The Journey to Innovation
The twilight of almost every story conveys a moral that is pondered upon. One such story in the making is the inception and progressive nature of “PROJECT MANAS”, an AI robotics team hailing from Manipal Institute Of Technology, Manipal. Due to the profound deterioration of mother earth’s health, the urge to develop and implement technology sustainably and ecologically is highly under contemplation by booming industries. A positive stride in it’s direction was orchestrated by Mahindra, with their “Spark The Rise Challenge” which challenged innovative minds and potential in various universities to efficiently engineer an autonomous vehicle to drive through the Indian roads! The incentive subjected to completion of the task is a whopping sum of 1 million dollar remuneration.
Three years ago, a group of young, tenacious engineers from Mit, Manipal, rose to the occasion and urged their university to consent their participation despite their limited workforce and preparedness. The bold initiative was mustered by Mr Kumar Ranjan, an esteemed alumnus of the college. Despite the limited workspace provided to the team at the college academic block, The group came together in solidarity and invested their knowledge and creativity which resulted in the inception of “Project Manas”. The name “Manas” is a Sanskrit word which translates to “higher intelligence”. Having an impoverished workforce, the team acknowledged their inevitable requirement of an expanded and coherent team. The primary and essential task was to publicize, connect and procure talented minds from the university to augment their progress.
Over a period time, parallel to the blissful nature of metamorphosis, Project Manas experienced relative and all round growth. They progressed through initial qualifying rounds and made a huge forward stride with their prototype of the semi-autonomous robot which aesthetically represented the robot Wall –E and was thereby named after it .Subjected to perpetual hard work and dedication, the team embarked on the journey of conquering Mahindra’s “Spark The Rise Challenge” and emerged into the top 13 of 259 teams!. Having progressed to an honorable and exhilarating position in the completion, the team was widely appraised by a vast multitude of students and relevant authorities for their commendable performance. The response was predominantly disbelief, due to the fact that they were one of the youngest and professionally inferior teams when compared to private companies and colleges, indulging in faculty and post doctorate student’s performances.
Tapping into the potential of social media, the members utilized the functions of Facebook, LinkedIN and Twitter to render digital publicity and broaden the range of awareness. These social networking platforms augmented the rate of registrations from 100 to 600 students which conspicuously showed an increase in enrollments. Furthermore, they received an astounding response from top companies who expressed industry- academic collaboration interests. Nevertheless, having evolved from a resource impoverished background, the team today proudly boast it’s numerous reputed sponsors, namely, Microsoft, Nvidia, Cooler Master, Manipal University, Continental and many more, culminating in the generation of a whopping 43 lakh rupees in cash and kind and also the biggest workshop in the university! Acknowledging the achievements and amenities the team had received, they throttled their input and strived to make efficient use of time and resources.