Tuesday November 13, 2018
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Solar-Power Inflatable Lights: A New Invention

The company also sells the LuminAID light to customers through their Give Light, Get Light program.

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Solar power system, Pixabay
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People need light for daily activities, but in some places in the world, access to reliable power is a problem, and hurricanes and earthquakes can make the matter worse.

Andrea Sreshta and Anna Stork understand how important light is to people in need. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Sreshta and Stork, then graduate students in architecture and design at Columbia University, wanted to do something to help.

“We wanted to create something, a basic necessity and we focused in on lighting,” says Sreshta.

As a school assignment, Sreshta and Stork designed a lighting product that was lightweight, portable and wireless and with solar power something that might help improve the safety and living conditions of Haitians.

The result was the LuminAID light. An inflatable plastic, waterproof rectangle light that can be recharged with solar power.

Solar Power
LuminAID Portable Solar Lighting. VOA

What was only a school project for Stork and Sreshta turned into a more serious endeavor when friends and contacts began sending the lights to those in need.

“We made this in our kitchens and we built the first 50 prototypes by hand,” says Stork.

In their final year of architecture school, Sreshta and Stork filed a patent for the portable lamp, which had solar power and shortly after graduating, the two traveled to India and conducted field tests on their prototype.

Solar Power
LuminAID co-founders Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta. VOA

Stork says visiting villages without stable access to electricity but ready for solar power products was really meaningful to them.

“It helps us understand the houses and the conditions that these people were living in. And what was so interesting is one of the villages that we’ve visited the house was made out of really thick cement, so even in the daytime, it was completely dark inside the house. So we saw a real need for portable lighting,” Stork says.

Also Read: India’s Government Hosts First Ever CSR Awards

In 2011, Sreshta and Stork launched their business LuminAID. They admit that when they started their business, they didn’t know much about disaster relief and humanitarian aid.

“We knew we had a product that could potentially make a difference in people’s lives after disasters like the earthquake in Haiti or even in places where people lack stable electricity,” says Sreshta. “We have been fortunate enough to work with partners like non-government organizations, humanitarian groups and disaster relief organizations which distribute our lights to people in need.”

The company also sells the LuminAID light to customers through their Give Light, Get Light program. And for each purchase by an individual, the program sends a light to someone in need.

“Seeing our lights being used by people around the world creates a mix of emotions for us,” says Stork and Sreshta. “From feeling relieved that we were able to produce and deliver our product, to being humbled by the ability to touch the lives of people we will likely never meet.” (VOA)

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Twitter Takes Multiple Steps To Curb Misinformation Before Elections in India

More than 80 per cent of the Twitter accounts linked to spread of disinformation

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The Twitter logo appears on a phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.. VOA

Twitter is taking “multi-variable” steps, including the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, to curb the spread of misleading information on its platform ahead of 2019 general election in India, Co-Founder and CEO Jack Dorsey said here on Monday.

Addressing a Town Hall-style meeting at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D), Dorsey said fake news is a way too big category.

“The real problem is not misinformation per se as jokes can also be categorised as misinfomation. But misinformation that is spread with the intent to mislead people is a real problem,” stressed the Twitter CEO who is in India on a week-long maiden visit.

Dorsey, who got a rousing reception at IIT-D with the students wildly cheering the young entrepreneur, likened solving the problem of misleading information to that of addressing a security issue, or building a lock.

Twitter, India
Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on foreign influence operations and their use of social media on Capitol Hill. VOA

“No one can build a perfect lock, but we need to stay ahead of our attackers. AI could probably help,” Dorsey told the audience.

Earlier in the day, the Twitter CEO met Congress President Rahul Gandhi and discussed various steps the social network was taking to curb the spread of fake news and boost healthy conversation on its platform.

Dorsey also met Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama over the weekend. He was also expected to meet Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in the wake of the growing criticism over Twitter’s role in the spread of misinformation and fake news as India faces Assembly polls in five states in November-December ahead of next year’s general elections.

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Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

Twitter, along with other social media platforms, including Facebook, came under intense scrutiny of policymakers in the US for their failure to stop the spread of misinformation by Russia-linked accounts on their platforms during the 2016 Presidential election.

The micro-blogging site since then has stepped up its efforts to curb the spread of divisive messages and fake news on its platform.

To further protect the integrity of elections, Twitter recently announced that it would now delete fake accounts engaged in a variety of emergent, malicious behaviour.

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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the ‘Global Mobility Summit’ in New Delhi, India, VOA

As part of the new rules, accounts that deliberately mimic or are intended to replace accounts that were previously suspended for violating rules may be identified as fake accounts, Twitter said recently.

Also Read: Twitter Giving Its Users More Freedom to Report Fake, Suspicious Accounts

However, according to a Knight Foundation study released in October, more than 80 per cent of the Twitter accounts linked to spread of disinformation during the 2016 US election are still active. (IANS)