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"Virtual labs", a project launched by the Union ministry of human resource development in July to allow experiments in the virtual space using virtual instruments is a huge success and is expanding to other colleges as well. 230 more colleges in Telangana will now be able to use this luxury and make the best out of it.
The objective of the “Virtual labs” project is:
* To provide access to Labs in various components of Science and Engineering to students at the Undergraduate level, Post Graduate level as well as to research scholars.
*To provide the students a new platform for learning through web-resources, video-lectures, animated demonstrations and self evaluation.
*To share costly equipment and resources, which otherwise was not available to many due to constraints on time and geographical distances.
The concept came to life by an association of tech wizards from IIT Delhi, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Roorkee, IIT Guwahati, IIT Madras, IIT Hyderabad, Amrita University, Dayalbagh University, COE Pune, and NIT Surathkal. Thier hard work paid off when they were able to allow students to access real instruments at a virtual platform. The project was able to solve the problem of ill equipped labs and equipments that were not available to the masses due to constraints of time, geographical location, money etc.
"Some rarely available lab instruments like Spectrometer and Spectrophotometer have been converted into virtual instruments. The Virtual Lab addresses the issue of insufficient laboratory facilities and trained teachers by making remote and simulation-based experimentation possible through the internet," said Sujiv Nair, CEO, TASK.
A virtual experiment can be accessed through any computer or laptop and is available free of cost to colleges. Under the pilot project, 45,000 virtual experiments have been conducted so far. As many as 1,500 experiments are currently available online and more are being developed based on the feedback, said IT officials.
Locally, the Telangana Academy for Skill and Knowledge (TASK) under the IT department with the help of IIT Hyderabad have started using the same and is bringing it in for the students. Professional training of the students on how to conduct these virtual experiments will also be provided by the institute to help students make the best of the project.
"Not only will the students benefit from access to lab experiments developed by the faculties of top technical institutions, this project will also provide opportunities for research and development for open source enthusiasts," said Prof Venkatesh Choppella, associate professor at IIIT Hyderabad.