Innovation Hubs to drive science in Northeast

Kolkata, June 8: This is something straight out of “Jurassic World.” Banking on the increased interest of youngsters in IT-ebled exhibits, the tiol Council of Science Museums (NCSM) is focussing on deploying holographic and multimedia projections, 3D-rendered displays in its centres a la the Hollywood blockbuster – and also foraying into “unrepresented regions” such as the Northeast, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

“We are observing that the younger generation is more interested in IT-related exhibits. There should be much higher use of such exhibits… holographic projections, for example. The youth like them and are very friendly with such immersive displays. So some of the exhibitions will have holographic projections,” A.S. Manekar, the Director General of the Kolkata-headquartered NCSM said.

For starters, the NCSM, under the Ministry of Culture, is expanding its installations of Science on A Sphere (SOS) spherical projection system created by the US tiol Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Set up at the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum in Bengaluru, the SOS system presents a high-resolution video on a giant suspended globe rather than a flat screen, to enhance visualisation of global phenome.

“It looks as if you are viewing planet earth from space. We are going to open one soon in Kolkata (at the Science City),” while another opened in New Delhi on June 7, Manekar said.

Given the wide spectrum of virtual reality activities available on the internet, can NCSM pull off the feat of drawing youngsters out to see exhibits in its science museums?

“These are challenges as well as opportunities for us. We do have some of our exhibitions online but that doesn’t give you the persol feel and the joy that you get of something happening in front of you in 3D form. Our challenge is to make 3D exhibits in such a manner that people will still come physically,” Manekar said.

Simultaneously, to eble the common man in northeast India explore new ideas and find solutions for everyday problems specific to the region, each of the states will get an Innovation Hub.

“By March 2017 we are supposed to complete 50 innovation hubs at a total cost of Rs 100 crore. We have opened 12 hubs and 15 are in the making. So, we have a huge task of setting up more, and basically, we are looking at the northeast for that,” informed Manekar.

Acknowledging there is a potential in the northeast as in other parts of the country for people to make use of these hubs, Manekar said that the resources available to the people in northeast is “somehow not enough.”

“Therefore, our aim is to provide them resources and provide them basic ideas so that they can further develop their ideas and come up with solutions to solve their daily problems. The problems faced by people in the northeast are different from those living in other parts of the country and the people themselves can solve them,” he added.

“It’s a facility for the students and common man to explore their ideas. If a person feels some work can be done in a better way or we can save some labour, time or money, then there is a chance for them to try out the ideas,” Manekar said. This apart, on the anvil is a large Science City in Guwahati at a cost of Rs110 crore, a planetarium in Gangtok in Sikkim, and there is a request from Mizoram for an evolution park, the official said. (IANS)