Welcome to Alumni & Corporate Relations

IIT Madras CFI Open House showcases students’ strengths across multiple domains.

IIT Madras CFI Open House showcases students’ strengths across multiple domains.

The CFI with its 100 plus patents, over 75 active projects, and 200 startups, witnessed 1000 students displaying 76 projects at the event

To boost students’ innovative ideas and creative thinking skills, the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) Centre for Innovation (CFI) Students’ Open House unveiled a wide range of technological products and projects to industry and investors. It was a showcase of students’ passion for new-age technologies beyond conventional classroom learning. Students displayed camaraderie and multidisciplinary teamwork at the 16th edition of Open House.  

The products were a veritable mix, ranging from an assistive device to help the visually challenged to an ultrasonic sound-powered metal 3D printer; a solar-powered car that maximises energy efficiency by utilising just 1 KW of power, or even an autonomous underwater vehicle for ocean exploration, to mention a few.

Brimming with confidence, V Saikalyan, a second-year BTech Mechanical Engineering student and vehicle dynamics engineer at Raftar Formula Racing, said, “Every year, we make a new car starting from scratch meticulously ideating and analysing the design, manufacturing, assembling, and testing the car to validate our design choices. With each new iteration, we try to push the boundaries of engineering and design to make the fastest, lightest, and the most optimised car possible.”

The entire concept of Formula Student car revolves around the concept of project management with the theme of designing race cars. “The success of this endeavour hinges upon meticulous team management, encompassing various crucial aspects.  From effectively managing funds to meticulously allocating tasks, adhering to stringent timelines, and overseeing logistics and accommodation arrangements, every facet of team management plays a pivotal role in ensuring team success. Also making a new car every year is financially demanding. We are currently seeking to onboard more companies as sponsors and partners which will not only help us financially but also foster mutually beneficial collaborations for all involved parties. As a member of Raftar Formula Racing, we are eagerly anticipating the opportunity to represent India at Formula Student Germany, where we will meet other teams, exchange ideas, and learn about the innovations driving their vehicles, all while showcasing our engineering prowess on the global stage,” he adds. Saikalyan’s team participated in the Formula Bharat 2023 competition, securing second place in the Engineering design event and first position in the Business Plan Presentation category.

Team Anveshak, another motley group spent most of their evenings and nights at the CFI to develop Galileo, a mars rover designed to negotiate uneven terrain while gathering crucial data.  Shrey Ramanujan M, second-year dual degree Physics student and the team lead, said, “We had to build the rover right from scratch, as post-Covid, none of our seniors were there to guide us, but what connected us most, was a shared passion for space exploration and robotics.” The team has also developed a soil testing and collecting device and participated in the Anatolian Rover Challenge in Turkey in 2023 where it secured overall first position. More recently, the team clinched the top rank in the World Rover League 2023-24 and achieved the title of ‘Autonomous Masters’ with a second-place finish in the International Rover Challenge 2024.

Team Abhyuday has had a similar successful run, as its rocketry team bagged the 16th – Best flight performance position in Spacecraft America Cup 2023. Anshita Hegde, second-year aerospace engineering student said that the team has a business and management vertical that reaches out to companies to sponsor their projects. “As per the competition’s norms, the space rocket has to reach 10,000 feet and thereafter we need to recover the rocket, for which we achieved 98% accuracy,” she said.

The CFI is also home to Team Avishkar Hyperloop which works on an end-to-end scalable Hyperloop stack, including both the vehicle and the associated infrastructure. “The team, which participated in the European Hyperloop Week 2023 in Edinburgh, Scotland, achieving a Global Top-5 position in some of the key categories, is heading a project to build a 400m long tube at the Discovery Campus of IIT Madras, Thaiyur, in collaboration with Indian Railways, L&T Construction, and ArcelorMittal. It has also filed six patents,” said Aditya Sharma, project management head.

In addition to the seven competition teams, the CFI threw the spotlight on 14 clubs in various technologies. Project Amogh with its Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) captured considerable footfalls, and poised to participate in the Singapore Autonomous Underwater Challenge 2024 (SAUVC 2024). The torpedo-shaped AUV is used in underwater mapping and crack detection in pipelines.

Attributing the melange of projects to the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem at the campus, Professor Prabhu Rajagopal, advisor (Innovation and Entrepreneurship), IIT Madras, said, “The implicit goal of the Open House is to encourage students to complete their projects and find solutions rather than sticking to theoretical concepts.”

The ideas come from three sources—the students, faculty and industry. “The faculty are co-travellers finetuning students’ ideas and working with them,” said Prof Rajagopal, underpinning the importance of the innovation labs as the “handholding nurseries” to lay the foundation for students’ entrepreneurial journey.

According to him, the CFI along with Nirmaan Pre-Incubator, plays a key role in fostering entrepreneurship among students, and with the Open House, serve as a catalyst for inspiring creativity, collaboration, and problem-solving skills among the budding innovators. “Product creation depends on market interest and the ability to generate finance. While everyone is trying to showcase their products, only 30% of the finished products would be viable in the long run. We are working with clubs dedicated to astronomy, mathematics, bioinformatics, 3D printing, and next-generation technologies such as AI, ML, blockchain, cybersecurity and quantum technology—areas where India has strength. The power of modern engineering lies in leveraging these technologies as enablers to have better representation and visualisation of innovation,” he said. 

Highlighting the initiatives over decade-long history, Professor Mahesh Panchagnula, dean (Alumni and Corporate Relations), IIT Madras, said, “The CFI has been tapping students for the last 16 years and the Open House gives them exposure to the industry and alumni. It also helps them to work on independent projects which add value to their resumes. Institutes can give them the degrees, but the CFI provides a structure for students to learn as per their interests, and not necessarily what is taught inside the classrooms.” It may explain why innovative ideas evolve and succeed. 

Original News Link