Monday October 22, 2018
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Education and dreams on wheels: Mobile Science Laboratory

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By Misbah Khan

Even in the twenty-first century, a large number of Children in India do not have the access to basic education. Children who are studying in government schools in far villages simply do not get to see much of facilities.

Most of such schools do not have libraries or the laboratories to do practicals. The presence of school is an achievement in itself.

20 years ago an NRI couple in Pune felt the need to provide these students a better chance. Thus began the campaign called ‘Vidnyanvahini’. Madhukar and Pushpa Deshpande who had been living in the USA came back to India and started this campaign. 

NewsGram talked to Pushpa Deshpande who is the President of Vidnyanvahini. She very proudly talked about the campaign. MSL, the Mobile Science Laboratory is the unique campaign under which a bus travels all over the state.

The bus usually has five to six teachers every day. The teachers are scheduled. Trust has almost 25 teachers and a properly planned schedule is kept of all the teachers.

This year’s MSL campaign finished just last week since exams of students are close now. The campaign starts every year in June.

The bus covers every village of Maharashtra. Pushpa Deshpande told NewsGram that the children take this very positively. They are taught science and Mathematics. Bus keeps all the laboratory equipment and usually, these children never have had the chance to see and use such things.

There is a TV, DVD player, laptop, projectors and wash basin. It is targeted at the students of 8th, 9th, 10th standard. The schools are selected by Vidnyanvahini on the basis of their needs, size and location.

Pushpa Deshpande further told NewsGram that most of the teachers are retired professionals and because of neither the money nor the time is an issue for them. She appreciated the enthusiasm of the teachers for the campaign and the hard work they put.

There are different professionals like teachers, professors, scientists and engineers who are connected with the campaign as the volunteers. All people have degrees in subjects related to science.

The trust gets the funds from a lot of Indians living outside the country. It has no financial support from the government.

Vidnyanvahini has all the information on its website. All the details of curriculum and the schedule of MSL visits. It deserves a lot of credit for the smooth functioning.

Vidnyanvahini is an attempt to provide the facilities to the many of the children who do not have enough resources.

Misbah Khan is a Second year B.com student. She likes to write on social and political issues.

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Amazon To Roll Out 4 New Alexa Built-in Devices Next Month

Echo Dot and Echo Plus will start shipping this month while Echo Sub will be available later this year

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The logo of Amazon, online retailer is seen at the company logistics center in Lauwin-Planque, France. VOA

Four Indian manufacturers on Monday announced to launch new products like portable headsets, smart speakers and set-top boxes with the Amazon Alexa built-in.

The hardware manufacturers are iBall, Sirena Technologies, boAt and MyBox who have integrated Alexa into their products with the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) which enables developers to integrate Alexa directly into their products, bringing the convenience of voice control to any connected device.

All four devices will be available beginning next month, enabling customers to ask questions, play music, control smart home devices and more, the AVS said in a statement.

“Breathe-M” from iBall is a wireless Bluetooth over-ear headset with built-in Mic for just Rs 2,225 while “Vood” by Sirena Technologies is touted as one of the world’s smallest portable smart speakers for Rs 2,699.

“boAt Stone 700A” is a shock and water proof smart speaker for Rs 7,999 and “MyBox” Alexa Kit for the set-top box (STB), paired with a voice remote, costs just Rs 1,999.

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The Alexa Echo Dot devices include the official Saint Louis University logo and are equipped with specific skills to provide information on local events and campus life. VOA

Earlier Alexa built-in devices that were launched in India were Pulse 3 and Plus 3 Max headphones from Motorola for Rs 1,599 and Rs 2,599, respectively and Bose Home Speaker 500, Bose Soundbar 500, and Soundbar 700 for Rs 39,000, Rs 59,000 and Rs 79,000, respectively.

Amazon last month launched a new line-up of Echo devices and an Echo companion device in India.

At Rs 4,499, Echo Dot comes with a new speaker for crisper sound and an updated fabric design.

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Echo Plus with a built-in Zigbee hub, an upgraded speaker and a new design will cost Rs 14,999.

With Echo Sub, you can add rich bass to music playback on Echo devices for Rs 12,999.

Echo Dot and Echo Plus will start shipping this month while Echo Sub will be available later this year. (IANS)

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