The Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-MET) has been granted Rs 200 crore in the Union Budget to indigenously develop advanced sensors, such as iris sensors and movement-based sensors, for use in smart cities. The institute has its headquarters in Pune and has centres in Thrissur and Hyderabad.
Dr Bharat Kale, director of C-MET, said the institute has started work on iris sensors. “This would be the first time that such work is happening in India. We are designing the sensor as well as working on the material for it. Most of the present sensors are imported,” he said.
According to the guidelines of the smart cities project, use of information and communications technology (ICT) would be one of the key cornerstones of such cities.
Other than IT, movement-based sensors will play an important role in smart cities to ensure proper delivery of services and prevent wastage of resources such as gas and water. An independent study commissioned by NASSCOM had said the ICT side of the smart cities project would generate business worth Rs 3,000-4,000 crore. Pune is one of the 100 cities which has been selected for the smart cities project.
The report pointed out that smart cities would see usage of ICT across key pillars of physical, social, environmental and institutional sectors. For example, in a smart city, water supply would be controlled via ICT, with sensors activating the mechanism once the overhead tanks are full. Also, it is expected that the movement-based sensors would operate in homes and offices, controlling the lights depending on the number of people in the room.
Sensors would also be used to economise waste collection, with “intelligent waste bins” alerting trucks once they are filled.
Kale said that while work on gas sensors is advanced, they hope to finish the work on iris sensors within two years. Such sensors, besides being used in security services, will also find use in banks. As of now, most iris sensors are imported from the USA, a major world producer of advanced sensors.
Government agencies like Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) are conducting a detailed study on the sensors which will be used in the smart cities. A detailed report would be submitted in March based on which the institute would undertake further research and development. While C-MET would be developing the technology for the sensors and actuators, the work of commercialisation would be done by a different company.
“We would be asking for expression of interest and through open tender we will transfer the technology to the highest bidder. In some cases, the technology might be transferred to more than one bidder based on government directions,” he said.