the Golconda-on-the-Web application; Bottom ( from left) Prasad Pingali, Jayaram Valliyur, G. Sivakumar, P.J. Narayan and Rajeev Sangal at the panel discussion( IndiaTechOnline photos)
Robotics, language computing applications, impress at IIIT-Hyderabad's annual student showcase

Students at the Hyderabad -based International Institute of Information Technology have successfully integrated two diverse technologies: ground -based robotics and an aerial augmented reality drone. The drone follows a ground based robot using vision-based navigation, harnessing video cue from its vertical camera to recognize and track it.
The project on the robot is being porgressed at the institute's Robotics Research Lab by a four-person team: Nikhil Soni, Basil George, Abhishek Bhatia, Mrityunjay Bhadauria; while the "Quadcopter" drone is beind developed by M. Aravindh and Nikhil Soni -- all students at the institute. ( We carry for a few days a video of the robot-drone demo in the Tech Video spot on our home page -- but apologise if you get a crick in the neck viewing it -- sorry that's how these guys have uploaded it at YouTube.)
This is one of the more interesting exhibits at IIIT-H's annual R&D Showcase last week, highlighting key research and projects being carried out at the institute. The exhibits covered a wide gamut : Visual Information Technologies, Human Language Technologies, Data Engineering, VLSI and Embedded Systems, Computer Architecture, Wireless Communications, Algorithms and Information Security, Robotics, Building Science, Earthquake Engineering, Computational Natural Sciences and Bioinformatics, Education Technologies, Power Systems and IT in Agriculture.
Another project which impressed IndiaTechOnline was "Golkonda on the web" -- creating a 3-D view of the famous Hyderabad monument, through thousands of overlapping 2-D photos. Explained Anuj Katiyal and K Sreekanth Reddy: "Our main aim was to build an experience where the user has control and can move about the monument, without even visiting that place. We particularly marked all the important places of tourist interest on a chalked out map forGolkonda. The main part was embedding a 3D view of the places of interest in the 2D video. The 3D view of the particular interest  places is made with the help of an open source software (Bundler) where the input is a set of overlapping images taken by standing at a particular place that appears in the video and taking images by rotating 360 degrees. The next project is concerned with making a mobile application which can act as a tour guide for the visit to a monument.In short, instead of a tour guide to tell you about the places, you can just click an image inside the monument and send it to our server(or any service provider) and in around 10 seconds you get back the output of the image in which all the places in the particular image have been annotated".
Another project from the Visual Information Technology group   of the Institute,headed by Prof C.V. Jawahar, has  created an optical character reader (OCR)  for Malyalam with 95-98% accuracy.

IIITH is India's largest resource group on machine translation and natural language processing -- it is headed today by Prof Rajeev Sangal, a pioneer in this field. Inevitably IIIHT is home to continuing research in this area and the showcase highlighted work like an Urdu-Hindi machine transliteration tool ( Piyush Arora); an Indian language machine translator "Sampark" being progressed as part of a 11-institution consortium led by led by the Government of India's Technology Development for Indian Languages (TDIL) initiative ( Rambabu, Avinash Kumar, Sanket Pathak, Rashid Ahmed) and a novel 'gap fill' question generator from textbooks ( Manish Agarwal, Prashanth Mannem).
IIITH is also actively engaged with Media Lab Asia in development of e-sagu, an IT based Personalized Agro-Advisory System. The R&D Showcase highlighted efforts to integrate weather forecasts into the advisory algorithm. ( ).

The 2-day showcase opened with a panel discussion on how research can help maintain vitality in technology, led by Prof P.J. Narayanan and including contributions by Prof G. Sivakumar, of the department of Computer Science, IIT- Bombay; Jayaram Valliyur, of, Hyderabad and Prasad Pingali, an IIITH alumnus who today heads SETU Software Systems and IIITh Director Rajeev Sangal. Maj. Gen ( retd) R.K. Bagga, Adviser to IIITH's outreach programme introduced the panel.
The full list of R&D showcase presentations can be found here:  

- From Anand Parthasarathy, in Hyderabad, Feb 28 2011