IIT Jodhpur’s ‘Rakshak’ framework to help in safe reopening of colleges

Researchers from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Jodhpur, have devised an educational institution decision framework called “Campus RAKSHAK” which integrates several applications and tools into one to prevent potential spread of COVID-19 and ensure smooth reopening of campuses.

IIT Jodhpur has partnered with IISc Bangalore, IIT Kharagpur, IIIT Hyderabad, IIT Bombay, Algorithmic Biologics Pvt Ltd, HeathBadge Private Limited and Prthvi.AI to build, integrate and test through this initiative to ensure security on campuses.

While two prototypes of Campus RAKSHAK have been tested simultaneously at IIT Jodhpur and IIIT Hyderabad, the team is in talks to develop an affordable and flexible pricing model, product, marketing and sales strategy to reach campuses across the country.

Campus RAKSHAK has four components: Tapestry Pooling, Go Corona Go App, Simulators and Healthbadge. These provide a single platform for monitoring, predicting and recommending campus mitigation strategies against COVID-19.

“The tapestry pooling method allocates individual samples to multiple pools, reducing screening costs to a quarter. Based on the results of each pool, the algorithm predicts COVID-19 positive samples,” said Manas Bairagi, Chief Technological Officer, iHub Drishti.

iHub Drishti at IIT Jodhpur is a technology innovation hub focused on computer vision, augmented reality and virtual reality.

“’Go Corona Go App’ is a mobile app similar to Aarogya Setu, but the data is accessible for the administration to make the right decisions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Its primary purpose is to perform contact tracing. Users remain connected to the campus server through the phone’s Bluetooth,” Bairagi added.

Explaining about the simulators, Bairagi said it consists of three simulation models: Campus Modeler, CampusSim, and EpiSimmer.
“The simulator will be able to predict where the COVID-19 positivity will spread in the coming days. This can be regarded as an advisory system to assist the administration in making decisions.

“Healthbadge” is an information management and badge system that issues red, orange and green badges to students after the coronavirus infection has been investigated, depending on the adversity of the situation,” he said.

“The integrated information management system and dashboards help administrators track the screening and vaccination status of the entire population on campuses and prevent potential spread of disease.

“Going forward, campuses will be able to rely on campus RAKSHAK solutions with native innovations in screening and pooling strategies at an affordable cost. Using this technology, future epidemics can be monitored and public health interventions evaluated across the country and the world,” Bairagi added.

At present, iHuB Drishti charges Rs 250 per user from the institutions opting for the program. However, the team is working on its pricing model and is also exploring a subscription model as numbers grow.

Santanu Chaudhury, director of IIT Jodhpur, said: “The Campus RAKSHAK project is the result of a consortium-based research to serve as an advisory system for the campus administrators. The agent-based simulator can model the mobility of agents on a campus and the contact tracing app can build an anonymous contact graph for the institution.The Information Management System manages COVID-19 on campus economically and efficiently through digital accounts”.

Colleges and universities across the country have begun reopening after prolonged closure in the wake of COVID-19. Educational institutions were closed in March 2020 pending a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. They reopened briefly in several states but were closed again after an aggressive second wave last year and then the Omicron-powered third wave.

Sajal Jain
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