IIT Hyderabad mentors school students to be future innovators and critical thinkers

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Hyderabad: Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad is mentoring school students of Andhra Pradesh to be future innovators and critical thinkers. It is hosting a three-day workshop from 30th November 2018 as part of INSPIRE Awards – MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspirations and Knowledge) initiative, executed by Department of Science and Technology, Govt of India, and National Innovation Foundation – India (NIF), an autonomous body of DST.

The initiative aims to motivate students in the age group of 10-15 years and studying in classes 6 to 10 to be future innovators and critical thinkers. A total 37 students from Andhra Pradesh, mostly from Government schools, were selected for their ideas and innovations on the basis of inherent novelty, social applicability, environment friendliness, user friendliness and comparative advantage over the existing similar technologies.

The workshop is being coordinated by Dr. Mudrika Khandelwal, Assistant Professor and Dr Ranjith Ramadurai, Associate Professor, in Department of Materials Science and Metallurgical Engineering, IIT Hyderabad.

Speaking about the importance of this initiative, Dr. Mudrika Khandelwal and Dr. Ranjith Ramadurai said, “It is important to tap the creativity at early stages of life when they are open and fear less. We are sure this will be a great platform to bring out the talent.”

The scheme objective is to select, recognize, support and reward one million original ideas/innovations rooted in science and societal applications to foster a culture of creativity and innovative thinking among school children. This will help address the societal needs through science and technology and nurture them to become thoughtful and responsible citizens and innovation leaders of tomorrow.

The scheme is aligned with Action Plan for ‘Start-up India’ initiative launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi. IIT Hyderabad will provide students with guidance and mentoring support to convert their ideas into a prototype and showcase it in a National Level Exhibition and Project Competition.

Speaking about their experiences in this workshop, Ms. Twenayuktha, one of the students participating in this workshop, said, “I want to convert my idea into a product. I want to reach out to other and explain my idea and finally help the country develop”

Mr. Arun. A, said, “I want to make an economic mobile projector which can be made at home itself. I look forward to the guidance.

Mr. Neelesh said, “I come from rural areas and I have never seen such infrastructure. I am thankful to inspire manak scheme for this opportunity. I aim to make a prototype of a dry latrine to stop defecation in rural areas, consume less water and convert faeces and urine to manure.”

The students were taken to various facilities of IIT Hyderabad including the Tinkerers laboratory, in which student develop ‘do-it-yourself’ projects driven by their own ideas, and the Materials Design / Device and sensors laboratory. The students were also taken to the 3D Printing laboratory.

Prof. Deepak John Mathew, Head, Department of Design, and Dr. Neelkantan, Assistant Professor, Department of Design, spoke about the importance of design and interacted with the students. Dr. P. Rajalakshmi, Associate Professor, Wireless Networks (WiNeT) Laboratory, Department of Electrical Engineering, gave a demonstration about drones.

The workshop is designed to mentor students to understand the difference between model and a prototype and what is takes to bridge the gap. The workshop began with a session dedicated to understanding ideas and their current status. Most of the ideas need basic knowledge of design, mechanics, automation and IT. This workshop also brought in a pool of mentors who have worked in related areas. An open house has been scheduled for an informal discussion on Day Two. Day Three is dedicated to push the students to think of the market and entrepreneurship.