Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur

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Centre for Mechatronics

R&D, as in 2019/ Moon rover, robotic arm for the paralysed

Rohan Dua, February 12, 2020: The Times of India

The Chandrayaan 2 mission that will land rover Pragyan on the Moon has two sub-systems designed by IIT-K professors
From: Rohan Dua, February 12, 2020: The Times of India
The robotic hand explained using a Computer Aided Design
From: Rohan Dua, February 12, 2020: The Times of India
Next target is completing large-scale trials of exoskeleton in India and UK- Dr Ashish Dutta
From: Rohan Dua, February 12, 2020: The Times of India

Taking calibrated steps inside the Centre for mechatronics at IIT-Kanpur, professors Ashish Dutta (mechanical) and K S Venkatesh can hardly contain their excitement on the Chandrayaan-2 launch mission, which lifted off on July 22.

The IIT-K duo designed two subsystems for Pragyan -- the six-wheeled rover that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) sent aboard the GSLV-MKIII by this week. The subsystems -- light-based map generation and motion planning -- are crucial for the success of the mission.

But, the professors also have another reason for their delight -- they recently completed trials of the world's first robot exoskeleton hand that will significantly help in the rehabilitation of stroke patients.

"It's a proud moment and double joy for us, while we recall the algorithm, which we made for lunar mission Chandrayaan to help the rover move safely between one point and another, known as path planning or motion. The structured light is like a scanning laser that will survey the surface of the moon, take pictures and generate 3-D maps and path planning. This will ensure four aspects -- take minimum energy (20-50 watts) on 10 MHz processor, safe route, prevent rover from toppling over and avoid obstacles in its route. Now, our next mission is completing large-scale clinical trials of the exoskeleton in India and the UK," said Dutta, who is coordinator of the Centre for mechantronics.

The two-finger device is worn by a patient on his hand. It interprets brain signals, with the help of a brain computer interface (BCI) worn on the head, and helps paralytic patients open and close the motion of his thumb and index and middle fingers for physical practice. The robotic arm uses four bar mechanism and has four degrees of freedom (DOF). It's driven by an AtMEGA 300 Mhz micro-controller and powered by a battery.

For the project, the duo teamed up with UK-based Ulster University and its professor Girijesh Prasad, who comes from Gorakhpur. Trials took place over six-weeks on four hemiparetic stroke patients (screened out of 16) with left hand disability in the UK and later on a patient in Kanpur. The professors say the device will cost around Rs 15,000.

A year ago, Indian-origin scientist Ravinder Dahiya, professor of Electronics and Nanoengineering at University of Glasgow's School of Engineering, had created a robotic hand called “brainy skin " which recreates the human touch. It reacts like human skin, which has its own neurons that respond immediately to touch rather than having to relay the whole message to the brain. Dutta and Venkatesh's device works through sensors, which monitor the finger-tip pressure applied by the patient. If the patient is able to close or move his finger, the device passively follows the motion. If he does not, then device actively forces the finger to close, while taking directions from BCI using EEG signals. As far as design of the device is concerned, the exoskeleton's degrees of freedom movement is based on the human finger motion while manipulating a coin in the hands. The joints on the device consist of four bars to give a human motion.

“We were glad with successful results. Next stage would that be of using exoskeleton for not just physical practice but for routine home work,” said Prasad. The Rs 55-lakh MHRD project was sanctioned in 2018 and led by its department of science and technology and British Council in the UK. The research has already been published in leading journals including Journal of Neuroscience methods; Biomedical and health informatics; Haptics and Engineering in medical and biology society.


EEG (electroencephalogram) electrode is used to acquire brain signals using a brain computer interface (BCI) worn on the head Signal transferred to robotic hand -- a two-finger device -- known as exoskeleton

Sensors used to monitor patient's finger-tip pressure

Anthropomorphic visual feedback received on computer

2016, rankings

National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF): ranked No. 5

The Times of India, April 14, 2016

The rankings under the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) have been carried out in four categories: Engineering, management, pharmacy and university.

There were five key parameters on which an academic institutes were assessed, these include: Teaching, learning and resources; Research, consulting and collaborative performance; Graduation outcome; Outreach and inclusivity; and Perception.

Over 3,500 institutes participated in inaugural edition of these rankings, the process for which started in December 2015. IIT Kanpur ranks at No. 5 on the list with a weightage of 81.07. The institute was established in the year 1959.

Promoting religion

2018: nine sacred Hindu texts uploaded

Rohan Dua, IIT Kanpur starts service on Hindu sacred texts, says ready for criticism, January 11, 2018: The Times of India

Noble, Pious Initiative: Computer Science Prof

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has become the first engineering college in India to start a text and audio service related to Hindu sacred texts.

The services are being offered on the official portal of the premier college which displays the link

Srimad Bhagwadgita, Ramcharitmanas, Brahma Sutra, Yoga Sutra, Shri Ram Mangal Dasji and the Narada Bhakti Sutra are among the nine sacred texts uploaded.

Among its latest offerings are Sanskrit renditions of the Sundarkand and Balakkand of the Valmiki Ramayan, introduced, incidentally, a month before the Supreme Court was to hear the Ram temple matter on a daily basis.

Though the IITs operate autonomously, their charter has often seen controversial proposals by the ministry of human resource development which funds them. This project was started with Rs 25 lakh in funding in 2001by the Union ministry of information technology of the then Atal Behari Vajpayee government.

“We have from time to time worked on this project with a team of scholars from within the IITs and outside to make available the sacred texts. This is the first of its kind in the world and in India and it must be respected,” said T V Prabhakar, professor, Resource Centre for Indian language Technology Solutions, department of computer science and engineering, IIT Kanpur.

Both Prabhakar and IIT Kanpur director Mahendra Aggarwal rejected controversies on thrusting Hindu religion through these services.

“There will be criticism for the sake of it for every good thing. Secular credentials can’t be questioned on such a noble and pious initiative,” added Prabhakar.

One of the objectives of the website describes “Vedanta” as “knowledge gyana” of a qualified “adhikari (worker, officer, employee)”.

Subject specialists holding post-doctoral degrees in philosophy from Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have been roped in to render the English audio tranlsation of the Bhagdvad Gita while the Sanskrit chanting has been done by Swami Brahmnanda.

Similarly, the rendition of the Ramcharitmanas in Awadhi is by IIT Guwahati faculty member Dev Ananand Pathak.

The IIT intends to seek more funds from the Centre to include more sacred texts.

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