InfoDigger: A source of simple and sequential news


WhatsApp introduces new feature for iOS beta users


WhatsApp, which introduced a feature for its Android beta users last week allowing them to select the quality of images they send via chats, has now extended this feature to its beta users on iOS.

The HD photos feature has been introduced for specific beta users, reported WABetaInfo that tracks WhatsApp updates. To check if the feature is available on your phone, go to WhatsApp Settings, then look for 'Media Upload Quality' under 'Storage and Data'. If it's there, then the feature has been enabled for your WhatsApp beta account.

If you tap the 'Media Upload Quality' option it brings up three options - Auto (recommended), Best quality and Data saver. The second option needs to be chosen for sending HD photos.

The feature will be rolled out for some more users in the coming week.


MeitY enables map services in UMANG App

In a bid to enhance the initiatives of the Digital India Programme, MeitY has enabled map services in "UMANG App" through an MOU with MapmyIndia.

As a result of the integration of UMANG with MapmyIndia Maps, citizens will be able to find government facilities nearest to their location, such as mandis, blood banks and much more, at the click of a button. They will also be able to see these on the most detailed and interactive street and village level maps of India, built by MapmyIndia. Citizens will also be able to view the driving distance, get directions and turn by turn voice and visual guidance to locations, including traffic and road safety alerts during navigation, through the linkage between UMANG App and MapmyIndia.

UMANG app has already started to provide map functionality through MapmyIndia in the following services:

Mera Ration - Through UMANG, users can identify and navigate to the 'Nearest Fair Price Shops' as shops are visible in the form of pointers on MapmyIndia integrated map.

eNAM - Through UMANG, the 'Mandi Near Me' service will help users to identify and navigate to the nearby mandis pointed on the map.

Damini - 'Damini Lightning Alerts' service is to provide lightning alerts to users by giving a visual of nearby areas where lightning has struck in the last few minutes. This alert mechanism provides the possibility of lightning strikes on map view.

To further increase usefulness to citizens, the map functionality will be shortly enabled in many more services such as:

ESIC - Users can view ESIC centers such as hospitals/dispensaries on map view and navigate to them.

Indian Oil - Service is to locate nearby retail and distributors of Gas stations as well as fuel filling stations.

NHAI - Users can view the toll plazas and toll rates information while travelling.

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) provides information corresponding to nearby police stations on the map.

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (Meri Sadak) will help users to raise complaints of damaged roads (under PMGSY) by selecting the road on MapmyIndia platform.

The UMANG App can be downloaded by giving a missed call on 97183-97183 and is available on multiple platforms.


Prasar Bharati goes paperless


The use of technology has turned the Operations at Prasar Bharati around and it no more business as usual, as in less than 2 years, 577 Centers and 22,348 employees of DD, AIR have embraced e-Office operations.

Well established IT-enabled working structure through e-Office at Prasar Bharati came in handy during the pandemic when employees across the country had to work within several limitations during the lockdown and after. 

With the vision to make Prasar Bharati operations more efficient and paperless, e-Office was introduced in August 2019. Of 577 Prasar Bharati centers across the country, 10 per cent adopted e-Office in 2019 (Aug – Dec), 74 per cent in 2020 and the remaining 16% have joined by June 18, 2021. 

In what has brought speed and transparency in the working of the organisation, more than 50 thousands e-Files have been created so far, with the status of every file available online.

This initiative has also made Prasar Bharati operations paperless, saving the organisation's expenditure on paper by 45 between August 2019 and June 2021. Apart from reducing Carbon footprint, paperless work also enhanced the COVID safety during the pandemic through remote working, work from home, etc, thus reducing the chances of infections.


India takes crucial step towards self reliance in aeroengine technology


Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has established the near isothermal forging technology to produce all the five stages of high-pressure compressors (HPC) discs out of difficult-to-deform titanium alloy using its unique 2000 MT isothermal forge press.

The technology has been developed by the Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), a premier metallurgical laboratory of DRDO at Hyderabad. This is a crucial technology for establishing self-reliance in aeroengine technology.  With this development, India has joined the league of limited global engine developers to have the manufacturing capabilities of such critical aeroengine components. 

To meet the bulk production requirements, DMRL technology was transferred to M/s MIDHANI through a licensing agreement for technology transfer (LAToT). Using the isothermal forge press facility available at DMRL, Hyderabad, bulk quantity (200 numbers) of HPC disc forgings pertaining to various compressor stages have been jointly (DMRL and MIDHANI) produced and successfully supplied to HAL (E), Bengaluru for fitment into Adour Engine that powers the Jaguar/Hawk Aircrafts. 

In India, the Adour engine is overhauled by HAL (E), Bengaluru under a licensed manufacturing agreement with OEM. DMRL developed this forging technology by integrating various science and knowledge-based tools. The methodology adopted by DMRL is generic in nature and can be tuned to develop other similar aeroengine components. Apart from DMRL and HAL (E), various agencies such as MIDHANI, CEMILAC and DGAQA worked in unison to establish this crucial technology.


FakeBuster, a way to safer virtual meets


A unique detector named 'FakeBuster' has been developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar in Punjab and Monash University, Australia to identify imposters attending a virtual conference without anybody’s knowledge.  

It is also capable of detecting faces manipulated on social media to defame or make a joke of someone.

In the present pandemic scenario when most of the official meetings and work is being done online, this standalone solution enables a user (organizer) to detect if another person's video is manipulated or spoofed during a video conferencing. That means the technique will find out if some imposter is attending a Webinar or virtual meeting on behalf of one of your colleagues by morphing his image with his own. 

"Sophisticated artificial intelligence techniques have spurred a dramatic increase in manipulation of media contents. Such techniques keep evolving and become more realistic. That makes detection difficult which could have far-reaching security implications," said Dr Abhinav Dhall, one of the key members of a four-man team that developed the 'FakeBuste'. "The tool has achieved over 90 per cent accuracy" assures Dr Dhall. The other three members include Associate Prof Ramanathan Subramanian and two students Vineet Mehta and Parul Gupta.

Dr Dhall said that the usage of manipulated media content in spreading fake news, pornography and other such online content has been widely observed with major repercussions. He said such manipulations have recently found their way into video-calling platforms through spoofing tools based on the transfer of facial expressions. These fake facial expressions are often convincing to the human eye and can have serious implications. These real-time mimicked visuals (videos) known as 'Deepfakes' can even be used during online examinations and job interviews. 

This software platform is independent of video conferencing solutions and has been tested with Zoom and Skype applications.

"The Deepfake detection tool-'FakeBuster' works in both online and offline modes. Since the device can presently be attached with laptops and desktops only we are aiming to make the network smaller and lighter to enable it to run on mobile phones/devices as well," informed Associate Prof Subramanian. He said the team is working on using the device to detect fake audios also.

The team claims that this software platform 'FakeBuster' is one of the first tools to detect imposters during live video conferencing using DeepFake detection technology. The device has already been tested and would hit the market soon.


India to soon benefit from low cost Electric Vehicle charge point


Cities, towns and villages in India will soon be able to benefit from an innovative low-cost Electric Vehicle (EV) charge point that can accelerate the adoption of Electric 2-wheelers and 3-wheelers. 

A forthcoming Indian Standard will allow a rapid scaling up of EV charging infrastructure that is much needed in the country, according to an official release issued today.

The objectives of India's Transformative Mobility programme for promoting EVs are to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and reduce the dependence on the import of crude oil. 

Several initiatives taken by the NITI-Aayog (Mission for Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage) and the launch of FAME-2 incentives are intended to stimulate the production and demand for EVs in India. Yet, the consumer adoption of EVs will also depend on the easy availability of EV charging infrastructure. Potential buyers must be confident of finding chargers for their vehicles when they are away from home.

The share of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) two-wheelers and three-wheelers is around 84 per cent of total vehicle sales in our country. Therefore, the fastest adoption of EVs is expected to be in two-wheelers and three-wheelers. 

The Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Government of India, in close co-ordination with NITI Aayog team had taken on this challenge. A committee involving all the key stakeholders including EV manufacturers, auto and electronic component suppliers, power utilities, and communication service providers has worked in fast-track mode to develop specifications, prototype products, and undertake testing and validation of the proposed standards. These will be formally issued by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

The Group had set a target price of less than Rs 3500 for a smart AC charge point operated with a smartphone, for a global breakthrough in affordable EV charging infrastructure. Fast-track development of the standard, close working between industry and government, and diligent testing and validation has met with success. This Low-Cost AC Chargepoint (LAC) allows up to 3 kW of power to be drawn charging eScooters and eAutorickshaws. The user's smartphone will communicate with the LAC via low-power Bluetooth and links up to a back-end where transaction payment and analytics are enabled. The user's smartphone can be used for multiple accounts and payment options.

Several Indian manufacturers are already on board to make this Charge Point Device, as per Indian Standards, with target prices starting as low as Rs 3500. The LAC device is intended to be highly scalable and deployed in any place where a 220V 15A single-phase line is available – mainly targeting parking lots of metro and railway stations, shopping malls, hospitals, office complexes, apartments and even Kirana and other shops.

The draft Indian Standard has been taken up by the BIS Committee on Electromobility Standards. The formal release of the standards will be done within the next two months, after completion of field and durability trials of sample products. 

Dr V. Sumantran, Chairman, DST-PSAO Group on Charging Infrastructure observed "when industry and government entities come together to work on national goals, remarkable progress can be achieved with speed. Furthermore, this effort brought out the talent in India for intelligent cost-innovation. Affordability constraints in India demand that we address problems keeping in mind both cost and scalability."


IIT Bombay comes up with ingenious solution to address oxygen shortage


With the spike in the number of COVID cases across the country, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay has come up with a creative and ingenious solution to addressing the shortage of medical oxygen for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

The pilot project which has been tested successfully relies on a simple technological hack: conversion of PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) Nitrogen Unit to PSA Oxygen Unit.

Initial tests done at IIT Bombay have shown promising results. Oxygen production could be achieved at 3.5 atm pressure, with a purity level of 93 per cent - 96 per cent. This gaseous oxygen can be utilised for COVID-related needs across existing hospitals and upcoming COVID-19 specific facilities by providing a continuous supply of oxygen.

How can the nitrogen unit be converted into an oxygen unit? "It has been done by fine-tuning the existing Nitrogen Plant setup and changing the molecular sieves from Carbon to Zeolite" says Prof Milind Atrey, Dean (R&D), IIT Bombay, who led the project.

"Such nitrogen plants, which take air from the atmosphere as raw material, are available in various industrial plants across India. Therefore, each of them could potentially be converted into an oxygen generator, thus helping us tide over the current public health emergency," he added.

The pilot project is a collaborative effort between IIT Bombay, Tata Consulting Engineers and Spantech Engineers, Mumbai, who deal with PSA Nitrogen and Oxygen plant production.

A PSA Nitrogen plant in the Refrigeration and Cryogenics Laboratory of IIT was identified for conversion, to validate the proof of concept. To undertake this study on an urgent basis, an MoU was signed between IIT Bombay, Tata Consulting Engineers and Spantech Engineers to finalise an SOP that may be leveraged across the country.

Spantech Engineers installed the required plant components as a skid at IIT Bombay for evaluation using IIT Bombay's infrastructure at the IITB Nitrogen facility at the Refrigeration and Cryogenics lab. This setup for the experiment was developed within three days, and the initial tests have shown promising results, as mentioned above.

Prof Milind Atrey acknowledges and thanked Mr Amit Sharma, Managing Director, Tata Consulting Engineers; along with Mr Rajendra Tahiliani, Promoter, Spantech Engineers and alumnus IIT Bombay (1970); Mr Raj Mohan, MD, Spantech Engineers; and their passionate team members for their collaboration and partnership on this project.


India emerging as leader in Supercomputing


India is lately emerging as a leader in high power computing with the National Super Computing Mission (NSM) boosting it to meet the ever-increasing computational demands of academia, researchers, MSMEs, and startups in fields like oil exploration, flood prediction as well as genomics and drug discovery.

Computing infrastructure has already been installed in four premier institutions of the country and installation work is in rapid progress in 9 more. MoUs have been signed with a total of 14 premier institutions of India for establishing Supercomputing Infrastructure with Assembly and Manufacturing in India. These include IITs, NITs, National Labs, and IISERs.

Infrastructure planned in NSM Phase I has already been installed and much of Phase II will be getting in place soon. Phase III, initiated this year, will take the computing speed to around 45 Petaflops. This will include three systems of 3 PF each and one system of 20PF as a national facility.

The National Supercomputing Mission was launched to enhance the research capacities and capabilities in the country by connecting them to form a Supercomputing grid, with National Knowledge Network (NKN) as the backbone. The Mission is being jointly steered by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and implemented by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune, and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.

PARAM Shivay, the first supercomputer assembled indigenously, was installed in IIT (BHU), followed by PARAM Shakti, PARAM Brahma, PARAM Yukti, PARAM Sanganak at IIT-Kharagpur IISER, Pune, JNCASR, Bengaluru and IIT Kanpur respectively.

A new dimension has now been added in India's journey towards leadership position in supercomputing with the convergence of HPC and Artificial Intelligence (AI). A 200 AI PF Artificial Intelligence supercomputing system has been created and installed in C-DAC, which can handle incredibly large-scale AI workloads increasing the speed of computing-related to AI several times. PARAM Siddhi - AI, the high-performance computing-artificial intelligence (HPC-AI) supercomputer, has achieved a global ranking of 62 in the TOP 500 most powerful supercomputer systems in the world, released on 16th November 2020.

The mission has also led to the creation of the next generation of supercomputer experts by training more than 4500 HPC aware manpower and faculties till date. To expand the activities of the HPC training, four NSM Nodal Centres for training in HPC and AI have been established at IIT Kharagpur, IIT Madras, IIT Goa and IIT Palakkad. These centres have conducted online training programs in HPC and in AI.

#Supercomputing #MinistryofScienceandTechnology

Self propelled railway track scavenging vehicle arrives to replace manual scavenging


A self-propelled railway track scavenging vehicle may soon replace manual scavenging and cleaning which is still practised to remove human waste lying on railway tracks.

Despite the ban on manual scavenging since 1993 in our country, people are seen removing excreta on the tracks with brooms and metal plates. Once the garbage is picked up from the tracks, night soil, excessive dirt, oil and other foreign materials are ineffectively cleaned with high-pressure water jets.

Dr Sharad K Pradhan, Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical EngineeringNational Institute of Technical Teachers' Training and Research (NITTTR), Bhopal, has developed a Multifunctional Railway Track Scavenging Vehicle with support from the Advanced Manufacturing Technologies programme of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India aligned with the 'Make in India' initiative. A national patent has been published for this technology.

How does it work?

  1. This self-propelled Road cum Rail vehicle equipped with dry and wet suction systems, air and water spraying nozzles, control system, and road cum rail attachment is multifunctional and easy to operate.
  2. A display unit is provided for real-time control of the cleaning in a drastically changing environment.
  3. It requires only one person along with a driver to carry out the automatic cleaning of the railway track.
  4. Once the dry and wet suction is done, the water nozzles start spraying water jets to clear off any human waste or semi-solid garbage present on the track floor.
  5. Another set of nozzles spray disinfectants on the track to get rid of flies, rats, and other insects.
  6. Water jets completely remove the human waste and other wet garbage from the interrail space zone.
  7. Both dry and wet garbage is collected in different tanks, and once filled, it can be decanted at the appropriate local municipal garbage collection point.
  8. A joystick-controlled telescoping suction pipe is fitted to clear the slurry from the trench parallel to the track. The telescoping suction pipe can easily be placed at the appropriate position in the side trench to suck the sewage slurry.
  9. As this is a rail cum road vehicle, it can be used as a material/ garbage transport vehicle from track to the road by Indian railways.
  10. It can also be used as a maintenance/inspection vehicle and disinfectant spraying vehicle by Indian railways.
  11. In non-scavenging mode, it can also be used as a transportation and inspection vehicle by Indian Railways.

After successful development and testing, the developed vehicle can be adopted by Indian Railways as a scavenging vehicle for all of its stations.

The developed vehicle having low maintenance cost, compact size, reverse and forward movement, and continuous and intermittent action, make it better and effective as compared to existing research endeavours. After pilot testing, the manufacturing industry can be associated along with Dr Sharad K Pradhan to produce its commercial version on a mass scale.


Oracle Speeds Cloud Migration with New Oracle Cloud Lift Services


Oracle today announced a new cloud Lift Services that will give its customers expanded access to technical tools and cloud engineering resources to quickly migrate workloads to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).

It would be offered at no additional cost – to all existing and new Oracle Cloud customers worldwide Oracle said in a statement from Austin in Texas (US).

"Our customers want a seamless path to the cloud with the right guidance, solution architecture, and hands-on help we can provide," said Vinay Kumar, senior vice president, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. "Oracle Cloud Lift Services is just one of several changes we are implementing to accelerate customer success on Oracle Cloud."

Oracle's new programme provided a single point of contact for all technical delivery and removes critical expertise barriers for the adoption of OCI services, speeding time to value and creating faster opportunities to innovate. With Oracle Cloud Lift Services, customers get access to Oracle cloud engineers and premier technical services that have accelerated migrations to OCI for enterprise customers including Seattle Sounders FC, Cargill and Rice University. As part of the program, customers will have access to cloud engineering resources for activities ranging from performance analysis, application architecture, hands-on migrations and go-live support. Oracle will work with customers until their workloads are in production and help train their staff on best practices so they have the expertise to run the environment moving forward.

Customers and partners are already seeing value in this new program and are getting through migrations faster, with more of their IT budget intact for more valuable operational services and major digital transformation projects.

"Oracle Cloud Lift Services together with Infosys Cobalt cloud offerings help our joint customers accelerate the work of migrating to the cloud and modernizing their landscape to drive faster business results. As a partner, we ensure client success through outcome-driven transformation programs that build differentiated capabilities to help our clients become resilient, agile and competitive," said Gopikrishnan Konnanath, SVP & Service Offering Head, Oracle Services, Infosys.