IIT-Delhi Director Delivers 6th Annual J.K. Memorial Lecture at PEC

The Department of Electrical Engineering of Punjab Engineering College (Deemed to be University), Chandigarh organized the 6th annual J.K. Memorial Lecture on 5th March 2019. Prof. V. Ramgopal Rao, Director IIT-Delhi, Fellow IEEE, FNAE, FNA, FASc and FNASc,was the guest speaker who gave an enlightening talk on “Bridging Academic R&D with Product Innovation: A Way Forward”. “If you do not question and take it as it is, you will become a software engineer.”- Prof. Rao. The session motivated students to think of technical advancement in terms of entrepreneurship. Young engineers were prompted to rethink the way technology affects everyday lives and it’s exponential advancement. He defined engineering as the process of finding sustainable solutions to problems, ranging from refining medical equipment to doubling farmers’ incomes. His major emphasis lied on the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to these issues and leverage technology to resolve these problems, especially specialized branches of engineering like Nanotechnology. He pointed to the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Chandigarh as an example of a great research facility with some of the brightest minds. In terms of research output, India is growing at 14%, compared to the world average of 4% but the number of patents filed by Indian researchers is very low. This means we are generating a lot of knowledge but not translating it into tangible products. He urged the budding engineers in the room to aspire to develop new products and technology to solve the nation’s pressing issues. Citing examples from his own research in the field of nanotechnology, he further explained the working of the novel ‘electronic nose platform for explosive detection’. While giving an overview of the product development process from identifying a problem statement, developing prototypes, testing them, preparing contingency plans and implementing the final solution, he gave an example of how they used piezoelectric sensors to tap into the vibrations of moving buses and trains and harvest that power to charge batteries. The speaker himself has collaboration with students and faculty across IIT Delhi and Bombay to develop cost-effective sensors in agriculture to detect soil health and optimize the output and highlighted the varied background of the people involved in the project, from mechanical and electrical engineers to semiconductor experts. The session ended with a perceptive Q&A and allowed the audience to voice their concerns and clear their doubts regarding prototype development, funding issues, technological issues and resource allocation in research. The event was attended by the faculty and B.E., M.E. and PhD. students of Electrical Engineering Department at PEC. Mr. Arun Grover, ex-Vice Chancellor of Punjab University and a representative of the late Professor Jagdish Kumar Arora’s family also graced the event. Dr. Raminder Kaur, Convener, gave the vote of thanks and expressed her gratitude to Prof. Rao for the informative session. The event was a sound reminder of PEC’s dedication to promoting research and bridging the gap between industry and academia.

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