Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras students are virtually taking their campus to Mars as part of the 22nd Edition of Shaastra, one of India’s biggest annual student-run technical festivals.
Shaastra 2022 is set to take place in a virtual re-creation of the IIT Madras campus at a futuristic Martian landscape, showcasing the institute landmarks through 3D navigation for users to explore the platform. A ‘virtual Hyperloop’ has been used for ‘virtual travelling’ between various Shaastra venues and gives the users a futuristic experience. The set-up on a Mars dome will be the platform for lectures, events and exhibition booths, along with interactive games to add on to the experience.
This edition of Shaastra is being held virtually from January 13 to 16. Many of the events are free for the public to access. Around 50 events will be organized, featuring a total of 30,000 participants this year – a steep rise in comparison to 20,000 participants in 2021.
IIT Madras director Bhaskar Ramamurthi, while addressing a virtual press conference, said, “I must give all credit to students for managing the change in scenario and moving to the virtual platform smoothly. Conducting Shaastra virtually would not have the same impact as it would have if the event was held on campus. But, the team is trying to achieve good traction by imagining different ways in which they can reach out virtually to provide students from IIT Madras as well other institutions a good exposure on what is happening in the field of technology.”
Shaastra Summit includes a virtual conference every year on a new topic. This year, the theme is Gaming and Gaming Technology. The goal of the conference is to facilitate networking of enthusiasts, students and professionals in the gaming industry to learn from each other. The event features lectures and panel discussions with speakers from over five countries.
Nilesh Vasa, dean (Students) at IIT Madras, said, “This is the second time that the students are conducting a technical festival through a virtual platform. Like the previous year, the team has also created a rendering of the important sites of the IIT Madras campus, including a ‘virtual Hyperloop’ as close to a real-life experience. The team has worked hard and enthusiastically to create various technology-related programmes for an overall immersive experience for all the participants online. This edition of Shaastra will encourage young minds to solve various industrial and societal problems in diverse disciplines.”
This edition of Shaastra includes competitions in diverse disciplines ranging from aeronautics, biotechnology, engineering design and business, to law, computation, electronics and quizzes. The objective is to provide a platform for young minds to define and solve industrial level problems.
Shaastra 2022 includes a star-studded line-up of eminent speakers such as Nobel Laureates David Wineland, an American physicist and pioneer in quantum computing, and Stefan Hell, one of the directors of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen; Jane Goodall, UN Messenger of Peace and founder of the Jane Goodall Institute; and Carolina Marin, a Spanish professional badminton player and an Olympic Champion among others.