New Delhi: India will have its first augmented reality education and training institute, to be set up in Varanasi, the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a cost of over Rs130 crore.
Augmented reality, seen as the next big thing in the Internet revolution, will allow students—ranging from skill schools to those pursuing core engineering research—to experience a different kind of learning before entering the real-world workplace.
It will be a virtual manufacturing shop floor and provide students from diploma- to research-level “hands-on training” on high value machines that are beyond the budgets of institutions.
The institution will be established by the central government in partnership with Eon Reality, an augmented reality company based in the US.
While the company will invest two-thirds of the initial expense, the central government will bring in the rest.
“This is the next big thing in learning and practical training space and goes well with the Digital India initiative of the government. Eon Reality will do a demo of the centre in Gujarat during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit and finally come up in Varanasi,” said Manish Kumar, managing director and chief executive of National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).
Kumar is directly dealing with Eon for the establishment of the institution, which has the support of the Prime Minister’s Office.
Eon executives have already met Modi over this project.
“The institution will be like entering a giant machine in the virtual space. Each trainee will be able to unpack the machine part by part and learn through virtual dissection. You can almost touch and feel the process. Like a real machine, it will throw new problems to trainees and, depending on your problem-solving capacity, will allow you to move further,” Kumar said.
The institutions and the software deployed will be able to create virtual machines of many sectors—from car design to the assembly line of an automobile firm, from textiles to heavy engineering machines.
It can dissect aeroplane engines and show how 3D designing works.
“Like an apprentice learning on the shop floor, a student can learn similar stuff. Any institute in the country can take the benefit of the institution but students or their institution will have to pay a small fee for the facility,” Kumar explained.
He said that Indian Institute of Technology in Varanasi (IIT-BHU) will also join in the project, along with NSDC and Eon Reality, which has been supplying augmented reality and virtual reality software to companies such as Boeing Co., Siemens Ltd, Fujitsu Ltd and GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd.