Aligning with the Director’s vision of bringing quality IIT education accessible to the youth of Himachal region, the Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi, in collaboration with Himachal Pradesh Kaushal Vikas Nigam, Shimla, concluded its first School Camp on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (PRAYAS 1.0). It was a 22-day event organized from 1st July 2022 to 22nd July 2022.
PRAYAS 1.0 was a fully residential program where students learnt about the fundamentals of robotics and artificial intelligence to make a fully automated system early in their careers. One hundred students were selected from over 1200 students throughout Himachal Pradesh and were given an opportunity to be a part of this camp.
Sharing views on the importance of this summer camp for young students, Prof. Laxmidhar Behera, Director, IIT Mandi said, “I want IIT Mandi to have at least a ratio of 50% students from Himachal in the future. The Institute wants to encourage the school students to develop a skill in them at an early stage and make the most of this opportunity; We also plan to call teachers from schools and ITIs to get hands-on experience with IIT Mandi faculty and lab facilities.”
Prof. Laxmidhar Behera while expressing his pride in hosting the camp for the students of the Himachal Pradesh briefed the young students about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics and shared many interesting anecdotes from his past experience.
Speaking about the first season of Prayas 1.0, Dr. Tushar Jain, Head, Centre for Continuing Education, IIT Mandi, said, “PRAYAS 1.0 has instigated the new era in Himachal Pradesh for the technical skill development. It was quite a unique opportunity for the youth of Himachal which further motivated them to be a part of IIT Mandi in the longer run. This PRAYAS 1.0 gave them an around development of social, technical, and human values skills.”
During the three weeks camp students had classes on Robotics and Artificial Intelligence where they learned to use various programming techniques, sensors, actuators, communication devices, and power devices to assemble various components to build a robot. Classes included both theoretical concepts and hands-on sessions. Along with this, the students were indulged in various sports activities and they were introduced to the several Labs on campus such as Manufacturing Machines, Tinkering Lab, and many others.
Activities such as regular Yoga and aerobics classes, Bhagavad Geeta sessions, and motivational documentaries were showcased during their stay on IIT Mandi campus. Also, the students planted over 200 plants in nearby areas under a plantation drives organised with NSS IIT Mandi,
At the end of the Camp, students were able to build a line following robot, an obstacle avoidance robot, and a Bluetooth-controlled car along with processing sensor data and python language. They were taught the basics of Robotics and Programming. The event also introduced them to the world of Artificial Intelligence and its Applications. The teams were provided with a Take Home Robotics kit to help them further tinker with the technology.
PRAYAS 1.0 concluded with a mega closing ceremony. As a reward for their hard work, a prize-giving event was held to honour the best of the best. The participants and volunteers were commended for their enthusiasm and dedication to the fest.