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How IIT Bombay is empowering students to solve everyday problems with robots : e-Yantra

DailyO | SCI-TECH |  04-05-2017 | Kiran Tare |

It has created 230 labs across India for engineering students to come up with solutions to local issues

Low-cost, efficient technology has become the IIT’s motto ever since it launched five years ago an initiative e-Yantra. (Credit: www.e-yantra.org)

Low-cost, efficient technology has become the IIT’s motto ever since it launched five years ago an initiative e-Yantra. (Credit: http://www.e-yantra.org)

Professor Kavi Arya, who teaches computer science and engineering at IIT Bombay, couldn’t have been more delighted when a team of his colleagues and students developed a multipurpose compact weather station last year using a palm-sized robot.  The weather station is an achievement as it is a first-of-its-kind innovation which has not only proved to be efficient in various applications, but also reduced usage cost by around 90 per cent and has ended India’s dependency on import of machinery.  The weather station which comprises a robot and a simple ruggedised laptop, can be carried in a sack. With a production cost of Rs 30 lakh it has already become a hit in defence sector as well as the meteorological department. Earlier, India needed to import parts of the weather station and required a designated truck to carry the device which combined cost it around Rs 3 crore per device. Low-cost, efficient technology has become the IIT’s motto ever since it launched five years ago an initiative e-Yantra in which engineering students are encouraged to develop technology to solve day-to-day problems. “We provide students with a problem inspired from the real world which they solve using a robot that we supply them,” says Arya. “Their job is to devise a machine using the robot to solve a problem.” No wonder students as well as teachers in 230 laboratories, launched by the IIT, in small towns such as Ichalkaranji in Maharashtra and Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu are busy devising machines. In Ichalkaranji, a textile hub, they are developing a device which can transport cotton spindles from one place to another.  In Sivakasi, the well-known fireworks hub, they are developing a machine which can detect room temperature in the factory and sound an alarm when the temperature rises in an attempt to prevent occasional fire.

But nothing was possible without a coordinated team work. It began in 2009 with a course project in an a postgraduate Embedded Systems course at the IIT. The students take real world problems and build prototype systems to solve them using automation. One such project was to build a radiosonde device (perhaps for import substitution) weighing some 150 gm that is essentially a mini-weather station. It is sent up into the atmosphere tied to a hydrogen-filled weather balloon to relay back radio data about temperature, pressure, humidity and wind speed. The uses of this weather station are numerous. The experts in meteorological observatories use it to sound weather conditions. The ISRO uses radiosondes to sound the atmosphere before launching rockets and missiles. This has numerous applications in several defence spheres. The imported device they chose to replace cost roughly Rs 20,000 a piece and is a consumable. Various government agencies use thousands of these devices every year — costing a fair amount of foreign exchange.  “This was the start of an adventure and a deep-learning experience,” says Arya. His next aim is to “Make in India” with students. He says it is cheaper than other options. The other advantage is they can train high-quality manpower and most importantly create invaluable intellectual property (IP). “When we have access to IP, we may continue to improve a product over time. Each of our MTech students that have worked on such a project have got placed in R&D units of highly respected companies,” Arya points out.  He also looks at it as an opportunity to create entrepreneurs. “The prime benefit of having access to IP is the possibility of local innovation and startups enriching the economy and possibly competing in global markets. So it is not a question of whether our growing economy can afford to Make in India, but whether we can afford not to in these highly competitive times.” – Courtesy      /       Click here to visit  http://www.e-yantra.org/

How these engineering students are cutting out internship hassles for all – Intern Theory

Intern Theory is a platform that helps students find the right internship for themselves, with companies, in turn, getting the kind of interns they are looking for.

The core team at Intern Theory

The core team at Intern Theory

In December 2012, then 19-year-old Vamil Sangoi, a student of D.J. Sanghvi College in Mumbai, was desperately looking for an internship, but didn’t find anything for over a year. To his surprise, when he spoke to his friends, he realised that this was the case with most of the students. Vamil says,  “I finally got an internship in 2013. But in that period when I was struggling to get an internship, an idea struck me, one to make this entire process hassle-free for everyone. The idea developed gradually, and in a month, I was sure of it. I wanted to change the way people looked at internships.”

What does the platform do?

It was then, in 2014, that Vamil started Intern Theory in Mumbai. The platform works as an online internship portal that bridges the gap between students looking for internship and companies looking for quality interns. The team reaches out to students from different cities from all over India with internships in more than 40 professional fields, which are posted by premium companies. “We also cater to all the recruitment needs of various big and small companies, screening talented interns across several fields, making the entire process as hassle-free as possible,” says Vamil, who is 23 now.  The idea is to make the process as simple as possible for both students and companies. Students looking for internships register on the website, where they can add all the information regarding preferences, hobbies, and qualifications. This makes it easier for companies that register on the portal and post internships.  The companies later review applications from students interested in their internship vacancies. That is how Intern Theory acts as a via media between students and companies.  “Apart from internships, we also cater to full-time job and recruitment needs of various companies. We will soon be introducing online courses across various fields and topics, which can easily be accessed by students from the website itself,” says Vamil.

Building the team

Being clear that the focus of Intern Theory was on internships, Vamil knew he had to get a trustworthy team in place, and so roped in three of his friends from college–Dhruvi Dharia, Anshini Jhaveri, and Jugal Choksi–as co-founders. “We were budding engineering students back then, immersed in academics, trying to balance a lot of things at once. So to overcome this, every day, after college, all four of us stayed back and met in the library to meet everyday goals and complete the pending work. We took small steps towards building this idea,” says Vamil. But they soon realised that they didn’t have the necessary experience. Being young and freshers, people in the market didn’t trust them, and pitching was a hassle. Vamil adds, “We all knew that in order to execute the idea we had, we needed support. We went to various people before someone trusted our idea. This meant seeking help and learning everything about the business from scratch.” As of March beginning, the team had onboarded more than one lakh students and 4,500 companies, helped get over 6,500 internships and covered over 25,000 vacancies.

The HR space

Currently, there is a strong and growing market for HR tech in India. Between 2015 and 2016, over $69 million has been pumped into the space. Among the prominent companies in the space are GreyHR, Better Place, Niyo Solutions, and Quickr-acquired Hiree. In the video interviewing space, globally, there are key players like Montage Interview, InterviewStream, Interview Air, Talocity, and Jobvite, to name a few.  Intern Theory, however, focuses on being a one-stop solution for all internship-related matters. Vamil believes that the internship market is unorganised, and they plan to leverage technology to make the application and hiring process faster and hassle-free for students and companies.  “We want to reach out to as many students as possible, and not just to tell them about the importance of internships, but also to make them experience the same. We aim to use technology for companies, to make the hiring process quick and seamless,” says Vamil.  – Courtesy   /     https://www.interntheory.com/

Mangalore to be declared India’s first startup district

Representational Image

The move will give a push to young minds in the tier-II city which is a known educational hub. It will also help spread the startup culture to more areas and at the same time use technology innovatively to help address issues that have a larger impact.

Mangalore will soon be declared the country’s first startup district to give a push to the vibrant student community and turn them into startup entrepreneurs. As a first step, the Centre has decided to locate incubators at two reputed institutes in the region under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.  The incubators, under the Startup India programme flagged off last year, will be located at the National Institute of Technology, Surathkal, a premier engineering college in the coastal district and NMAM Institute of Technology, an engineering college under Nitte University. The government wants to encourage startups to provide innovative solutions for challenges unique to India. This means they will be encouraged to do more than just develop apps. The students-turned-startup-entrepreneurs will get an opportunity to come up with innovative solutions in health, education, agriculture, and infrastructure as these sectors will have a pan-India resonance.

Startup district tag soon

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has indicated that in the next few weeks, Mangalore will be officially declared India’s first startup district enabling students to take a step into entrepreneurship.

The incubator is set to encourage ideas that require technological intervention. Soon, these labs will become a source of inspiration for startups across the country as StartupIndia, a central government fund for startups, is set to fund more eligible companies the next financial year.

NITK was formerly known as Karnataka Regional Engineering College and is a state-run institute that has produced fine talent from its inception in 1960. NMAM is a private sector institution under the Nitte group of institutions, which is an autonomous university.  “With this, all startups in Mangalore can converge into one place. They can be incubated here and Startup India funds will also be available to those with out-of-the-box ideas that create maximum impact,” a ministry source told YourStory. “The union minister, who is also a Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka, is keen to turn Mangalore, a cosmopolitan city with thousands of engineering students in the vicinity, a startup district. She has chosen two of the oldest institutions in the region to start these centres,” the source added.


These two institutes were selected as they boast of state-of-the-art facilities and the students and infrastructure required for the startup culture to thrive. NMAMIT is already running a New Age Incubation Centre as part of nine engineering colleges selected by the Karnataka Biotechnology and Information Technology Services, an organisation under the state Department of IT and BT. It runs a programme called Karnataka New Age Incubation Network. The coastal city also boasts of excellent air, road, rail, and sea connectivity. It also has made a name for itself for having several well-known professional colleges which attract students from across the country and abroad.

The ministry has estimated that in three years’ time, it can increase the number of incubation centres along with the support of the state government and NASSCOM which have robustly supported such programmes with both policies and infrastructure in Bengaluru, which is also known for being India’s first startup city.

Moving away

Bengaluru currently has a heavy concentration of incubators and accelerators with the Karnataka government, central government, NASSCOM, venture capital firms, as well as MNCs offering seats. The government has already indicated that it would like to spread out such activity to tier-II cities such as Mangalore and boost entrepreneurship. The Karnataka government has also given entrepreneurial activity a boost with a startup fund, a first in the country again, which envisages support as well as funds up to Rs 50 lakh per startup. “It’s a no- questions-asked fund and these companies also do not have to sit in designated incubation centres to be eligible,” says Karnataka IT and BT minister Priyank Kharge.  In a first, eight startups in the tourism sector received anywhere between Rs 5-50 lakh, amounting to a total of Rs 1.9 crore, for coming up with products to help the tourism department showcase itself.  “There are some more companies in different sectors that have been chosen and their names will be announced soon,” Priyank said. It is not just in sectors that are hot; there are a few startups in the process of being selected in the agricultural sector too, Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda told YourStory. “We are looking at technological interventions in agriculture which can ease the stress on farmers. We are actively looking at the ideas and processing through the IT department.” Earlier efforts to start IT centres in Mangalore were not very successful as there were several issues at the local level. Mangalore South MLA JR Lobo said there were issues with the urban development department and the city municipal corporation.  “Every time an IT company proposes a shift to the tier-II city or an NRI comes up with an idea of giving back to their home town, these projects are welcomed with great fanfare but are never sanctioned as per their original plans. As a result, they are stuck due to bureaucratic hurdles,” he said. To address these problems specific to the industry, the lawmaker, who is keen to promote the district, has called all stakeholders on to a common platform next month.

Catch them young

Meanwhile, the Centre’s decision is set to provide a boost to the educated youth of the region and provide them with a chance to think big and come out with several ideas. At a recent meeting in Chennai, representatives of both colleges met up with Sitharaman and NITI Aayog CEO, Amitabh Kant. This initiative under Make in India and Startup India will go a long way. The thought is that these innovation centres will be on the lines of IIT, Madras, and will be started in May-June by when students are expected to graduate and grab a chance at starting their own businesses, a college representative said. Lobo said designating Mangalore as a startup district was a good step as the region was the cradle for successful entrepreneurs who went on to make a name both in India and abroad in banking, hotel, health and other industry. “With government support, we can turn Mangalore into a vibrant startup district which also help the tier II city grow,” Priyank added. – Courtesy

3,000 students of Vidyavihar college take internal tests on smartphones

The Times of India | Yogita Rao | TNN |  Mar 15, 2017  |

MUMBAI: After laptops, a city college is now using mobile phones for the benefit of students. Over 3,000 students of K J Somaiya College of Arts and Commerce recently took their internal tests on smartphones.  The college conducted 20-mark tests—multiple choice and true or false questions—for all classes with the help of a small device that can create its own network and can be connected to 100 smartphones in a classroom. After the success in one of its institutes, the Somaiya Trust now plans to use the technology in other colleges on its Vidyavihar campus in the coming session. It also plans to use it in teaching. The device, Offee, was developed by an alumnus, Amit Shah, in the incubation centre of the group’s engineering college.  The students were asked to download an app from Offee network and then go offline. They had to then go to the website supported by the device and log in using their roll number and password. The questions are not in the same order for all students, eliminating the possibility of malpractices.

Riddhi Chheda, a first-year B Com student, said her class has given three tests in accountancy, economics and commerce. “We did not face any network-related issued. It was a wonderful experience and took very little time,” said Chheda. “It’s almost like playing an educational game on the mobile,” said another student.   The provost of Somaiya Vidyavihar, Rajan Welukar, said, “This was almost like a pilot project. Teachers got to know about the results instantaneously. They could also keep track of the pace at which students were answering questions. We are planning to make use of the technology in the teaching process too. We may extend it to other forms of exams, too, in future. It can help teachers to pace their teaching according to the needs of the children.”  Shah, who developed Offee, said it is actually a test conducted in offline mode. “The device has in store the questions created by faculty members. Any form of information can be uploaded onto the device and then downloaded on students’ smartphones when it is connected and used whenever required,” he said. He has now collaborated with a tech firm to reach out to a wider audience.  While using technology for tests is not new, very few colleges are making use of online platforms as they have to follow a testing pattern prescribed by Mumbai University. St Xavier’s and DG Ruparel colleges have made use of online platforms like Moodle to conduct test online. St Xavier’s even allows submission of projects online and assesses them using an anti-plagiarism software, said principal Agnelo Menezes. –  Courtesy

15,000 farmers are using Mobitech Wireless Solutions

Voice and Data | By Anusha Ashwin | 09 March 2017 |

The intervention of mobile phones has simplified our lives to a large extent, by enabling calling, messaging, transacting and much more. But what’s catching our attention these days is the ability of a mobile phone playing a significant part in India’s evolving agriculture practices. It has become an indispensable tool for a farmer, so much so that it can evade human intervention send commands or can automate agricultural equipment switching these on/off. Here is Mobitech Wireless Solutions that includes a farmer in Digital India’s dreams.  Coming from a South Indian family with deeprooted agriculture practices, S P Raja Kumaran, the Founder and CEO of Salem-based Mobitech Wireless Solution, envisaged the large scope of agriculture automation. Kumaran is a combination of an agriculturist and an Engineering-MBA graduate. Being an agriculturist, he knew the hardship of a farmer travelling a distance, especially midnight, between home and fields just to operate the pumps to ensure adequate water supply to the crops. He desperately wanted to create a solution to automate those functions, with the convenience of operating through a mobile phone. He researched, did solid groundwork and came up with a prototype for a plug-n-play product that can control the function of motors and valves.

Around 2008-2009, Raja Kumaran joined hands with T Kumar and K S Nallasivam to develop the product that he had in mind. They quickly developed a product that could take commands from a mobile phone. By 2010, Kumaran had a working product in hand and incorporated Mobitech Wireless Solutions. Using GSM technology, Mobitech began operations by extending Electronic Embedded Systems-based automation products. Today, the company has grown to offer a slew of automation products in irrigation and industrial belts with products like Cell Phone Motor Starter; Drip Irrigation Valve Controller; Wireless Generator Monitor and Control; and Wireless Room Temperature Monitor and Control.

Making technology work for farmers

Overcoming all the difficulties in R&D, Kumaran achieved a breakthrough and launched his product in July 2010. The product was incubated at Salem-based Kongu Engineering College’s Technology Business Incubator. The product was rolled out into the market after 6-9 months of incubation. The company’s flagship product is cell phone motor starter controller that simplifies the farmer’s job by operating the motor through a missed call or SMS from the mobile phone. Besides, switching on/off a motor, through an SMS, the farmer through his mobile phone can receive additional information like status of electricity supply at the field, voltage values, number of phases available and pump set switching off due to dry run. Kumaran offers his plug-n-play connectors with flexible wiring kit priced Rs 4,500 onwards to the farmers.  Speaking about his products’ advantage, Kumaran says, “My aim is to provide a trouble-free solution to the farmer while connecting Mobitech’s add-on device. We have plug-n-play type wiring kit to bridge cell phone motor starter and the existing button starter for motors. Even at an instance of trouble with my product, the farmer need not wait for Mobitech technicians to resolve the problem. He can remove the plug-n-play wire and switch on and off the pump/motor manually. I take pride in saying that Mobitech was the first company to take such an advanced plug-n-play technology to the farmers. Farmers are extremely satisfied with Mobitech’s wireless solutions and are happy that they can manage their practice from any part of the world, just by giving a missed call from their phone. In 2013 we launched our drip irrigation valve controller to control and monitor irrigation pumps and drip irrigation valves through mobile phone. Since inception in 2010 more than 15,000 farmers are using Mobitech’s products.”

Winning 15,000 farmers’ trust has not been an easy task for Kumaran. He reveals that the company’s marketing team made their presence felt at agri exhibitions; farmer’s gatherings like pesticide shop, village milk booths and electrical pump selling shops. Kumaran did not overlook marketing his products through advertisements in exclusive agriculture magazines. “We take live demo kits to villages and call farmers through audio system and show live demo to farmers. After establishing a strong foothold in Tamil Nadu, Mobitech signed distributors in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Gujarat. In the last two years, Mobitech has reached out to famers in 40% of the states in India,” said Kumaran. After gaining confidence in automating agri equipment, Kumaran confidently entered small-time industrial automation. Just like receiving updates on electricity status at fields, an industrial owner receives updates on cell phone on status of electricity at his unit. The industrialist is also updated on information on the number of generators and machinery put to use.

R&D on wireless products for farmers continues

Over the years, spearheaded by Kumaran, Mobitech has developed and offered products for farmers who can — through the cell phone —know the level of huge water tanks; the location of farmer vehicles; switch on/off diesel generators; and the level of water received from Government water supply schemes.  Kumaran certainly knows that he needs to keep pace with the evolving technology and he is in race to offer new technologies to farmers who trust Mobitech’s wireless solution. Kumaran’s R&D division is busy working on developing a solution for fertilizer application in combination with irrigation — what is known as fertigation. This product, slated for 2017 end launch, once released should automate liquid fertilizer mixing and application for crops. Apart from expanding his product pipeline, Kumaran has ambitious plans of signing distributors in 70% of States and readying for launch in Africa, where he sees tremendous opportunity. –  Courtesy    /     http://www.mobitechwireless.in/

Hyperloop One unveils grand vision for India, but don’t get too excited yet

The Indian Express | Shruti Dhapola | New Delhi | February 28, 2017 |

HyperLoop One, the US-based startup that wants to revolutionise how the world travels, today showcased its vision for India.

Hyperloop One, the US-based startup that wants to revolutionise how the world travels, today showcased its vision for India at an event in Delhi. Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu and Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant also attended the event.  For those who don’t know, Hyperloop as an idea was originally proposed by SpaceX and Tesla boss Elon Musk. Hyperloop could allow for passengers, freight to be transported at super-fast speeds, more than 1000 km per hour which is faster than airlines, in a levitating pod that would travel in a vacuum tube. Hyperloop One’s own website describes the mode of transport in these words, “We use a custom electric motor to accelerate and decelerate a levitated pod through a low-pressure tube. The vehicle will glide silently for miles with no turbulence.” Essentially these pods are autonomous, and it would mean high-speed travel inside a tube.  Hyperloop One, which has been around for two years, held a global competition in 2016 asking contestants to pitch a proposal on where all the network should be built. The company says it received over 2000 entries, and out of the 30 semi-finalists it has picked five from India. Interestingly Hyperloop claims India had the highest number of registrants. The list of semi-finalist teams from India are AECOM, LUX Hyperloop Network, Dinclix GroundWorks, Hyperloop India, and Infi-Alpha.

HyperLoop One, which has been around for two years, held a global competition in 2016 asking contestants to pitch a proposal on where all the network should be built.

HyperLoop One, which has been around for two years, held a global competition in 2016 asking contestants to pitch a proposal on where all the network should be built.

Each of these teams has proposed a route for the network according India. For instance, Dinclix GroundWorks has pitched an ambitious 55 minutes travel time from Delhi to Mumbai via Jaipur, which is a total distance of 1,317 kms. AECOM has pitched Bengaluru to Chennai, which is 334 kms in 20 minutes. LUX Hyperloop Network has proposed route for Bengaluru to Thiruvananthapuram in 41 minutes. Hyperloop India has pitched Mumbai to Chennai via Bengaluru in 50 minutes. Finally Infi-Alpha has proposed Bengaluru to Chennai in 20 minutes. While Delhi to Mumbai in 55 minutes sounds like the stuff of dreams, Hyperloop is an idea that has not been tested. The company is still testing its original pod technology, and will be doing the first public demonstration of its technology in Nevada desert in the summer of 2017. But it seems the idea has found some initial enthusiasm in India. Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu said the Indian government will be exploring these new technologies keenly, and will see what else can be done to improve transportation in the country. “The government of India will be delighted to work with Hyperloop One. We have to transform urbanisation and how we do transportation, and for that we need disruptive technology, that changes how we transport. Hyperloop One is one way,” said Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant at the event.

 “A technology like Hyperloop will affect society, business. It will give back time to citizens of the world. We’re looking to co-develop the technology in India with a partner. The pods would be manufactured in India, once this becomes operational,” said Shervin Pishevar, who is the Executive chairman and co-founder of Hyperloop One. The idea that Hyperloop One is proposing could mean systemic shifts in how urbanisation is viewed. It could mean you live in Chennai, but end up working in Bengaluru, because travel time is reduced drastically. Hyperloop One is a privately-held company and currently has over 225 people working for it. The company claims HyperLoop will be a more efficient, environmentally and cost friendly way of traveling with no direct emissions or noise. It also claims to be less expensive unlike high-speed rail and maglev (magnetic levitation) rains which require power along the entire track. But of course, for Hyperloop One the challenges are many. For starters in a country like India, should Hyperloop One end up being approved it would face a multitude of regulatory challenges. One of the questions raised will be whether Hyperloop would come under the railways or civil aviation or an entirely new body. Safety would be another concern. For now, the Hyperloop One idea sounds like a cool way to travel that is yet to be tested. The first public test takes place in 2017, and the company wants to have three systems in service by the year 2021. – Courtesy

IndHyperloop One, a company that is building what it calls the next generation travel infrastructure, is now here in India. The company held a media event in Delhi on Tuesday to announce that it was actively looking to develop five high-speed corridors in India, linking the major cities of India, with Hyperloop that is a theoretical transportation mode with speed of as high as 1100 kilometres per hour. Although for now the whole thing is a concept, Hyperloop One said that with help from Indian government it could make the super high-speed travel in India a possibility in the coming years. Indian Railways minister Suresh Prabhu, who was at the event, said that the government was “very keenly watching the new developments and technologies. “We are watching all of these (new technologies) very keenly and we are working to modernise the Indian railways,” said Prbhu, while adding that all companies are welcome to explore their ideas with the government. He also said the Indian government has a very rigorous and transparent bidding process through which it awards contracts for projects like new transportation corridor.

India Today: Javed Anwar – 28 Feb 2017 |  Hyperloop, as a concept, envisages special pods with passengers moving at a very high-speed inside sealed tube-like tunnel. The pods are accelerated using electric motor and because the tube is sealed there is very little resistance inside it, which helps the pods move at a very fast pace. Hyperloop One says that it is the only company that has been able to demonstrate that this technology can work. “While other start-ups have not yet moved beyond basic research, Hyperloop One is the only company that is building a functional Hyperloop system (part of a pilot project in the US),” noted the company. “Hyperloop One will help accelerate India’s growth towards building substantial infrastructure that is financially and environmentally sustainable,” said Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop One. “We are already working with the governments around the world on passenger and freight projects, and we look forward to also partnering with India to support this endeavor.” Hyperloop One said that it got 126 applications from India in response to its Hyperloop One Global Challenge last year. The campaign was launched to seek route ideas from people. Of the 126, the company has shortlisted 5 routes in India on which it wants to focus. All of this sounds pretty well. So what is the problem? There are two. One, the Hyperloop is still a concept. It’s a technology that companies are working on but they are yet to show its viability from technology as well as financial point of view. The second problem is that Hyperloop One would need to a lot of permissions from Indian government and will have to enter into a partnership with the public sector. This sounds easy but it is actually pretty tricky as well as can take a long time. So, for now as well as for another 5 years at least, if you want to go to a city in quick time, your best bet will remain airplane.  Courtesy   /   https://hyperloop-one.com/

Hyperloop high-speed transport system proposed for 5 Indian routes

The Indian Express | By: Tech Desk |  January 17, 2017  |

LUX Hyperloop Network – Bengaluru-to-Thiruvananthapuram: 736 km in 41 minutes. Connects two major ports in southern India with population centres of Coimbatore and Kochi.

Hyperloop One transport system has been proposed for 5 routes in India among 30 others across the world, showcase on February 28 in Delhi. Hyperloop Oone, the futuristic tube-based high-speed transportation system, has announced 35 teams from all over the world to actualise the potential of the system in different regions – with one of them being India. If the system finds its way to India, we could potentially see distances like Delhi-Mumbai (~1200 kilometers) being covered in less than one hour.  The ‘Hyperloop One Global Challenge’, announced by the company in May 2016, was able to attract 2,600 teams of engineers and planners from across the globe, according to a report from Inverse. The 35 finalist teams were announced on Friday, and will be present at three showcases that will be held by the company in New Delhi on February 28, Washington DC on April 6 and London on April 27.

The company will be inviting government leaders to these showcases, to display the potential of the high-speed system in their individual regions. Nick Earle, who oversees global field operations of Hyperloop One has said the feedback from governments will be determining if Hyperloop One is considered for the region. Among the proposed routes and their feasibility, Hyperloop is potentially looking at five Indian sectors where the system can be built: Delhi-Mumbai, Bangalore-Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai-Bangalore, Mumbai-Chennai and a port connector project. The company has shared a big list of potential routes across the globe. Earle has said that there could be multiple winners going forward, and the company is keeping all options open.

List of all proposed Hyperloop projects under consideration

List of all proposed Hyperloop projects under consideration

Regions that win will then be checked for feasibility before the company moves forward with any projects. “We want to have three routes in production in the next five years,” said Lloyd to Inverse. This means that Hyperloop will be choosing only three systems to build out of the 35 it has projected. The way forward for the vaccum-tube transportation in India could potentially see large hurdles, as with most major infrastructure projects. Land acquisition for building the Hyperloop system and the funding itself will be one of the largest challenges in India. Even though it might sound like a cool concept, the reality of this coming to India might be a little slim at the moment.  Hyperloop is the brainchild of entrepreneur Elon Musk, and was announced by him back in 2013. The system proposes to propel pod-like vehicles through a near-vacuum tube at speeds close to 1200 km/h. It is projected as the fastest way to travel between two places.  “Hyperloop is a new way to move people and things at airline speeds for the price of a bus ticket. It’s on-demand, energy-efficient and safe. Think: broadband for transportation,” the company says on its website. –  Courtesy   /    http://hyperloopindia.in/

Opinion Poll

TBI at Kongu Engineering College receives Rs. 7-crore grant under NIDHI-PRAYAS scheme

The Hindu | Tamil Nadu | Special Correspondent | February 20, 2017 |

76 products have been launched at the facility so far

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has provided a grant of Rs. 7 crore to Kongu Engineering College to foster entrepreneurship through its Technology Business Incubator (TBI). The TBI at KEC ranks among 10 out of 100 TBIs to qualify for the DST funding countrywide under NIDHI-PRAYAS (Promoting and Accelerating Young and Aspiring Technology Entrepreneurs) scheme. The first instalment of Rs. 1.76 crore has already been received, according to P.Sathiyamoorthy, chairman, TBI@KEC. Since its start in 2003 at a project cost of Rs. 3.95 crore with grant-in-aid and support of DST to nurture entrepreneurship and product/process development in emerging science and technology areas, mainly in electronics and ICT domains, TBI@KEC with its ‘Concept to Commercialisation’ motto has incubated 49 entrepreneurs from Erode, Coimbatore, Chennai and Bengaluru. Of them, 11 are KEC alumni. So far, 76 products, including two export-driven ones, had been launched at the facility alongside offering services such as project facilitation/ training, re-engineering, repair and fabrication to industries, entrepreneurs, faculty and students of academic institutions, Mr. Sathiyamoorthy said.

National Award

The TBI, which has provided Rs. 361 lakh as soft-loan (5% interest) to 22 incubatees, won the National Award for the best TBI in the country for the year 2012 in recognition of its consistently good performance. The award, instituted by DST/GoI, was presented to TBI@KEC by the President of India on the Technology Day on May 11, 2013, said KEC correspondent A.Venkatachalam and principal S.Kuppuswamy.

Innovative ideas

Under the NIDHI-PRAYAS Scheme, young innovators are supported for converting their ideas into prototype. An innovator can get up to Rs. 10 lakh as grant for converting innovative idea into prototype within 18 months. The scheme can support 50 or more innovators over a period of 5 years. A facility to build prototypes quickly is being established with the funds provided under the scheme. The priority areas for supporting innovations are manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, clean-tech, energy, water, Internet of Things (IOT) and other technology areas.

However, students pursuing long-term research, professors or academicians engaged in teaching and repeat applicants are not eligible to apply. Pure academic research projects and software development are not supported under this scheme. Innovators are expected to have a working prototype within 18 months. Project should have progressed towards IP filing, commercialisation in the form of licensing or expression of interest from manufacturers. Alternatively, the project should lead to a startup which may have received funding / investment from others.  Innovators have been invited to approach TBI@KEC for further details or visit www.tbi-kec.org/nidhiprayas to know more about application process.  –  Courtesy  /   Click here for details –  NIDHI-PRAYAS

National Digital Library (NDL) to breed new segment of start-ups

Indo Asian News Service | IANS India Private Limited | 16 February 2017 |

Kolkata, February 16 (IANS) The National Digital Library (NDL) at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, aims to breed a new segment of start-ups to not only help students, teachers and parents but also bolster management of educational institutions. The idea was explored during the recently-held Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 at IIT Kharagpur under ‘Edupreneurship’ (entrepreneurial venture targeting the education segment), the institute said in a statement on Thursday.

“It is true that we can Google any information today, but NDL can fetch resources according to your educational need,” said Partha Pratim Das of the Computer Science and Engineering department, who is leading the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s NDL project. Das said that apps, services and platform scan be built not only to help students, teachers and parents but also for the school, university and college managements. “Start-ups can use NDL resources, which are free to access. Once the product is up and running, the start-ups winll have to give NDL usage-based royalty. NDL too would showcase the start-up on its website as content-sharing partners, thereby giving them mileage,” Das added. – –IANS   –  https://ndl.iitkgp.ac.in/

IITs fourth largest producer of unicorn startups in the world

The Times of India | Ranjani Ayyar | TNN |   Jan 28, 2017 |CHENNAI: If you aspire to create a billion-dollar business in India, one of the IITs is your best bet. Sage, a UK-based accounting and payroll company, stated this in a research released on Friday.  In a study that lists universities that have produced the most unicorn founders, the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) bagged the fourth spot. US-based Stanford University claimed the top rank with 51 unicorn founders, followed by Harvard University with 37. The University of California came third with 18 unicorn founders and IIT followed with 12 founders.  Unicorns are startups with more than a billion-dollar valuation+ . India is home to 10 unicorn companies , making them the poster boys of the country’s startup ecosystem. From e-commerce giants Flipkart, Snapdeal and ShopClues to cab aggregator Ola, restaurant aggregator Zomato, classified ads platform Quickr, digital payments company Paytm, mobile adtech player InMobi, messaging app Hike and analytics company Mu Sigma, these startups have grabbed spots in the elite club and almost all the founders have had stints at one of the IITs.

Within the various IITs, it is Delhi that produced the maximum unicorn founders. Sachin and Binny Bansal of Flipkart, Sanjay Sethi of ShopClues, Zomato founders Deepinder Goyal and Pankaj Chaddah, Snapdeal’s Rohit Bansal and Quikr’s Pranay Chulet and Jiby Thomas (now founder of Webbutterjam Digital) are all products of IIT Delhi. Ola’s founders Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati went to IIT Bombay. Inmobi’s founders Naveen Tiwari, Abhay Singhal and Amit Gupta studied at IIT Kanpur while their co-founder Mohit Saxena went to IIT Roorkee.  “Good students and faculty is a given with IITs. What is probably the differentiator with IIT Delhi is the culture of the institute which has been cultivated over several decades. They are more connected to the society and have a deep awareness of the problems that exist. Hence, they are able to look for solutions and become entrepreneurs,” said IIT Delhi director V Ramgopal Rao, who is an alumnus of IIT Bombay.  Industry experts say that while earlier it was the rigour of the entrance exams and the competitive culture within the IITs that led to the creation of such companies, over the last 5-7 years, there has been a structured effort to foster unicorns.

 “Over last 5-7 years, each of the IITs have made significant strides in creating the right ambience to promote entrepreneurs. From bringing in seasoned alumni to assist startups to encouraging students and alumni to take the entrepreneurial plunge, setting up mentoring clinics and offering assistance of professors, a disciplined effort has been made to create the right structures to foster startups and their founders,” said Suresh Kalpathi of Kalpathi Investments, an alumnus of IIT Madras who is involved with PanIIT Alumni Association, a volunteer-driven organisation that brings together IIT alumni on a single platform.  According to the study, for over 60% of the founders, the current unicorn was the only company they had ever built. However, indicating that experience pays, the research said those who founded more than one company have, on average, a 34.5% higher valuation than those who founded just one company ($4.29bn vs $5.88bn).  In terms of countries that are home to the most number of unicorns, US tops the list with 144 unicorns, followed by China with 47. India grabs the third spot with 10+ . The study also found 2007 to be the bumper founding year, with 29 companies joining the club, including Flipkart, while 2015 was identified as the year of the unicorn with 86 companies achieving the unicorn status. In contrast, 2016 came out poorly, with only 41 companies.  –  Courtesy