Published: 11th March 2020
IIT Mandi to set up Technology Innovation Hub for entrepreneurship, skill development and more
IIT Mandi to establish a new cell that will focus on human-computer interaction, entrepreneurship, human resource and skill development
Under its National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS), the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has sanctioned Rs 7.25 crore to IIT Mandi to establish a Technology Innovation Hub (TIH) at the Institute.
The focus of the TIH in IIT Mandi will be research on human-computer interaction (HCI), where projects will highlight the design and development of computer technology (interfaces) and the study of the interaction between users and computers. Being the youngest IIT in the country, IIT Mandi is the only institute to have a cell under HCI theme.
" Human-Computer Interface as a theme will focus a step ahead than normal usage of systems by humans. The institute will create technology that will make computer interaction much easier and natural for the users", says Dr Varun Dutt, Principal Investigator, TIH, IIT Mandi.
The Technology Innovation Hub will focus on human resource and skill development, entrepreneurship and collaboration with other leading institutions. The TIH will develop tools, education material, hands-on experiments with specialised tool kits, connecting with existing innovation ecosystems. It will inter-link with different stakeholders and connect with other initiatives of the Government of India by providing an innovation platform for schools, colleges and advanced technical training institutes in the targeted areas.
The deliverables of TIH include Technology Deliverables, Human Resource and Skill Development Deliverables, International Collaborations Deliverables and Entrepreneurship and Startup Deliverables.
HCI is focused on the ways in which humans interact with computers and design technologies that let humans interact with computers in novel ways. As a field of research, HCI is situated at the intersection of computer science, behavioural sciences, design, and media studies among others.
“The TIH provides exciting opportunities for IIT Mandi to become a world leader in HCI and allied areas, where national research has been nascent”, says Dr Varun Dutt, Principal Investigator, TIH, on short and long term objectives of the TIH in the institution.
Given the location of the hub at the Institute, some of the technologies will have a focus on the mountain region as well. Nestled in Sivalik Range of the Himalayas, IIT Mandi has a mission of addressing the challenges of the Himalayan region. A team of experienced faculty of IIT Mandi will participate in the establishment of the TIH. It will be a team of both experienced as well as newly joined faculties at the institution. Together, the team will provide intellectual expertise on research in HCI with inputs from Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning areas.
Several academic and research institutions are collaborating with IIT Mandi in the TIH. So far the industry and research partners include Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Mohali; Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO); National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA); Regional Forensic Science Laboratory (RFSL); Himachal Pradesh state government; Adobe; RxDataScience; Dattendriya; Aindra; and, Bioedha. The academic partners include Carnegie Mellon University, USA; London Metropolitan University, UK; Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway; and, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.
The TIH will also work on the development and evaluation of interfaces of Internet of Things (IoT) based Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), where CPS contains physical elements (sensors) for collecting data and cyber elements (analytics and visualization software) for alerting/ educating people for directed action. Here, data collected from CPS will be evaluated via human experiments and cognitive models for training and improving decisions of the human stakeholders for better outputs.
Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) are a new class of engineered systems that integrate computation and physical processes in a dynamic environment. CPS encompasses technology areas of Cybernetics, Mechatronics, Design and Embedded systems, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) among others. To harness the potential of this new wave of technology and make India a leading player in CPS, the Union Cabinet approved the launch of the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) in 2018, with a total outlay of INR 3,660 crores for a period of five years.
Speaking about the grant, Dr Arnav Bhavsar, Co-Principal Investigator TIH, IIT Mandi, said, “In line with the culture at IIT Mandi of collaborative research and nurturing entrepreneurship, the TIH will further enable significant strides by the institute in industry collaboration and in the development of indigenous technology.”