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Sunday, March 22, 2009

How 'sound' is your bike?

The challenge to understand the strange 'engine ki bhasha' goaded scientists of IIIT-A to develop an intelligent hardware and software tool, capable of diagnosing the engine's health on the basis of its sound quality. It's an amazing innovation.

CJ: Arindam Roy, 1 day ago Views:736 Comments:0

A VERSATILE, intelligent tool developed by scientists of the Indian Institute of Information Technology-Allahabad (IIIT-A) will decipher the health of your bike’s engine, just by the sound of its engine.

Allow me to digress a bit. A well known engine oil company has developed an advertisement campaign (beamed on TV channels), where a mechanic tells the customer the secret of understanding ‘engine ki bhasha’ (engine’s language).

Let me elaborate it a little more. You may have noticed what your neighbourly mechanic – he may be a Laddan Mistry, Raju Ustad or Ismail Guru, as these auto mechanics are fondly known in north India – do when you take your faulty bike to them. Whenever your bike has a problem with its engine, these mechanics listen to the sound of the engine carefully. Soon, these otherwise uneducated experts know more about the health of your engine, by the quality of the sound than the smart software engineers or MBAs that ride these swanky bikes.

The challenge was to understand the strange ‘engine ki bhasha’ that goaded the scientists of IIIT-A to develop an intelligent hardware and software tool, capable of diagnosing and deciphering the sound of an engine, by translating and processing the pattern of sound as the input and in spelling out all its trouble in detail.

The versatile intelligent tool has been developed, under the ambitious Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) project- Quality Assurance, Condition Monitoring and fault Diagnosis, using Intelligent Control Methodology, by IIIT-A scientist Dr Vrijendra Singh and a group of researchers and scientists working under his direction.

These scientists succeeded in developing an intelligent algorithm and hardware capable of detecting the faults in engines on the basis of the quality of audio, its pitch and the frequency.

“The unique and intelligent device has multifaceted operations and benefits. It will now help the manufacturer and mechanic to ensure the high quality and good health of the engine. Now, even a common person may understand the cause of the trouble with his vehicle’s engine without much technical hazards and equipments,” said IIIT-A director Prof MD Tiwari.

Prof Tiwari said that intelligent software and device comprise ingeniously designed software and equipments. IIIT-A scientists have successfully developed algorithm, which help in processing the audio data, followed by production of detailed inferences.

“The intelligent tool will reduce the mechanical operation required in detecting the faults in engines. This means longer life and efficient functioning of engines,” explained Prof Tiwari. He said that the project of the TIFAC-Core Group for Automotive Research, worth Rs 5.26 crore, was entrusted to Dr Singh of IIIT-A last year.

The principal investigator of the TIFAC project, Dr Singh said that ground work for the ambitious project was prepared in the first phase. This included the compilation of feedback from motor mechanics about the pattern of sound generation from engines in particular condition of fault. Profuse data related with engine’s sound was also provided by TVS Motors. On the basis of audio data, the team began working on developing algorithm and programmes for the software capable of processing the sound inputs so as to identify the problem and later give its details as the output.

The intelligent tool contains highly sophisticated and high-performance sensors, microphones and other audio data acquisition device Dr Singh said that indigenously developed software and intelligent tool that has been tested at laboratory stage will now be used and tested at TVS Motors’ plant, near Bangalore. The company will use intelligent methodology to test the engines of the factory’s bikes before final delivery.


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