What is the IITM Centre For Innovation? What does it do? Can students join?

Housed in the recently inaugurated majestic Sudha and Shankar Innovation hub, the Centre for Innovation, commonly known here as CFI, is the largest student-run innovation lab in India. It was set up to serve as a launchpad for the ideas of the students of IIT Madras. The new CFI building is alumni-funded, signifying the important role that CFI clubs and teams play in building strong senior-junior relations and close-knit alumni networks.

Walk in with an Idea, walk out with a product!

CFI consists of 13 clubs and 6 competition teams. Club applications are released during the first semester. Students need to complete this application, which has no prerequisites but assesses their skills and eagerness to learn. Following this interviews are conducted, typically led by the club’s heads. CFI does not have strict timings or schedules. It is open 24*7, and students, with a dedicated space of work for each Club and Competition team, work round the clock to build for the future.

The Centre is a builders’ paradise. It is bustling with activity at any given time, and you can see wires, motors, wheels, frames, and batteries lying everywhere with students running around them. The clubs receive full support in terms of infrastructure and funding from the institute. The projects students build during their time here have a lasting impact on them, extending into their futures as they graduate. The CFI stands as a testament to what Engineering is capable of, in its truest sense.

The Clubs: The clubs work round the year on multiple projects, with a separate team assigned to each project. Some of them focus on getting patents, while most of them work to display them at the Open House - An annual event attended by professors, Industry personnel, and news channels.

Here are the 13 clubs:

Join India’s largest 24/7 student-run innovation lab at IIT Madras!

The Competition Teams: As the name suggests, the main aim of the competition teams is to participate in international competitions, representing IIT Madras and competing with top teams from around the world. They are known for their rigorous work culture, and their applications are designed accordingly.

  • Raftaar Formula Racing: One of the best teams in the country, Raftar is the formula racing team of 50 students from different disciplines in IIT Madras with a shared passion for automotive engineering and motorsports.
  • Team Abhiyaan: Team Abhiyaan is a group of multi-disciplinary students of IIT Madras, committed to building intelligent, robust, precise, and safe Autonomous ground navigation systems.
  • Team Anveshak: Team Anveshak is a group of more than 30 enthusiastic students from IIT Madras who are dedicated to the field of robotics. They are focused on building remote-operated all-terrain rovers that come with a robotic manipulator and digger, suitable for harsh Martian conditions.
  • Avishakar Hyperloop: Avishkar Hyperloop is an internationally acclaimed student team of 70+ from IIT Madras focused on revolutionizing transportation with sustainable Hyperloop technologies.
  • Team Agnirath: The most recent competition team of IITM, team Agnirath is focused on building novel state-of-the-art solar cars for a sustainable future.
  • Team Abhyuday: A team with fresh minds from different engineering disciplines united by a passion for space, with the aim of pushing India to the next phase of rocketry.

Apart from the clubs and the teams, CFI also conducts summer school, helping students from both within and outside the institute learn about every club’s basics in a concise way over the summer, giving an essence of what work goes on in the CFI.

The Centre stands as one of the strongest enablers of building culture at IIT Madras, proving exactly why IIT Madras is the best place to build. If you have the passion to build something from scratch and are willing to put in the hard work to innovate and ultimately use it for the greater good, then IIT Madras’ Centre for Innovation is the place to be.

We’ve all heard of Ather Energy, India’s EV darling. Did you know Ather started CFI? It is the brainchild of Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain, both alumni of the Engineering Design Department of IIT Madras. From its origins as an electric vehicle prototype, Ather Energy has evolved into what it is today - thanks to the assistance provided by IIT Madras in terms of infrastructure and funding.

So, join us at IIT Madras - the best place to build!

(This video is not made by AskIITM. It has been attached for viewing purposes only. Credits to the creator - Avneesh kumar via YouTube.)