Monday, October 30, 2017

Sophia- First Ever Humanoid citizen

Sophia, a human-like robot powered by artificial intelligence (AI), is a creation of the Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics founded by Dr. David Hanson, who used to be a Disney Imagineer. On October 25, 2017, she became the a full citizen of Saudi Arabia, the first robot in the world to achieve such a status. Let’s know more about her...

Sophia- First Robo-citizen of the World
Sophia is a delicate looking woman with doe-brown eyes , long fluttery eyelashes and a shimmery metal cap of her head. Sophia has moving 3D-printed arms and they're working on giving her legs. Sophia has 62 facial and neck architectures and has cameras in her eyes that allow her to recognize faces and make eye contact. Her skin is made of a nanotech material that Hanson invented and dubbed "Frubber," that has a flesh-like bouncy texture mimicking human skin. The robot is designed in actress Audrey Hepburn’s image. According to Hanson Robotics, Sophia embodies Hepburn’s classic beauty: porcelain skin, a slender nose, high cheekbones, an intriguing smile, and deeply expressive eyes that seem to change color with the light.
Sophia represents both the physical embodiment of a computer animation and the social embodiment of A.I. Cameras embedded within her and a machine vision algorithm enable Sophia to detect faces and even remember interactions.She has the ability to walk i.e. she can move at speeds of up to 0.6 miles per hour and a slew of built-in gestures give her an additional means for social interaction. Her algorithms are set in such a way that she will get smarter in her dealings with humans over time, Hanson said. He hopes that a little public exposure will break down the social barriers between us and them, and teach us a little bit about her and her kind.
Sophia was activated on April 19, 2015 and made her first public appearance at South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) in mid-March 2016 in Austin, Texas, United States. She is able to display more than 62 facial expressions.
Sophia has her own website and has made numerous media appearances. Sophia is a highly sought-after speaker in business and showed her prowess and great potential across many industries. She has met face-to-face with key decision makers in banking, insurance, auto manufacturing, property development, media, and entertainment. In addition, she has appeared onstage as a panel member and presenter in high-level conferences, covering how robotics and artificial intelligence will become a prevalent part of people’s lives. Her reputation extends beyond business into the global social arena. She was named the world’s first United Nation Innovation Champion by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and will have an official role in working with UNDP to promote sustainable development and safeguard human rights and equality.
The two-year-old robot has become a media sensation after having appeared in various conferences around the world including a meeting of the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). She has given numerous media interviews as well, and even graced the cover of one of the top fashion magazines. Sophia's popularity proves that if the robot revolution does happen, not only our job but our existence will also be at risk. Among the feared consequences of the rise of the robots is the growing impact they will have on human jobs and economies. Decades of automation and robotisation have already revolutionised the industrial sector, raising productivity but cutting some jobs.
And now automation and AI are expanding rapidly into other sectors, with studies indicating that up to 85 percent of jobs in developing countries could be at risk. The more realistic they become, the more chances they have to replace humans in fashion and beauty industries: think endless possibilities of customization..
Sophia is an evolving genius machine. Beyond AI, she has human values such as Creativity, empathy, and compassion. Her incredible human likeness, expressiveness, and remarkable story as an awakening robot over time makes her a fascinating front-page technology story. She is a real, live electronic girl. Lets all help her to realize her dream of becoming an awakening machine. While Sophia has some impressive capabilities, she does not yet have consciousness, but Hanson said he expected that fully sentient machines could emerge within a few years.
Bottom line: There’s no doubt that AI technologies provide humans with better services. Its gud when robots become our friends, but what if, they don’t!? This is the most serious thought we must ponder about...

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Bluetooth 5.0

bluetooth 5
Bluetooth 5
Many of us have experienced, a stoppage of music due to loss of connection while roaming freely in home with your speakers plugged in your ears. Its due to poor connection or poor range of your bluetooth.. But losing connection is a concept of the past with brand new Bluetooth 5. This means that you’ll be in the kitchen with your phone and can start playing music from the speaker in your bedroom. Isn’t the future is so bright???
Let’s check some history of bluetooth.. Bluetooth is a wireless connection standard intended to connect disparate devices and transfer data over short distances. It is fittingly named after 10th-century king Harald Bluetooth, who united Denmark's tribes into a single kingdom. Bluetooth was invented by Ericsson in 1994, but it wasn't until 1998 that the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (Bluetooth SIG) was established by Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Toshiba and Nokia, and 1999 when it was initially standardised. The last major version of the standard, Bluetooth 4.0, was officially rolled out in 2011, while the last iterative update was Bluetooth 4.2 on December 2, 2014.
The next Bluetooth Standard, Bluetooth 5, brings with it some serious upgrades including increased range, speed, and broadcast messaging capacityIt's faster, has longer range, and can transfer more information. Bluetooth 5 also promises twice the data transfer speed of the previous version and quadrupled range compared to Bluetooth 4.2.
The biggest improvement is Bluetooth 5 has enough bandwidth to support two sets of wireless devices at the same time. This will come in particularly useful for things like portable speakers. This could mean speakers in different rooms, or the ability to listen to support two sets of headphones without having to share a bud with your friend.
The new standard will also transfer data at double the speed of v4.2, from 1Mbps to 2Mbps and the capacity of data broadcasts will increase 800 per cent. i.e, Bluetooth 4.2, supporting the transmission of 31 octets and Bluetooth 5 supports 255 octets of data. With Bluetooth 5.0 being able to hold and transmit far more data, it should be able to preserve sound far better when it leaves the broadcast device. Bluetooth 5 can also detect interference at the edges of the 2.4GHz and neighbouring LTE band, and automatically prevent it, which should make for clearer music listening from any wireless device.
Manufacturers of mobile devices will be able to use the Slot Availability Mask (SAM) function to prevent any kind of interference in adjacent radio frequency bands.
It’ll also help facilitate additional location-based functionality. In particular, it should boost the uptake of Beacon technologies like Apple iBeacon and Samsung Proximity which will result in significantly improved indoors navigation in shopping centres and the like. Bluetooth 5 will add location and navigation functionality, so that Beacons can transmit custom information without connection and application barriers.
Bluetooth 5 allows exchanging twice the amount of data and the consequence is that the device consumes half the power to exchange the same data. Bluetooth 5 could also improve battery life. Because it's more efficient, it'll use less energy, which should mean longer battery lives for wireless speakers and headphones. For the same power envelope,
The adoption of Bluetooth 5 comes at a crucial time of industry growth, with ABI Research expecting 48 billion internet-enabled devices to be installed by 2021, of which nearly one-third will include Bluetooth. While your existing phones, speakers and equipment may work with Bluetooth 5 devices, they almost certainly won't benefit from its extra capabilities. That means you'll need to buy all-new Bluetooth 5-ready gear to take advantage of its entire expanded feature set.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus are the first phones released using the new technology. By having Bluetooth 5, the Galaxy S8 phones have been gifted a "dual audio" mode that will let them wirelessly stream music to two Bluetooth devices at one time.
It is an essential element for bringing everyday objects into the connected world. With the launch of Bluetooth 5, Bluetooth technology continues to evolve to meet the needs of the industry as the global wireless standard for simple, secure connectivity. Bluetooth 5 isn’t perfect and won’t solve all your streaming problems. Its a transformative update that promises a better 4x range, 2x speed and 8x broadcasting message capacity.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Say Hai to THOR...!!!

We all know normal multicopter drones are effective at hovering and Vertical Take-Off and Landing, they can't travel long-distance as efficiently as aircraft with fixed wings. This has been listed as their main disadvantage. But not any more. A team of students from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) is trying to get the best of both worlds with the Transformable HOvering Rotorcraft (THOR).
According to the design team, THOR's design inspiration came from the samara seed, 'helicopter' tree seed that is capable of flying long distances because of its stable shape. The concept was earlier raised in 1913 called the monocopter, it was "structurally efficient" ,the whole frame is used to generate lif, but "strategically inefficient." The lack of counter-rotational systems meant the pilot and cargo would have needed to spin with the rest of the aircraft, making it impractical to actually ride in.
Usually, when aircraft makers want to hover and cruise, they simply fix rotors onto rotating wings, but with THOR the wings become rotors, transitioning in mid-air and spinning around a central module like a single-bladed helicopter. THOR manages to achieve very high structural efficiency by using all of its aerodynamic surfaces in both vertical and horizontal flight modes, transforming from a flying wing into a sort of whole-body spinning bicopter thing that you really need to see to believe.

How THOR actually works?? It has two modes of flight: hovering mode (H-MOD) and cruising or fixed mode(C-MOD).When transitioning from hover mode to fixed-wing mode, the wings rotate into alignment. When the drone is in hover mode (left), it can rotate its wings (servos) by 90 degrees (middle) to transition to cruise mode (right). And when in cruise mode, it can do the reverse to switch to hover mode. During this transition, centrifugal force of switch is used to move the ballast, a weight in an aircraft used to bring the center of gravity into the allowable range, to keep the aircraft balanced.
Two key points in the innovative design are First are the bearings placed between the drone’s body and the wings. The bearings allow the wings to rotate appropriately depending on what flight mode is used. Second is the motor power, primarily in hover mode. The motor must have sufficient power during the transformation so that THOR doesn’t just fall to the ground. It needs enough power to create the instantaneous transformation without losing altitude, but not so much power that the motor will break the wings.

As you can see from the video, the design still needs a bit of work, as transitioning from one mode to the other isn’t seamless. With the exception of the servo and bearing used for wing rotation, THOR uses every other structural component in both hovering and cruising modes, making it highly efficient relative to hybrid designs. It’s very much a prototype, and both the hardware and the software controller need some optimization, but look how innovative the design is.
The UAV business is now getting a world of extremes. At one end, you've got hobby-grade consumer gear, which has improved dramatically in the last couple of years, and at the other end, you've got the military gear tough, rugged. There are no real standards for industrial-grade drones yet, but it is a continually growing market as all sorts of companies in all sorts of areas start to discover the power and potential of unmanned aerial systems. The advantage lies in its applications as the commercial world can see the benefits of industrial-grade UAV tools. It'll be interesting to see what sort of machinery and standards develop in this space over the next few years.
Applications of THOR seems to be endless i.e. anything that requires both long range and an agile hover, and because of its inherent potential to scale, it can be made smaller than other hybrid platforms,which will unlock many possibilities where current hybrid UAVs are too big or bulky to operate! These include agriculture, surveillance, and package delivery, all of which are hot topics in drone development as of the moment. I really hope this turns out to be a platform for the development of the next-generation unmanned programs.

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Sunday, July 09, 2017

First Generation of Batteryfree Cellphone!!!!

Don’t you ever felt frustrated and thought of throwing your phone away due to dying batteries in an emergency?? Here is some news, the recharging challenges with cellphones may get away from the new innovations from US. A team from the University of Washington have developed battery-free phone that can harness power from radiofrequency (RF) waves sent to it from a nearby base station. The phone not only harnesses the power it needs to operate from those waves, but can also place a voice call by modifying and reflecting the same waves back to the base station, through a technique known as backscattering.
The battery-free device prototype is built using commercial-off-the-shelf components on a printed circuit board. It can operate on power that is harvested from RF signals transmitted by a basestation 31 feet (9.4 m) away. Using power harvested from ambient light with tiny photodiodes, the device can also communicate with a basestation that is 50 feet (15.2 m) away. The team demonstrated that the prototype can perform basic phone functions such as transmitting speech and data and receiving user input via buttons. Using Skype, researchers were able to receive incoming calls, dial out and place callers on hold with the battery-free phone. 
One of the phone's key innovations is the use of analog rather than digital voice encoding, which the researchers say saves a substantial amount of power. Supplemental power to increase the device’s range comes from photodiodes, essentially tiny solar panels. Unlike a traditional cell phone which uses 800 milliwatts(tens of thousands of times more power), when making a call. The entire device consumes just 2 to 3 microwatts of power to place or receive a call.
The battery free phone takes advantage of tiny vibrations in a phone’s microphone or speaker that occur when a person is talking into a phone or listening to a call. An antenna connected to those components converts that motion into changes in standard analog radio signal emitted by a cellular base station. This process essentially encodes speech patterns in reflected radio signals in a way that uses almost no power. To transmit speech, the phone uses vibrations from the device’s microphone to encode speech patterns in the reflected signals. To receive speech, it converts encoded radio signals into sound vibrations that that are picked up by the phone’s speaker.
The UW phone is also half-duplex, that means there is a button that users need to press to switch between sending and receiving mode. A microcontroller manages the RF switch, connecting the microphone to the antenna when a user presses a button to talk, and connecting the earphones when the user wants to listen. It’s more similar to a walkie-talkie than a real cell phone. But I dont think, it wont be a technical hurdle to create a system that detects when the user is talking or not and make the switch between these two modes automatically. Hope researchers can fix phone's biggest drawback sooner.
There is a long way to go before it hits markets. Currently the phone has a basic touch-sensitive number pad and its only display is a tiny red LED that glows briefly when a key is pressed. The researchers are looking into equipping it with an e-ink display, which doesn't consume a lot of power as well as a low power camera. The team is also looking forward to improving it’s operating range and encrypting conversation to make it more secure.
In this scenario where phones have become the most important devices that virtually everyone uses and we all love to have a batteryfree smartphone. Its surely a major leap in moving beyond chargers, cords and dying phones and is also an incredible step towards technology. What do you think of a cell phone never dying on your hands in the future?

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Disney's Roomscale Wireless Charging..

Wireless power is an idea that came into main stream ever since from 1891, when Nikola Testla demonstrated that you could transfer power between two objects via electromagnetic field. But it took over a century for the technology to find its own way, in the past few years wireless charging has finally emerged onto the consumer electronics market. But existing wireless charging is facing two challenges: range and health concerns. Safe, non-radiative methods such as near-field coupling are highly localized and require the devices to be placed near the charging source. It interrupts freedom and Charging is restricted to a confined area. Scientists at a branch of the Walt Disney Company called Disney Research have found a way to tackle these problems and charge devices on a room-scale without using any wires.
Disney has created a prototype living room where10 objects, a smartphone, a lamp, a fan, an RC car, and more are powered, without using any cables. The room built was lined with aluminum panels. In its center was a copper tube between the floor and the ceiling, with a current running through it. Fifteen capacitors in the pole are used to set a resonant frequency in the room and isolate electric fields from a signal generator, which outputs at 1.32 MHz. A uniform magnetic field is then run through the room at the same frequency. The receivers use a coil of wire to resonate at the same frequency, providing power to a device. The researchers were able to deliver about 1,900 watts with an efficiency of 40 to 95 percent.
Unlike existing wireless power transfer solutions, which mostly require an object to be placed very close to a wireless charging pad, the objects in Disney's living room can receive power while freely roaming; you can walk into the room with a smartphone in your pocket and it will start charging.The efficiency of the system is quite high, between 40 and 95 percent, depending on the receiver's position within the room.
The technology called as quasistatic cavity resonance (QSCR), can enable purpose-built structures, such as cabinets, rooms, and warehouses, to generate quasistatic magnetic fields that safely deliver kilowatts of power to mobile receivers contained nearly anywhere within. A theoretical model of a quasistatic cavity resonator is derived, and field distributions along with power transfer efficiency are validated against measured results. Alanson Sample, associate lab director & principal research scientist at Disney Research said this new innovative method will make it possible for electrical power to become as ubiquitous as WiFi.
Following are the disadvantages in this system:
  1. The circular nature of the magnetic field produced means receivers only work when at right angles to it,. i.e, ,if you want to receive power while freely moving around the room create a new receiver design that consists of three orthogonal coils, so that one of them is always able to receive power.
  2. Safety-wise: to stay within the SAR limits, a measure of how much energy is absorbed by the human body,no humans can stand within 46 centimetres of the copper pole. Need of safety strategies such as intrusion detection or a decorative walls around the pole, right in the middle of the room.
  3. Due to the large amount of unused power stored in the room, the appliances in the space would have to use and receive that much power. Some kind of real-time power consumption tracking, would be required to use1,900 watts in the room, you also need devices to be using this to remain safe.
Disney Research isn't the first company to create wireless charging at distance, or far-field wireless charging but the thing to be noted is that they used a magnetic resonator coil, not unlike those used by conventional resonant wireless charging or "near-field" technologies sold today, to project a field at distance through which devices can receive power. A copper pipe with capacitors that transmit the electrical curren stands in the center of an experimental room.
Eventhough this system is far from commercial ready, it’s no less impressive and as they develop it further in the coming years, may soon extend to many more applications. For instance, electric buses wireless charging stations into public locations so that people with so-called battery anxiety can be relaxed. QCSR based wireless power offers a viable method for eliminating the wires and batteries, which can be restricted various imaginative arrangements in the mechanical, restorative, and customer electronic spaces while giving an anticipated measure of spatial charging flexibility. I must say it’s the most feasible yet. In addition, Disney aims to have Audio-Animatronics figures, which able to run throughout the day via wireless power source.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Hope You Don't "Wanna Cry"

WannaCry” first discovered on Friday, May 12th 2017, had spread to an estimated 57,000 computers in more than 150 different countries around the world by the end of the day. Some experts said the threat had receded as of Sunday, in part because “MalwareTech” registered a domain that he noticed the malware was trying to connect to, limiting Wanna Cry's spread. Microsoft also issued emergency security patches for a range of Windows versions. But the Hackers updated the software to another variant which spreads more rapidly and creating more havoc. Infact, second variant doesnt have a kill switch and is responsible for 50% of all attacks .
Last week, an unprecedented malware attack began sweeping the globe and the most severe malware attack so far in 2017. A new ransomeware called 'Wannacry' or 'Wannacrypt' has attacked a few big countries with Russia, Ukraine, and Taiwan being the top targets and created havoc by targeting sensitive industries like healthcare, banks. This ia a scary type of trojan virus called “ransomware”, the virus in effect holds the infected computer hostage and demands that the victim pay a ransom in order to regain access to the files on his or her computer.
Lets see, what is ransomeware wannacry. “Ransome” means a sum of money demanded or paid for the release of a captive. Ransomware is a malicious software that locks a connected device, such as a computer, tablet or smartphone and then demands a ransom to unlock it. The WanaCrypt 0r 2.0 bug, for instance, wants $300 to be paid in Bitcoins to unlock the affected computers. However, paying the ransom is no guarantee for getting the files will be restored and might just open up new attacks.
WannaCry works by encrypting most or even all of the files on a user’s computer. The software demands that a ransom be paid in order to have the files decrypted. The biggest threat with 'Wannacry' is that it's more than just a ransomware; it can also be classified as a worm. Being a worm, the ransomware has the ability to spread to different systems running on the same LAN network or even spread through emails.
The purpose of a ransomware attack is to extort money from victims. It is a powerful attack because people may fear losing their documents and photographs and so may be more likely to pay. When it hits businesses and hospitals, there is extra pressure to get rid of the ransomware quickly. The government has said the ransomware outbreak at the NHS was not a targeted attack on the UK's health service. It may be that the attackers created their virus without knowing exactly how far it would spread.
The malicious software used in the attack has the ability to automatically spread across large networks by exploiting a known bug in Microsoft's Windows operating system. Other factors were the large number of old, outdated software programs in use and often ineffective security systems. The hackers were using tools stolen from the U.S. National Security Agency and released on the Internet on 14 April through a dump by a group called Shadow Brokers. When a system is infected, a pop-up window appears with instructions on how to pay a ransom amount of $300. The pop-up also features two countdown clocks; one showing a three-day deadline before the ransom amount doubles to $600; another showing a deadline of when the target will lose its data forever. It demands payment only in bitcoin, gives instructions on how to buy it, and provides a Bitcoin address to send it to.
Have you heard of Bad USB??? BadUSB, is a malware that can be installed on a USB device to completely take over a PC, invisibly alter files installed from the memory stick, or even redirect the user’s internet traffic. Since BadUSB resides not in the flash memory storage of USB devices, but in the firmware that controls their basic functions, the attack code can remain hidden long after the contents of the device’s memory would appear to the average user to be deleted. If cybercriminal professionals thought of a collaboration of Bad USB and Wannacry, the results could be even graver(We may not find the flaw at once and the whole hardware needs to be replaced after such an attack)
How to protect ourselves from the cyber attacks?? Self defence is always the prime choice. Following are some important steps to follow:
  • Keeping a back up is the safest and most effective way to deal with the threat.
  • Regardless of which operating system you run, you should install any and all available security updates immediately.
  • Individual users as well as organisations have been asked to apply patches to their Windows system(s) as mentioned in the Microsoft Bulletin MS17-010, which is marked critical
  • Don't open emails or links in e-mails from people even in your contact list. E-mail has proven to an effective carrier in the case of 'Wannacry' ransomeware
  • Avoid downloading from websites that are not trustworthy; even attachments from unsolicited e-mails
  • Update Antivirus on all your systems and download Microsoft's latest software patches. For unsuported Windows versions such as XP, Vista etc, the user can download the necessary patch from this link.
  • Providing cyber-hygiene training to all levels of employees so that they dont click on phishing links i.e,Educate employees on identifying scams, malicious and emails that may contain viruses.
  • Organisations connecting to the Internet through Enterprise Edge or perimeter network devices [UDP 137, 138 and TCP 139, 445] should block their SMB ports or disable SMBv1.
If u get affected then immediately, Disconnect from the internet to ensure there is no further infection or exfiltrating of data as the ransomware will be unable to reach the command and control servers. Set BIOS clock back in case the ransomware has a time limit associated to it as with WannaCry.
Do you wonder why ransome isasked in Bitcoins?? Ransomware often demands between 0.3 and 1 Bitcoins (£400 – 1,375), but can demand a payment denominated in dollars but made via Bitcoin. The digital currency is popular among cybercriminals because it is decentralised, unregulated and practically difficult to trace. Also all bitcoin transactions are visible on bitcoin’s public accounting ledger, known as the blockchain.I said difficult, not impossible to trace as the law enforcement in multiple countries will be looking for the culprits.
I think literally, this may not be a money-making scheme at all. Unlike more functional and automated ransomware attacks, the wannacry attack has probably the lowest profit margin it might be someone trying to make a wake up call and I personally agree with Microsoft that the governments of the world should treat the WannaCry attack as "a wake-up call," to consider the "damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits. I think WannaCrypt could have been intended merely to demonstrate the moral hazard of governments that catalogue software vulnerabilities but do not notify software developers. Thus, WannaCrypt illustrated exactly what could happen if these vulnerabilities fall into the wrong hands. Always remember cybersecurity is a shared responsibility between tech companies and customers, the former relying on the latter to keep their critical systems updated, just as people rely on companies to put out secure systems. So its all about coperation..
In this era of big data, this is the next generation of malware, a more professional operation could improve on WannaCry’s techniques to inflict far worse damage. i.e a code that doesnt have a killer switch can be catastrophic. This combination of a network-based self-spreading worm and the profit potential of ransomware won’t fade away, and we have to develop our own abilities to adapt and innovate in order to be better prepared for the next attack.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

ISRO With A Perfect Solution To Fuel Crisis In India

After invading the skies, Indian Space Research Organization(ISRO) ,is now focusing on the automobile space with an emphasis on renewable energy. Since vehicles using fossil fuels persistently bring serious problems to environment and life. Electric vehicles are considered the future of transport. But the emissions are just transferred from the exhaust of the vehicle to the chimneys of the power plant. So Solar and Electrical energy based hybrid vehicles will provide the most effective and viable long-term solution by using renewable energy sources for mobility.
ISRO has been working on a number of sustainable initiatives in recent times. They recently launched a solar calculator app, that will help people install solar panels most optimally to derive energy. Now  the solar hybrid vehicle was successfully demonstrated in a test drive, including an uphill drive. Solar energy is available in abundance for free , and it is also a non-polluting source of energy. So, ISRO might solve a major problem in the electric vehicles.The electric car is equipped with solar panel, battery and super-capacitor. The technology also uses control electronics for charging of battery and gear set to transmit power to the wheels. ISRO mounted a high-efficiency solar panel on the roof of the car and used a super-capacitor to meet the demand of high peak current of over 100Ampere. The solar panels charge thelithium-ion batteries. The batteries power the lightweight brushless electric motor which propels the vehicle. The donor car is a Maruti Omni, and the electrical equipment is placed in the boot of the car. The usage of a Brushless type motor helped in improving the torque and reducing energy input while also helping in weight savings.
The car has been tested successfully at the Vikram Sarabhai space centre ( VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram and ISRO is already working on improving it. ISRO took concentrated efforts to make sure that safety was not compromised during the integrations of various subsystems. ISRO also plans to cut costs by using indigenous Li-ion pouch cells/Fuel cell with super-capacitor.Some people have commended that it has a ugly look, but i think it is the technology that matters and not the looks.India is aiming to push the use of electric vehicles to tackle rising pollution in its cities with the government setting a target of 6 million electric and hybrid vehicles on the roads by 2020 under the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 and Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles.I hope this endeveor by ISRO will fulfill India’s ambitious plan of making India a 100 percent electric vehicle nation by 2030.
When we consider the growing environmental concerns, the new technology is definitely a welcome move. EV on a clean fuel source is a better option for India as it provides an effective and long-term viable solution for the fuel crisis and pollution problems of the country. Since most leading automakers in the country have already been working hard on introducing hybrid versions, an initiative from ISRO might really help with future developments. The technology will totally revolutionise electric car market in India and might solve world’s transportation problems minimising its dependence on fossil fuels.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New Solid-state Battery calls for Another Battery Revolution...

Have you ever wondered what 94 year old John Goodenough, co-inventor of the lithium-ion battery, is doing?? He is hoping to find another breakthrough in battery technology. I think, he has succeded. A team of scientists under him has developed the first all-solid-state battery cells that could lead to safer, faster-charging, longer-lasting rechargeable batteries for handheld mobile devices, electric cars and stationary energy storage.
The new battery uses a sodium- or lithium-coated glass electrolyte that triples the energy density of lithium-ion, it also recharges in minutes, survives thousands charging cycles, operates across a wide range of temperatures (-4˚ F to 140˚ F) and wont cause fire. Unlike today’s lithium-ion batteries, glass electrolytes are used which prevents formation of dendrites or metal whiskers that leads to short circuits and fires. Since the solid-glass electrolytes have high conductivity, at -20 degrees Celsius, this type of battery in a car could perform well in subzero degree weather. This is the first all-solid-state battery cell that can operate under 60 degree Celsius.
Conventional lithium-ion batteries can be dangerous because they contain a flammable electrolyte under pressure. The batteries produce electricity as lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge and back when charging. Here instead of the flammable electrolytes glass anodes are used.The use of an alkali-metal anode (lithium, sodium or potassium) which isn't possible with conventional batteries increases the energy density of a cathode and delivers a long cycle life.
Goodenough thinks to replace lithium with sodium. Sodium and lithium are both alkali metals, with the same +1 charge. But sodium, which is commonly available, and can be extracted from sea water,which could make the new battery chemistry less expensive than lithium-ion cells.The cells would function at a lower temperature than lithium-ion batteries, and they can be manufactured out of Conventional batteries aren't able to use an alkali-metal-anode such as sodium.
Solid-state Li-on battery appears to contain only one electrochemical in the opposing electrodes either metallic lithium or sodium. How will voltage flow takes place if there is no difference in the chemical potentials (Fermi energies) between the two metallic electrodes?? According to Goodenough, the answer is that if the lithium plated on the cathode current collector is thin enough for its reaction with the current collector to have its Fermi energy lowered to that of the current collector, the Fermi energy of the lithium anode is higher than that of the thin lithium plated on the cathode current collector.
Cost, safety, energy density, rates of charge and discharge and cycle life are critical factors for battery-driven cars. Forh that these are the best option. Goodenough added that this new battery technology could also store intermittent solar and wind power on the electric grid. if the glass batteries can be scaled up commercially, which remains uncertain in this still-proof-of-concept-phase research, wil be a great break through in battery technology. I really hope this will help battery makers to develop and test their new materials in electric vehicles and energy storage devices.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Magical Graphene Sieve for Sea water

Wonder Sieve
wonder sieve
About 97 percent of the Earth's water can be found in our oceans.With ever increasing needs of growing population, the problem of pure, clean drinking water is also growing. Providing clean drinking water for millions of people who struggle to access adequate clean water sources is still a challenge. Scientists from the University of Manchester, led by Dr Rahul Nair, show how they solved some of the challenges by using a chemical derivative called graphene oxide. An effective and less energy-intensive desalination process using graphene has been developed which could give millions of people access to clean water.
Graphene Known as a scientific 'wonder material', is a sheet form of carbon that is just one atom thick. It has a range of startling properties including being hundreds of times stronger than steel, extremely lightweight and a superb conductor of electricity. Potential applications for the man-made material have included everything from bendable smart phones to super-capacity batteries.The difficulty has been to produce large quantities of single-layer graphene using existing methods, such as chemical vapour deposition (CVD). Currently, the production routes are quite costly.
To make a one-atom thick graphene permeable, you need to drill small holes in the membrane. However, if the hole size is larger than one nanometre, the salts will pass through that hole. And the graphene membrane needs also to be have a very uniform less-than-one-nanometre hole size to make it useful for desalination. All in all, this is a real technological challenge.
Existing, industrial-scale desalination plants can be costly and normally involve one of two methods: distillation through thermal energy, or filtration of salt from water using polymer-based membranes. They involve large amounts of energy, produce greenhouse gases and can be harm marine organisms. Eventhough, graphene-oxide has previously been demonstrated for filtering small nanoparticles, organic molecules and even large salts, the challenge with common salts found in seawater is their small size.
Researchers from University of Manchester in the U.K. have now successfully developed graphene-oxide membranes and found a strategy to avoid the swelling of the membrane when exposed to water. The pore size in the membrane can be precisely controlled, which can sieve common salts out of salty water and make it safe to drink, they said. They were able to restrict pore-swelling by coating the material with epoxy resin composite that prevented the sieve from expanding. This means common salt crystals could continue to be filtered out, while leaving behind uncontaminated, clean, drinking water.
Scalability is one of the big factors in how viable the method is, and the researchers believe that their graphene-oxide membrane could comfortably scale both up and down. Upwards, and the method could help improve the efficiency of desalination plants. Scaling down, the filters themselves could be used as inexpensive water purifiers for developing countries with limited access to clean water or large-scale de.salination plants. The sieve uses a graphene oxide membrane to filter out the common salt, with holes in the sieve less than one nanometre in size (0.000001mm).
When the common salts are dissolved in water, they always form a ‘shell’ of water molecules around the salt molecules. This allows the tiny capillaries of the graphene-oxide membranes to block the salt from flowing along with the water. Water molecules are able to pass through the membrane barrier and flow anomalously fast which is ideal for application of these membranes for desalination plants where vast volumes of water may flow through on a daily basis.
It is found that permeation rates for the membranes decrease exponentially with decreasing sieve size, they also report that water transport itself is only “weakly affected” meaning the filtered water flows through the membrane relatively quickly; an important factor if the aim is to develop affordable desalination technology.
By 2025, it is expected that 14% of the world’s population will encounter water scarcity. This technology has the potential to revolutionise water filtration across the world, in particular in countries which cannot afford large scale desalination plants. In addition, climate change is expected to wreak havoc on urban water supplies, with decreased rainfall and rising temperatures expected to fuel demand.
It is hoped that graphene-oxide membrane systems can be built on smaller scales making this technology accessible to countries which do not have the financial infrastructure to fund large plants without compromising the yield of fresh water produced.
At this stage, the technique is still limited to the lab, but it's a demonstration of how we could one day quickly and easily turn one of our most abundant resources, seawater, into one of our most scarce - clean drinking water. these graphene-based sieves could change lives around the world. But before that happens, the team has to make sure they can withstand prolonged contact with seawater. They also need to test the material against current membranes desalination processes use. would be an enormous breakthrough in worldwide water supply.

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