Phoenix expEYES Low-cost Platform For PC-interfaced Science Experiments

There is nothing new about computer-interfaced science experiments, but how often do you come across an experiment platform that costs as low as Rs 3000? Inter University Accelerator Centre (IUAC) has developed one such framework that can also be used as an electronic developers’ kit -- JALAJA RAMANUNNI

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“Apart from affordability, we looked for components that could be sourced easily and repaired by the users in case of damages common in school and college laboratories,” reasons Dr Kumar.

The IUAC team also worked on the flexibility of the framework by writing the software in a generic manner. It is easy to get the hardware and write a simple software that makes the platform rigid. However, this would mean limited number of experiments using the platform.

Dr Kumar illustrates, “We can easily design platforms that work for five experiments, but for the sixth one the user should know all the details of hardware design and coding. This makes the architecture rigid. In Phoenix, a lot of time and effort went into making the architecture flexible. Its generic nature allows software that supports time measurement, to be used in measuring acceleration due to gravity and the velocity of sound.”

What lies ahead
IUAC’s goal is to help engineering students develop their own projects rather than purchase from professionals in the field. It has approached NCERT and CBSE to make it a part of every school’s lab activities.

“As of now, the only explanation given for AC and DC is that AC means alternating current and DC means direct current. Most of the teachers cannot answer a simple query like what is the nature of voltage on a three-point mains socket. We hope that Phoenix will help them rise by changing their practices, making students and teachers more aware of what is in their books,” Dr Kumar concludes.

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The author is from EFY Bureau, Bengaluru

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