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The world’s a stage for these students

Engineering students look beyond domestic events, participate in international competitions for practical learning experience

mumbai Updated: Oct 16, 2016 23:45 IST
Musab Qazi
IIT students with Matsay 4.0, an autonomous underwater vehicle.
IIT students with Matsay 4.0, an autonomous underwater vehicle.(HT PHOTO)

As an engineering student at VIVA College in Virar, Omik Save, participated in several technical competitions. But participating in ‘Greenbrain of the Year’, an international competition held by Middle East Technical University at its Cyprus campus, last year, was a unique experience, he said.

The potable water purifier his team had designed for the competition placed him among the winners, said Save, “but the bigger prize was the opportunity to interact with students from across the world”.

“Their unique thoughts were fascinating. It was captivating to hear the junior competitors express their ideas,” he said.

Until recently, it was just the aeromodelling and racing competitions organised by Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) that attracted engineering students from the city.

But now, many students like Save are increasingly looking beyond domestic events and are looking for challenges on the world stage.

International competitions such as Greenbrain, which pit the engineering talent from the city against some of the brightest minds in the world, offer students a practical learning experience.

The Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay (IIT-B) has been leading the way when it comes to representing the nation in the international arena.

Last year, for the first time, a team of IIT-B students, who call themselves the Mars Society of India (MSI), participated in a competition to design and manufacture a Mars Rover, held at Utah in the United States (US). While the institute’s rover didn’t perform well at the event owing to technical glitches, the team is confident of putting a good show next year.

“Last year’s experience has come handy and will help us as we design another rover,” said Preshit Walzawar, a member of MSI. Walzawar said that he decided to join the society as he wanted to work on a niche project.

In 2014, Team Shunya, another group IITians, had visited France to compete in Solar Decathalon, a collegiate competition that requires student teams to design and build full-size, solar-powered houses. The IIT-B team is now preparing to participate in the next round of Decathalon, which will be held in China next year.

Students of IIT-B have also been participating in the RoboSub competition at San Diego in the US for the past five years. The competition requires students to design and build an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV).

While IIT-B has been at the forefront, other institutes are not far behind.

Two weeks ago, Darshit Vakil, a student of Thadomal Shahani Engineering College in Bandra, participated in Rise Hackathon, an international online hacking competition that went on for 36 hours. Vakil said that he and some of his collegemates had taken part in similar computer coding events held earlier. “These competitions give us international exposure. We get to work on some real-world problems,” said Vakil.

Similarly, Anthony Selva Vinose, a BCom student from KC College in Wadala and a computer and hardware trainee at Jetking institute in the city, got a chance to represent the country at a networking competition in Brazil. He was amongst the 10 students from the country selected by National Skill Development Limited (NSDL) to participate in the challenge.

“At the event, we all had put on shirts indicating we are from India. It was a proud moment,” he said.