From the dawn of time, whenever humanity has wanted to know more, we have achieved it most effectively not by removing ourselves from the world to ponder and theorize, but rather by getting our hands dirty and making careful observations of real stuff. In short, we have learned primarily by tinkering. Sticking to the same line of thought, IIT Roorkee recently saw the opening of Rethink - the Tinkering Lab in the campus. The aim of this laboratory is to serve as a platform, equipped with the state-of-the-art tools and technologies towards channelizing students’ curiosity driven, exploratory, hands-on endeavors in a participative, communicative and self-regulated environment. The lab was inaugurated in March 2016 by the hon’ble defence minister of India, Shri Manohar Parrikar.
The lab was opened in October 2016 but is not yet fully functional. The current lab coordinator is Professor Dhish Kumar Saxena from the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. An 11 membered committee is already in place, chaired by the dean, SRIC (Sponsored Research and Industrial Consultancy) to ensure the smooth functioning of the lab. Among the agendas of the committee, the most important ones are to make the lab functioning 24x7, information dissemination, quarterly checks on the functioning of the lab. Also, the committee which was constituted in the month of February 2017 has to come up with a policy on the functioning of the lab within a month.
The lab is set up with a vision to nurture creativity among the students in a self-regulated environment. There are a plethora of services available in the lab at the disposal of the IITR junta. Some of these facilities include:
A couple of 3D scanners
Computing facilities like Intel Xeon Workstations, Intel Core i7 PCs all loaded with latest software
In the beginning, the lab will be open from 12:00 pm to 12:00 am from Monday to Friday for the first month i.e. March 15, 2017, to April 15, 2017. Following this, the lab will be open on the same timings on weekends too. Students will be required to have biometric registration done in the first month in order to access the lab facilities. Common areas of the lab will be open to students after biometric verification although accessing certain areas will be possible only on slot basis depending upon the urgency of the project and the basic skills required to operate the machine. Raw materials will also be provided again on basis of the project being pursued and the availability.
Thus, the rethink lab is a great asset to IITR and opens up a great opportunity for the students to hone their skills and tinker to deepen their knowledge. Students can come to take full advantage of the power available at their disposal. It is expected that students will responsibly use the facilities which are available to them under no restrictions.