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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

296 - TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2) Launched at IIT Madras India Education Diary

Monday, January 19, 2015

Report by India Education bureau, Chennai: Shri T T Jagannathan, Chairman, TTK Prestige, inaugurated the “TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research & Device Development (R2D2)” at IIT Madras today. Shri Jagannathan is a Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Madras, having graduated in 1970 with a B.Tech. in Mechanical Engineering.

The TTK Group has committed Rs. 3.68 crores of funding for the Center over a 5 year period. This funding will facilitate the sustained efforts of Dr. Sujatha Srinivasan and her students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at IIT Madras to enable individuals with physical impairments to lead independent lives via the use of orthotic, prosthetic, and other assistive devices. Developing assistive devices for people affected by locomotor impairments is a key focus area of Dr. Sujatha Srinivasan and her students in the Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2) group in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at IIT Madras.

The group has developed working prototypes for various devices such as a standing wheelchair, a prosthetic knee, a swimming pool lift and a body-motion-controlled wheelchair. Several more projects are in various stages of development. The new “TTK Centre for R2D2”will leverage the engineering strengths of IIT-Madras to improve clinical outcomes and fill a huge existing void in the availability of functional, affordable assistive devices for people with locomotor impairments in India. The purpose of the Centerwill be to engineer and develop affordable products for our country's rehabilitation needs, work with clinical specialists, NGOs, hospitals, etc., to field-test the designs, and foster a research environment to evaluate assistive device designs and improve upon them from biomechanical and functional standpoints. The Centre intends to work with like-minded industrial partners so that high quality designs reach the mass market at affordable prices.

The inauguration of the center was done at the Reunion of the 1970 batch of IITM. To mark the reunion, the batch is additionally raising funds to support the Counselling and Suicide Prevention inside IIT. Over 90 alumni are participating in this reunion along with 48 spouses from various parts of the world including New Zealand, Australia, Europe, USA and Canada and from all over India.

Shri Jagannathan expressed his pride in being a product of IIT Madras, stating that “the foundation provided by IITM made it possible for me to comfortably post-graduate in Operations Research from Cornell University. My education at IITM helped me to successfully head the TTK Group and make unique contributions to product innovation. I consider it my duty and privilege to support the institution I qualified from. In the past, a Chair was created by IITM in the name of TTK in recognition of support extended by TTK Group. I am impressed by the Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2) initiative of IITM and the presentation made by Prof. Nagarajan and Dr. Sujatha Srinivasan. I believe that this initiative will deliver improvised devices at affordable prices for use by physically challenged people and bring quality to their life. We are extremely happy to contribute to this research project. I thank IITM for providing me this opportunity to fund a project that will be useful to the society".

“As IIT Madras grows from strength to strength in education and research, we look to alumni to catalyse and accelerate our efforts,” said Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras. “Apart from being generous donors, many alumni now engage actively with their alma mater in bolstering its research and entrepreneurship programmes. Mr. TT Jagannathan’s outstanding support for creating a somewhat unusual research laboratory is a shining example of this kind of engagement.”

Prof. Nagarajan, Dean of International & Alumni Relations at IIT Madras, welcomed the contribution of the TTK Group, and in particular praised the role played by Shri Jagannathan in making it happen. “Shri Jagannathan was very receptive to the concept of the R2D2 Center from the very beginning. His encouragement culminated in the presentation of a proposal by Dr. Sujatha at the TTK Offices in Bengaluru, and the subsequent grant of funding. Alumni like Shri Jagannathan are such valuable resources to us as IIT Madras realizes its full potential as a world-class academic R & D hub with a sharp focus on societal needs”.