Frontier Technology Labs in Schools

by Mar 9, 2024Education0 comments

NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and Meta on Wednesday announced their collaboration to set up Frontier Technology Labs (FTLs) in schools of strategic importance with an aim to democratise future technologies.


On March 6, NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and Meta announced a collaboration to establish Frontier Technology Labs (FTLs) in strategically important schools, aiming to democratise future technologies.

According to an official statement, FTL is an advanced version of Atal Tinkering Lab equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure, including all components of the Tinkering Lab to empower students to innovate using technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Augmented & Virtual Reality, Blockchain, Cybersecurity, Robotics, 3D Printing, and Internet of Things.

Meta builds technologies that help people connect, find communities and grow businesses. Formerly named Facebook, Inc., Meta Platforms, Inc. is an American multinational technology conglomerate based in Menlo Park, California. The company owns and operates Facebook, Instagram, Threads, and WhatsApp, among other products and services.

AIM Director Chintan Vaishnav said these labs will serve as hubs for innovation, providing students with the necessary tools to explore and contribute to the cutting-edge fields that will shape the future.

FTLs are a part of Meta’s Education to Entrepreneurship initiative, launched in September 2023, to seamlessly connect students, youth, workforce, and micro-entrepreneurs with futuristic technologies, taking digital skilling to the grassroots.

Till date, AIM has established 10,000 Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) in schools across 722 districts in India.

The objective of ATLs is to foster curiosity, creativity, and imagination in young minds; and inculcate skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, physical computing etc.

It may be noted that Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog is Government of India’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country and was setup in 2016. Towards this end AIM has taken a holistic approach to ensure creation of a problem-solving innovative mindset in schools and creating an ecosystem of entrepreneurship in universities, research institutions, private and MSME sector.

All the initiatives of AIM are currently monitored and managed systematically using real-time MIS systems and dynamic dashboards. AIM is also currently having its programs reviewed by third party agencies for ensuring continuous improvements.

AIM has already launched the Atal Tinkering Lab (ATL) program. ATL is a state-of-the-art space established in a school with a goal to foster curiosity and innovation in young minds, between grade 6th to 12th across the country through 21st century tools and technologies such as Internet of Things, 3D printing, rapid prototyping tools, robotics, miniaturized electronics, do-it-yourself kits and many more. The aim is to stimulate a problem-solving innovative mindset within the children of the ATL and nearby communities. Till date, AIM has established 10,000 Atal Tinkering Labs in Schools across the country.

Atal Incubation Centres or AICs are business incubators established by AIM at universities, institutions and corporates to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among young innovators of the country. These Atal Incubation Centres aim to foster world-class innovation and support dynamic entrepreneurs, who want to build scalable and sustainable enterprises. AIM has successfully operationalized 72 AICs across India. These AIC enable startups by providing technical facilities, resource-based support, mentorship, funding support, partnerships and networking, co-working spaces and lab facilities among others. 3500+ startups are incubated at these AICs and have created more than 32000 jobs in the ecosystem. About 1000+ startups have a women leader and founder. AICs supports startups from diverse areas such as Healthteach, Fintech, EdTech, Space and Drone Tech, AR/VR, Food Processing, Tourism, among others.

To promote the benefits of technology led innovation to the unserved/underserved regions of India including Tier 2, Tier 3 cities, aspirational districts, tribal, hilly and coastal areas, AIM is setting up Atal Community Innovation Centres with a unique partnership driven model wherein AIM would grant upto Rs 2.5 crores to an ACIC subject to a partner proving equal or greater matching funding. So far 14 ACICs have been established across the country.

Atal New India Challenge is a flagship program of Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog. The program aims to seek, select, support and nurture technology-based innovations that solve sectoral challenges of national importance and societal relevance. ANIC solicits innovations in the prototype stage and supports the selected start-ups throughout the commercialization stage over the course of 12 – 18 months by funding up to INR 1 crore and other associated support. 53 Startups have been supported with grant-in-aid under ANIC phase 1, and 88 Startups have been shortlisted for grant-in-aid and mentorship support under ANIC phase 2 program.

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