From robotics to cyber security, from human computer interface to augmented reality, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are setting up specialized technology hubs to develop “products, people and patents” for Industry 4.0, and the department of science and technology is funding them generously.
While IIT Delhi is focusing on collaborative robotics, IIT Roorkee tech hub is eyeing areas like defense, healthcare and telecom sector. IITs in Kanpur and Jodhpur are focussing on cyber security and virtual and augmented reality. IIT Mandi is eyeing man-machine interface, while IIT Guwahati is looking at underwater exploration.
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While the move could boost elite tech and engineering schools research capabilities in deep technology, it is being viewed as a move to help the country adopt Industry 4.0 better and foster industry-academia collaboration for finding market solutions and take products and services from lab to the market. A unique part of this initiative is not only promotion of R&D but also collaborative research with professors and departments in other universities and countries.
The tech hub at IIT Delhi is collaborating with 50 professors from abroad, including Japan, South Korea, the US, and the UK, and shall focus on four verticals including medical robotics, agriculture and disaster management, defence, and smart manufacturing. Other than the department of science and technology (DST) funding of ₹170 crore, the tech hub are free to raise funds from industry as well for product development and commercialization.
IIT Kanpur is collaborating with top Indian institutions like Indian Institutes of Science, IIT Kharagpur, University of California, San Diego, New York University, Tel Aviv University and Ben Gurion University in Israel for the cyber security research in the tech hub.
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“We have got Rs.135 crore commitment from DST to establish the tech hub and work on seven verticals including defence, urban development, telecommunication and health research. The hub will not only help boost R&D in deep technology but also develop quality products and human resource for Industry 4.0 that relies heavily on technology adoption. Over two dozen companies are in touch with us and shall on board as the work progresses,” Sudeb Dasgupta, professor at IIT Roorkee said over a telephone interview.
Dasgupta, who is also in charge of the technology hub, said different IITs are working on focused areas by setting up tech hubs with support from DST and the target is to become self-sustaining in five years carry forward the good work of the hubs.
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“Products, and people, and patent will come out of this initiative. And I see industry coming forward to improvise, commercialize products developed at the technology hub. For example, we are working on a fetal heart rate monitoring technology in the hub, and a young company is already talking to us to improvise it and take it to tier three cities and towns to. Similarly, we are working in improving traffic signaling by monitoring pedestrian movement,” Dasgupta said.
Similarly, IIT Jodhpur in its website says that its tech hub with a DST support of ₹115 crore will focus on areas like bio-medical imaging, computer vision and augmented reality for industry 4.0 and intelligent multimedia platform for digital learning. IIT Jodhpur says, it will nurture startups, drive appropriate technology interventions and bring on board faculty members, research scholars, developers and scientists among others.
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