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IIT Madras to develop astronaut training module using AR/VR/MR for Indian Space Flight Programs

IIT Madras to develop astronaut training module using AR/VR/MR for Indian Space Flight Programs

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) is going to develop training module for Indian Spaceflight Program using Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality / Mixed Reality (AR / VR / MR).

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) would utilize the advanced technologies created at the newly established eXperiential Technology Innovation Centre (XTIC) at IIT Madras to promote Research and Development (R&D) in the domain of Extended Reality.

A MoU towards was signed recently between ISRO and IIT Madras for collaboration on the application of Extended Reality (XR) and other technologies in Indian Human Spaceflight Program.

Elaborating on the key aspects of this collaboration between ISRO and IIT Madras, Prof. M. Manivannan, Department of Applied Mechanics, IIT Madras, and Principle Investigator, XTIC-IIT Madras, said, “XR Technologies has the potential to add value in many aspects of human spaceflight program specifically in shortening the design cycle and simulating the space environment. We will start with developing models of physiological systems as well as design optimization studies. IIT Madras ecosystem is conducive not-only for research, but also for development with our industrial consortium.”

Looking forward to this collaboration, Dr. Umamaheswaran R., Director, Human Space Flight Center (HSFC), ISRO, said, “Space program always had linkages with academia and IIT Madras has a long history of contributing for ISRO’s program including human spaceflight program. It is always a pleasure to collaborate with IIT-Madras. -”

The XTIC will not only develop XR technologies for human spaceflight program but will also impart training to concerned HSFC engineers on this technology and help in establishing a XR/VR laboratory at HSFC.

The Key Outcomes envisaged from this collaboration include

– Modelling and Simulation of human physiology as well as space systems

– Outreach activities

– Visualization and optimization of design architecture

– Training ISRO scientists in developing their own XR systems

The XTIC has established ‘CAVE,’ a consortium of start-ups and Industries in the field of XR and Haptics in India. The ecosystem led by XTIC will be utilised for several applications ranging from Outreach and education of the Human Spaceflight Programme to Digital Twins.

This XTIC is India’s first Research and Product Innovation centre for XR and haptics Technology, a transdisciplinary centre encompassing several fields of engineering, medicine, psychology and arts. As XR is highly interdisciplinary, innovations in this field need confluence of minds from different fields.

While most of the research labs around the world are focusing on either software or hardware components of XR, the centre in IIT Madras is focusing on the fundamentals of XR – human factors, particularly perception and illusion, pioneering a new field Perceptual Engineering, and Perceptual Algebra.

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