Kashmir's budding techies are innovative like their counterparts elsewhere provided they are buttressed to creative endeavours.
Assigned to innovate for their project work at SSM College of Engineering, the department of computer engineering directed Tehreem Fazili, Tanzeela Ashfaaq and Maria Khan to create a unique model for their final semester and it took them a while to ponder with patience to achieve it.
It was Tash-Naer, which forms the essence of Kashmiri table manners and the cuisine – Wazwaan.
"As Kashmiris have been experiencing and relishing wazwaan for ages, Tash-Naer is ritualistically what we start with by washing of hands in a basin held by attendants," says Tehreem Fazili.
As guests are seated in groups of four and share a meal out of a large copper plate called trami, Tash-Naer brings essence to the whole tradition of eating wazaan in a Kashmiri party.
Tehreem says the traditional Tash-Naer system has a number of problems as weddings are usually crowded and the attendants have to move the Tash-Naer to provide water to the guests for washing hands before and after meals.
"This becomes quite troublesome. The guests as well as the attendants keep on bumping into each other. Also it is not possible for a single attendant to serve so many guests. It leads to major back issues as well," argues Tanzeela Ashfaaq.
According to Maria Khan, who was part of the project on Smart Tash-Naer, the designed innovation is employed to create a positive and progressive impact on society.
"Proposed approach is effective for the attendants who carry traditional Tash-Naer in the weddings to reduce their efforts."
Elaborating on their innovation, Tehreem says it consists of two modules viz, remote side and the bot side.
"The bot side carries water to the guests for washing hands. A person operates it by a remote. The prototype bot is L-shaped and is entirely made of ply-wood," she says.
"It consists of two water containers. One is kept at some elevation for the water supply and the other for drain. The supply tank is connected to a sensor faucet through a pipe. As the guest approaches the faucet, the IR sensor activates and water starts flowing with the help of a submersible water pump placed in the supply water container."
"As the hand is taken back, the flow of water terminates. The water then flows into other tank where it gets collected. A water level sensor is immersed in the supply container, which detects the level of water in it. As the water reaches a pre-defined mark, buzzer at the remote side starts buzzing indicating need for re-fill of the tank. The bot is mounted on wheels. It can accept commands like right, left, stop, forward, and reverse," says Tehreem.
"The movement of bot is entirely dependent on the operator who operates it remotely. A rotating camera is mounted on the top, which will provide 360 degrees view of the surrounding environment. The camera works in real-time and the recording is viewed on the mobile phone at the operator side."
Emphasising that today is an era of innovations and mechanisation, Tanzeela observes that manual activities are replaced by machines in order to save time, money and make the activity more efficient.
"Sometimes the motive behind the replacement is to modernise the traditional practices with much attractive looks. Our innovation is based on the same concept to grace our ceremonies with attractive and convenient practice of serving guests with ease," Tanzeela argues.
Maria explains further that as automatic washbasins and serving robots have excited the people in restaurants in the same context this concept shall be the great attraction of our ceremonies and shall be the talk of the town to long span of time.
"By introducing this smart Tash-Naer our ceremony can project an extravagant look as well. Owing to the inconvenience that is faced during wedding feast by bulky and not-so-portable Tash Naer, this idea is a unique and first of its kind."
"The project made is just a prototype which can be adopted as a key measure. The human resources involved in it are almost negligible."
Regarding its scope, Tehreem argues that they have been discussing about the modifications they want to incorporate in the prototype because of limited time and resources.
"In the future, we hope to provide a mechanism to overcome the problem of refillment of tank. A filter can be placed between the two containers, which can filter the used water and send it back to the source tank. Furthermore, the IP camera can be replaced by a small camera module and a software application can be developed that can be easily accessed by mobile phone. The remote side can be merged to the application part too. Also, the bot can be made to carry heavy weights serving as waiters too."
The trio techies hail the support of project guide Yasmeen who they believe stood by their side in every problem regarding the project with positivity.
"Also we are grateful to our project coordinator Khalid Makhdoomi who provided us with all the technical guidance. After approaching our supervisors with the idea, we got a good feedback. This project wouldn't have been possible without them," affirm Tehreem, Tanzeela and Maria.