InfoDigger: A source of simple and sequential news

blog

Women led startup develops deep tech for reliable low cost internet to rural areas

 

Astrome, a women-led startup, has developed an innovative wireless product that gives fibre-like bandwidth at fraction of the cost of fibre to help telecom operators deliver reliable low-cost internet services to suburban and rural areas.

Reaching internet access to remote places in countries like India is difficult because laying fibre is too expensive. There is a need for wireless backhaul products that can deliver low cost, high data capacity, and wide reach. Currently available, wireless backhaul products either do not provide sufficient data speeds or the required range or are very expensive to deploy.

The wireless product called Giga Mesh could enable telecom operators deploy quality, high-speed rural telecom infrastructure at 5 times lower cost. Rural connectivity customers and defence customers who have already signed up for pilots will soon witness the demonstration of this product by Astrome.

The deep tech startup incubated at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, and supported by DST-ABI Woman Startup Program of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India proved their millimeter-wave multi-beam technology in the lab in 2018, for which the company has been granted a patent in India and US. Since then, the technology has been converted to a powerful and scalable product called Giga Mesh, which can solve much of the last mile connectivity telecom needs of our country. The product has been proven on the field and also integrated with partner products for its upcoming commercialization.

#Astrome #IISc
29-March-2021
blog

Innovative technologies emerge to address water related problems

 

Innovative technologies by an IIT Kharagpur-based center of technological excellence focusing on water purification have helped deliver clean and safe drinking water and also manage floods in several states across the country.

An efficient, low-cost, nano-filtration-based technology by The Centre for Technological Excellence in Water Purification (CTEWP) housed in IIT Kharagpur has ensured access to safe and clean drinking water free of heavy metals for 25,000 people in three different locations in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, a release issued by the Ministry of Science and Technology informed.

The prototype of the highly compact vertical modular nanofiltration membrane system designed for removal of heavy metals from the groundwater was developed by the Membrane Separations Laboratory, CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), with support from the Department of Science and Technology (DST) Water Technology Initiative (WTI). With a capacity of 100 - 300 Litre per hour(L/h), the system based on a membrane technically called hydrophilized polyamide membrane removes heavy metals such as Iron from groundwater. It consists of pumps that force water first through a prefilter assembly to remove suspended solids, colour, and odour and then spiral wound membrane modules that separate heavy metals. It gives purified permeate of reasonable total dissolved solids (TDS) devoid of contaminants such as Iron, Arsenic, or excess hardness. Ultraviolet light is provided at the end to disinfect any pathogens that may be present in the tank or pipelines.

Students of Lathiabagicha Primary School in North Guwahati, Assam, had to drink water that was highly contaminated with Iron, high COD and emanated a foul smell. Now with access to clean drinking water from a water treatment plant (300 L/h) developed by IIT Guwahati installed in the school, the students are relieved. This plant was designed and fabricated based on chemical less electrocoagulation technique. Supported by DST, it is capable of treating Total Soluble Solvent (TSS), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), Iron and Arsenic from contaminated drinking water to below BIS limit. Over 120 students of the school, as well as the villagers of Lathiabagicha (more than 500), are now assured that quenching their thirst will not affect their health. The treated water is also used for cooking mid-day meals in the school.

The CSIR-IICT's team has also developed a simple, inexpensive, hand pump operated hollow fibre ultrafiltration system that is easy to operate, has high mobility, occupies less space, and is lightweight. The technology supported by DST was based on membranes called polyethersulfone hollow fibres. The pressure generated by the hand pump to transport floodwater into the membrane module provides a driving force to facilitate the permeation of clarified and disinfected water through the porous membrane, while a small chlorine cartridge installed at the membrane outlet leaches free chlorine to tackle any secondary contamination. A total of 24 water plants were installed during recent floods in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Bihar, Odisha, and West Bengal to provide clean and safe drinking water to 50,000 people.

The solutions by the centre for water-related problems ranging from contamination by heavy metals to flood-related water problems would comprehensively help in tackling health and disaster management challenges.

#MinistryofScienceandTechnology
12-March-2021
blog

High resolution platform developed to detect effect of prolonged alcohol exposure on RBCs

 

Scientists have custom-made a platform to detect the effect of prolonged alcohol exposure on Red Blood Cells (RBC) through high-resolution measurements of their size.

The high-resolution platform that shows the reduction in the size of RBCs on alcohol exposure can be tuned for a point-of-care screening of multiple conditions that alter the size and count of RBCs in the blood.

Although it is known that alcohol affects RBCs, the exact physiological changes are very subtle and difficult to measure. In order to overcome this challenge, scientists from Raman Research Institute (RRI), an autonomous institution funded by the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India led by Professor Gautam Soni, have developed a custom-made electro-fluidic platform that can detect the change by measuring the cell size in enhanced resolution.

The device made in RRI relies on the resistive pulse sensing principle. The team first developed techniques for making tiny micron (1/1000th of a millimetre) sized holes or micro-pores at the tip of a glass capillary with careful fabrication, flame polishing, and image verification. Cells passing through the pore created very tiny electrical pulses, which give direct and most sensitive information of cell count and volume. These results may also be used to explain the lack of oxygen-carrying capability of RBC under alcohol exposure leading to blurred vision, muscular incoordination, and altered mental states from alcohol abuse. 

This research work, recently published in ACS Sensors journal of the American Chemical Societywas carried out by researchers Saurabh Kaushik, Manohara M., and K.D Murugan under the guidance of Dr Soni and Dr V. Sundaramurthy from National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bangalore.

"Our lab had been working on building nanofluidic single-molecule detectors for the last few years. We found that some of the ideas used in the nanofluidic field may also be used in microfluidics in general and cell-biology in particular. We were pleasantly surprised with the reproducibility and resolution of our devices," said Professor Soni. Cell volume changes are an important biomarker for multiple diseases, especially blood-related conditions. Accurate measurement of volume changes of RBCs has applications in detection as well as mechanistic studies of diseases such as sickle cell anemia and malaria. Similarly, small volume changes of RBCs could also be indicators of malnutrition states in a cell. With this work, the RRI team envisages that the high-resolution platform can be tuned for a point-of-care screening of several other blood-related conditions.

#MinistryofScienceandTechnology
06-March-2021
blog

DRDO conducts successful flight test of SFDR

 

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully carried out a flight demonstration based on Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) technology from Integrated Test Range Chandipur off the coast of Odisha at around 10.30 am today.

All the subsystems, including the booster motor and nozzle-less motor, performed as expected. During the test, many new technologies were proven, including Solid Fuel based Ducted Ramjet technology, a release issued by the Ministry of Defence informed.

Successful demonstration of Solid Fuel based Ducted Ramjet technology has provided DRDO with a technological advantage that will enable it to develop long-range air-to-air missiles. Currently, such technology is available only in a handful of countries in the world. During the test, the air-launch scenario was simulated using a booster motor. Subsequently, the nozzle-less booster accelerated it to the required Mach number for Ramjet operation.

The performance of the missile was monitored using the data captured by Electro-Optical, Radar and Telemetry instruments deployed by ITR and confirmed successful demonstration of the mission objectives. The launch was monitored by senior scientists of various DRDO labs, including Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL), Research Centre Imarat (RCI) and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory(HEMRL).

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated the scientists of DRDO, the Indian Air Force and the Industry on the successful flight test of SFDR.

#Odisha #DRDO
05-March-2021
blog

Amazonia 1 successfully separated from PSLV C51

 

Amazonia-1 satellite has been successfully separated from PSLV C-51 and placed into orbit today.

"In this mission, India and ISRO, feel extremely proud to launch the first satellite designed, integrated by Brazil. The satellite is in very good health. I congratulate the Brazilian team," ISRO Chairman K Sivan said about Amazonia-1 after the launch.

PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 is the first dedicated commercial mission of NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a Government of India company under the Department of Space. The NSIL is undertaking this mission under a commercial arrangement with Spaceflight Inc. USA.

#ISRO #PSLV
28-February-2021
blog

Government notifies Information Technology Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code Rules 2021

 

Amidst growing concerns around lack of transparency, accountability and rights of users related to digital media and after elaborate consultation with the public and stakeholders, the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 has been framed in exercise of powers under section 87 (2) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and in supersession of the earlier Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011.

According to a release issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, while finalizing these Rules, both the Ministries of Electronics and Information Technology and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting undertook elaborate consultations among themselves in order to have a harmonious, soft-touch oversight mechanism in relation to social media platform as well as digital media and OTT platforms etc.

Part- II of these Rules shall be administered by the Ministry of Electronics and IT, while Part-III relating to the Code of Ethics and procedure and safeguards in relation to digital media shall be administered by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the release stated.

Salient Features:-

Guidelines Related to Social Media to Be Administered by the Ministry of Electronics and IT:

  • Due Diligence To Be Followed By Intermediaries: The Rules prescribe due diligence that must be followed by intermediaries, including social media intermediaries. In case, due diligence is not followed by the intermediary, safe harbour provisions will not apply to them.
  •  
  • Grievance Redressal Mechanism: The Rules seek to empower the users by mandating the intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, to establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving resolving complaints from the users or victims. Intermediaries shall appoint a Grievance Officer to deal with such complaints and share the name and contact details of such officer. Grievance Officer shall acknowledge the complaint within twenty-four hours and resolve it within fifteen days from its receipt.
  •  
  • Ensuring Online Safety and Dignity of Users, Especially Women Users: Intermediaries shall remove or disable access withing 24 hours of receipt of complaints of contents that exposes the private areas of individuals, show such individuals in full or partial nudity or in a sexual act or is in the nature of impersonation including morphed images etc. Such a complaint can be filed either by the individual or by any other person on his/her behalf.
  •  
  • Two Categories of Social Media Intermediaries: To encourage innovations and enable the growth of new social media intermediaries without subjecting smaller platforms to significant compliance requirement, the Rules make a distinction between social media intermediaries and significant social media intermediaries. This distinction is based on the number of users on the social media platform. The government is empowered to notify the threshold of the user base that will distinguish between social media intermediaries and significant social media intermediaries. The Rules require significant social media intermediaries to follow certain additional due diligence.
  •  
  • Additional Due Diligence to Be Followed by Significant Social Media Intermediary:
    • Appoint a Chief Compliance Officer who shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act and Rules. Such a person should be a resident in India.
    • Appoint a Nodal Contact Person for 24x7 coordination with law enforcement agencies. Such a person shall be a resident in India.
    • Appoint a Resident Grievance Officer who shall perform the functions mentioned under the Grievance Redressal Mechanism. Such a person shall be a resident in India.
    • Publish a monthly compliance report mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken on the complaints as well as details of contents removed proactively by the significant social media intermediary.
    • Significant social media intermediaries providing services primarily in the nature of messaging shall enable identification of the first originator of the information that is required only for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of an offence related to sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, or public order or of incitement to an offence relating to the above or in relation with rape, sexually explicit material or child sexual abuse material punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years. The intermediary shall not be required to disclose the contents of any message or any other information to the first originator.
    • Significant social media intermediary shall have a physical contact address in India published on its website or mobile app or both.
    •  
    • Voluntary User Verification Mechanism: Users who wish to verify their accounts voluntarily shall be provided an appropriate mechanism to verify their accounts and provided with a demonstrable and visible mark of verification. 
    •  
    • Giving Users An Opportunity to Be Heard: In cases where significant social media intermediaries removes or disables access to any information on their own accord, then a prior intimation for the same shall be communicated to the user who has shared that information with a notice explaining the grounds and reasons for such action. Users must be provided with an adequate and reasonable opportunity to dispute the action taken by the intermediary. 
  •  
  • Removal of Unlawful Information: An intermediary upon receiving actual knowledge in the form of an order by a court or being notified by the Appropriate Govt. or its agencies through an authorized officer should not host or publish any information which is prohibited under any law in relation to the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, public order, friendly relations with foreign countries etc.
  • The Rules will come in effect from the date of their publication in the gazette, except for the additional due diligence for significant social media intermediaries, which shall come in effect 3 months after publication of these Rules.

 

Digital Media Ethics Code Relating to Digital Media and OTT Platforms to Be Administered by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting:

There have been widespread concerns about issues relating to digital contents both on digital media and OTT platforms. Civil Society, film makers, political leaders including Chief Minister, trade organizations and associations have all voiced their concerns and highlighted the imperative need for an appropriate institutional mechanism. The Government also received many complaints from civil society and parents requesting interventions. There were many court proceedings in the Supreme Court and High Courts, where courts also urged the Government to take suitable measures.

Since the matter relates to digital platforms, therefore, a conscious decision was taken that issues relating to digital media and OTT and other creative programmes on Internet shall be administered by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting but the overall architecture shall be under the Information Technology Act, which governs digital platforms.

Consultations:

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting held consultations in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai over the last one and half years wherein OTT players have been urged to develop a "self-regulatory mechanism". The Government also studied the models in other countries including Singapore, Australia, the EU and the UK and has gathered that most of them either have an institutional mechanism to regulate digital content or are in the process of setting up one.

The Rules establish a soft-touch self-regulatory architecture and a Code of Ethics and three-tier grievance redressal mechanism for news publishers and OTT Platforms and digital media.

Notified under section 87 of the Information Technology Act, these Rules empower the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to implement Part-III of the Rules which prescribe the following:

  • Code of Ethics for online news, OTT platforms and digital media: This Code of Ethics prescribe the guidelines to be followed by OTT platforms and online news and digital media entities.
  •  
  • Self-Classification of Content: The OTT platforms, called the publishers of online curated content in the rules, would self-classify the content into five age-based categories- U (Universal), U/A 7+, U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A (Adult). Platforms would be required to implement parental locks for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher, and reliable age verification mechanisms for content classified as "A". The publisher of online curated content shall prominently display the classification rating specific to each content or programme together with a content descriptor informing the user about the nature of the content, and advising on viewer description (if applicable) at the beginning of every programme enabling the user to make an informed decision, prior to watching the programme.
  • Publishers of news on digital media would be required to observe Norms of Journalistic Conduct of the Press Council of India and the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act thereby providing a level playing field between the offline (Print, TV) and digital media.
  • three-level grievance redressal mechanism has been established under the rules with different levels of self-regulation.
    • Level-I: Self-regulation by the publishers;
    • Level-II: Self-regulation by the self-regulating bodies of the publishers;
    • Level-III: Oversight mechanism.
  •  
  • Self-regulation by the Publisher: The publisher shall appoint a Grievance Redressal Officer based in India who shall be responsible for the redressal of grievances received by it. The officer shall take the decision on every grievance received by it within 15 days.
  •  
  • Self-Regulatory Body: There may be one or more self-regulatory bodies of publishers. Such a body shall be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, a High Court or independent eminent person and have not more than six members. Such a body will have to register with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. This body will oversee the adherence by the publisher to the Code of Ethics and address grievances that have not been resolved by the publisher within 15 days.
  •  
  • Oversight Mechanism: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting shall formulate an oversight mechanism. It shall publish a charter for self-regulating bodies, including Codes of Practices. It shall establish an Inter-Departmental Committee for hearing grievances.

#MinistryofElectronicsandIT #OTT #DigitalMedia
25-February-2021