Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ahmedabad, India: Week Three

The main course of action this past week was prototyping. Rajan, a third year engineering student from IET who joined me on a project last week, took me to the closest electronic hardware store. Shantinath Electronic Parts is the go-to for all local engineering student, for it is one of the only places that sells electronic components. After making our requests for some ICs (integrated circuits), the attendant pulled out a large metal container which was filled with hand labeled ziploc bags, each with its own variety of IC. He quickly sorted through the mess, found the part we were looking for and sent us on our way. We made our way back to the electronics lab and spent the remainder of the week testing our hypothesis.

Hole in the wall electronics shop, Shantinath Electronic Parts
The electronics lab at IET
Rajan soldering some wires
One of the biggest challenges this week was interfacing with the available microcontrollers. I spend a good part of the week trying to establish communication with a variety of off brand arduinos. With no success, I found an online Indian store that stocked the original arduino. As I made my way around the Robokits website, I found that Ahmedabad is the company’s distribution center. With some luck, I was able to order the microcontroller from their website and pick it up locally the following day.

One of the off brand arduinos that I attempted to interface with
A building near the Robokit distribution center where we stopped to grab a quick lunch

Now as I had stated in my earlier blogs, the main mode for transportation for local students is by moped. This becomes challenging during the monsoon seasons, for the roads start filling up with water. On Thursday night we were all invited to a friends house for dinner, but it was pouring outside. Out of the group of seven people one person owned a car, so with the true Indian mentality we all crammed in.

Mandatory car selfie
During the weekend we made an early morning trip to Old Ahmedabad’s shopping area. The area surrounding Relief Road is one of the busiest and crowded places in the city. In this area you can purchase anything and everything, ranging from clothes to electronics.  This is also a place with a lot of culture and history. In just one block you can find traces of Roman, Greek and Islamic architecture. This is also the location of one of the most famous mosques in all of India, Jama Masjid.  
Second hand electronics being sold on Relief Road
Architecture around Jama Mosque
Inside the Jama Mosque

Heavy rains flooding the streets outside our apartment complex

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