A virtual game that allows users to view historic monuments while cycling indoors has won accolades from Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the grand finale of the digital ‘Toycathon 2021’ event organised by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and some key ministries.
Nineteen-year-old civil engineering student Athik Mohamed M. from Thiagarajar Polytechnic College in Salem, Tamil Nadu, added a layer of virtual reality (VR) to the exercise cycle so that the rider could ‘go’ somewhere while cycling away.
Athik presented his digitally-connected racer that promotes Indian culture and heritage while being physically active to Modi in a virtual session. Athik and his team also added soothing Vedic music in the background — just the right dose to capture the PM’s attention.
Modi appreciated the new game idea and suggested that the team should devise a similar mechanism for a treadmill user.
According to a college statement, Athik assured the prime minister to work on his suggestion, along with team members Deepesh M and Anung Yangfo K.
“I felt honoured. I will work on the ideas suggested by the PM to enhance the scope of this game," Athik said.
What is needed is a VR headset, a phone, and the app to play the ‘Heritage Race’ game.
What makes the game interesting is that users on a regular bicycle can follow heritage routes and even listen to soothing Vedic music in the background. The user gets a 360-degree view.
‘Toycathon 2021’ was organised by the Ministry of Education and AICTE in coordination with Ministries of Women & Child Development, Information & Broadcasting, Commerce & Industry and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Textiles.
‘Toycathon’ programme encourages the development of innovative toys and games.
Of the nearly 17,000 ideas submitted, 1,567 ideas were shortlisted for the three-day online Toycathon grand finale in end June, and only seven outstanding ideas were chosen to be presented to the Prime Minister and the ‘Heritage Race’ game was one of those seven ideas.
“We encouraged the participating team to continue innovating to overcome technical challenges," said V. Karthikeyan, Principal, adding that Thiagarajar Polytechnic College and Sona College of Technology Chairman, C. Valliappa, encouraged young students to put in their best to create digital toys and support ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat Innovate Challenge’.