The public transport system of Bengaluru is plagued by delays and inefficiencies that have resulted in huge losses to BMTC, the operator, and lack of quality services to the common people. Now, scientists from the Indian Institute of Science have proposed a new model of transport that aims to increase bus efficiency, reduce or eliminate delays and save money for both the transport corporation and its users - the people. The new model, researchers claim, could be a win-win situation for both and could revive the appeal of public transportation.
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Science realises its complete potential when it is applied for the betterment of our lives. As a testimony to this, a group of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science have developed innovative technologies that benefit milk producers and silk growers. Their innovations, which recently won the prestigious Gandhian Young Technological Innovation award, uses nanotechnology to detect melamine, an adulterant, in milk and image processing techniques to detect the quality of silk.
Several studies in the recent years have focused on the health hazards of chemicals and pesticides used by farmers to protect their crops and improve their yields. Among the cocktail of poison, a controversial herbicide paraquat dichloride, marketed as Gramoxone, is infamous for its link to accidental poisoning and suicides. Now, researchers have developed a new sensor using nanotechnology that not only detects paraquat, but also estimates its amount. This innovation can help save many innocent lives that grow our food.
Graphene, also called a “wonder material” is increasingly being used in the field of electronics due to its lightweight and electrical properties. Now, researchers at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, have identified a potential drawback in graphene transistors that have metal contact leads. The metal atoms in the contacts react with graphene atoms, creating an unwanted disturbance or noise in the electronic circuit. This discovery may have major implications on using graphene for futuristic electronic applications.
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.
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.