(From left) Virtual avatars of IIT-B director Subhasis Chaudhuri and Nobel laureate Duncan Haldane, who confers a medal to a graduate.(IIT-BOMBAY)
(From left) Virtual avatars of IIT-B director Subhasis Chaudhuri and Nobel laureate Duncan Haldane, who confers a medal to a graduate.(IIT-BOMBAY)

Graduates get 3-D avatars at IIT-Bombay convocation

Over 2,400 graduates from undergraduate, post-graduate and doctoral programmes graduated from the institute this year
By Priyanka Sahoo, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON AUG 24, 2020 12:25 AM IST

In a unique experience, three-dimensional (3D) avatars of graduating students of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B), received their degrees in a virtual convocation, replete with graduates taking a virtual tour of campus and meeting friends, on Sunday.

“You are the first batch of graduates among those who had faced extreme hardship due to the pandemic. But despair no more, dear students, you are now proud graduates of IIT-Bombay,” said Subhasis Chaudhuri, director of the institute, urging them to fulfil their true potential.

Over 2,400 graduates from undergraduate, post-graduate and doctoral programmes graduated from the institute this year. Of these, around 1,255 are likely to have used the ‘IIT Bombay Convocation 2020’ mobile application to take part in the ceremony from the comfort of their homes using a mobile application that the institute specially designed for the purpose.

Apart from the ceremony, graduates could use the application to take a virtual tour of the campus and hang out with friends at their favourite joints. Once downloaded, the application does not require internet connectivity to run. For those who couldn’t use the app, the ceremony was telecast live on the social media channels of the institute as well as DD Sahyadri.

It took the effort of 20 experts, most from the IDC School of Design, to plan, design and create this platform and mobile application. “It took more than 5,000 person hours to build the whole thing,” said P Sunthar, co-convenor of the Convocation Committee.

“I will definitely miss the feel and the atmosphere of the convocation in the institute I’ve been part of for four years. At the same time, I was excited to have been able to take part in the virtual convocation,” said a graduating student, on the condition of anonymity.

Chaudhuri told HT that the institute has received global praise for the virtual convocation ceremony. “[I am] glad that everyone liked the ceremony. We have received a lot of kudos from abroad as nobody has ever seen such a ceremony,” he said.

The virtual avatars of students walked up to the stage to receive their degrees from 3-D avatars of the director and chief guest Duncan Haldane, a 2016 Nobel Laureate in Physics.

“You are probably just as surprised as me over the profound changes that have taken place in academic life during the last four months, and the changed world,” said Haldane in his message. “There is a lesson for everyone involved in research. Even if you are involved in a very goal-driven project, try to find some small share of your time to investigate unexpected curiosities that sometimes show up along the way,” he advised the graduating students.

Stephen A Schwarzman, chairperson and chief executive officer of global investment firm Blackstone, who delivered the commencement speech, said, “IIT engineers are defining the global technology landscape and the newest alumni will be the next generation of future global leaders who will advance that mission. You, IIT Bombay graduates, must seize the opportunity to be leaders of impact who are a force for change — and for good — in this world.”

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