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Pragyan 2011 - Contraptions


Cash prizes increased to 60,000 INR !!!
Including a prize for the most innovative step!

Venue  : Barn

Date    : 18th & 19th Feb

"An event for the twisted brilliance of the genius minds to manifest itself...
where simple is mundane, complex is insane!"'
The classroom is a seat of learning - We propose an ingenious way of making the person behind this quote shut up. Science is not meant to be taught in boring, confined cuboids, but tackled and experimented with -and this alone reflects its true mastery. Every solution born in Science was a purely non-classroom experience and the apple tree is not the only testimony.
But no pride is felt by mere solving but by how the solution is achieved. We give you the license to display the most chaotic, complex and convoluted means to the end (without tearing the hall down of course.). Throw in all the energy conversions you are aware of as one continuous routine without physically engaging yourself at any stage (Aaah yes that's the real challenge)
Behold this Pragyan 11 - CONTRAPTIONS, a tribute to everything Science has given us.
It is evident - You don't have to be a nerd to possess common scientific sense to use the simplest things around you and come up with a fantastic sequence of events. All it takes is to do your brains some good by giving it complete freedom of thought and expression. A crash run of Looney Toones or Tom and Jerry would be a good place to start with. :D

Problem Statement:

Design a contraption to switch on a fan that drives a sail boat and then switch off the fan.
Bonus step: Turn off the fan once the boat has travelled a specific distance


  1. Participants should bring their own fan.
  2. The boat setup* will be provided by the organizers and must lie outside the contraption. Specifications of the boat will be mentioned 30 days prior to the event.
  3. Dimensions of the boat should be 11.5 * 7.5 * 4.5. With the sail of height around 20 and width around 25. (All dimensions in centimeters)

Switching on the fan

  1. A sequence of minimum 7 steps .
  2. The final step must be switching on the fan.
  3. All steps that occur before the fan is switched on are considered to be steps for switching on the fan.

Bonus step

  1. The boat should travel 2-3 feet for full bonus points.
  2. If the boat travels less than 2 feet, no bonus points.
  3. If the boat travels more than 3 feet, half bonus points.

Switching off the fan

  1. Minimum 3 steps.
  2. Final step is switching off the fan.
  3. Steps that occur after the fan is switched on are considered to be steps for switching off the fan.

*Boat setup includes the boat and the container with water for it to float.

*The specifications of the boat are 11.5 * 7.5 * 4.5 cms (l*b*h) along with sail height 20cm and width 25cm. The container is a metal  container with dimensions 4ft*10cm*6inches. It will be placed at the ground level.

Judging criteria

  1. No of steps in the contraption
  2. No of energy conversions
  3. Types of energy conversions
  4. Originality of the ideas and innovativeness
  5. Robustness of the contraption
  6. No of trials and forced human interventions used(will lead to deduction of points)
  7. Complexity of the overall contraption.
  8. Green points will be awarded based on the number of plastic parts used. The lesser you use, more your points.

Team Specifications

A team may consist of a minimum of 4 members and a maximum of 6 members. Students from different educational institutes can form a team.


All students with a valid photo identity card of their respective educational institutes are eligible to participate in Contraptions at Pragyan 2011.

Rules and Regulations

  1. The entire contraption including the fan should remain completely within an imaginary box whose dimensions are 3m x 3m x 3m at any point of operation.
  2. Once the first step has been initiated, intervention of any sort in the intermediate steps would lead to deduction in points.
  3. An initial setup time of 120 minutes will be given for each team. In addition to this, a setup time of 10 minutes will be given for every team before each trial. Moreover, points will be deducted for consecutive trials.
  4. Maximum of 3 trials would be allowed for each team.
  5. The total time taken for task should not exceed 15 minutes.
  6. 220 volts AC supply would be provided at the event venue.
  7. Teams may use commercially available machines as individual parts of your contraption. Any questionable items must be given prior consent by the event manager. If you have any special requirements inform us well in advance. It will be taken care of. Extension cords, scissors, tape etc. will be provided.
  8. A step is defined as an action that results in another action working towards the final aim of the machine. For example the act of tipping over of block of wood with a rolling ball is a step. The actual tipping motion of the block of not a step unless it causes another action to occur. A series of the same actions repeated such as dominoes knocking each other over or a ball hitting another ball are considered to be one step in the spirit of the competition.
  9. A parallel step is defined as an action which initiates multiple smaller steps, starting and ending at the same point, at the same instant of time. This will be counted as one parallel step irrespective of the number of smaller steps initiated.
  10. Teams have to submit a report at the time of the competition which will contain a detailed description of each of the steps and energy conversions in the arrangement. Teams are encouraged to support their report with indicative diagrams.
  11. All the materials required for the arrangement should be brought by the corresponding team. Teams are not allowed to share any material. No material will be provided by the organizers.
  12. Contestants are responsible for removing their arrangement and any debris left after the completion of their 3 rounds.
  13. In case of any manual interventions during the run, points will be deducted and the team will have to go for the next run if there are more than 3 interventions.
  14. Judges decision will be final and binding to all !
  15. The organizers reserve the rights to change any or all of the above rules as they deem fit.


Guidelines for the submission of the abstract are as follows:

  • Upload a .doc/.docx/.pdf file named as “Team name” (example: CP1001.doc) after registration. File upload is not compulsory during registration. Uploaded file can be modified even after registration.
  • Include the information mentioned below in the Word document. Kindly do not exceed the word limit mentioned in respective sections.
  • Support your write up with appropriate images of your contraption. Note that even photos of incomplete contraption may be added in the abstract. You can also upload the images and videos on any popular file-sharing network and provide the link. This information shall be considered valuable for deciding Design / Innovation prizes.

Please include the following details in your Word document:

  1. Team Name:
  2. Team Leader’s name:
  3. Contact Number:
  4. Email id:
  5. Contraption Design (200 words) - The overview and theme contraption design.
  6. Elements(100 words) - A list of all the elements used in chronological order or parallel if they are so. Please mention the expected time of the working of the contraption.
  7. Links to uploaded files (if any).
  8. A table at the end of the abstract containing the following columns: Step No., Step Detail, Energy Conversion

Click here to download the sample abstract. 

Please upload your file in the Registration page for Contraptions.

Each team is allowed to make only one submission.

In case of multiple submissions, only last submission will be evaluated.

The details of the abstract will remain confidential with the event manager.

Hemamalini Nagarajan      

+91 9840138912


N R Sudarshan

+91 9786075160

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The Short-listed teams can have a trial run with the boat setup wihin the 2hrs of initial setup time given.

n/c- slot not confirmed  

T- temporary slot

18th Setup Time- 7:00 am to 9:00 am     Trials- 9:00 am onwards

19th Setup Time- 8:00 am to 10:00 am   Trials- 10:00 am onwards


Short-listed Teams
2.  MECHATORS 19th
3. Phoenix 18th
4. Leo Taperz 18th
5. The Visionaries 19th
7. adaengappaa!!!! 19th
8. prometheans 19th
9. SPARTANS 19th
10. S5 19th
11. Adaengappa Aaru Paeru 18th
13. Sophisticators 19th
14. Busy Brains 19th
15. Breeze 18th
16. SCT dazzlers 18th
17. Fall up 18th
18. Fun 18th
19. Archizzz 19th



1.For the bonus step, the dimensions of the boat setup have been updated.

2.If more than 3 manual interventions occur in one trial, then the team has go for the next trial.

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