Smart India Hackathon: Govt wants hardware innovations from colleges

Hardware hackathon Representational image | Facebook account of i4C

The HRD ministry now has a plan to improve India's performance in the hardware sector. The ministry is seeking hardware ideas from students of engineering colleges as part of the Smart India Hackathon 2018.

Smart India Hackathon is a competition wherein the ministry invites technology-led solutions for real world problems. It is an open innovation model wherein students innovate to come up with out-of-the-box solutions for problems in agriculture, healthcare, education, environment and other areas.

"Smart India Hackathon 2018—hardware edition is the first of its kind innovative initiative to provide a national platform to young technical minds of India to showcase their disruptive innovations and creative products, which can bring out revolutionary changes in crucial sectors like agriculture, health, clean water, waste management, automotive, smart communication and education," said HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar.

For the Hardware Hackathon, 4,362 team ideas have been received with participation from more than 50,000 students across more than 752 technical institutions. After two internal rounds of evaluations with support from industry experts, 106 teams have been short-listed to compete under the 10 themes in the SIH2018 Hardware edition grand finale. AICTE, Persistent Systems, i4C and IIT Kharagpur are other partners who are working with the ministry for short-listing teams.

The grand finale of the Hardware Hackathon will be a five-day event and will take place simultaneously at 10 institutions (nodal centres) across India—IIT Kanpur (drones theme), IIT Kharagpur (agriculture theme), IIT Guwahati (rural technology theme), CEERI Pilani (smart communication theme), CSIO Chandigarh (healthcare theme), IISc Bengaluru (smart vehicles theme), IIT Roorkee (clean water theme), NIT Trichy (waste management theme), COEP Pune (security theme) and Forge Coimbatore (import substitution theme).

The evaluation during the grand finale will be done by industry experts and angel investors. The top-3 winning teams under each theme will stand to win cash prizes—Rs 1,00,000 to the winning team, Rs 75,000 to first runner-up team and Rs 50,000 to the second runner-up team.

They may also get support from investors who are willing to invest in the products and make them market ready. The ministry of HRD is working closely with Department of Science and Technology to explore the possibility of hand-holding the winning teams for creating start-ups with the support from various technology business incubators (TBIs) across India. Attempts are also being made to explore new avenues of additional funding post the grand finale for some of the most promising innovations.