KIIT-IS Innovation & Business Conclave

Researchers Discuss Tech with Ability to Smell; Encourage Students to Be Curious

Bhubaneswar, Nov 16: Eminent researchers of the country on Thursday encouraged students to develop a probing mind and ask questions to become good scientists and respected engineers of tomorrow. The researchers included the former director of IIT Delhi Dr V Ramgopal Rao who is currently developing a technology that can smell and work like a sniffer dog scouting for suspicious objects in public places. They were speaking at the first ‘Innovation and Business Conclave’ “B-INGENIOUS” of KIIT International School.

Addressing the students, Scientific Secretary to Govt of India Dr Parvinder Maini asked the students, who had congregated from different parts of Odisha, to be inquisitive as a thoughtful students can develop talents to become good researchers. She cited several examples from the field of industry to space science, saying that the spirit of inquiry can only help a student invent new technologies and solutions for the well-being of society.

She voiced her serious reservation about the established phenomena of rot learning which she said has “unfortunately crept into the IITs as well”. 

Dr Maini advised their students to judge their strengths and weaknesses before picking the stream of their choice without succumbing to peer pressure. “Today, there are 300 career options to select but sadly most of the students are not aware of them,” she said.

Former Scientific Secretary to Govt of India Dr Swati Basu, like the other speakers, stressed developing the habit of curiosity and inquisitiveness as these traits will help the students keep up the learning process. Citing Albert Einstein who famously said that his curious mind made him a scientist, Dr Basu said “curiosity is the strength of continuous learning that leads to the desire for innovation”. Dreams, she said, also open one to the world of endless possibilities.

Dr Basu also touched upon the emerging frontiers of artificial intelligence and machine learning that can solve a multitude of problems in areas such as the farm sector.

Dr Rao, who is currently associated with IIT Bombay, gave a fascinating insight into his research work that has spanned two decades. One of them includes enabling the mobile device to smell. He exuded confidence that technologies like “nano sniffer” can become a reality soon and supplement the efforts of sniffer dogs to scan bags at the Delhi airport.

Harping on the importance of asking questions, something that even the ubiquitous Google is unable to do, he said good questions can translate into good research work. “Today sensors are evolving very fast. We are working on agri sensors for soil health monitoring that can determine the amount of urea to be used and help the farmer save on the input cost.

CEO of KIITTBI Dr Mrutyunjay Suar asked the aspiring engineers among the students to stop searching for jobs and instead become an engineer to do something for society. He said the KIIT Technology Business Incubator is working with promising ideas to realise their dreams and announced to support the top five views at the conclave for free. Chairperson KIIT International School Dr Mona Lisa Bal and Principal of the School Sanjay Kumar Suar also spoke. 

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