IEEE Exhibits Debut at India Science Centre

Five new interactive science exhibits at B.M. Birla Science Centre

6 May 2011

IEEE has launched five interactive science exhibits at the B.M. Birla Science Centre, in Hyderabad, India. The hands-on exhibits, funded by an IEEE New Initiatives Program grant, are aimed at preuniversity students and demonstrate the fundamentals and applications of physics, computer science, and electrical engineering. About 1000 students visit the science center each week to participate in experiments and competitions and to interact with the exhibits.

IEEE President Moshe Kam joined members of the IEEE Hyderabad Section and hundreds of attendees in January at the new exhibits' debut. Section volunteers created the exhibits with help from the science center's employees and local preuniversity teachers. Several organizations contributed computers and software, including the International Institute of Information Technology, the New York Hall of Sciences, Tata Consultancy Services, and Wipro Technologies.

One of the new exhibits, Listen to What You Type, teaches students the basics of language processing, signal processing, and machine learning. The students use a computer-based text-to-speech system to type a phrase or select a sample sentence from a drop-down menu and then listen to the computer pronounce the words.

Another exhibit, Learn a Language Using a Computer, features software that teaches users how to read and write in three Indian languages: Telugu, Hindi, and Urdu. The program shows students how words are formed and pronounced by presenting a picture on the screen while the computer speaks the word associated with that image.

The Try Science Around the World exhibit uses computer programs that demonstrate applications of flight dynamics, robotics, and biomedical engineering. In one experiment, students can adjust the nose, tail, and wings of a virtual airplane to see how the changes affect its flight path. Another program lets them manipulate an animated robot by entering commands that prompt the robot to move around the screen and perform simple tasks. Virtual tools are used in the biomedical engineering program to dissect an animated perch or crayfish.

The Eddy Currents exhibit teaches students about electric currents induced by an alternating magnetic field. Students learn how magnets react when placed on top of three different materials: a PVC rod, a nonmagnetic metal rod, and a magnetic metal rod. When students tilt the rods from the vertical, they can observe how eddy currents slow the magnet down or prevent it from falling, depending on the material's conductivity and the magnet's strength.

The IEEE Virtual Physics Lab houses 10 experiments. First, a video explains the basic science behind collision, friction, and circular motion. Then those principles are demonstrated by having students move virtual pendulums, inclined planes, and other devices on the computer. An audio program explains what is happening to the objects from a physics point of view.


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