Indore: Imagine an engineer training sitting in his village during vacation and learning to prepare the strongest concrete with live experiments in local dialect, don’t you think he might turn out to be a better engineer than the one reading about concrete?
With that in mind, Shri Govindram Seksaria Institute of Technology and Science (SGSITS) is planning to launch the first Virtual Lab powered by a state government institute from the next academic session.
This virtual lab featuring latest software will be available to students and professionals. For large scale experiments, it will have simulations and virtual reality.
For all students studying in Madhya Pradesh, the virtual lab will be available for free. Students of SGSITS will get directly free access to the lab.
Students of other engineering colleges will require the requisite accreditations to use the lab from their college. Launching of virtual lab for state engineering colleges is a major step for the state with the aim of promoting students to take up individual projects and supporting start-ups.
SGSITS director Dr Rakesh Saxena said, “Virtual lab aims to provide remote-access to Laboratories in various disciplines of science and engineering for students at all levels from undergraduate to research.”
He added the concept of virtual lab has been limited to central govt funded technical institution Like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), National Institute of Technology (NIT) and others.
“With virtual lab, we will be able to increase experiments and practical exposure from 10 per year to even 25 in a year,” Saxena said. The virtual lab will provide videos and simulations for Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Civil Engineering fields.
“We need to concentrate on experiments and core engineering fields i.e. mechanical, electrical and civil to truly make in India, otherwise we will still be stuck with importing over 85 percent machinery from China,” Saxena said.
Rising need of virtual lab
A team of professors and students lead a survey with the renowned industrialists and companies in Madhya Pradesh. The team interviewed industrialists and sought suggestions for future of students.
Sharing the details of the survey, engineer Vivek Tiwari assistant professor, department of civil engineering and applied mechanics, said, “We discussed the future civil engineer employability and issues faced in the state.”
The survey showed that most industries were looking for upgraded knowledge of latest software and soft skills in students. “Even now, students coming out colleges are accustomed to using outdated software, so they have to be trained again, where IIT and other institute students gain favour,” Tiwari said.
Lab to help Covid-19 & Employability challenges
With many people losing their jobs, it will be a tough task for fresh graduates to secure a good position in a company following lockdown and economic crisis. “Students are also already facing challenges and virtual lab is a step towards helping them,” Dr Vijay Rode, head of civil engineering department, said.
He explained that students till they graduate will have free access to the lab providing latest software of civil engineering field.
“Taking up freelance projects is a task for students, because they don’t have access to learning or using latest software, where virtual lab will provide the necessary resource,” Rode said.
He added that students can work on individual projects and even begin their entrepreneurial journey in the college with access to necessary resource in the lab.
Currently planned software to launch in the lab
• Structural Dynamics Lab
• Hydraulics and Fluid Mechanics
• Basic Engineering Mechanics and Strength of Materials Labs
• Transportation Engineering Lab
• Environmental Engineering Lab
• Virtual Smart Structures and Dynamics Lab
• Surveying Lab
• Soil Mechanics Lab
• Basic Structural Analysis Lab
• Fluid Mechanics Lab and many more