Category Archives: Science & Technology

Kerala start-up makes it to top 10

Infopark-based Inntot Technologies chosen for Industrial Innovation Awards 2017 instituted by CII

Thiruvananthapuram :

Inntot Technologies, a media entertainment start-up incubated at the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), has been chosen as one of the Top 10 Promising Start-ups of India for the Industrial Innovation Awards 2017 instituted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). Inntot has also bagged the CII Industrial Innovation Award for the best service start-up.

Based at Infopark, Kochi, Inntot Technologies specialises in providing cost-effective radio digital solutions and offers software solutions and services in consumer electronics, Internet of Things, and the mobile sector.

The company was founded by Rajith Nair and Prasanth Thankappan at Kakkanad in 2014. It was shifted to Infopark this year.

Inntot is also working on other technologies including a communication facility that enables safe and comfortable vehicular traffic. It participated in the 26th edition of the IT Week held in Japan recently.

Infosys co-founder and CII Startup Council chairman S. Gopalakrishnan was the chairman of the jury.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States / by Special Correspondent / October 29th, 2017

Organic near-infrared filter developed by NIIST team

A. Ajayaghosh, right, and Samrat Ghosh. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Can be used in night vision glasses and night photography

An organic filter that allows only near-infrared (NIR) light to pass through has been developed by scientists at the CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science and Technology (CSIR-NIIST) based in Thiruvananthapuram.

The new NIR filter can be used for night vision glasses, night photography, and will have applications in security and forensics such as identifying blood stains on a dark fabric.

Currently available inorganic filters are expensive and brittle whereas organic filters are easy to process and flexible too.

The filter was prepared by mixing a black dye (diketopyrrolopyrrole or DPP) having an amide group that helps the molecules to be in close contact with each other and interact, leading to changes in their optical properties.

“The amide group helps in binding and self-assembly of the molecule leading to the formation of a soft organogel,” says Ayyappanpillai Ajayaghosh, Director of NIIST, who led the team of researchers.

Organogel is key

The organogel-based filter has the ability to absorb both ultraviolet and visible light while allowing the near-infrared light alone to pass through. The nanofibres formed through the self-assembly of the DPP molecules are responsible for the broad light absorption of the material, making it appear dark.

The researchers developed the filter by mixing the organogel with a transparent polymer (polydimethylsiloxane). The addition of the dye turns the transparent polymer into a semi-transparent one and the filter appears black as it absorbs most of the ultraviolet-visible light.

“Only very little of the organogel has to be added to the polymer to make the filter. The material is present throughout the polymer matrix even though very little is added,” says Samrat Ghosh from the Chemical Sciences and Technology Division at NIIST and the first author of the paper published in the journal Advanced Materials.

The filter was found to absorb light from 300-850 nm (both ultraviolet, visible and a part of NIR light) and transmit NIR light from 850-1500 nm. The researchers tested it for night photography and found the filter responsive only to NIR light.

Dried blood stains on a black cloth that remained invisible to naked eyes became clearly visible and detectable when viewed through a camera with the NIR filter. Tampering of a cheque which was not discernible to naked eyes could be easily identified when viewed through a camera with the filter.

A potential application of the new material is in the design of hidden security codes on documents which can be viewed only through a NIR-readable camera.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> Sci-Tech> Science / by R Prasad / October 24th, 2017

India’s largest floating solar plant ready

The solar farm on 18 floating platforms in Banasura Sagar reservoir

___________________________________________________________

Highlights

  • The solar photo voltaic panels of the floating solar farm have been installed on 18 floating platforms made of ferrocement floaters with hollow insides.
  • KSEB sources said that they were waiting for the availability of chief minister to inaugurate the plant possibly by next month

_____________________________________________________________

Kozhikode :

The construction works of the largest floating solar plant in the country have been completed at the Banasura Sagar reservoir in Wayanad.

The 500 kWp (kilowatt peak) solar plant of the KSEB floats on 6,000 square metres of water surface of the reservoir. The outlay for the project is Rs 9.25 crore.

The solar photo voltaic panels of the floating solar farm have been installed on 18 floating platforms made of ferrocement floaters with hollow insides.

“The installation works of the floating solar panels is over and the plant will be ready for inauguration soon,” said Manoharan P, assistant executive engineer at the KSEB research and dam safety sub-division, Thariyode.

He said the 500 kWp project is the largest floating solar project to come up in the country. The work of the project had begun on March 2016.

KSEB sources said that they were waiting for the availability of chief minister to inaugurate the plant possibly by next month.

Officials of Thiruvananthapuram-based Adtech Systems Ltd, which set up the plant, said that the plant would be able to generate 7.5 lakh units of power annually which will be fed to the KSEB grid using underwater cables.

“We have used high efficiency solar panels for the project as per KSEB stipulations. Also, we have set up a floating substation on the reservoir to convert the output into 11kV considering economic and safety aspects,” said Raveendran T Nair, vice-president (projects) of Adtech Systems Ltd.

He said that the floating solar plants had higher efficiency compared to ground-mounted installations due to the moderating effect of water bodies on panel temperature.

“Also, when compared to ground based units, the floating panels will accumulate lower concentration of dust,” he said.

The 500kWp project is a scaled up version of the 10kW floating solar project which was commissioned in Banasura Sagar reservoir in January 2016.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> City News> Kozhikode News / TNN / October 17th, 2017

Expertise of engineering college to go virtual

Local libraries, reading rooms in Taliparamba constituency to be linked to GCEK’s virtual learning facility

The interactive virtual learning facility of Government Engineering College, Kannur, (GCEK), at Dharmasala here will be linked to the local library-cum-reading rooms in the Taliparamba Assembly constituency for the dissemination of e-contents of expertise useful for the public.

The plan, outlined as part of the entrepreneurship support initiative Samruddhi, launched in the constituency under the leadership of local MLA James Mathew, envisages provision of computers, LED display boards and printers to 164 library-cum-reading rooms in the constituency for linking them with the interactive virtual learning centre of the GCEK started under its Centre for Information, Communication and Educational Technology (CICET). Mr. Mathew had announced the other day that a workshop for five functionaries each of the libraries would be held at Taliparamba on October 20 to discuss activities to be carried out under the Samruddhi scheme using the libraries as centres.

“Once the libraries are connected to the interactive virtual learning facility of the college, the e-content stored in the college’s server can be accessed by them,” GCEK Principal C. Sreekumar said. Another feature is a programme being organised by one of the libraries can be streamed to rest of the others, he added.

The CICET includes a resource studio and a server that would used as a platform for interactive classroom programmes and contents involving the expertise of the colleges faculties in different disciplines.

The CICET was inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan last month. Under the Samruddhi scheme, this facility is being extended for the benefit of the public through libraries and schools. The e-contents will be created, stored and disseminated under the initiative.

As the Samruddhi scheme envisages dissemination of information on socially beneficial programmes of the government among their beneficiaries, including aspiring entrepreneurs, the facility would function as a common link between government departments and the public.

Mr. Mathew said the funds would be accessed if the clusters of entrepreneurs propose projects that cannot be established on their own. Water conservation, waste treatment and good agricultural practices are being given priority under the scheme, he said.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Kerala / by Mohamed Nazeer / Kannur – October 16th, 2017

Mahatma Gandhi University’s faculty to lead expedition team to Arctic

Kottayam :

CT Aravindakumar, a faculty at Mahatma Gandhi University’s (MGU) School of Environmental Sciences, will lead an eight-member team of Indian scientists for an expedition in the Arctic region this month. National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) in Goa, the nodal agency that coordinates India’s polar research, will organize the expedition, which will last four to six weeks. MGU had recently signed a MoU with NCAOR on joint polar research.

Under this agreement, MGU researchers can take part in Artic expedition  every year. India conducts nearly 5 expeditions each year. The team will be studying atmospheric, biological, marine and earth sciences, glaciological and pollution issues. The main research programme is on pollution in the Arctic region which will have a long-term impact. It has already initiated a long-term programme with NCAOR on the study of air and water pollution, fate and transport of pollutants, aquatic organism etc.

India is one of the leading contributors in polar research and had started its Arctic expedition in 2007. India’s first Arctic research station, named Himadri, was inaugurated in 2008 at the International Arctic Research base, Ny-Alesund, located 2,000km north of Norway.

India is the 11th country to set up a permanent research station in the region. Himadri can host 8 scientists at a time under normal conditions. Members of the station are given weapon training to protect themselves from polar bears.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kochi News> Schools & Colleges / TNN / July 14th, 2017

ST radar inaugurated at Cusat

Union Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan visits the Stratosphere-Troposphere Radar Facility at Cusat in the city on Tuesday

Union Minister says researchers must work towards people-centric science

Union Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan has said that scientists and researchers have to work towards a people-centric science and emphasised the need for scientific social responsibility on the lines of corporate social responsibility. The Minister was speaking at a press conference after the dedication of the Stratosphere-Troposphere (ST) Radar Facility at the Advanced Centre for Atmospheric Radar Research at the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) here on Tuesday.

He said scientists and researchers had the responsibility to give back to society. The scientists behind the achievement had to be congratulated because they had followed the call for ‘Make in India’ and the effort had been appreciated internationally by countries such as Japan, Korea and Sweden. He said climate science was doing well in India, and the country had entered into high quality collaborations with countries like Israel recently.

A handout issued at the dedication of the facility at the university said that it was the first stratosphere troposphere wind profile radar operating on 205 MHz installed in the world. The facility will aid monitor atmospheric wind conditions across altitudes up to 20 km and beyond. The research has applications in meteorology, cloud physics, thunderstorms, convections, atmospheric electricity and climate change.

Mr. Vardhan said India expected to provide optical fibre cable facility to all panchayats in the country by 2018. The 38 CSIR laboratories will be made accessible to students in Kendriya Vidyalayas for two to three weeks to create awareness about the work being done in the laboratories. The programme will help familiarise people with the scientific research being done in the country. The government wanted to create a passion for science among students, the Minister added.

Director of the Centre K. Mohankumar and Cusat Vice Chancellor J. Letha were among those present at the dedication of the facility.

source:  http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by Special Correspondent / Kochi – July 12th, 2017

Country’s first digitalised Panchayat ward in Kerala

Kottayam  :

A ward in the district today became India’s first digitalised panchayat ward .

www.digitalaymanam.com website

Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar inaugurated the website of the first digitalised panchayat ward number 15 of Aymanam grama panchayat at a function held at a temple premises.

The minister launched the website digitalaymanam  at the function.

This small panchayat ward in Kerala  has become the first one to go digital in the country, taking a very important step in fulfilling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of transforming India  into a digitally empowered society, the Minister said.

Gurjar hailed ward member Devaki teacher for taking the challenge of collecting details of 423 families and 1,262 members in the ward and made them available in a mouse click away.

The website also contains information about blood donors’ forum and telephone directory of the people of the ward, officials said.

CPI(M), which is ruling the Aymanam Gram Panchayat, boycotted the function.

They, however, have not cited any reasons for the boycott.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kohikode News / PTI / April 30th, 2017

When a noisy creature brought laurels to a not too silent campus

A short film on cicada, shot at Maharaja’s College, bags top honours at National Science Film Festival

Kochi :

Cicada is an insect that turns an otherwise silent place noisy. In fact, it is its absence that continues to preserve the silence in the rain forests of Silent Valley.

However, it required these noisy creatures to bring laurels to Maharaja’s College campus, which was in the news recently for all the wrong reasons, thanks to its fare share of noisy scenes.

Ore Naadam…Ore Thaalam (Same Tune, Same Rhythm), a short film made by Kottarakkara-based Padanakendram of the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad, in association with the zoology department at the college, has bagged the prestigious Golden Beaver Award for the best science and technology film at the seventh National Science Film Festival held at the Birla Industrial and Technological Museum in Kolkata from February 14 to 18.

The festival was organised by Vigyan Prasar of the Department of Science and Technology and the National Council for Science Museums.

The 25-minute film was directed by K.V. Sreenivasan Kartha, who had previously won the Golden Beaver Award in 2015 for another short film. C. Lilly, who wrote the screenplay, also received a special jury award.

“The whole idea was the popularisation of science, and the film aims at deconstructing several myths and misconceptions about cicadas and the sound they generate,” said K.S. Sunish, a faculty member of the zoology department at Maharaja’s College.

The film narrates how a group of children from Kottarakkara approaches Maharaja’s College in their quest to know more about cicada and where L.P. Rema, head of the zoology department, and Mr. Sunish take them through the many characteristics and life cycle of the insect.

One of the highlights of the film is a 2.30-minute visual on the moulting of cicada. But as ubiquitous as their sound is, it is equally tough to spot cicadas.

Some portions of the film were shot at Kottarakkara and some at the Kerala Forest Research Institute based on interactions with a scientist, T.V. Sajeev, who also happens to be an alumnus of Maharaja’s College.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Kochi / by M P Praveen / February 26th, 2017

Breakthrough method developed for water purification by young scientist

Deepu Gopakumar, a 28-year-old research student of Nanoscience technology at MG University

Kottayam :

In a breakthrough invention , a research student at the MG University  here developed a method to remove toxic dyes and Nano particles from water using cellulose based Nano filters made from agro waste. It was Deepu Gopakumar, 28-year-old research student of Nano Science technology at the varsity who made this important invention which will help in cost effective purification of water in future. A green approach for purification of water is also made possible as organic solvents are not needed in this new method.

Deepu developed a Nano cellulose based Nano fibrous membrane from agro waste (pineapple, banana, coir etc.) for the removal of toxic textile dyes and nanoparticles from water. Currently, most of the surface modifications of cellulose nanofibers are done using toxic organic solvents. The new method is the first one where the surface modifications of cellulose Nano fibers is done through non solvent assisted procedure.

Deepu did his research under the supervision of Sabu Thomas and Nandakumar Kalarikkal at the International and Inter University Centre for Nano science and Nanotechnology (IIUCNN), MG University. The research also had support of Federal University of Uberlandia, Brazil, under the supervision of Daniel Paiquini, said MG Vice Chancellor Babu Sebastian. The results of the study were recently published in ACS sustainable energy and engineering. American Chemical Society  (ACS) is a scientific society based in the United States that supports scientific inquiry in the field of chemistry.

According to Deepu, the bed developed from the agro waste which is used for purification of water can be continuously used for six months after that it has to be cleaned. Since the membrane does not have any organic solvent, minerals are not lost from the water.

Babu Sebastian said that the University will apply for a patent for the invention. Research guides Sabu Thomas and Nandakumar said that the University will start producing it commercially within a year after finding a business partner. The university is also planning to develop miniature models which can be connected to the water taps. According to initial studies the cost of purifying water which costs around Rs 5 for a litre can be reduced to Rs 2 using the new method. It can also be sued for sea water purification.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / News> City News> Kozhikode News / Jaikrishnan Nair / TNN / February 13th, 2017

Conference on Indian medicine system from Friday

Thiruvananthapuram :

‘Jignasa 2017’ an international conference on Indian systems of medicine such as ayurveda and siddha will be held from February 10 to 12 at the Saraswati Mandapam Ground, Poojappura. As part of the conference, an exhibition on science and public health has opened at the venue. The event is organised by the Vidyarthi Seva Trust.

The expo, which features around 200 stalls, showcases the diversity and significance of traditional systems of medicine and healing practices practised in India, and their role in public healthcare. Participants include central and state government departments, NGOs, traditional and tribal physicians, medicinal plant nurseries and gardens and health-related industries. The home pavilion features ayurveda, yoga, unani and siddha systems.
The expo attempts to raise awareness about these systems and their contemporary significance, the trust said. ‘Jignasa 2017’ is planned as an international conference on ‘Convergence of health traditions in Bharatavarsha.’
Union ministers Dr Harsh Vardhan, Dharmendra Pradhan, Pon Radhakrishnan and Yesso Naik are expected to participate in the conference, the trust said. More than 1000 delegtates including 600 students are attending the event. As part of a public health awareness programme, a free medical camp is on offer.
Various cultural programmes also are planned in the evenings.

They include a baul performance by Parvathy Baul, kalaripayattu by Hindustan Kalari Sangham, classical dance recital by PNNM Ayurveda College and a ‘classical thematic yoga’ presentation by the Chinmaya Mission. Over 500 students from across the country had participated in Jignasa 2015.

source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Thiruvananthapuram / by Express News Service / February 07th, 2017