IIT Madras and Tata Consultancy Services organise session on ‘Extended Reality and Empathy: An Interdisciplinary Perspective’


Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras in a collaborative initiative with Tata Consultancy Services towards forming a Memory Studies research cluster, with an academia-industry interface organised a session on ‘Extended Reality and Empathy: An Interdisciplinary Perspective’ on 26th March 2019 at IIT Madras campus. The session was delivered by Guest Speakers, Dr. Ashok Maharaj, Head, XR Lab, TCS, and Dr. Jae Grant, XR Consultant, Netherlands.

Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality are the emerging mediums that are altering accepted ways of consuming and navigating with knowledge, information, and memory. The complex cognitive experiences generated out of these entanglements attract new avenues for interdisciplinary research. The session was a primer on what comprises Extended Reality and how it shapes society, cognition and culture.

Speaking during the session, Dr. Ashok Maharaj, Head, XR Lab, TCS, said, “This is the first of the many events that we would do together, while also exploring funding possibilities for collaborative research across disciplines in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences.”

Speaking during the session, Dr. Jae Grant, XR Consultant, Netherlands, said, “The entire challenge is to arrive at a common reference point which will enable productive dialogue between technology studies and research in humanities.”

The aim of the session was to highlight the possibilities of the academia-industry interface in the emergent field of Memory Studies. It will lead towards more formalised and institutionalised collaborations with industry as well as academia from different parts of the world. The collaboration will help accentuate the possibilities for internships and placements for students.

Dr. Avishek Parui and Dr. Merin Simi Raj, Event Coordinators and Assistant Professors, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras, said, “We are very excited at the collaboration between academia and industry in this emerging field of Memory Studies. We are hopeful to acquire significant research input and funding to facilitate truly interdisciplinary research that will benefit the industry and academia alike. We believe that the research prospects from this academia-industry interface are significant and potentially pathbreaking.”

The objective was to explore the possibilities of Digital Humanities and Extended Reality in engaging with literary studies. Currently, there are Research Scholars in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, working in the area of Memory Studies. Dr. Avishek Parui’s extensive research on Memory Studies in Literary narratives has been attracting academic attention. An advanced level new course meant for research scholars entitled ‘Memory, History and Literature’ will be conducted by Dr. Parui. Besides, Dr. Avishek Parui along with Dr. Merin Simi Raj has also been working towards digitally archiving the remembered history of the Anglo-Indian community in India and the diaspora.

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