The eighth annual Educators day 2009, the largest academic platform for science and engineering professors was hosted by National Instruments in collaboration with NICE (Nurturing Innovation and Creativity in Engineering) committee in Chennai. The event was a huge success with participation of over 1400 professors and eminent academicians from 800 engineering institutes across India. Educator‘s Day 2009 is focused on improving the quality of engineering education in India through experiential learning and to help foster the spirit of entrepreneurship among engineering students.

The Educators Day witnessed some intense discussion forums one of which was, Entrepreneurship- “The inconvenient truth” a session chaired by Dr. M P Ravindra, Advisor - Education and Research for Infosys Technologies Limited and Executive Director (India) of IUCEE and shared by thought leaders in the industry.

The panel discussion gave rise to thoughts from mighty professors from IIT-Madras, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, SASTRA, PSG College of technology, etc who discussed on various trends and challenges in embedded technology and importance of laboratory experiments for experiential learning. Other colleges who participated at the event included Anna University, NITK-Surathkal, Vellore Institute of Technology and others.

According to Prof.Gopikrishna Rao, Chairman, NICE Committee, “We look forward to seeing a revived culture of entrepreneurship which we intend to develop through experiential learning approach in all the colleges. Educators day is the best platform to reach these colleges on an equal mode”

Mr. Jayaram Pillai, Managing Director, IndRA (India, Russia and Arabia), National Instruments said, “Educational systems for engineers in India must strive to develop engineers with cognitive abilities to reinvent the spirit of creativity and innovation. Educators can reform the current system by encouraging experiential learning, thereby producing industry ready talent. To meet the organizational objectives these students must be trained and exposed to a higher level of technological proficiency”. Mr.Pillai underlined his belief of Experiential learning as an important pre-requisite which can produce engineers with higher analytical & reasoning capabilities.

Planet NI
National Instruments, this year for the first time launched Planet NI (Nurturing Innovation) foundation. Planet NI is a non-profit initiative instituted by National Instruments with a mission of enabling current and future engineers in developing nations to achieve economic prosperity through quality education and provide easy-access to technology. The foundation will drive and support the adoption of green engineering and will also be aimed at aiding SME entrepreneurs with technology at affordable costs.

Experiential Learning
The concept of Experiential Learning earned extra mileage with some interesting live demonstrations by some of the prominent engineering colleges at the event. A project which attracted most interest was a triple powered vehicle displayed by RV College of Engineering, Bangalore. ´e-VOLVE‘ which is an eco-friendly vehicle developed products by National Instruments is powered through a unique synergy of Electric, Diesel and Solar energy.

VI Mantra
An unanimous choice on the winners of the popular technical contest VI Mantra was Manipal Institute of technology for their Rapid Prototyping of a Real Time Data Acquisition system for a 600-cc Formula SAE Race Car. The other finalists included PSG college of Technology, Coimbatore and Mepco Schlenk Engineering College, Sivakasi. According to Shatab, member, Team Formula and the proud winner of the prize acclaimed "We Came, We saw, We Conquered" and specially thanked Manipal Institute of technology and National Instruments for their support in helping them create engineering innovations to suit real world applications.

NI Yantra
NI Yantra, the autonomous system embedded contest was arranged by National Instruments to foster the spirit of innovation in engineering students and expose them to the essence of experiential education. The working model of these projects was built and displayed by the participating students to the audience and received wide acclaim. The audiences were given 40% voting right, for their favorite model and received an overwhelming response of over 900 votes. PSG college of Technology, Coimbatore was declared the winner and the runners up included Vellore Institute of Technology, and MVJ College of Engineering. PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore also won for the prestigious rolling trophy for the “Best Graphical System Design Lab”

The day long discussion concluded with the industry and colleges agreeing on a common note to nurture creativity and innovation so as to develop more entrepreneurs in the coming years by means of improved exposure to latest technology and experiential learning.

VI Mantra Contest winners
Student Category
Winner - Manipal Institute of technology Rapid Prototyping of an Real Time Data Acquisition system for a 600-cc Formula SAE Race Car
2nd prize- Mepco Schlenk Engineering College, Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu Web based virtual control system laboratory and on-line temperature control of Electrophoresis equipment using LabVIEW
3rd Prize: PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore Development of computerized combustion parameter measurement for single cylinder four-stroke diesel engine
Research Scholar Category
Winner - PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore Ultrasounding welding of Semi Crystalline Polymers
2nd prize -IIT Roorkee Enhancement & Segmentation of Mammogram
3rd Prize Zakir Hussain College of Engineering and Technology Implementation of a LabVIEW based simple and low cost Electronic Nose (LPG detector)

NI Yantra Contest winners
Winner PSG Coimbatore Design and Fabrication of Exhalation Module of a pediatric ventilator using embedded systems
2nd Prize- Vellore Institute of Technology Traffic Speed Violation Detection and Offender Recognition System
3rd Prize - MVJCE Novel Architecture of Emergency Mitigation using Autonomous Robots

Notes to the editor
About National Instruments India:
National Instruments India, the Indian branch of NI‘s operations was set up in 1998. The branch since then has effectively pioneered the adoption of the Graphical System Design platform in the country and has seen consistent growth and has introduced many new products in the Measurement and Automation market.

Planet NI (Nurturing Innovation) Foundation:
Planet NI Foundation is a non-profit initiative instituted by National Instruments with a mission of enabling current and future engineers in developing nations to achieve economic prosperity through education and easy-access to technology. Planet NI foundation addresses the needs of education institutes and SME Entrepreneurs by providing access to technology at an affordable cost. With a vision of making this world a better place, National Instruments has a group of individuals and organisations working together towards the goal.

About NICE (Nurturing Innovation and creativity in Engineering):
NICE Education is a nonprofit association, NICE came into existence during Educators Day on 21st November 2008 .It is an initiative by like-minded lectures from different engineering colleges in India who wanted to bring about a revolution in the existing educational system in India

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