Quite often, engineering students have the habit of ‘purchasing’ projects instead of applying the concepts learnt in college to come up with original engineering models.

In an effort to make students of technology think and take pride in their projects, Anna University has asked engineering colleges in the Chennai region to consider setting up robotics labs through e-Yantra. An MHRD initiative, e-Yantra began its journey in IIT-Bombay when two professors teaching embedded systems, designed a robot using a micro-controller that can sense its environment and act.

“Unlike the conventional robots that cost lakhs of rupees, these robots cost less, at prices ranging from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 25,000. Students can write programmes and make it work,” said an AU professor.

The initiative, to be introduced as part of the quality improvement cell in affiliated engineering colleges, could enhance the quality of thinking among students, he said. There are many engineering colleges in the city and suburbs with the required infrastructure. There are some colleges where embedded technology is also an elective, he added.

The first consultative meeting was held in the presence of Kumar Jayant, commissioner of technical education, and M. Rajaram, vice-chancellor, AU.

IIT-Bombay will facilitate setting up of the labs in colleges, conduct workshops for teams of teachers identified in every college, train the teams and also provide support and advice.

Each robotics lab would cost Rs. 5 lakh and could be inaugurated within six months, AU officials said.

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