CHENNAI: The senior year of engineering preceded a last minute frenzy to find a project ready to use, but now students choose topics of interest and work to develop ready-to-use products. Although some are preparing for their first year, others are looking for a patent or to continue their research.
Priyannth RS, from SASTRA University, decided to work on an original idea in its first year. With the help of his mentors, he now builds electrochemical biosensors that help in the early detection of diseases. “A great advantage that gave me the university is access to the 24×7 laboratories, I use the instruments that a doctoral student, which helps me to build a quality product,” he said.
As students gain hands-on knowledge through their projects, they try to apply the concepts to start larger research projects. “We have second and third year students who show interest in undertaking research projects, giving them a platform to make good publications and give them an advantage for their graduate programs,” says S Vaidhyasubramaniam, Dean, Planning and Development, SASTRA University.
A gesture-controlled aircraft model is the 20 year-end Rubuck project at Mahendra College of Engineering. Rubuck, who started his work since his third semester, is looking for a patent soon. Avoiding last-minute fever helps to feel.
“The focus is more spaced, so we did not catch too much in the last semester, which gives us the opportunity to innovate, rather than redo old models,” he said.
What works for students is the emergence of an ecosystem that supports innovation. It starts as Barola Technologies, Kaizen Robotics and Collaborizm from the idea phase to the final version.
For example, Barola Technologies has signed Memoranda of Understanding with 10 universities in Tamil Nadu to establish innovation centers. If ideas are attainable, they also help get patents. “Students come to us with a rough idea, helping them structure it and have them write a blue letter, which is essential to document the whole process, which helps if the product finds practical applications,” said Suresh Barola, founder of Barola Technologies .
Students also have the opportunity to transfer their projects to foreign universities. Ratheesh Dhanasegaran, a former student of SSN College, obtained a job at Chalmers University in Sweden after his work on penetrators (unmanned aerial vehicle).
While some focus on one project, others are working on several small projects.Lema Labs based in Madras, based in Madras, works in robotics and electronic products with students, organizes regular sessions, where first year students are equipped to develop home automation tools or climbing robots. Students who know the theory get rid of their fear of practical applications through such projects.
Space platforms like Workbench Projects in Bengaluru and IOT geeks in Chennai offer flat ways for students to test their skills and push the bar towards creativity. Pavan Kumar, co-founder, Workbench Projects said: “We have students coming, but it’s not in as many numbers as we would like to see. It’s rare to find students who want to get their hands dirty and build something from scratch,” says Kumar.