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UPES students N.Adhithiyan and Rohan Chandra represent India at Moon-Mars exploratory mission in Poland
India Education Diary | October 13, 2017 |
New Delhi, October 13, 2017: Two Aerospace Engineering students of UPES represented India at the Poland Mars Analogue Simulation (PMAS) 2017, organized by the Space Exploration Project Group in collaboration with European Space Agency. The mission’s aim was to evaluate the joint human and robotic surface operations on the Mars and Lunar surface. UPES students N.Adhithiyan and Rohan Chandra were part of a team of six analogue astronauts and were placed in the Martian habitat at M.A.R.S Laboratory near Rzepiennik Biskupi, Poland to conduct scientific research. Explaining whether analogue simulations like this can really help us get to Mars, Sebastian Hettrich, PMAS 2017 Mission Director said in an article, “Analogue Missions in general are good and low-cost opportunities to test and study certain aspects of a long-term space exploration mission, such as a Mars mission. They help us understand and address potential risks and issues that the future Mars astronauts will have to face, and therefore, can make such missions much safer and scientifically more efficient.”
Sharing his experience, Rohan Chandra who was a Record Officer at the mission said, “As a Record officer, I was responsible for logging events, occurrences, instructions, activities and conditions at the habitat and also at the Mission Support Centre. These log-files are crucial for the reconstruction of the events during the mission, the analyses of workflows and procedures, the planning and scheduling of the analogue astronaut activities and to analyse the overall mission efficiency. It was perhaps the most amazing learning experience for me where I got to learn in the best way possible, with the best mentors and organizations.” N Adhithiyan, who worked as a Science Data office at the mission shared, “I was responsible for the scientific results, research data, documents, video and audio transmission and all the other data that was sent to and from the habitat to the Mission Support Centre.” The exploration mission was isolated from the rest of the world. The astronauts’ only communication with the outside world was through a 15-minute time-delayed link (in Mars mode) with the Flight Support Team (FST) in the Mission Support Centre located 89 miles away in the offices of ABM Space in Torun, Poland. – Courtesy
The Hindu | Sci-Tech | Science | October 13, 2017 | Opinion |
Engineering programmes that do nothing to address the challenges of globalisation will soon be irrelevant, says this India-born academic.
It’s amazing where a love for solving problems can take you. For academic S K Ramesh, born in Madras and now based in California, United States, his early aptitude in working out mathematical and science problems has led him to specialise in fibre optic communication and beyond. “If there is one constant in engineering, it is change. The pace of change in Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) has been remarkable when you consider where we are today with ubiquitous connectivity that has changed the way we live and work all over the world,” writes Dr Ramesh, Dean, College of Engineering and Computer Science at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), in an email interview with The Hindu MetroPlus.
Dr Ramesh is also the director and lead principal investigator of ‘Bridging the Gap: Enhancing AIMS2 for Student Succes,’ a collaborative $6 million-project that involves improving overall graduation rates for all Hispanic and low-income students. Growing up in a family of bureaucrats and studying in schools all over Tamil Nadu in the 1970s, Dr Ramesh’s story has a link to Tiruchi too. Following his Pre-University course (PUC) in Loyola College, Madras, he was selected to attend Regional Engineering College (REC), Tiruchirapalli in 1976. The REC is now known as National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli (NITT), and its ECE Alumni Association recently hosted Dr Ramesh for its 50th anniversary celebrations. Dr Ramesh earned his BE (Honours) degree in ECE in 1981. Upon graduation he received a graduate assistantship to pursue his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, United States. He earned his Master’s degree in 1983 and continued his studies to earn his PhD degree from the same university in 1986. He taught at his alma mater (SIU Carbondale) as a Visiting Professor for a year before he was recruited by California State University, Sacramento where he began his academic career in 1987.
Excerpts from the interview:
Tell us a little about yourself
I was born in Madras and moved to United States to pursue graduate studies at the age of 21, soon after my BE. I was an only child. My father KA Sundaram, earned his Master’s degree in Mathematics and had a long and distinguished career in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). He retired at the age of 58 as the head of the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) that was responsible for renewable energy technology. Many projects that he envisioned almost three decades ago in solar and wind energy are now fully operational. My mother Saroja Sundaram, an Economics graduate, was a homemaker. She was an accomplished singer but literally put that on hold while I was growing up. It was not until I left for the US that she returned to her music career – two decades later. She has rendered over 500 Thevaram concerts all over Tamil Nadu and received the Kalaimamani award from the Government of Tamil Nadu in recognition of her contributions. The timeless values that my parents taught me continue to help me every single day in my life. I met my wife Utpala in graduate school in Carbondale. She has a PhD in Biochemistry and is a research scientist for the California Air Resources Board. Our elder son Arvind (26) is an electrical engineer and works for Northrop Grumman Corporation, while the younger one Anjan (19) is in college studying Biology.
Why did you choose to study engineering?
I loved solving problems and I was doing well in my mathematics and science classes in school. That led me on the path to study engineering. Electronics and Communications engineering were fascinating fields of study. If there is one constant in engineering, it is change. The pace of change in ECE has been remarkable when you consider where we are today with ubiquitous connectivity that has changed the way we live and work all over the world. I was excited to be a part of this new and emerging field. My parents thought that I would follow the family tradition and sit for the IAS exam after my studies in the US. But I had no idea at that time that I would find my true calling as an educator here. In my first semester I was assigned to serve as a teaching assistant for an introductory programming course on PL/1. I was worried since I had to learn this new programming language and serve as a teaching assistant at the same time.
But as my department head told me at that time: “You will figure it out”! Indeed, that’s exactly what happened. That lesson has stayed with me to this day and launched me on the path to becoming an engineering educator. Optical Fibre Communications was coming of age in the early ’80s and gave me a chance to work on many exciting projects going back to my roots in Communications Engineering. The other defining moment for me as I look back on my career is my involvement with Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). I was one of the founding members of the IEEE student branch at REC Tiruchi in 1978 and continued my involvement when I came to the US. The IEEE is the world’s largest, professional, technical society with over 400,000 members worldwide.
Despite a boom in engineering education, many institutions are folding up (in India especially) due to factors like a lack of adequately trained faculty. What would be a good reset point for the subject?
I am aware of this challenge and have volunteered my time along with several colleagues to improve the quality of engineering education — particularly by supporting ongoing faculty professional development. It is vital that educational institutions work closely with employers and industry to keep their curricula relevant. While the fundamentals remain the same, there are remarkable developments taking place at the boundaries between traditional disciplines for instance between Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, leading to the field of Mechatronics. We have a number of global challenges in the world today: food security, clean air, clean water, energy, sustainability, healthcare, transportation, climate change, education, and so on. Engineers continue to find innovative solutions to these global challenges that confront society. Global education needs to be integrated into the engineering curriculum to achieve maximum impact on addressing societal needs. Programmes that do nothing to address the challenges of globalisation will soon be irrelevant.
What are some of the biggest takeaways from your days at REC?
I am incredibly proud of my education at REC Tiruchi. We had some truly outstanding faculty in the ECE department who cared about us as individuals. The late Professor AL Abdussattar, who was the Head of the department, Professor P Ramakrishna Rao, and Professor MJS Rangachar and not to forget our dynamic Principal the late Professor PS Manisundaram, left an indelible mark on all of us in their own inimitable ways. Teamwork and communications are much sought after in the workplace today. Thanks to living in the REC hostels, with batch mates who spoke different languages, we had a virtual melting pot of cultures, languages and traditions. Sure, there were differences and disagreements — but the lesson for all of us was that one could disagree without becoming disagreeable!
With the increased move towards artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, are the days of the human engineer numbered?
Hardly! As we advance technologically and come up with innovative solutions that employ heuristics, AI, and Robotics, now more than ever we need engineers who understand the humanistic values and the impact of their solutions on society. There will always be a need for engineers who can create that next generation of solutions that address the contemporary issues of their time. – Courtesy / Profile
Watch the Video: Think CSUN: If You Want to Change the World, Be an Engineer
NASA’s Human Exploration Rover Challenge: 5 Telangana students from SR Engineering College to create Moon Buggy
News Nation Bureau | October 12, 2017 |
Five students from a private engineering college in Telangana have been selected for the prestigious NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge. All they need to do is create a buggey designed to traverse the simulated lunar surface.
New Delhi : NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge will witness the participation of five students from an engineering college in Telangana. The students from the SR Engineering College, Warangal, will take part in the fifth annual challenge. The NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge will be held on April 12-14, 2018, in Huntsville, Alabama, US. Total four teams from India have been short-listed for the challenge, while students belonging to as many as 23 countries are competing in the challenge. All they need to do is create a buggey designed to traverse the simulated lunar surface.
The team, led by faculty Manoj Chaudhary, will create a moon buggy design and will be required to submit their idea. The team includes P Paul Vineeth, Prakash Raineni, P Sravan Rao, Rondla Dilipreddy A and Venishetty Sneha, said a statement. SR Engineering College Secretary A.Madhukar Reddy congratulated the students and said it was a great opportunity to build, design and test technologies that allow rovers to perform in a variety of environments, ET reported. First held in 1994, 25 years after the first manned Apollo landing on the moon, the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge began as the NASA Great Moonbuggy Race. The focus of the challenge is now on NASA’s current plans to explore planets, moons, asteroids and comets. During the 20-year period, the Great Moonbuggy Race involved over 10,000 students. It also revealed that these budding scientists and engineers were capable of complex work. – Courtesy
Press Trust of India | Kolkata, 10 October 2017 | PTI |
Kolkata, Oct 10 (PTI) IIT-Kharagpur has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Samsung India for the setting up of a digital academy on the institute’s campus. The Department of Computer Science and Engineering in the institute would host the Samsung Innovation Lab and train students on the Internet of Things (IoT) through Tizen-based operating systems, commonly used by the company for its mobile phones and home appliances. IoT is a network of computing devices embedded in objects of everyday use for storage and exchange of information. The training would help students acquire industry-relevant skills and “become job ready”, an IIT-KGP statement said today. The academy was a part of the company’s corporate social initiative that aims at bridging the digital divide in the country by imparting skills to students on cutting-edge technology, the statement said. Through this partnership with IIT-KGP, the academy planned to train over 100 students in the next three years, it added. After signing the MoU yesterday, the managing director of Samsung Research & Development Institute, Delhi, YoungKi Byun, said, “Samsung is happy to partner with IIT-Kharagpur to help students leverage the growing digital technology market, especially Internet of things (IoT), the future of connectivity”.
The company was committed to work in the field of next-generation technology development, he said. Echoing similar sentiments, IIT-KGP Director Partha Pratim Chakrabarti said, “The partnership will help our students in developing their skills on the emerging areas of IoT and Artificial Intelligence.” The curriculum at the Samsung Digital Academy included the basics of web application development on Tizen, app testing and debugging. The course would be taught over 14 weeks through classroom lectures, assignments, lab room sessions, self-study and mini projects. “This (IoT) lab will enable our students to have hands-on experience with the Tizen operating system as well as facilitate research and app development on IoT platforms,” the head of the department of Computer Science and Engineering, Sudeshna Sarkar, said. – Courtesy
Team SHUNYA of IIT Bombay is now set for the next challenge – to participate in Solar Decathlon 2018
India Education Diary | October 7, 2017 |
Mumbai: Have you ever wondered about a house which runs on zero electricity and also generates electricity for future use? Well, this idea isn’t far-fetched at all. A team from IIT Bombay had successfully built such a fully-functional, well-furnished house with three rooms, a kitchen sufficient lighting and air conditioning. The house runs on solar energy using rooftop solar panels. It does not use any electrical energy from the grid but is capable of generating and feeding excess energy to the grid on a bright sunny day. The name of this fascinating team of passionate young engineering and architecture students is “Team SHUNYA” where SHUNYA stands for ‘Sustainable Habitat for an Urbanizing Nation by its Young Aspirants’. The team took part in Solar Decathlon Europe, 2014 and got “Honourable mention in Sustainability”. The team secured highest points in innovation in engineering and made innovations in the fields of solar-powered appliances, photovoltaic systems and house simulations. Another remarkable highlight is that the team has patented a solar air heater in which maximum temperature of 220oC can be reached. Team SHUNYA of IIT Bombay is now set for the next challenge – to participate in Solar Decathlon 2018 to be held in Dezhou, China. It is the only team from India to have selected in Solar Decathlon, 2018 which will be held in Dezhou, China.
Solar Decathlon is an international competition in which teams from various countries compete to build a fully-functional solar-powered house by applying cutting-edge technologies and innovations in a month-long competition and make a live model of the house on the competition site within just 12 days. The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon also designated as ‘The Olympics of Solar Powered Houses’ challenges collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. For Solar Decathlon China (SDC) 2018, the ‘Project Solarise’ of Team SHUNYA will showcase a solar powered ground+1 floor villa of 2000 square feet area for a family of six people, which uses an unconventional innovative HVAC system. The villa will be completely automated and built using hybrid construction. With amazing lessons from the past, Team SHUNYA is designing a house as per the climatic conditions of Amaravati, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, to demonstrate energy-efficient solar housing. As Amravati will be a green field construction on the banks of Krishna River, Team SHUNYA looks forward to use this opportunity to demonstrate housing options for future smart cities. ‘Project Solarise’ will be an amalgamation of traditional architecture, contemporary interior designs, modern lifestyle and futuristic amenities infused in a single house. The ‘Net Positive Energy House’ has been designed with thorough research about the climatic and geographical conditions of the place. Passive solar architecture is the central design tenet with the aim of reducing the requirement for artificial thermal and lighting control as far as possible. The cost can also be brought down. This project will also introduce hybrid construction in the realms of Indian housing, diverging from the conventional building industry. The scientific principles of Vastu Shastra have also been employed for arriving at the spatial arrangement of various rooms according to the time of the day. The house would be easy to erect and transport. In future, the ‘Net Positive Energy’ house designed by Team SHUNYA will be an asset for the upcoming smart city projects in different parts of the world.
Since its selection, the team has made significant progress in the design and engineering of the house. In order to justify the decision to create a house for the Indian middle class, the team decided to ensure that the house appeals to the sensibilities of the widest range of Indian home owners. An active attempt has been made to provide as much functionality as possible at the lowest cost while meeting with the international competition standards. The members of Team SHUNYA are not mere engineers and architects, but technocrats with young innovative minds imprinted with the responsibility of fulfilling social obligations and with the inextinguishable desire to serve humanity. As Team SHUNYA represents India in Solar Decathlon China 2018, it will be yet another feather of success in the technological advancement of the country in solar housing with its rich scientific minds. Apart from the construction of the house, the team is also engaging in awareness activities to promote sustainable construction in India through its website, social media platforms and by participating in lectures, workshops and various conferences. Currently, the team is working towards raising capital to meet the expenditure of building a new house in the campus premises for testing the design which would further be dismantled and reassembled in China in 12 days as part of the competition. The team utilizes all their investments for designing technologies. If the dreams of Team SHUNYA gain wings in implementation and replication, it would surely transform the Indian building Industry by demonstrating affordability of sustainable housing. – Courtesy / http://teamshunya.in/
Times of India | Kevin Mendonsa | TNN | Oct 3, 2017 |
MANIPAL: Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal University won accolades at the first ‘Most Clean Campus Award 2017’ instituted for Engineering Institutions by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). MIT, Manipal also bagged the third place for the ‘Most Clean Campus’ in India and first for ‘Most Clean Campus in South Western Region’. The awards were given away by Anil D Sahasrabudhe, chairman of AICTE at a function held on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti in the College of Engineering, Pune. B H V. Pai, joint director and H S Bhat, executive manager received the awards on behalf of MIT. AICTE has also planted a tree for each of the awardees at its heead quarters in New Delhi.
Reacting to the achievement, G K Prabhu, director MIT, also the Pro Vice Chancellor of Manipal University said he was happy that the institute won laurels in the inaugural year of the competition. “We’ll strive to do better the next time,” he said and added, “It is a good initiative started by the AICTE, as it will encourage campuses across the country to be spick and span all the time. AICTE, under Swachh Bharath Mission, had invited nominations from about ten thousand institutions across the country to participate in the Clean Campus Award 2017 contest in September 2017. Data on infrastructure, cleanliness, green initiatives, water conservation initiatives, solid and liquid waste management, e-waste management, environment consciousness and development programmes, contributions to the society, student and workforce safety, hygiene and other parameters were submitted. Institutions from 20 states took part and following evaluation the reports were examined by a Jury appointed by the AICTE to select the award winners. – Courtesy / http://www.aicte-india.org/CleanGreen_Campus
News India | Staff Writer |
Indian American entrepreneur Mahesh Patel has started a nanotechnology company called ShayoNano in Stafford, Texas and has produced his first 300-pound batch of a nanomaterial which will be used to enhance the efficiency of common paint. Patel’s idea of creating ShayoNano was conceived in 2007 when an economic development arm of the Singaporean government invited him to relocate to the small island city-state where, with investor funding, he built a lab and spent nine years developing products based on nanotechnology. “They had good faith in us, and they kept investing money,” Patel told the Huston Chronicle, eventually aiming to open a facility somewhere in the United States. So alone in a rental car, Patel drove from Austin, Texas to Miami, Florida, meeting with economic development offices along the way in search of a place to settle down finally coming upon Huston, Texas. He then got a temporary spot downtown in the Houston Technology Center, a startup incubator, in 2015, and moved to a small office in Stafford by the end of that year.
“A little town like Stafford doesn’t get nanotechnology very often,” said Patti Worfe, economic development director for the city of Stafford. “We’re very excited.” The custom production hardware began arriving in Stafford in May, and the operation came on line late July. Inside the facility, innumerable pipes and cables connect an array of shimmering pressurized vats which are each linked to a touch screen and can produce up to five tons of product per day. ShayoNano has a handful of patented products developed in its lab. One material captures carbon emissions; others capture impurities in water, extract beta-carotene from palm oil, absorb oil from water, prevent paper from burning or protect plastic from ultraviolet rays. The first product off the production line is dubbed SmartHide, a lower-cost substitute for titanium dioxide, a crucial component of paint, which boosts opacity and other qualities and was sold to a small-scale paint manufacturer. Patel told the Huston Chronicle that larger producers have already expressed interest but that would require a larger batch of product which his facility is unable to provide.
Since ShayoNano moved into its small Stafford office, it has been working with the city to find space for a much larger production facility – 100,000 square feet or larger. “We continue to look for a substantially bigger building for them,” Worfe said. “If the production on this product really takes off, they could start needing additional space very quickly.” Patel got started his journey in nanoscience more than two decades ago when, as a second-year chemical engineering student at a university in Mumbai in 1992, he won a prize for making a working prototype of a fuel cell. Nanotechnology has been under development in its modern form for more than 30 years and although it has been working so far, experts in the field says that it still has a long way to go before it actually hits its prime time. “I think that the real opportunity for nanotech has not been realized yet,” said Lisa Friedersdorf, director of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office. “We’re starting to see things moving in that direction, but we certainly are not done yet.” Houston laboratories have played a crucial role in the early development of nanomaterials and although the city has struggled to nurture a tech scene, the nano still hasn’t taken off as a handful of startup companies have given up due to exhausted investor funding while a few have remained inbetween. “I don’t know exactly why it hasn’t taken off,” said Nick Tillman, director of energy acceleration at the Houston Technology Center. “It definitely has local promise. That would be something to set Houston apart.” Decades ago, technology evolved dramatically when scientists learned to engineer on the microscale to produce microchips, so the Nanoscale is a thousand times smaller and it represents a realm where many substances are in atomic or molecular form, by engineering particles on the nanoscale, scientists can design attributes of the bulk material. “Nanotechnology is waiting for a success story, that would be the kind of story we’ll create in the next years,” said Patel who hopes to succeed in an area where others have failed. – Courtesy
The Free Press Journal | By | | Sep 23, 2017
New Delhi: Author-film producer Chetan Bhagat, who has faced social media trolls over his stories and writing, says the fact that his book “Five Point Someone” will be a part of the English literature syllabus at the undergraduate level in Delhi University (DU) validates his work. “Five Point Someone” is in the popular fiction category and his book now shares exalted space with poet Louisa M. Alcott’s “Little Women”, Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” and J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, by being included in the DU syllabus. Asked about this, Bhagat told IANS in an e-mail from Mumbai: “It is obviously a huge honour, and validates my work’s value even in academia, something elitists have tried to deny me for long.”
“Five Point Someone” tells the tale of three friends and how they cope up with the pressures and monotony that come with being in an engineering college. The narrative was also translated to the screen with Aamir Khan’s hugely successful “3 Idiots”. “Dozens of PhDs have already happened on my books, and now it is great that DU will add my books to their popular fiction course,” said Bhagat, who was trolled on Twitter once the DU-related news had emerged earlier this year. Trolls do not affect him, said the author, who has an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and an MBA egree from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. “I guess it shows you the biases that exist, and the mentality that wants to bring people down. It also shows that many who claim to be experts in literature have no idea what literature is meant to be. “If you are teaching popular fiction in India, wouldn’t you talk about the most popular books?” Nevertheless, he knows tackling criticism is important.
“When you are so widely read, there can be a section that doesn’t take to my writings as well. Some of the criticism may be genuine, but some of it is clearly elitist, snarky and rude — just like a lot of stuff on the internet,” he said. Bhagat believes in drawing positively from genuine criticism. “The trick is to take the genuine criticism, ignore the rest and focus on making those who love me happier. In life, it is better to focus on people who love you,” he added. Over the years, three more of Bhagat’s books — “The 3 Mistakes of My Life”, “2 States” and “Half Girlfriend” — have been made into films. “Half Girlfriend”, starring Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor, will be airing on &Pictures on Saturday. What kind of a response is he hoping for from the small screen for “Half Girlfriend”? “As a writer, it has been my dream to make my stories reach every Indian. Now with a TV screening, the film will literally reach every home. I’m very excited and hope people like the film,” he said. – Courtesy
Sep 16, 2017 |
Thiruvananthapuram: Two Mechanical Engineering students, who graduated from Saint Gits College of Engineering, Kottayam won the QuEST Ingenium 2017 finals here on Friday. Jobby George and Jose Tom won the top honours for their project – “Electricity Generation Using Speed Breakers.” The winners will get a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh and a trip to the Airbus facility in Germany, where they will be given an exclusive tour of the facility. Park College of Engineering & Technology from Tamil Nadu for their project “Design and fabrication of a fighter aircraft with yawing wing,” and Vellore Institute of Technology, Tamil Nadu for “Hi-Tech bionic prosthetic legs” have been declared first and second runners up respectively. The seventh edition of QuEST Ingenium received more than 7,500 applications from 650 engineering colleges across India.
The top 10 teams were invited to present their projects to a panel of judges and eminent personalities from the industry in the final. Nidhi Mathur, Co-Founder of Niramai, was the chief guest of the event. Burkhard H.R. Heinke, Project Leader, Airbus Cabin Electronics Buxtehude Pre-development, delivered a keynote address. The students of MVJ College of Engineering (MVJCE), Karnataka received Special Jury mention for their project “Advanced prosthetic hand for handicapped.” The Most Popular Project Award, a special category of award selected by the public by voting on social media, was bagged by Sri Sairam Engineering College, Tamil Nadu for their project “MOBSCOPE.” Airbus, Siemens, Qatar Airways and MSC Software were the major sponsors of the competition this year. – Courtesy