Category Archives: Science & Technology

Incois releases mobile app SARAT

The highly versatile tool can conduct search and rescue operations at sea

Mobile app ‘SARAT’ developed by the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) based in Hyderabad, which can assist with searching for over 64 types of missing objects like boats, ships, man-over- board etc., at sea, was formally launched in New Delhi on Monday.

Work is currently on to integrate it with the Indian satellite INSAT for improved real-time transmission and relay of information, according to INCOIS Director Satheesh C. Shenoi.

The app was earlier released in the web format last year and will be made available for download from the Google Play Store. This will enable the Indian Coast Guard, Navy and Coastal Security Police to shorten search time during their various operations to minimise loss of life, injury and property damage. National Maritime Search and Rescue (NMSAR) Board chairman and Director General Indian Coast Guard Rajendra Singh launched SARAT at a meeting held at Vigyan Bhavan in the nation’s capital.

The app will help ensure quick action and make the system available to all. Request forms and generated responses have been provided in local languages of all Indian coastal States so that fishermen can easily use it to search when their fellow fishermen are in distress, Dr Shenoi said.​

In a statement released here, he said that the SARAT mobile app was a highly versatile tool, as conducting search and rescue operations at sea is extremely challenging and can be compared to the proverbial search for a needle in a haystack.

Search and rescue operations are most frequent during bad weather over the high seas, when the fisherfolk inadvertently venture out and their vessels capsize. App users can select a specific point where the person or object was last seen using the interactive map or they can select a nearby coastal location, approximate distance travelled and the bearing angle so that the missing point is calculated.

The most probable ‘Search Area’ is then generated and relayed in map form as well as a text message. The rescuer can share his GPS location in the app to calculate his closest route to easily reach the Search Area. To avoid connectivity issues the rescuer may use the SARAT app in advance while still on land, to determine the Search Area and then download the generated approach route (a PDF of the path will be provided as well).

Dr. Shenoi said the app was expected to be compatible with over 90% of Android-based handsets in use and includes support up to Marshmallow (API 23). The accuracy of SARAT has been validated using networks of drifting buoys and other instruments.

The SARAT system had earlier successfully assisted in recovery of the Indian Coast Guard’s missing Dornier aircraft off Chennai in 2015. The system can predict the most probable search area for up to five days, he added.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Special Correspondent / Hyderabad – July 10th, 2017

Hyderabad team grows miniature eyes using stem cells

Meticulous work Small portions of the corneal tissue were separated from the miniature eyes and used for growing corneal epithelial cell sheets in the lab.

Lab-grown corneal epithelial cells can potentially be used for restoring vision

Researchers at the Hyderabad-based LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) have successfully grown miniature eye-like organs that closely resemble the developing eyes of an early-stage embryo. The miniature eyes were produced using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The iPS cells are produced by genetically manipulating human skin cells to produce embryonic-like stem cells that are capable of forming any cell types of the body.

Small portions of the corneal tissue were separated from the miniature eyes and used for growing corneal epithelial cell sheets in the lab. Such tissue-engineered cell sheets can potentially be used for restoring vision in patients whose limbus region of the cornea is damaged in both the eyes. The limbus region of the cornea contains stem cells, and chemical or thermal damage to this region affects corneal regeneration and results in vision loss.

Stem cells present in the limbus region of a healthy eye have been used for restoring vision when only one eye is damaged. But when the damage is present in both eyes, the only way to restore vision is by using the healthy limbus taken from a related or unrelated donor. Patients have to be on immunosuppressants lifelong when limbus is transplanted from donors. However, immunosuppressants are not required when corneal cells grown using the patient’s own skin cells are used for restoring vision.

Growing eye-like organs

A team led by Dr. Indumathi Mariappan was able to grow complex eye-like organs in the lab by allowing the cells to organise themselves in three dimensions. The miniature eye closely resembles the developing eyes of an early-stage embryo. The eye-like structure consists of miniature forms of retina, cornea and eyelid. The results were published in the journal Development.

“It took about four–six weeks for the eye-like structure to form from iPS cells. We then removed the cornea-like structure for further study,” says Dr. Mariappan from the Centre for Ocular Regeneration at the LV Prasad Eye Institute and the corresponding author of the paper.

The cornea has three layers — epithelium (outer layer), stroma (middle layer) and endothelium (inner layer). “All the three layers of the cornea were observed, indicating that the mini-cornea had developed correctly,” she says. “The cornea initially forms as a simple bubble-like structure which is very delicate to handle. It later matures to form a thick cornea-like structure over a period of 10-15 weeks.”

The corneal epithelial sheets that would be used for treating the damaged eyes were then grown in the lab using small pieces of the mini-cornea containing the epithelium and a portion of the stroma. The stem cells present in the tissue pieces proliferated and gave rise to a uniform sheet of epithelium of about 2.5 cm by 2.5 cm size.

Animal trials

The team is currently focusing on testing the usefulness of the corneal cells grown from iPS cells in restoring vision in animal models (rats). “We will soon be starting the animal experiments,” she says. Trials on human subjects will be considered if the animal experiments turn out to be safe and effective in restoring vision.

In treatment

In parallel, the researchers are also working on producing mini-retinal tissue and actively exploring iPS cell-derived retinal tissues for treating several retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), retinitis pigmentosa and certain forms of congenital blindness seen in children and young adults.

Already, retinal cells grown using human embryonic stem cells and iPS cells are being tested in clincal trials in a few countries to treat retinal diseases.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / Home> Sci-Tech> Health / by R. Prasad / June 17th, 2017

MCEME graduates make cell-controlled lighting system

Appreciating efforts: JNTU Hyderabad Vice Chancellor Venugopal Reddy interacting with students who designed the street lights control system and exhibited at Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering during convocation ceremony in Hyderabad on Thursday. | Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

If it were left to young engineers of Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering, Country’s street lights would be auto-operated. The 91st graduating batch of the college produced a GSM connected, cell phone-operated lighting system which can be turned on and off based on requirement.

The power-saving circuit built by Noushad M.E., Ashish Kaushik, Sumit Dhanda and Akhil A.R. cost ₹ 57,200. It could be used for both civilian and defence purposes, the innovators said. The model also allows operators to operate just one or two light bulbs in a whole series. “If the operator thinks that just a few light bulbs are enough for lighting any area, they could turn off the rest by texting the details into the circuit,” said Mr. Akhil A.R. The model displayed in MCEME contained a circuit connected to six bulbs.

“The model also detects faulty operations if there are any. If a light bulb goes off, it will alert the operator,” M.E. Noushad told The Hindu. Mr. Sumit Dhanda said the project will be useful in huge military campuses which use power. “If the model is adopted by city development corporations it could cut power costs by one third,” said Mr. Dhanda. The MCEME awarded its annual best project prize to the four officers at its Convocation Ceremony on Thursday.

The MCEME passing out batch had also come up with a simple solution – a microcontroller-based automatic ventilation system – for car interiors which get heated when parked in the open. The ventilator contains a small control unit and a solar-powered exhaust fan which runs on external battery.

The microcontroller which is programmed to check the status of temperature and humidity inside the car every two seconds, triggers the exhaust fan when needed, to clear out the heat,” said an officer Vipin Jaiswal and the team leader. Other members of the project were Mukesh Thakur, M. Hariharan and M.S. Shakhavat.

Military boost

The college displayed a solar rechargeable backpack for troopers among its exhibits. The backpack with solar panels can be used as a tracking devise when soldiers go for long treks in the field, graduates said. “In any dire circumstance if the user presses a button on the backpack it sends a Save Our Souls message to control base. It will help officers to track those who are in danger during combat situation,” said Pankaj Saini who was the syndicate leader of the team which came up with the model. The other members in the team were Harmeet Singh, Sachin Yadav and Sagar.

Speaking at the convocation, A. Venugopal Reddy, Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University asked the graduates to pay attention to new developments in cyber security and be abreast of technological innovations. “Your convocation is not like others’ passing out functions. You leave this institution to serve the motherland,” Mr. Reddy said.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Nikhila Henry / Hyderabad – June 16th, 2017

IIT-H develops biodegradable nano-particles to treat cancer

Some of the members of the IIT-H team working to make cancer treatment better, on the institute’s campus in Hyderabad. | Photo Credit: Mohd Arif;Mohd Arif

Team working on finding alternative to chemotherapy

The Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad (IIT-H) has developed biodegradable non-particles that could be instrumental in treating cancer.

A team led by assistant professor Aravind Kumar Rengan has been working on finding alternative ways to chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer treatment to minimise side-effects caused by these therapies. He designed a novel nano system which kills the cancer cells by photothermal therapy.

The group is currently working on making more cost-effective nano particles for photothermal therapy, integrating these particles with cancer specific drugs to have an enhanced effect in killing cancer.

The team members involved in the research are Tejaswini Appidi, Syed Basseruddin, Deepak Bharadwaj, Anil Jogdand, Sushma, Anula — all Ph.D. scholars; junior research fellow Rama Singh, and postdoctoral fellow Surya Prakash Singh.

Photo thermal therapy is a treatment procedure where light (photo) energy is supplied by means of an external laser to nano particles which absorbs this energy and converts it to heat (thermal) energy. This heat generated by irradiation of laser would increase temperature within the tumour and result in the death of cancer cells.

No side-effects

The important aspects of the research is that the treatment procedure has no side-effects, since the nano particles would be accumulated in the tumour region, and also the irradiation is specific to particles, which means the heat is generated only within the tumour and not elsewhere in the body.

Also, the laser used to provide light energy would not harm the healthy cells around the tumour region as these healthy cells would not absorb this light energy as they remain transparent to this irradiation.

The nano particulate system is very unique in its own way. The particles, after generating the heat required to kill the cancer cells, will degrade inside the body and further breakdown into much smaller particles which will be excreted from the body.

“This procedure had very good results in experiments carried out in mice, and is expected to show the same in humans too. This treatment is now under clinical trials and once the trials are completed, this would be available as an alternative treatment procedure to cancer,” Dr. Rengan told The Hindu.

Dr. Rengan was recently awarded the prestigious INSA award in the young scientist category for his outstanding research in treatment of cancer by photothermal therapy using biodegradable particles.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by R. Avadhani / May 19th, 2017

Nizamabad physician awarded

A senior physician and social activist J. Bapu Reddy was conferred a national level award by the Diabetes India Organisation at its conference in New Delhi recently for his contribution in the field of enlightenment and prevention of diabetes through his social service organisation Arogya Telangana.

The conference was conducted under the aegis of the World Health Organisation. Dr. Bapu Reddy, who has been practising for the past three decades in the town, had conducted several free medical camps and examined and treated over 5,000 patients.

He also counselled the patients and visitors on the ills of sugar and blood pressure and measures to be taken to prevent and control them. He is also pioneer in the execution of school health programme and continuation of campaign on ODF villages in the district. Doctors, friends and colleagues congratulated him for his achievement.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by Special Correspondent / Nizamabad – March 02nd, 2017

Rural innovator gets a stamp of appreciation

Self-taught: Kantale Pandu Ranga Rao mending a scooter tyre at Narayankhed in Sangareddy district. | Photo Credit: Mohd Arif;Mohd Arif

Pandu Ranga Rao invited to Rashtrapati Bhavan to receive Visitor’s Award

When your tyre goes flat in a remote area where it’s hard to find people, let alone repair shops, you have no option but to push your bicycle or motorcycle to a nearby town or wait till you get some help by someone passing by.

Kantale Pandu Ranga Rao, who was once stuck in a situation like that, had to face some difficulties before he got his tyre repaired. Not letting the matter slip, he decided to find a solution, a quick fix, to repair flat tyres in no time.

Liquid solution

For over a year, Pandu Ranga Rao, a native of Sukkal Teerth village in Kangti mandal in Narayanakhed constituency, experimented with over 30 different chemicals and came up with a liquid solution that quickly arrests air leak when rubbed onto the punctured spot.

His innovation was identified by Brig. P. Ganesham of Palle Srujana, a voluntary organisation promoting rural innovations. He is also associated with National Innovations Foundation (NIF), which promotes innovations at the national level. Brig. Ganesham helped Pandu Ranga Rao establish Airceil Tubes Private Limited to sell his product and also popularised his innovation at the national level.

Now, the liquid solution is being sold in small tubes in the local market, as well as Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Taking note of his innovation, Rashtrapati Bhavan has invited Pandu Ranga Rao to receive Visitor’s Award-2017. He would also attend dinner on March 6 at RBCC.

Expressing happiness over his selection for Visitor’s Award, he said he would be leaving for Delhi on Friday.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by R. Avadhani / Narayanakhed (Sangareddy Dist.) / March 02nd, 2017

RICH to bridge gap between innovation and implementation

Hyderabad :

There are more than 50 small and world-class research institutes in Hyderabad and the number of intellectual minds is countless. For all these years, most of these scientists have limited their discoveries and knowledge-base to the labs, said IT minister KT Rama Rao on Friday, adding that things were going to change.

The Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH), KTR’s brainchild aims to create a synergy of research institutions, academic institutions and industries, was inaugurated at – Indian Institute of Chemical Technology Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (IICT: CSIR).

“The objective of RICH is to initiate, innovate and implement where great minds from diverse backgrounds will work together while creating a social impact. While the Telangana government will initially provide funding, stakeholders from various industries will be brought in soon,” said Ajit Rangnekar, former dean of Indian School of Business (ISB), now director general of RICH. A team called ‘RICH associates’ led by Rangenekar will move to Parishram Bhavan, in Bashergbagh and begin with cataloging the research work done across institutions in the city.

“We will then look at ways in which these institutions can work together, including corporates with an agenda to solve societal problems. While institutions like the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology(CCMB), IICT, LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO), the founding members of RICH will provide the knowledge and the minds, institutions like NALSAR University of Law will look at Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and ISB will help with the entrepreneurial development,” explained Rangnekar.

Talking about the operational aspects of RICH, which will begin fully in the next 100 days, BV Papa Rao, advisor to TS government for policy and institutional development said: “There will be one non-profit company and a for-profit one to ensure that scientists also get monetary benefits. We also have the support of the Defence ministry which will be open for ideas, commercialisation and civilian use, with those that can be dealt with openly.” KT Rama Rao also expressed delight over the new project.
Union minister for science and tech optmistic

“We have human intellect but there is a lack of enterprises and RICH is aimed to change that. Funding is the biggest challenge and to meet that we are looking at convergence of industries,” he said. Stating that he has been encouraging state governments to take up such collaborative initiatives, Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, YS Chowdary said that he was happy that the Telangana government had launched RICH.

“Now, venture capitalists and lenders will have a major role to play. Once the matrix is fixed, it will be easy to lay the path and I am sure RICH is going to have a nation-wide impact. RICH will help address issues of rural India,” he said.

Representatives of research institutes said that RICH will help them create an industry for innovation and research for scientists.

source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The New Indian Express / Home> States> Telangana / by Express News Service / February 25th, 2017

Radio Kisan Diwas celebrated at AIR

or farmers: Visitors taking a look at old radio sets at the AIR office in Adilabad on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: S. HARPAL SINGH;S. HARPAL SINGH – S_ HARPAL SINGH

All India Radio, Adilabad, celebrated Radio Kisan Diwas on Wednesday, the date on which it started the ‘Kisan Vani’ programme. Agriculture came to be the central theme of the programme, and its manifestation in local ethos was showcased as part of the celebration.

While the Adivasi Thotti troupe of Pendur Tukaramsang a Gondi folk song in which gods order a Gond king to cultivate millets, the local Burrakatha troupe sang songs related to agriculture.

Telangana Grameena Bank, Adilabad, regional manager P.R.V. Ramchander Rao spoke about his experiences. The AIR felicitated progressive farmers, including those who take up organic farming, from Adilabad and neighbouring districts. The farmers too spoke about their experiences.

Millet food prepared by Ram Babu of Hyderabad and the exhibition of old radio sets, however, became the centre of attraction. Mr. Babu is an expert in millet food and its correlation with Ayurveda and the human body.

Scientists from Adilabad Agriculture Research Station, Kisan Vikas Kendra, District Agriculture Advisory, and Transfer of Technology Centre attended the programme. AIR Adilabad deputy director Sumanaspati Reddy and deputy director of Vijaya Dairy Madhusudan also participated.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by Special Correspondent / Adilabad – February 15th, 2017

Celebrations at ISRO scientist’s home

A festive atmosphere prevailed at the residence of J. Sai Teja, a scientist/engineer of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), in his native town of Kothagudem on Wednesday following the successful launch of 104 satellites on a single PSLV mission from the space centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

Friends and relatives of Mr. Teja, who was reportedly part of the team involved in the record-breaking feat, conveyed their wishes to his parents Ravi Kumar and Sudharani over telephone.

“It is a proud moment for every Indian as the ISRO achieved the remarkable feat,” said Mr. Ravi Kumar.

‘Great honour’

When contacted, he told The Hindu that it was a matter of great honour that his son was part of the team involved in the mission.

Sai Teja pursued his B.Tech (avionics) from the Thiruvananthapuram-based Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology and joined the ISRO as a scientist/engineer in 2013.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Telangana / by Special Correspondent / Bhadradri – Kothagudem / February 16th, 2017

Hyderabad origin doctor elected chair of AMPAC

The American Medical Association Political Action Committee (AMPAC), a bipartisan political action committee based in Washington D.C., has elected Hyderabad-born Vidya Kora, a general internist from Michigan, as its chair at its recent meeting.

Dr. Kora had studied at the Gandhi Medical College here. He currently serves as Indiana’s delegate to the American Medical Association.

Dr. Kora has been active in organised medicine for many years and he is the past president of the Indiana State Medical Association.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Special Correspondent / by V. Geetanath / Hyderabad – February 13th, 2017