Most of us grew up listening to the story of a wise cap-seller who managed to get his caps back by tricking the monkeys sitting on a tree. In the stories that we have read or heard, monkeys may have been depicted as humorous characters. However, in reality they are hostile, especially when the ever-increasing population of human race continues to invade into their territory. In Karkala taluk, which is located about 55 km away from Mangalore, Karnataka, monkeys were responsible for crop loss to the tune of Rs. 5 crore during 2010-11. Over 800 small farmers have given up cultivation because of monkey menace and around 1200 - 1400 acres of fertile land has been left fallow. Two committed suicide owing to crop loss and inability to repay bank loans and about 1800 farmers are living in abject poverty due to 75 percent crop damage by monkeys.
While the old cap-seller's story portrays the power of wisdom over weapons and muscle power, at the research labs of Bangalore based M.S. Engineering College, students and faculties are almost ready to unleash their latest innovation. "It is a giant Robotic Langur Monkey developed by our students and faculty members. This automated system with Robotic Langur at the center can produce over 17 different vocals by identifying the attitude of monkeys coming to the agricultural lands," explains Dr. Cyril Prasanna Raj, Dean of Research and Development, M.S. Engineering College. Established in 2002 with a vision of developing an R&D department that can act as a nodal centre of national importance with global network, M.S. Engineering College has been true to its vision, which is evident from the number of research activities that have been carried out by the students and faculty members. In this era of technology and globalization, while most of the knowledge creators around the world are contemplating about the next big thing that they can discover, M.S. Engineering College stands unique owing to their applied researches catering to the societal and technological needs of mankind.
"We encourage our students to find the problems faced by their local communities and the industries around us. Based on their findings, we conduct project exhibitions and design competitions, which trigger new ideas that can be converted into successful ventures and potential research," says Sudarshan Raju, Secretary, M.S. Engineering College. Though, the institute has numerous research products like Robotic Langur Monkey and underwater vehicle that can find drowned human bodies, software named Aaron developed in 2013 has been the most successful product till date. Being the first the VLSI design software developed by students and faculty members of a private engineering college in India, Aaron has been receiving appreciations from electronic industries as well as research centers around the country. In the last three years, the institute has trained over 3000 engineers across the country using Aaron and has distributed over 300 licenses of the software to the colleges across Karnataka. "Aaron is highly user-friendly software to carryout entire VLSI Chip design. This software has been recommended by VTU and we have approached universities like Anna University, Gujarat Technological University and JNTU. Hopefully, by next academic year, we may find this tool in the syllabus of these universities," claims Dr. Cyril.
With an active R&D team that has been working rigorously in the state-of-the-art labs built in 25 acres of sprawling campus, M.S. Engineering College does not limit their research activities inside the campus. While, the faculty members disseminate the latest knowledge that they have gained through cutting-edge research to the industries by taking consultancy projects and conducting corporate training programs, the institute has provided ample opportunities for students to take up entrepreneurship inside the campus. Hence, Incubation centre of M.S. Engineering College is one of the most happening places at the campus, with seven student-driven companies working like well-oiled engines. "Currently, the management is supporting the student startups by offering a seeding funding of Rs. 5 Lakh along with fund of Rs. 1 Lakh per team from Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. Soon, we would be getting a funding of Rs.5 Crores from Technology Business Incubators (TBI)," shares Dr. Cyril.
Being located in Bangalore – the silicon city of India that supports big industries as well as budding entrepreneurs alike - has been a huge advantage of M.S. Engineering College. With socially relevant researches that are supported by internationally reputed universities and a curriculum that transforms ordinary students to professionals, entrepreneurs and research scholars, the institute is a one favorite talent hunting ground for corporate biggies today. "Here, we consider Academics, R&D, Training and Consultancy and International Collaborations as four major verticals of highly quality education. By focusing on these four areas, we aspire to develop this institution as a centre of excellence for cutting-edge research," concludes Sudarshan.
Dr. Cyril Prasanna Raj, Dean of Research and Development
He is the in charge for R&D activities at M.S. Engineering College and has been involved in industry collaborations, research collaborations and career development training. An entrepreneur and Registered Guide under VTU, Belgaum for PhD Supervision with over 19 years of research/teaching experience, Dr. Cyril has been instrumental in developing India's first VLSI design software named Aaron.