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IITians’ innovations changing futures in India

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New Delhi: IITians have always made their mark with their innovations, here are three devices developed by them that have brought about a change in the society.

Eco Frost: In a bid to curb wastage of agriculture yield in India, three IIT Kharagpur engineers developed a cold-storage powered by solar power and helped farmers to save their produce from getting rotten. The trio of  mechanical engineering students Vivek Pandey, Prateek Singhal and Devendra Gupta scripted history and brought in a major change with their  micro cold storage system which operates at near zero cost.

ecofrost_machineWith the growing demand of cold storages and only the big farmers having access to the available facilities, Eco-frost changed the fate of millions of farmers. Especially, designed for the rural segment, the innovation helped the farmers to store their harvest and get a good bargain. The solar-powered cold storage led to an increase of 40 per cent in the profits of the farmers.

The young achievers claimed that there is no running cost and works the year round on sustainable technology. Eco-Frost also boasts of a power backup of over 36 hours during inclement weather and has a capacity of five metric tons.

The idea was incubated in 2013, and the team plans to manufacture around 20,000 cold storages in the next five years. The price of one unit will be around Rs 5-6 lakhs.

Guardian:  A clear cut winning project, the safety device ‘Guardian’ addresses the problem of women security.  What made it stand apart was its provision to use any type of ericsson-innovation-awards-2015

communication systems like the internet, SMS, or Near Field Communication. Moreover, the device can be worn in the form of jewellery and is convenient to carry.

Developed by IIT Delhi students, Guardian alerts loved ones when a person is in distress.

Alcohol Sensing Helmet: Aiming to prevent drunken driving, IIT BHU students came up with the path-breaking innovation of arming helmets with a device that prevents a person from starting his/her bike if the alcohol content in the breath is more than the permissible limit.

helmet_1436796404The innovative helmet examines the alcohol content in the driver’s breath and sends signals via wireless technology to the vehicle to start or stop accordingly. The helmet uses Bluetooth encryption technology and also featured among the top 5 short-listed projects at the Ericsson Innovation Awards held at IIT Delhi.

 

(Picture Courtesy: tylersmassie.wordpress.com, www.social.yourstory.com)

 

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Celebrate Innovations With Global Tech Show

Consumers are starting to understand more about data and become more discerning about which companies and devices they trust.

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Technology
Avatarmind's iPal Smart AI Robots, designed to be companions for children and elderly, perform calisthenics during the 2018 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 9, 2018. VOA

Amid trade wars, geopolitical tensions and a decline in public trust, the technology sector is seeking to put its problems aside with the Consumer Electronics Show, the annual extravaganza showcasing futuristic innovations.

The Jan. 8-11 Las Vegas trade event offers a glimpse into new products and services designed to make people’s lives easier, fun and more productive, reaching across diverse sectors such as entertainment, health, transportation, agriculture and sports.

“Smart” devices using various forms of artificial intelligence will again be a major focus at CES.

Visitors are likely to see more dazzling TV screens, intuitive robots, a range of voice-activated devices, and folding or roll-up smartphone displays. Also on display will be refinements to autonomous transportation and gadgets taking advantage of 5G, or fifth-generation wireless networks.

But the celebration of innovation will be mixed with concerns about public trust in new technology and other factors that could cool the growth of a sizzling economic sector.

Technology
People look through Sony PlayStation VR headsets after a Sony news conference at CES International in Las Vegas, Jan. 8, 2018. VOA

“I think 2019 will be a year of trust-related challenges for the tech industry,” said Bob O’Donnell of Technalysis Research.

CES features 4,500 exhibitors across 2.75 million square feet (250,000 square meters) of exhibit space showcasing artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, smart homes, smart cities, sports gadgets and other cutting-edge devices. Some 182,000 trade professionals are expected.

Much ado about data

There will be a focus on artificial intelligence that can “personalize” a user’s experience with a device or a car, or even predict what someone is seeking — whether it’s music or medical care.

But because this ecosystem is built around data, confidence has been eroded by scandals involving Facebook, Google and other guardians of private information.

“The public is wary because of recent events,” said Roger Kay, analyst and consultant with Endpoint Technologies Associates. “I think the industry will be slowed by this skepticism.”

Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Creative Strategies, said, “You’ll definitely hear people talk about security more, and really looking at how you secure the data,” at CES.

Technology, robot, inventions
The mock killer robot was displayed in London in April 2013. (VOA)

Trade frictions

The Consumer Technology Association, which operates the show, acknowledges that the sector is being hurt by tariffs and trade frictions between the two largest economic players, the United States and China.

Tariffs on tech products jumped to $1.3 billion in October, according to CTA, raising fears about growth.

“It’s almost inevitable that an economic slowdown will occur if these tariffs continue,” said Sage Chandler, CTA vice president for international trade.

The U.S.-China trade issues and the arrest of a top executive of Chinese giant Huawei in Canada have thrown into question the “supply chain,” the system in which U.S. designs are manufactured in China for the global market.

“This does cast a shadow over CES,” O’Donnell said.

AI and personalization

The auto sector will again have a major presence at CES with most major manufacturers on hand, some with prototypes of self-driving vehicles.

Technology
Attendees wave at Honda robotics concepts 3E-C18, left, and 3E-A18, at CES International, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jan. 9, 2018. VOA

Japanese carmaker Honda will be showing an “autonomous work vehicle” which can be configured for search and rescue operations, firefighting and other uses.

Other exhibitors will be showing technology designed to serve as the “brains” of self-driving vehicles, not only for navigation but to create a better, more personalized “user experience” for travelers.

The show includes startups offering “predictive” health care solutions designed to anticipate the kind of care senior citizens may need.

Facial recognition, which is already being used on many smartphones, will be incorporated into vehicles, doorbells and security systems as part of efforts to increase personalization and improve security.

And consumer products group Procter & Gamble, making its first appearance at CES, will demonstrate ways to use facial recognition and AI for improved skin care and beauty recommendations.

The new applications raise questions on whether consumers are ready for technologies that evoke the notion of Big Brother and a surveillance state.

Brenda Leong, senior counsel at the Future of Privacy Forum, a Washington think-tank, said consumers should be mindful about whether data from facial recognition is kept only on the devices, such as in the iPhone, or held in a database.

digital video technology, technology
HD Television with digital video technology. Pixabay

“Even if commercial institutions are collecting the data, everybody is worried about government access,” she said.

Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy said consumers have shown a willingness to adopt these new technologies if they offer convenience.

“If they are balanced from a benefit point of view, those worries are going to go away,” he said.

Moorhead noted that as facial recognition has become a standard feature for many smartphones, “those fears have faded.”

Also Read: U.S. Army Sparks an Industry Battle After it Looks For Robots

O’Donnell said consumers are starting to understand more about data and become more discerning about which companies and devices they trust.

“Personalization is something people want, and they are willing to give up some privacy to get it,” he said.

“But if they can get personalization on the device without sending it to the cloud, they get the benefits without giving up privacy.” (VOA)