Electronic waste or e-waste pose a serious challenge in their disposal. The printed circuit boards (PCBs) present in discarded electronic devices like smartphones and computers contain toxic chemicals and metals that can get into the soil or water if thrown in landfills or burnt. Now, scientists have designed a novel technique to dispose them by simply powdering them using a cryomill. This, they claim, can completely recover the polymers and metals for recycling in an eco-friendly way, ensuring zero waste.
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The Internet has revolutionised our way of life, enabling things that were hard to imagine earlier. With the Internet, one can work sitting at home, doctors can treat patients anywhere in the world, and with the advent of smartphones, simple activities like commuting has a whole new meaning. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have redefined communication and made reaching out to a large number of people very easy. Any of us can be an ‘influencer’ with the potential to be heard by millions of people.
Technology has revolutionised medicine in the past century. We now have imaging methodologies like X-rays, Computed Tomography (CT) scans and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) allowing us a look inside the body without cutting it open. Nanotechnology seems poised to write the next chapter of this revolution, with various applications in biomedical imaging, diagnosis and effective treatment of diseases. In yet another advancement in this direction, an interdisciplinary team of scientists from Materials Engineering Department and Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, have synthesised iron nanoparticles without any oxide cover that could be used to enhance the sensitivity of MRI by producing images with better contrast. They have also demonstrated the potential application of this research in the targeted delivery of medicines and other biological molecules to specific organs in the body.
This year’s National Science Day, celebrated to commemorate the discovery of Dr. C V Raman’s ‘Raman Effect’, is themed around ‘Science and Technology for Specially Abled Persons’. One billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability today, and the prevalence of disability is highest in developing countries like India. A report by World Bank estimates that about 110-190 million of them experience significant disabilities. ‘Persons with disabilities’ or PwDs include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which may hinder their full and effective participation in the society.
Detecting leakage of hydrgoen gas has been a major challenge in using hydrogen as fuel for many applications. This is now made easier by a new study by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee. They have used nanotechnology based silicon carbide ‘cauliflowers’ to develop a simple, robust, and cost-effective sensor that can detect hydrogen gas at high temperatures and small quantities. This research is a small step that can make using clean and green hydrogen gas as fuel, replacing conventional fossil fuels.
A new research has elevated self-learning to a whole new level by developing an intelligent “judge” who can predict the expertise of a Bharatnatyam dancer. Prof. Dinesh Babu Jayagopi and his team at the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, have designed Machine Learning based software that predicts a dancer’s expertise by observing his/her poses and expressions during a dance performance. Such a software can also be used to automatically tag videos and analyse its contents in a video database like YouTube, thus simplifying video search.
The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is the new buzzword in technological corridors with most technology companies announcing a ‘smart’ device of sorts that runs on IoT. In simple terms, IoT is a giant network of connected ‘things’; a network of devices linked to Internet through wired or wireless connections. ‘Things’ could be anything from everyday devices like cell phones, washing machines and wearable devices, to pacemakers, biochips on farm animals, automobiles and industrial machines. It is estimated that, by 2050, a whopping 50 billion such ‘connected’ devices would emerge, dawning a new era of the Internet - one of the most powerful inventions in human history.
The 6th of August 2012 is a date to be remembered in NASA’s history. On this day, it’s most successful Mars rover, Curiosity, landed on the Martian soil with the distinction of being the most precise landing in the history of Martian exploration. Curiosity is more than just a rover; it is a mobile laboratory that has uncovered a lot of previously unknown facts about the red planet. Having known that the Martian environment was, at one time, well suited to support microbial life, Curiosity is now busy searching for traces of microbial life on the planet.
In peering through a thick early morning mist or looking into a smoke-filled room or scanning muddy waters, we encounter a common problem – vision through such media gets obscured, and we cannot see what lies within. And many a times we have wanted to take pictures in foggy conditions, only to get a coarse image with no discernible features. ‘Seeing’ in these conditions would seem impossible without expensive equipments like thermal imaging cameras or radar technologies. The dream of that perfect picture on a foggy morning could be closer to reality, thanks to a new research. A collaborative study by scientists from Raman Research Institute (RRI), Bengaluru, and the University of Rennes, France are working to make seeing through the haze a reality.
One of the major scientific discoveries in the recent past has been the direct detection of gravitational waves, predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity about a century ago, by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in 2016. The detection of short duration gravitational waves sent out during the cataclysmic merger of two black holes in a faraway galaxy, has stirred up considerable excitement as scientists expect more detection events from varied sources with advancements in detectors. A team of Indian astrophysicists led by Sushan Konar from the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA), Pune, have now proposed a special class of neutron stars as candidates for targeted search for continuous gravitational waves with the next generation of instruments.