IIT Madras now has a campus on Mars

IIT Madras now has a campus on Mars
11 Jan, 2022

The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-M) will sport a campus on Martian surface in the coming week. The special feature will be a part of the institute’s 22nd annual students’ technical festival, Shaastra 2022. As part of the event, students of IIT-M have recreated a virtual version of the university’s campus, which will be used to host all sessions, keynotes and competitions. 

A statement by the institute also stated that the special feature of IIT-M Mars campus will sport a “virtual hyperloop” -- a graphical rendition of the projected superfast travel medium that was brought to limelight by SpaceX chief, Elon Musk. 

“The team is trying to achieve traction by imagining different ways in which they can reach out virtually to provide students from IIT Madras as well other institutions exposure on what is happening in the field of technology,” said Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director of IIT-M. 

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“One aspect (of the virtual version of the event) is that the footfall has increased, as students from across the country are able to participate. It has opened up opportunities to many people who otherwise might not have been able to participate physically,” Ramamurthi said. 

While not projected entirely as a ‘metaverse’ concept, the premise behind the special feature appears to be the same. The latter, popularised by Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, is a loosely defined concept that seeks to offer a parallel, virtual universe where users can get together, converse, transact, hold meetings and even carry out social and civil interactions

Multiple technology giants around the world have already showcased their takes on metaverse technologies. Facebook, for instance, ran into a legal conflict when its multi-year research development of a haptic glove, designed to replicate the feeling of touch in the metaverse world, was contested by a Seattle, USA-based startup as having been copied -- a bit too closely. 

Other technologies, such as Japanese startup Shiftall’s body temperature simulator, has pitched technologies that could simulate weather in the metaverse -- all of which could make projects such as IIT-M’s Mars campus simulation more realistic in the future.