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Business News/ Technology / News/  IIT Madras, Isro sign MoU to build AR astronaut training module
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IIT Madras, Isro sign MoU to build AR astronaut training module

The modules will be built at IIT Madras’ Experiential Technology Innovation Centre, and will also be used to train engineers at Isro’s Human Space Flight Centre to establish a laboratory based on extended reality technologies.

IIT Madras, Isro sign MoU to build AR astronaut training module. (Photo: iStock)Premium
IIT Madras, Isro sign MoU to build AR astronaut training module. (Photo: iStock)

New Delhi: Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras, to build training modules for Indian Spaceflight Program, using augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) technologies. The modules will be built at IIT Madras’ Experiential Technology Innovation Centre (XTIC), and will also be used to train engineers at Isro’s Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) to establish a laboratory based on extended reality (XR) technologies.

The project will include building virtual models and simulations of human physiology, as well as space systems, which will be key to understanding how the human body reacts and adapts to long duration spaceflight — such as a journey to the moon. Other aspects of the project include visualizing and optimizing the design and architecture of space-faring equipment, such as the interiors of a mission’s crew module.

The project will also tap into XTIC’s network of industry and startup associations, in order to attract interest in building applications and solutions using XR technologies.

XR, to be sure, includes an amalgamation of AR, VR and MR solutions to simulate a physical object. Using XR technologies can help manufacturers and researchers visualize how an object would work in the physical reality, before it is built and applied. Such solutions have been used in various fields, such as healthcare, aviation and other fields, where reaching a real-world usage space (such as oil fields, in mid-air flights, or in between critical surgeries) is difficult.

To create such platforms, companies typically develop a highly accurate digital replica of a product or an environment, typically called a ‘digital twin’, and use it to assess and validate products.

M. Manivannan, professor at Department of Applied Mechanics at IIT Madras and investigator at XTIC, said that the project can “add value in many aspects of the human spaceflight program, specifically in shortening the design cycle and simulating the space environment."

The MoU comes ahead of the first trial mission under Gaganyaan, Isro’s manned human spaceflight mission. On 22 December, in response to a question in the Parliament, Jitendra Singh, union Minister of State for Space, had said that the first unmanned trial mission of Gaganyaan will be launched in the last quarter of this year, leading up to the eventual manned mission launch by the end of 2024.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shouvik Das
Shouvik Das is a science, space and technology reporter for Mint and TechCircle. In his previous stints, he worked at publications such as CNN-News18 and Outlook Business. He has also reported on consumer technology and the automobile sector.
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Published: 06 Feb 2023, 05:00 PM IST
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