Virtual presence and avatars for students at IIT Guwahati convocation due to Covid-19

On Tuesday, nearly 500 students used the platform created by MK Bhuyan, professor at the electronics and electrical engineering (EEE) department and two of his students Snehil Sanyal and H Pallab Jyoti Dutta.
By Utpal Parashar | Hindustan Times, Guwahati
PUBLISHED ON SEP 22, 2020 07:16 PM IST
Screen grab of the virtual presence platform created for the 22nd convocation of IIT-Guwahati held on Tuesday.(IIT Guwahati)

Over 1800 students who passed out of Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati (IIT-G) on Tuesday couldn’t be present at the institute to attend the 22nd convocation—thanks to Covid-19 pandemic.

But they were able to be a part of the event, which was addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, though a virtual presence platform that allowed them to interact with their friends and batch mates at places inside the IIT-G campus.

On Tuesday, nearly 500 students used the platform created by MK Bhuyan, professor at the electronics and electrical engineering (EEE) department and two of his students Snehil Sanyal and H Pallab Jyoti Dutta.

“As students were unable to be physically present at the convocation due to the Covid-19 scenario, we decided to create a virtual presence experience for them and the teachers,” said Bhuyan.

“This enabled the students to have a virtual tour around the campus, navigate different buildings and share memories with each other. The students and faculty members could chose virtual avatars and have fun interacting with each other,” he added.

The portal is like a Zoom meeting, but with a difference as it allowed participants to have a game like experience of the environment with different objects, videos of departments, speeches etc.

Tuesday’s convocation was held in virtual reality mode, where avatars of the students collected their degrees and medals from the IIT-G director’s avatar.

A photo-booth with an option of different backgrounds was also created where students could take at some selected locations on the campus.

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