DIy1DIY: Hacking Vision- Doctors and Engineers will convene for six days in July to tackle the biggest challenges in vision and ideate together to design solutions which can save sight for billions of people.

Krishna: ” this is awesome….  sir i think we should convey this to govind anna and his team….This would be a great opportunity for him to realize the work he and his team has been doing for the past years. They deserve to get this exposure and I think we should give this a shot.”

Ted: ” Please indicate here if you *definitely* want to attend, and I will contact you separately.”

Karthik: ” i am in , do not want to loose the opportunity”

Rajat: “I’ll be in Vellore on 5th .. So I’ll attend FOR SURE!!!!”

Krishna: ” they will be providing 3D printer on the first morning…..”

Akshat: “this is awesome !  and Krishna is right it would be awesome experience for them … Ready to attend sir !! ”

Hari: ” count me in”

Me:  me too!its gonna be fun”

Sonali:  i will be attending.. count me in..sorry for the late response. :P”

And so we all reached the BITS Hyderabad campus by 5th. It is a beautiful campus with a natural self- balancing rock placed right before the building. Looks like it could topple any moment! I couldn’t help feeling a little nostalgic as BITS has always been “the dream college” for me. Each student was given a room and a sheet describing the schedule of the upcoming events. In the afternoon, it was fun  shopping electronic junk and tools required for the workshop with Anna, Sonali and another BITS volunteer. Broken printers, Hard disks, scanners and loads of power sources! We got all the hacking materials we needed. At night while strolling in the corridors, a girl comes upto me and says, ” Hello, I am Gouthami, I am from Vizag. Where are you from?” “Hey, I am Spandana from VIT”,I said. Both of us chatted for a while completely clueless about how the workshop will take us to ‘Hacking Vision’.

Next  morning, we met John Werner, an extremely  what-do-you-call-people -who-are-extremely-conversant-and-make-all-the-awkwardness-go-away  type of person  with a camera in his hand throughout the workshop. Being a little cameraphobic, I tried a little to evade the camera man (no offense John, you are really a nice person).  All the students were divided into tracks depending on their skills and interests. A detailed tour of the LV Prasad Eye institute was arranged which was extremely helpful to come up with the problem statements and pitches. The speeches given at the opening ceremony were highly inspiring. We came back tired. We slept.

On the third day, we were taken to a BIG room with all the cOOL  stuff from MIT media lab including webcams, 3D printers and GOOGLE GLASS!! Who would have thought we would get an opportunity to work on, even have a glimpse of Google glass. It was exciting. Later, all the ideas were pitched and then were put up at the on the notice board. The mentors decided the final pitches and teams started hacking. Aditya, Krishna and Sonali were with me working on HumidifEyes.  It was a concept we came up with to supplement the dry eye condition and also prevent it. There was a need to make an ultra cheap therapy device which is affordable by all dry eye patients irrespective of their economic status. The proposed model aims to create an en closed humid environment around the for moisture enhancement and retention. We heavily depended on the piezos to work to create ultrasonic vibrations. The piezos ditched us. We shifted to pager motors. They worked. And hence, our first prototype was ready.  We took our prototypes back to LVPEI and Devnar school for visually impaired kids to receive feedback for our prototype. There were some awesome suggestions and compliments! On the last day, a final presentation and exhibition was organized followed by a formal closing ceremony. The entire week was fun-filled and we learned a lot of cool new stuff. hack1

Anna, one of the mentors of our track was with us all the time, trying to help us and arrange everything we asked for. Martin was our Santa Claus. Paulo, also one of the mentors has been supportive of the idea since the beginning and guided us  throughout the workshop. Amy and Everett were the coolest people around.

We are all re invited to LVPEI on the founder’s day to meet Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on 25th October, 2013. It’s a huge opportunity for all of us and I am eagerly looking forward to it !


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