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India launches 3D product design software for students

The National Informatics Centre (NIC), the Ministry of Electronics and Information Communication Technology (MeitY), and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) are launching the CollabCAD software.

It is a collaborative network and computer-enabled software system that provides engineering solutions for students and faculty of the engineering graphics curriculum. The solutions include 3D product part/assembly design, 2D drafting and detailing, scripting, importing/exporting CAD data, numerical control, visualisations, simulations, content management, and workflow and enterprise resource planning.

CollabCAD runs on Linux and Windows OS-based desktop systems and is available in both stand-alone and client-server modes. The collaborative mode of CollabCAD enables multiple designers to create and modify part data across a network and concurrently access the same design data for storage and visualisation. It also offers an interactive design environment through audio and video conferencing, allowing participating designers to communicate online.

The portal provides facilities to build and edit entities in virtual 3D spaces using basic geometry such as lines, arcs, and conic sections. Collaboration during design/assembly facilitates rapid product visualisation and drastically cuts down the time for requirement specification, modelling, review, and analysis.

According to a press release, NIC, CBSE, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), and the country’s think-tank, the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) will also release a comprehensive e-book on CollabCAD 3D-modeling. This e-book 1.0 is ready for public release through the CollabCAD portal and will guide CAD students, beginners, and professionals in understanding and using CollabCAD software. It is designed and authored by the CollabCAD Group of NIC, New Delhi.

CBSE will introduce the CollabCAD Software for engineering graphics for classes 11 and 12. The release explained that CollabCAD will be used for practical assignments as part of the subject curriculum, which includes making different types of 3D designs and 2D drawings. Students from over 140 schools across the country, along with schools in the Middle East (affiliated with CBSE) will have access to this software.

NIC and CBSE will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for CollabCAD software support and train the students and faculty of engineering graphics in CBSE-affiliated schools. The MoU, which is valid for ten years, aims to develop human resources and skills around CollabCAD software and popularise CollabCAD among the students and faculty, the release noted.

The software was initially launched in April last year and in tune with the requirements of the ‘Tinker from Home’ campaign for students from over 5,000 schools across the country. A CollabCAD 3D Design Challenge was announced by AIM two days after the launch for students to create 3D digital models using CollabCAD geometric modules.

CBSE has been introducing advanced technology courses in its schools. In July 2020, CBSE integrated an Artificial Intelligence (AI) course in the curriculum for classes 11 and 12. The course was structured around a framework for students consisting of AI basics (its history and applications); skills (design thinking, computational thinking, data fluency, and critical thinking); and values (ethical decision making and bias). The course was made robust with problem-based learning outcomes and assessment methods.

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