A Hyperloop pod to zip between cities

Sole Indian team gets down to fabrication of high-speed transport capsule for SpaceX contest in the U.S.

Over the next two months, 25 students from premier colleges will put their heads together here to build their idea of the pod, a vehicle that would meet high speed norms of the futuristic transport system Hyperloop.

The Pod Design Competition to be held in August at Hawthorne, California by the company SpaceX, is the second in the current year. The idea is to have a scaled-down pod prototype that can traverse a one mile long evacuated tube in a vacuum and seat only one passenger.

The core committee of the team, mostly engineering and management students, launched work on Monday, hosted by Bengaluru-based fabrication facility, Workbench Projects.

Hyperloop India, the only team in the country to reach the final design stage, will build the OrcaPod, a prototype for speeds of up to 460 km per hour. The Hyperloop system is proposed by inventor-businessman Elon Musk of SpaceX. The concept envisages a pod-like vehicle being propelled through an evacuated tube, under reduced pressure in vacuum-like conditions.

August 1 deadline

“They are geared to meet the tough deadline of two months to build the Orcapod. It has to be ready by August 1,” said Anupama Gowda, co-founder, Workbench Projects. Over the next week, team members have to find a place to stay and convince possible sponsors. Also on the cards are meetings with industries and associations,” said Sibesh Kar, team lead and founder of Hyperloop India. He is enrolled at BITS Pilani for an MSc in Physics as well as a B.E. Mechanical Engineering degree.

The budget requirement of ₹75 lakh is high. “We have raised around ₹ 25 lakh so far, and are looking for more sponsors and partners,” Mr. Kar said. The Orcapod, to be built from the ground up near Ulsoor Metro Station, will have engineering and software design specialists. “We will build the understructure including levitation-related parts. The plan is to build a pod at scale and then tune it for competition,” said Dhruv Mahajan, software lead, and B.E. Computer Science student at BITS Goa.

Source : The Hindu


Divya Nayan: CSIR’ Gift For The Visually Impaired

 The gift of sight is God-given. CSIR-CSIO team has developed “Divya Nayan”, a personal reading machine for visually impaired to access printed or electronic textual information. The device is useful for the targeted disability group for accessing printed and digital information. This will help to read out printed or electronic document without the help of any volunteer and hence in turn will help in their education and employment. The device is based on the principle of contact scanning of a printed document and converting it to speech. It is a standalone, portable and completely wireless. The device can analyse a multicolumn document and provide seamless reading. It is capable of page, text, and word level navigation while reading.

The device currently, has support for speaking Hindi and English, but it can be further configured to other Indian and foreign languages. It is equipped with 32 GB internal storage, wireless communication feature (i.e Bluetooth and Wi-Fi) and weighs less than half a gram.  A provision is also integrated to facilitate the connection of the device through internet over Wi-Fi. Facility is provided to store and organise the scanned or digital documents for later use. USB connectivity is provided to read and store electronic documents, such as text, word or pdf files. It has inbuilt rechargeable battery which can last upto three hours.

No such portable and multifunctional reading machine exists around the globe; however, a bulky expensive and foreign languages supported machines is available.

The successful trials of Divya Nayan are conducted at various institutes and NGO’s, which indicate huge demand of this device. Different working models of Divya Nayan aid the visually impaired. The feedback received from various tests has been incorporated in the device to make it more user-friendly.

Divya Nayan is indeed bestowing the gift of sight to the sightless and has great promise to light up their world.

Source : MyGovt Blog


A DEVASTATING GLOBAL cyberattack called WannaCry has alerted millions of people to the dangers of ransomware. Hospitals, utilities, businesses, and more were locked out of their computers, facing payment demands from anonymous hackers. And while it’s too late for over hundreds of thousands of devices across 150 countries that WannaCry hit, there are a few tools you can use to help limit your own risk, both now and going forward.

After all, WannaCry’s hardly the only ransomware out there. Protect yourself now, before the next one hits.

1) D My Passport Hard Drive :

Really, any external hard drive backup will do; we just like the WD My Passport for its built-in hardware encryption and three-year warranty. What specific model you go for, though, matters much less than how you use it. The key here? Regularly back up your system, but keep your hard drive disconnected from your desktop. Otherwise, the ransomware will find and encrypt your backup just like it did your main system. 

2) CrashPlan Data Backup :

When you think “cloud backup,” you might think “Dropbox.” Don’t! At least not for these purposes. Dropbox offers a lot of value as a syncing service, keeping your files straight across multiple devices. Handy, but not much help if ransomware hits. Instead, look for a true cloud backup service that backs up and encrypts all of your files in a server far, far away. If a hacker locks up your digital life, a cloud backup means you can just wipe and start over with an uninfected version. CrashPlan gets solid reviews from a range of sites for its ease of use and cost, but competitors like Carbonite and Backblaze offer similar functionality.

3) Windows 10 :

Are you on an older version of Windows? Are you even (gasp) still using Windows XP? Please stop that immediately. In fact, thanks in part to a big release of NSA tools by a hacking group called Shadow Brokers, you should consider any Windows version other than the very latest a potential risk. You’re past the free Windows 10 upgrade period at this point, but it’s still worth the investment for the added peace of mind. Just make sure that even once you’re up to date, you’re downloading each patch as soon as it becomes available.

4) Bitdefender Internet Security :

Anti-virus software gets a bad rap sometimes, and not without reason. It gets its hooks into so many parts of your computer that if something goes wrong with your AV, your whole system’s at risk. Then again, if ransomware takes over, you don’t have a system to begin with. There are a lot of fine choices here, but Bitdefender stands out for having repeatedly aced real-world protection testing from independent reviewer AV-Comparisons over the last year. And yes, it protects against WannaCry, as would almost any top AV product.

5) An iPhone :

Don’t get me wrong, Android phones are wonderful! But ransomware doesn’t just hit desktop computers. It’s surging  on smartphones as well. And while both the iOS App Store and Android’s Google Play do a pretty good job of keeping malicious apps off your phone, the prevalence of third-party app stores for Android make it a much bigger risk for ransomware infection. An iPhone is your safest bet; just don’t click on any links in spammy text messages.

News Source : Wired.com

The mysterious powers of spider silks :Study brings ‘Spider-Man’ tech a step closer to biomedical applications

Spider silks, the stuff of spider webs, are a materials engineer’s dream: they can be stronger than steel at a mere fraction of weight, and also can be tougher and more flexible. Spider silks also tend not to provoke the human immune system. Some even inhibit bacteria and fungi, making them potentially ideal for surgery and medical device applications. Exploitation of these natural marvels has been slow, due in part to the challenges involved in identifying and characterizing spider silk genes, but researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have now made a major advance with the largest-ever study of spider silk genes.

As they report today in an advance online paper in Nature Genetics, Penn scientists and their collaborators sequenced the full genome of the golden orb-weaver spider (Nephila clavipes), a prolific silk-spinner that turns out to produce 28 varieties of silk proteins. In addition to cataloguing new spider silk genes, the researchers discovered novel patterns within the genes that may help to explain the unique properties of different types of silk.
“There were so many surprises that emerged from our study: new silk genes, new DNA sequences that presumably confer strength, toughness, stretchiness and other properties to silk proteins; and even a silk protein made in venom glands rather than silk glands,” said senior author Benjamin F. Voight, PhD, an associate professor in the departments of Genetics and Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics. “All this new information should greatly advance our efforts to capture the extraordinary properties of these silks in human-made materials.”
Even though spider silks have been studied for more than 50 years, earlier foundational work had identified only a comparative handful of spider silk genes. Even recent work from species with smaller silk repertoires than the golden orb-weaver’s were incomplete. To find all of the silk genes hidden across the golden orb-weaver’s genome — the veritable “lab rat” of spider silk science — required the construction of the entire genome, a daunting task in itself.

In the new study, Voight and his colleagues began with the herculean task of sequencing and reassembling the genome of the golden orb-weaver: a task comparable to solving a multimillion-piece jigsaw puzzle, with few clues as to how these pieces fit together.
In the golden orb-weaver’s genome — which turns out to be about as large as the human genome — the researchers identified more than 14,000 likely genes, including 28 that appear to encode spider silk proteins, known as spidroins.

Spidroins have been classified into seven categories according to their protein sequences and functions; these categories include aciniform silk for wrapping prey (and tying down partners for mating); and the super-strong major ampullate silk from which spiders (and Spider-Man) swing while at work. However, some of the newly discovered spidroins have sequences that do not fit neatly into any of these categories, suggesting that the encoded silk proteins may have novel functions, or that the existing categories need to be redefined.

An extensive computational analysis of the orb-weaver’s spidroin genes revealed nearly 400 short sequences — many never before described — that appear repeatedly in these genes with small variations and in different combinations. These repetitive spidroin “motifs” are of great interest to biologists and engineers because they are likely to confer the key properties of a given spider silk, such as high-tensile strength, flexibility, or stickiness. The analysis also revealed novel, higher-order organizations of these motifs into groups of motifs (“cassettes”) and groups of groups (“ensembles”).
News Source : Science daily 

March for Science :

Anti-conservation members of Congress are attacking our nation’s most rare and imperiled wildlife. Speak out!

Congress, in its wisdom, passed the Endangered Species Act as a safety net to ensure that our actions do not cause the extinction of other native species with overwhelming bipartisan support. I stand with the vast majority of Americans in support of the Endangered Species Act, which for decades has done an excellent job of preventing the extinction of native plants and wildlife. The law wisely requires decisions be made on the basis of the best available science, not politics. Despite this wild success, and the increasing need to protect imperiled species from extinction in the face of a rapidly changing climate, habitat destruction and fragmentation, and other serious threats, attacks on the Act are increasing. These attacks do not represent the American people who overwhelmingly support protecting our nation’s most imperiled wildlife. Instead, the assaults are led by anti-environmental factions seeking to shelter the environmentally destructive actions of a privileged few. The Endangered Species Act and the agencies charged with implementing the law must be protected from blatant political meddling.

I urge you to protect our rare native wildlife by blocking any and all harmful policy riders on unrelated legislation that prematurely strip protections, prospectively block protections or defund the agencies charged with implementing the law. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service must be allowed to do their jobs. Rare native species like the greater sage grouse, lesser prairie chicken, and gray, red and Mexican wolves should receive protections so long as the science demonstrates they are necessary. I expect you to fully fund the agencies that protect our wildlife and their habitats. And I expect you to protect our most imperiled native species.
Science and not politics must guide the decisions made to recover imperiled species to healthy and secure populations. Anti-environmental extremists in Congress must not be allowed to dictate which species survive, based on the whims of their campaign donors.
I call on you to stand strong in defense of the Endangered Species Act, and champion science, not politics, as the appropriate decision-making tool for guiding our efforts to prevent extinction of our most vulnerable native species. Please be a vocal opponent of any and all anti-ESA riders, and keep me informed of your efforts to protect the Endangered Species Act from Congressional tampering.

Some people talk to animals , not many listen though , that’s the problem : 

God loved animals and created forests, Man loved animals and created cages 🌴🌿🐯🐻

If you care about animals, support animal rights..

Instead of fighting for a bigger cage, fight for no cage at all 🐯🐻🔬

Want to shoot animals? use cameras.. Not guns ..

They only serve for mankind 😊#Savethem#UniteforAnimals

Let’s bring a change. .

Animals are such agreeable friends―they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.

Some species are slipping away, can’t we help them in some way?