IIT Bombay’s convocation ceremony goes virtual

Avatars attended graduation and not let the spirits get dampened by the current pandemic. The students of IIT Bombay showed their technical talent at their virtual reality graduation ceremony held on Sunday, 23 August 2020. Over 2000 graduates attended this ceremony as their own digital avatars. The University created avatars for each student, faculty members and speaker. In computing World Avatar is a digital representation of a person or character. This word had been taken from the concept of Gods having various forms in Hindu mythology. In Sanskrit, Avatar means Descent. In Hindu mythology when Gods come on to Earth, they take different forms of life and these forms are known as Avatars. We can think of VR as near reality. Virtual Reality uses technology to create an experience that seems real but is not actually happening. It stimulates an Environment and users can interact with 3D objects and living things in this virtual environment. Student avatars walked on the podium to receive their diplomas. Afterwards, these students even interacted with each other. Classmates and Colleagues virtually explored the campus. The Director of IIT Bombay, Professor Subhasis Chaudhuri hoped that this effort will inspire Engineers to think big and think innovatively. His words: “providing a virtual reality experience to all our graduates needed not only highly innovative steps but also a tremendous effort by our professors and staff.” Director Subhasis Chaudhuri said students should not be disadvantaged of a convocation ceremony. “The process involved a lot of planning and technology implementation,” he said. With two months contribution and hard work of a team of 20 resulted in making the virtual convocation a reality. The event live telecasted on DD Sahyadri Channel, Institute’s YouTube channel and Facebook page. Live telecasts commenced with speeches and one student saw each from different categories collecting medals and degrees virtually with their names and photos. A mobile application is designed specially only for IIT Bombay students in which they can see their animated personalized avatars graduating and getting his or her degree. IIT Bombay has taken the health of the students as their first priority besides understanding their needs and emotions. “The Institute thought it best to arrange such a VR-convocation for the graduating students so as not to put their health at risk but at the same time, not deprive them of the sense of achievement and pride of passing out of India’s premier engineering Institute,” IIT-Bombay said. By seeing IIT Bombay’s great Innovation, in his speech, Stephen A. Schwarzman said, “India occupies a unique position in the world today, especially when it comes to technology, where it has established global leadership through its talent. Of the 72 Indian-origin engineers who have founded unicorns across the world, 50 per cent are IIT alumni. IIT engineers are defining the global technology landscape and the newest alumni will be the next generation of future global leaders who will advance that mission”. He further said, with a young, ambitious and tech-savvy population, a forward-thinking government that supports entrepreneurship, and the fourth-largest start-up ecosystem in the world, India is poised to stake its claim as one of the world’s great innovation hubs.” Virtual Reality is a wonderful and innovative technology that is able to spread smiles on IIT Bombay graduates without depriving them from their achievements.