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A life-changing scholarship for self-taught scholar

The Economic Times | Varuni Khosla |   ET Bureau |  Jun 09, 2018, |

Ranjan, the only one of his siblings to be educated, grew up with his father earning less than Rs 1 lakh per annum working with an NGO

From struggling to get education to making it to Stanford Graduate School of Business on a full scholarship, Sangeet Ranjan’s career journey has come full circle. Ranjan, a 26-year-old ITC employee, is one of the three recipients of the Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship this year. The scholarship, more than $1,80,000 each (Rs 1.21 crore), covers the tuition and living costs at GSB and is offered to up to five students every year since 2009.  The fellowship, created by Reliance Industries supports Indian nationals who need financial assistance in obtaining an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business (GSB), Kristin Harlan, director of strategic communications at GSB, said while refusing to speak about individual achievements. “The Reliance fellowship specifically seeks students who, in addition to needing financial assistance, plan to return to India and aspire to have a positive impact on India after business school,” she added.  Consultants say education at top US B-schools is expensive — on an average, a top B-school can charge anywhere between $1,50,000 and $2,00,000 per year in tuition alone. In the MBA class of 2019, GSB has 418 students including 15 Indians, selected from 8,173 applicants. Ranjan’s admission at Stanford comes on the back of his GMAT score of 760, or 99 percentile. But getting education has itself been a story of many tribulations for Ranjan, who grew up in semi-urban Bihar in a family of seven. He rose through significant social and monetary challenges to make it to IIT-Kharagpur. “I have seen poverty very closely and this scholarship is a dream come true for me. I am the first in my extended family to go to IIT and work in a reputed company like ITC,” said Ranjan.

Ranjan, the only one of his siblings to be educated, grew up with his father earning less than Rs 1 lakh per annum working with an NGO.  Ranjan then went on to get selected for ‘Super 30’, the free Patna-based coaching programme founded by Anand Kumar, from more than 10,000 applicants to be coached for the premier engineering entrance test in 2008. However, a minor health problem forced him to drop out of the Super 30 programme. This set him on the path to work even harder towards a place at IIT-Kharagpur, something he achieved with selfstudy. Four years later, he secured a bachelor of technology in mechanical engineering with a CGPA of 8.58 on 10 — a CGPA above 8.0 is considered robust. In 2013, Ranjan refused a posting with US engineering company Schlumberger and chose to work with ITC that hired him during a campus placement. Since then, at ITC, he has been working at the company’s Munger unit in rural Bihar.

ET found out that this year, the scholarship has been granted to only two more candidates. Saswasti Roy, one of those two, said: “This scholarship reduced my financial strain a lot and I am coming back to India after I finish my studies. Going abroad for an MBA would have been very difficult for me without this.” Puneet Kumar, a former recipient who now works as a vice president at Nexus Venture Partners, said: “Such a scholarship is life-changing for people who come from humble beginnings. Not having to pay off a loan after an MBA helped me make the right kind of employment decision.” “The fellowship is merit-cumneed-based and provides everyone an equal opportunity to attend Stanford,” said Rajdeep Chimni, founder of MBA consultancy Admissions Gateway. Meanwhile, after finishing the Stanford programme, Rajan wants to build a pan-India agritech company by bringing tech innovations to strengthen the agrarian economy of the country’s hinterland. He is aiming to create sustainable livelihoods in a country where 400 million rural people are unemployed for half the year owing to the seasonal nature of agriculture and lack of industrialisation. – Courtesy

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Igniting minds, from India to Zimbabwe

The Hindu | Sweta Akundi  |  May 21, 2018 |

The founders of Infinite Engineers discuss their transition from being students to teachers, working with innovative children and their recent African experience.

A month ago, MA Aravind, co-founder of the city-based Infinite Engineers, decided that he would make his first international flight in two weeks. It was to Harare, Zimbabwe, where he taught applied science to children of the city — including the granddaughter of former President Robert Mugabe — in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Science Fair. This is the third country that Infinite Engineers is teaching in, after Singapore and India. The four-year old education startup goes around the State distributing their science kit — the Dexter Box — to both Government and private schools and training teachers in its use, hoping to bring applied science to classrooms. “Most schools allow students to use laboratories only after class IX. There too, we see that the environment is restrictive: ‘Be careful, otherwise you’ll break something.’ So there’s no room for children to experiment, just rote learning,” explains Harish Srinivasan, another co-founder. The group also interacts with children, holding workshops to motivate innovation. The company has made good use of Facebook to market their skills: it was how the founder of the Zimbabwe Science Fair got in touch with them this year, and it was how the Tamil Nadu Government learnt about them back in 2015. “We approached 100 schools in 2014, and only six of them allowed us to hold workshops. Today, we are supplying to 320 Government schools, 10 from each district,” says co-founder MC Jaikanth. The group also collaborates with the NUS High School of Mathematics and Science in Singapore.

Filmy start

Remember the famous scene from 3 Idiots when Raju, Farhan and Rancho are caught napping in class and asked to explain how an induction motor starts? Jaikanth had a similar experience in his fourth year of mechanical engineering at the Rajalakshmi Engineering College, that led him to the founding of Infinite Engineers. “My friend and I were cutting class and trying to avoid being seen by faculty. We randomly slunk into the back-bench of a seminar hall which was holding a conference competition. When the professor there caught us anyway, we lied saying that we were there to give a presentation too,” says Kanth. However, unlike Raju’s hilarious sputter start take from 3 Idiots, Jaikanth not only managed to give a presentation on the project he was working on — bladeless wind turbines — but also won. “It was a turning point for an average student like me. I realised that I had the potential for innovation,” adds Jaikanth, who then started working on several projects. Later in 2014, on his Head of Department’s advice, he got his batchmates Aravind and Srinivasan on board to start holding science workshops for school children. “We see a lot of dropouts in engineering, because school students tend to take up this specialisation blindly, without understanding what kind of study it would entail. So we thought we could increase awareness and interest through our kits.”

Looking ahead

Infinite Engineers is gearing up for Round Two of Harare in August, where it will be teaching children how to design products. “We met a few bright kids who had ideas for how to improve the collective health conditions in poorer areas of the city. One 10-year-old girl came up with a cheaper design for sanitary napkins that would make them more accessible,” recalls Aravind, who still mentors the children through Facebook. From June, the group will also be turning 17 activity centers in the city into ‘Dexter Zones’ for children to conduct experiments using their science kits twice a week, and learning how to dismantle and put together daily-use machines, among other things.For Srinivasan, children are the be-all-and-end-all for this initiative. “Working with children is the most rewarding experience. Every time I teach them, I feel like I have learnt something new,” he says. “Even when we make education policies, children are never consulted. We give them a lot less credit than they are due,” he adds, recalling how a 11-year-old girl surprised him by figuring out how the time period of a simple pendulum varies with its length — a concept taught in Class XII — all by herself. “She said it was the first time she was made to think like a scientist.” Agrees Aravind, “Be they from India or from Zimbabwe, children have bright minds full of ideas, all they need is the room to tinker around.”   –   Log on to www.infiniteengineers.in or call 9884190950 for more details.  – Courtesy

IIT-Kanpur graduate Karttikeya Mangalam creates insulin pen mid-air to save a life

News Bytes | 09 May 2018 |  Pallabi Chatterjee |

Using basic engineering skills, this IIT-Kanpur student saved a man’s life, who was slowly dying due to lack of his medicines. The 30-year-old Dutch, a Type-I diabetes patient, was aboard the same flight as Karttikeya Mangalam, the student. Mangalam was returning from Switzerland after appearing his final semester exam at EPFL, where he was an exchange student, on a Geneva-Delhi flight.

BeginningMangalam’s slumber was disturbed due to an emergency doctor call

Mangalam, also a Stanford-graduate, said the flight was half-empty and he used the two vacant seats in his row to slip into a comfortable siesta. Suddenly after 3-hours, he was disturbed by a commotion: an air-hostess was running up and down asking for a doctor. After sometime, a doctor rushed to two rows behind Mangalam’s, who then found out the passenger needed insulin.

Details After no insulin for 5hrs, Thomas’ body had almost given-up

30-year-old Thomas had diabetes since past 19-years and used to carry a kit comprising his insulin shots, said Mangalam in his memoir that was later shared by his alma mater. But at Sheremetyevo International Airport, he forgot to collect it from the security-check. While Thomas was flying at 30,000ft, his body was already bereft of medicines for 5-hours, a dangerous situation for a diabetic.

Riveting When first insulin shot didn’t work, air-hostess announced emergency landing

The attending doctor, himself a diabetic, had short-term fast working insulin with him, different from what Thomas needed. But given the emergency, he took the risk and shot the dose using the insulin-pen. It didn’t work. After an hour, an air-hostess announced that they would make an emergency landing in the war-torn Afghanistan-Kazakhstan region. Thomas was foaming at the mouth, she said.

Finding solution Using flight’s Wi-Fi, Mangalam read up pen’s mechanism online

The doctor explained that Thomas’ blood sugar had touched an alarming level and that his medicine might not work due to a resistance Thomas had developed gradually. Still, he attempted to push, but this time, the insulin-pen didn’t work, though it did the first time. It then struck a suspicious Mangalam to use the flight’s Wi-Fi and read the insulin-pen’s mechanism online.

SolutionUsing a simple ball-pen’s spring, Mangalam repaired the insulin-pen

“I found a large engineering drawing style diagram in the manual showing how every part works,” said Mangalam. He disbanded the pen and realized it was the absence of a spring that caused the malfunction. He asked for ball pens and found a perfect-fit spring from one pen. He reassembled the insulin-pen, returned it to the doctor, who injected the readjusted dosage to Thomas.

Gesture returned Mangalam assisted Thomas to a check-up, arranged for insulin-pump

In 15-minutes, Thomas’ blood-sugar levels started normalizing and emergency landing was called off. He was shifted to business class, along with Mangalam. Upon landing at Delhi Airport, Mangalam assisted Thomas to a check-up at Medanta hospital and also arranged for an insulin pump. As a return gesture, Thomas invited Mangalam to his Amsterdam restaurant and gorge his way to glory without paying a penny!

‘I am grateful to IIT-K for making me this capable’

“This incident has made me realize the importance of the basic engineering skills we are taught in our freshman year. I am grateful to IIT-K for making me this capable to actually matter in such a critical situation,” wrote Mangalam in his memoir. –  Courtesy

In a first, US-based son of IIT Kharagpur alumni donates Rs 2 crore to parents’ alma mater

The Economic Times | Sreeradha D Basu |  ET BureauApr 11, 2018 |

Deysarkar, has signed a MoU to create a Chair Professorship endowment for an amount of about Rs. 2 crore Asoke Deysarkar and Ruma Acharya Centre of Excellence in Petroleum Engineering

Kolkata: Shion DeySarkar, CEO of Datafiniti and son of US-based entrepreneurs Dr. Asoke Deysarkar and Dr. Ruma Acharya Deysarkar has donated Rs 2 crore to his parents’ alma mater IIT Kharagpur, in the first instance of its kind in the IIT ecosystem where an alumni progeny has given back to the institute.  Deysarkar, has signed a MoU to create a Chair Professorship endowment for an amount of USD 300,000, about Rs. 2 crore at IIT KGP’s Asoke Deysarkar and Ruma Acharya Centre of Excellence in Petroleum Engineering.  “Shion and I discussed about exciting the children of our alumni and encourage them to think about IIT Kharagpur. This is very unique for us and maintaining our legacy of being the first in several initiatives such as management, law, quality, happiness, superspecialty hospital, microspecialisation etc.” said Prof PP Chakrabarti, director of IIT Kgp.

“I am American by birth and upbringing. My parents have given me a lot of things and it is difficult for a child to give his parents back something. I see this opportunity as a small way to help my parents continue their work at IIT KGP and carry on their legacy. It is also an interesting way to see how we can marry Indian academic culture with American sensibilities and where it takes us going forward, whether we can create mutual beneficiaries from both these cultures,” said Shion Deysarkar who is a data scientist from Carnegie Mellon University.  The funding will be utilized towards setting up three Chair Professorships in the domains of Geology & Geophysics, Chemical Engineering and Chemistry/Mining Engineering. The Chair Professors will be paid a top up of Rs. 25,000/- per month and operate as per Institute approved norms of Chair Professorships.  Prof. Subrata Chattopadhyay, who has just taken over as the Dean of Alumni Affairs, calls it a historic day for IITs. “This will set the ball rolling and there would be many more events happening where the next generation of the alumni would donate to the alma mater of their parents” he remarked. Prof. Anindya Sarkar who is heading the Centre emphasized on the importance of involvement of family and bonding with the IIT system in the giving back and engagement activities of alumni which he hopes would take Indian higher educational institutions far ahead. – Courtesy

Ethical hacker from Ahmedabad pays Rs 7 for food worth Rs 231; informs railways about lax cyber security

Ahmedabad Mirror |

You read that right. Flaws in IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) website made it easy for an Ahmedabad-based ethical hacker to order food for free on its website while travelling to Mumbai. Surprisingly, even after he informed about technical flaws in the website which could allow anyone with rudimentary hacking skills to order food for free, officials did not act on it for seven months. The hacker also informed the IRCTC officials that their two other websites were vulnerable. While the e-catering website has been rectified, the other two portals remain exposed to hacking. IRCTC is not 22-year-old Kanishk Sajnani’s first exploit. He gained international attention after hacking into Air India website in 2016. He has also exposed flaws in online operations of a private airline, travel portal, online food ordering service and a mobile wallet company. The engineering college dropout then turned his attention to Indian Railways.

Turning focus to IRCTC
In June last year after realising that he could food — practically for free — from the transporter’s website, Kanishk informed IRCTC Chairman on June 14 and then Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu on June 25 in a set of emails. He also tweeted about it on July 5, tagging the Ministry of Railways, Suresh Prabhu and IRCTC. With no response from any quarter, Kanishk went ahead and hacked into the system to order kadhai chicken and butter naan on his journey from Ahmedabad to Mumbai on June 22, 2017. “My first order was kadhai chicken worth Rs 163 for which I paid Rs 1.03 from Mobikwik wallet. Then, I placed a second order of butter naan worth Rs 68 for which I paid Rs 6.12 through Paytm,” Kanishk told Mirror. Asked why it took him so long to come out publicly, Kanishk said, “I was waiting for IRCTC to take corrective action so that the flaw could not be misused. They repaired the breach on February 3, 2018.” Asked why he paid through two different modes of money transfer, Sajnani said, “If I had only done it through one, officials could have said the problem was just with the mode of payment. However, I had to prove that the website itself was vulnerable to attacks.” Asked why he paid more for the naan than the chicken, Sajnani chuckled, “I always bring down the amount to Re 1. I wanted to pay a little more this time around.”
Asked how difficult it was for him to hack into the system and if others could also do so with ease, Sajnani said that it took him just 10 minutes to get in and he could have easily placed hundreds of such orders. “If I can do it just to show the officials that it can be done, anyone with basic skills can also do it. Who knows if they haven’t been doing it till the flaw was rectified?” Kanishk said he did not eat the food but gave it to a homeless outside the Mumbai Central station.

Where was the vulnerability?
Kanishk clarified, “The vulnerability existed at IRCTC’s end and the payment gateways were not responsible in any way. To prove this, I ordered separately from two payment gateways – Paytm and Mobikwik.” Another problem, he said, was that the website was not protected by HTTPS secure transfer protocol and instead was running only on HTTP.

Current Status
On what the Railways had to do to remove the flaws from their e-catering site, Kanishk said, “They had to revamp the website to solve the free food order vulnerability. While doing that they also made the site HTTPS. However, two of their other websites still don’t have HTTPS. The information therein is not even encoded in any secure form… it is in clear text.”  The current updated state of the IRCTC website and mobile app (launched on February 3) have a  revamped User Interface (UI), forced HTTPS, and new payment gateway that offers most wallet options except Mobikwik & Paytm wallets. IRCTC Tourism website has a login page over HTTP that is not secured with HTTPS and the IRCTC corporate website has HTTP login pages for its employees as well as customers, a flaw which can be exploited by hackers, Kanishk said.

Way ahead for ethical hacking in India
Kanishk dropped out of computer engineering course at GTU-affiliated LJIET in October 2017. “College only teaches you 40-50% skills, the rest you need to develop yourself. As such degree never mattered to me. I am currently pursuing some professional courses to update my knowledge. They are globally recognised and designed by working professionals,” he justified, when asked why he dropped out of college.  He also turned down a two-month internship offer by a mobile wallet company. The ethical hacker rues there are no ‘bug bounty programmes’ in India. Ethical hackers receive recognition and compensation for reporting bugs, especially those pertaining to vulnerabilities. When asked if any Indian government departments currently have a bug bounty programme, Kanishk said, “Not a single one. That’s the most unfortunate part. The US government has an official bug bounty programme running through ‘HackerOne’, the world’s biggest bug bounty platform.” – Courtesy

Kerala engineers who developed robot to clean manholes are on a mission to end manual scavenging

Scroll | 27 February 2017 | Thiruvananthapuram |

Bandicoot successfully completed a trial run in Thiruvananthapuram this month.

Genrobotics team with Bandicoot | Genrobotics

Manual scavenging is outlawed in India, yet thousands of people are still engaged in the work and many die cleaning sewers. According to the Safai Karmachari Andolan, a movement to eradicate manual scavenging, at least 1,470 manual scavengers died at work between 2010 and 2017. There are an estimated 1.8 lakh people in the country working as manual scavengers. Now, though, a group of engineers from Kerala may have found a way to end the “dehumanising practice”. They have designed a spider-shaped robot that cleans manholes and sewers with precision. Called Bandicoot, it has already successfully completed a trial run in Thiruvananthapuram, unclogging five manholes filled with plastic, filth, medical waste and sediments. The robot, which takes 15 minutes to clean small sewers and around 45 minutes to unclog bigger ones, was developed by Genrobotics, a company founded by nine young engineers in Thiruvananthapuram two years ago. “Our ultimate aim is to end manual scavenging in India,” said Vimal Govind, the company’s 25-year-old chief executive officer. “It is time to change manholes to roboholes.” Following the successful trial earlier this month, the Kerala Water Authority has decided to use Bandicoot to clean all sewers in Thiruvananthapuram.

Bandicoot cleans a manhole during the trial run in Thiruvananthapuram. Photo courtesy Genrobotics

Ray of hope

India has enacted two laws – the Employment of Manual Scavenging and Construction of Dry Latrines Prohibition Act, 1993 and the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 – to eventually eradicate the practice of manually cleaning, carrying and disposing human excreta and garbage from sewers. Yet, manual scavengers across India still clean sewers at great risk to their lives. Most of the time, they are not provided the mandatory safety gear by their employers, largely municipal agencies, making them vulnerable to fatal accidents. Even a protective cap is a luxury for most of them, let alone jackets, gloves and masks. As a consequence, many die from inhaling poisonous gases accumulated inside manholes, oxygen depletion, heat stress or from falling down the pit. The overwhelming majority of manual scavengers are from Dalit communities. It is a harrowing life.

Bandicoot, thus, is a ray of hope. It only requires a person to operate it from a safe distance. The 80-kg robot lifts the heavy metal cover on its own, drops its arm into the manhole, scoops out the solid waste and dumps it in a bucket. “All operations can be viewed on a monitor,” Govind explained. “The robot can also be used to check the sewage apart from jetting the sewer lines.” Genrobotics plans to teach manual scavengers to operate the robot with the aim of rehabilitating them. “Bandicoot will make the life of manhole cleaners safer,” Govind said. “It will help them earn a decent living without fear of losing jobs and lives. It will also break the caste system. Bandicoot will ensure manholes in India will remain clean without losing human lives.”

In good company

In 2015, nine mechanical engineering students from MES Engineering College in Kuttippuram, Malappuram, to explore the possibility of developing robots. “All of us are passionate about robotics and we began to exchange ideas and the group was immediately given the name Team Genrobotics,” Govind said. “We decided to retain the name when we launched the company in 2016.” The idea was to build on a powered exoskeleton they had developed in the final year of college and which had won them many accolades. A powered exoskeleton is a wearable mobile machine that allows limb movement with increased strength and endurance. Such machines are used by soldiers to carry heavy objects and by fire fighters during emergency operations. After finishing college in 2016, they began to work on developing medical and industrial exoskeletons. But paucity of funds hampered them. “In order to raise funds we began to work for different firms,” said Govind. In 2017, the Kerala Startup Mission, a start-up incubator launched by the state government, offered to fund their project. “Our robotics dream got wings once again and we regrouped soon,” Govind said.

An illustration of Bandicoot lifting a manhole cover. Photo courtesy Genrobotics

A bright idea

The team then went to meet the state’s Information Technology Secretary M Sivasankar to discuss their ideas. Quite unexpectedly, he asked the engineers whether they could develop a robot to clean manholes. “A manual scavenger’s photograph published in a newspaper that morning triggered his suggestion,” Govind said. “We readily agreed.” They set to work immediately, studying the different types of manholes, speaking to manual scavengers to understand the cleaning methods and watching documentaries and videos on manual scavenging. “It helped us understand the scourge of manual scavenging,” Govind said. “We decided to go ahead with the project as we felt it was high time we ended the practice.” In one documentary, Govind heard a manual scavenger saying God had made them to do this work. “The statement shocked me,” he recalled. “At that time I decided that it was my duty to rescue these people from this deadly job.” The team officially started work on the project in June 2017 and launched Bandicoot’s beta version in January 2018. “We are indebted to Kerala Startup Mission and the Kerala Water Authority for helping us realise our dream,” Govind said. The research and development work was done and the robot was assembled at the Kerala Water Authority’s office in Thiruvananthapuram. “We procured the components, except the advanced camera and waterproof material, from different parts of India and customised them for our needs,” Govind said. “Approximate coast of one robot is Rs 10 lakh but the price will come down when it is mass produced. But we can finalise the price only after talking to government.” – Courtesy

AICTE to begin new ‘Solar Urja Lamp’ (SoUL) MillionSoUL schemes for rural students

THE ASIAN AGE | AISHWARYA IYER |  Feb 20, 2018 |   AICTE to begin new schemes for students
Under this intervention, one million children in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan have been given the solar lamps. Module one consists of a lamp that provides LED light and a solar panel that is placed outside under the sun.

Mumbai: The Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT B) have initiated ‘Solar Urja Lamp’ (SoUL) that aims to provide solar study lamps to the rural students through skill transfer to local communities. Through this project, the institute is lighting up homes with renewable energy and providing rural women with the chance to become entrepreneurs.  According to an IIT-B professor Chetan Singh Solanki (who is part of the project), there are two types of solar lamps – module one and module two. Module one consists of a lamp that provides LED light and a solar panel that is placed outside under the sun. Module two solar lamp also consists of a mobile charging pin. The battery life of these lamps is 10 to 12 hours when on low mode and 5 to 6 hours when on high mode. Under this intervention, one million children in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Rajasthan have been given the solar lamps. Last year, the ministry of new and renewable energy sanctioned the project after which around 70 lakh solar study lamps will be provided in Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.

Solanki who is from the epartment of Energy Science and Engineering of IIT B and initiated the project in the year 2013 said it was done keeping in mind the eradication of kerosene lamps in villages especially among school children. “We fail to realise but kerosene lamps emit carbon dioxide fumes which are inhaled by the children causing damage to their body. Also, as these lamps are inflammable there are high chances of mishaps like fire causing burn injuries or even death. Hence, the idea of using renewable energy (solar) is safe and this will build a solar eco system,” said Harshad Supal, member of the technical team of SoUL project. Through this project, they want to promote education among the students but in an environmental friendly manner. Faculty and students of IIT-B, along with the supply of these lamps will be training the women of villages to let them understand the solar technology. Apart from the lamps, IIT-B aims to introduce other solar products like home lighting, water pumps, solar cooking to build a solar eco system. – Courtesy     /      Million SoUL  Take a Look at –   http://www.millionsoul.iitb.ac.in/

IIT’s first food testing lab unveiled in Kharagpur

Outlook | 10 January 2018  |  Kharagpur | [West Bengal]

Representational Image

January 10 : The Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) has established its first food testing lab at its Kharagpur campus. The agricultural and food engineering department’s Analytical Food Testing Laboratory received the National Accreditation Board for Calibration and Testing Laboratories (NABL) accreditation, which empowered the IIT Kharagpur to certify food items for their nutritional value and also check for adulteration. After getting the accreditation, the IIT has already started the process of certification for some Kolkata-based company for fish items and neem oil.

“This is for the first time any lab in any of the IITs or NITs in the country has been given this accreditation. Now, we can go for analysis of any major, macro as well as micronutrients present in the food items. Anyone having any suspicion in their mind of plastic rice, egg, they can bring it here and after analysis and using the most sophisticated high-end equipment, we can tell if there is any adulteration”, said Rintu Banerjee, professor of the department of agriculture and food engineering and in-charge of the Analytic Food Testing Lab, IIT Kharagpur. “My PhD is on protein and the system here is protein sequencer PPSQ31A. This is the only system here in the whole eastern region. The protein in the food items is made of amino acids. Through this system, we can get to know which essential amino acid is present and which is not”, Jagriti Singh, a PhD student, told . She added that this sequencer is qualitative-based and has liquid chromatography. “We can detect pathogenic particles and allergens”. – Courtesy

Indian American Technologist Nambi Seshadri Honored with the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal

India-West Staff Reporter |

Nambi Seshadri

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers recently announced that it has awarded Nambi Seshadri with its prestigious Alexander Graham Bell Medal. Seshadri, Indian American chief technologist at San Jose, Calif.-based Quantenna Communications Inc., was selected for the honor for his exceptional contributions to wireless, networking and engineering. In addition to this high honor, Seshadri’s prize consists of a gold medal, a bronze replica, a certificate, and an honorarium, according to a Quantenna Dec. 5 news release. “The innovations by Nambi form the basis for some of today’s Wi-Fi and other wireless networking standards and systems, now in use by billions of Wi-Fi users,” said Dr. Sam Heidari, chairman and chief executive at Quantenna. “We are honored to have such a distinguished and accomplished chief technologist on our team. The process is extraordinarily competitive, this is a great lifetime accomplishment and one of the most prestigious honors that one may receive in our field.”

In addition to serving as chief technologist to Quantenna, Seshadri is a professor of electrical and computer engineering for U.C. San Diego. Prior to Quantenna, Seshadri was senior vice president and chief technology officer of the broadband and connectivity group at Broadcom Corporation where he was responsible for many of the wireless initiatives, spearheading the development of technologies such as 2G, 3G and 4G cellular communications, mobile multimedia, low-power WiFi and many others, IEEE said. From 2011-2014, he also served as the general manager of the Mobile Platforms Business Unit. Prior to joining Broadcom Corporation, he was a member of the technical staff at AT&T Bell Lab Laboratories and head of communications research at AT&T Shannon Labs, where he contributed to fundamental advances in wireless communication theory and practice. He was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in 2000 and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering USA in 2012 and as a foreign member of the Indian National Academy of Engineering in 2013.

A graduate of the Regional Engineering College in Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu, India, and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Seshadri holds about 200 patents. He was a co-recipient of the IEEE Information Theory Paper Award in 1999 for his paper with Tarokh and Calderbank on space-time codes, and his JSAC paper on space-time coding modems with Naguib, Tarokh and Calderbank was selected by the IEEE Communication Society for publication in “The Best of the Best: Fifty Years of Communications and Networking Research” in 2003. The IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal was established in 1976 by the IEEE Board of Directors in commemoration of the centennial of the telephone’s invention, to provide recognition for outstanding contributions to telecommunications, according to the institute’s website. The invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 was a major event in electrotechnology. It was instrumental in stimulating the broad telecommunications industry that has dramatically improved life throughout the world. As an individual, Bell himself exemplified the contributions that scientists and engineers have made to the betterment of mankind, IEEE said.- Courtesy

Indian-American, Kaushik Sengupta gets top Bell Labs Prize for pioneering transceiver technology

News India Times |  Staff Writer |  

An Indian-American Princeton University professor has been awarded a prestigious prize for his pioneering work on transceiver technology. Kaushik Sengupta, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Princeton University, was the top winner in the 2017 Bell Labs Prize, winning a $100,000 award for his invention of transceiver chip technology that has the potential to improve wireless communications and open the door for new applications by reducing size and cost. The Bell Labs Prize recognizes disruptive technology innovations with the potential to solve critical challenges faced by humanity over the next ten years. This year’s competition, the fourth since the award’s inception, attracted more than 330 proposals from 35 countries. Sengupta will be given the opportunity to collaborate with researchers at Nokia Bell Labs to develop his research into the next generation of integrated technology employing extremely high frequency waves, a Dec. 14, press release from the University said. A 2007 B.Tech and Integrated M.Tech graduate in electronics and electrical communications engineering, from Indian Institute of Technology, Sengupta did his MS in electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 2008, and earned his Ph.D from the same institution in 2012. Silicon-based integrated circuits have gone through a generational change in the last ten years, according to Sengupta, who says “We believe future innovations in such diverse high-impact technology will not be achieved through innovations in one discipline, but through mutli-thronged approach and a close alliance of various allied scientific disciplines in a synergistic environment.”

In pursuit of this vision, he adds, “We innovate on both techniques and architectures that can leverage the strengths of concepts and techniques across disciplines and blend them to create novel and high-performance integrated systems.” His research interests including Silicon-based RF, mm-Wave and THz circuits and systems; Onchip active electromagnetic field synthesis and control for sensing and actuation; self-healing and reconfigurable integrated circuits and systems in Silicon; as well as theoretical understanding of fundamental limits of circuits and related systems. Sengupta has received several awards over the course of his career, including the IBM Ph.D Fellowship for 2011-2012, and India’s Prime Minister Gold Medal from IIT Kharagpur in 2007. Nokia announced the top three winners of its fourth annual Bell Labs Prize Dec. 13. This year’s competition attracted more than 330 proposals from 35 countries, which were narrowed down to around 20 semi-final applications shortlisted for collaboration with Bell Labs researchers over a two-month period. These refined semi-final proposals were then reviewed by the Bell Labs leadership team and the nine finalists selected, with each finalist having the chance to extend their collaboration with leading researchers at Bell Labs.  Seven well known scientists from the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields chose the three finalists, with Sengupta winning the top spot. – Courtesy