PM Modi congratulates Team UPES for board game Aarogya, calls it a ‘union of ancient knowledge and modern innovation’
Students and faculty from UPES were among the finalists at Toycathon 2021. UPES was one of the 7 teams selected by AICTE to present their unique gaming idea to Prime Minister Narendra Modi
As part of the initiative Atmanirbhar Bharat, the Union Education Minister of India Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, and Union Minister for Women and Child Development and Textiles Smriti Zubin Irani jointly, launched the Toycathon 2021. Toycathon was conceived as an event to crowd-source innovative toys and game ideas. It sought to tap into the one-billion-dollar toy market, involving the innovation and expertise of the nation’s 33 crore students and developing India as the global toy manufacturing hub.
Toycathon is an endeavour by the Indian government to create an ecosystem for the domestic toy industry and the local manufacturers, utilizing the available resources and their potential. In this hackathon, students and teachers, design experts, and start-ups come together to develop toys and games that are based on Indian culture and ethos, local folklore and heroes, and Indian value systems.
Toycathon is based on varied themes such as Indian culture, history, ethos, learning, education and schooling, social and human values, occupations and other fields, environment, Divyang – fitness, and sports. It encourages out-of-the-box, creative, and logical thinking and reviving traditional Indian toys.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 24, 2021, held an online interaction with the finalists of Toycathon 2021 where he mentioned the two greatest strengths of India – tradition and technology. The PM also appealed to the country’s youth about self-reliance and coming up with local solutions in the world of toys and digital gaming.
Students and faculty from UPES School of Engineering, Design and Computer Science were amongst the finalists in the Toycathon 2021. Out of the nearly 2000 teams competing at the Toycathon, project Arogya led by Dr. Ashish Karnfrom Department of Mechanical Engineering, UPES was selected to be presented before PM Modi.
Talking about the innovative project Arogya, Dr. Ashish Karn from UPES School of Engineering says, “Arogya is a physical board game that aptly fits into the Toycathon’s theme of ‘Fitness and Sport’. The game was conceived and ideated jointly by Dr. Abhay Kumar and me. We also got immense support from our colleague Mr. Pankaj Badoni, Assistant Professor, at UPES School of Computer Science, who helped us with the graphics and the design of the board. After several tireless trials and sessions, we could craft a game that made it to the selected seven teams who interacted with the honourable Prime Minister on June 24.”
“Multiple rounds of interviews and panels were held with Dr. Abhay Jere, Dr. Mohit Gambhir and Dr. Sahasrabudhe from AICTE before the interaction with Prime Minister. PM Narendra Modi was impressed with all the games, ranging from chemistry, trigonometry, Artificial Intelligence (AI) AI to health and Ayurveda,” adds Dr. Ashish Karn.
Says Dr. Karn, “Modi ji appreciated the initiative and called our game the ‘union of ancient knowledge and modern innovation’. The Prime Minister further suggested that the elements of preventive health care must be included in this game since it is the first principle of health. He also entrusted the team with the responsibility of creating awareness about the nation’s battle against malnutrition. He was happy with our innovative game on Ayurveda and emphasized that a kids’ version of the game should also be designed to simplify things for them. We are constantly working to incorporate the comments given by him and to bring this game to fruition.”
In a great display of multidisciplinary approach towards innovation, students Rahul, Shorya Kansal and Paritosh Pancholi and faculty Pankaj Badoni from UPES School of Computer Science worked with Dr. Ashish Karn and Dr. Abhay Kumar from UPES School of Engineering and Manas Ranjan Mishra from UPES School of Design to prepare various components of the game.
Dr. Sunil Rai, Vice-Chancellor, UPES, says, “Project Arogya is an incredible effort in the direction of interdisciplinary and collaborative innovations and development at UPES. The efforts of students are praiseworthy, and the guidance of faculty is exemplary. The team of faculty and students has made UPES proud. I wish them all the best in their endeavours to continue their journey through excellence.”