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Mumbai, March 21, 2018: e-Yantra is a Robotics outreach project that emerged out of the Embedded Systems course at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at IIT Bombay. This year’s e-Yantra Symposium achieves a six-year track record of running a massive (MHRD-funded) National Robotics outreach program. On display are the finals of two of its major student-facing initiatives: the e-Yantra Robotics Competition (eYRC-2017) and e-Yantra Ideas Competition (eYIC-2018).
One of MHRD’s flagship projects, e-Yantra has established 280 e-Yantra labs throughout the country over the past three years. It has now been given a three-year extension with a challenge to increase the number to 1,000 labs. e-Yantra Robotics Competition (eYRC) presents a real-world problem in the form of a game with a rulebook and scoring criteria. What makes this competition unique is that selected candidates are given all the material to compete along with guidance, supervision and an all-expense paid visit to IIT Bombay for the finals to be held on March 22-23, 2018.
Every year, e-Yantra strives to increase the number of teams selected for participation in the competition. The organizers have introduced three ‘tracks’ with one or more themes in each track. All three tracks are conducted in parallel and differ slightly in the format, subject matter and platforms used. This year, e-Yantra introduces seven exciting themes in agriculture. Automation of various processes in a farm – from sowing a seedling to harvesting the crops and transporting the produce to the market – are abstracted into themes.
This year’s competition features five finalist teams for each of the seven themes. Whereas every year there are some themes for first-time participants, there are also more difficult themes for students who have participated before. For instance, the “Spotter Snake” theme in which over a period of three months, the teams have to design and build a robotic snake using 3-D printed parts designed and simulated using open-source software. e-Yantra arranges to have the teams 3D print the final versions of the snake which is then made to catch “rodents” in an arena designed by e-Yantra. Similarly this year there is a drone-based theme where a drone acts as a warden to catch an animal that has strayed into a field by landing a small palm-sized drone on the animal modeled by another robot.
e-Yantra Ideas Competition (eYIC) is different in that it seeks to identify and nurture potential entrepreneurs in the e-Yantra Labs that the project has set up throughout the country. Students are invited to submit a proposal to solve a local problem using their e-Yantra lab and after an intense process of selection and vetting, are permitted to build the proposed system using their e-Yantra labs. Following a pre-selection in regional finals this year in Coimbatore, Ernakulum, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Noida, the 18 finalists will present their implemented ideas in IIT Bombay on March 23-24, 2018.
For the past 6 years, e-Yantra’s National Robotics Competition has been growing exponentially from 4,500 registrations in 2012 to 23,500 registrations (5,932 teams) last year despite falling engineering college seats (30% YoY). This competition teaches hardcore engineering skills through a scalable competition paradigm. Most importantly, it needs no expense on the part of selected participants – e-Yantra provides the kit, training and guidance and even a travel allowance and boarding/ lodging at IIT Bombay for the duration of the finals at IIT Bombay.
Whereas the competition engages annually with students, e-Yantra has extended its contact with students and teachers by setting up robotics lab in colleges throughout the country. A college invests Rs. 2 lakh in basic equipment and nominates four teachers who are trained by e-Yantra over a period of 6 months. Training involves a two-day face-to-face workshop followed by a online Task Based Training (TBT).
Now that this IIT-based project has reached critical mass, it seeks to make a major difference to the ‘Make in India’ initiatives in the country by directing the activities in e-Yantra labs towards local industry. The e-Yantra Symposium is an attempt to reach out to industry, where the team will present a ‘report card’ of the project and their model for academia-industry engagement. This will be followed by a panel discussion on how this potent model may best be used for academia-industry engagement.
Following the panel discussion, there will be talks in an inspirational vein for the finalists and teachers being hosted at IIT Bombay. The speakers include Prof. Dinesh Singh (ex-VC, Delhi University), PV Subramanyam (financial consultant) and Rashmi Bansal (author).
Visitors also have a chance to browse the finalists of the e-Yantra Ideas Competition exhibits where students from regional e-Yantra labs have turned problems into opportunities to solve local problems using the resources of the e-Yantra lab in their college. Prof. Kavi Arya (Principal Investigator, e-Yantra) believes this to be an important beginning to the startup model being proposed.
Almost 40+ IIT Bombay faculty across departments have volunteered to help evaluate the finalists of the two competitions. Says Dr. Krishna Lala, Sr. Project manager of e-Yantra, “This just shows that technology is a passion all around for IIT teachers”. Dr. Saraswathi Krithivasan, Sr. Project Manager suggests, “The students who have worked hard to reach the finals have the envied privilege of being grilled in depth about their work by IIT faculty”.
The goal is the much-coveted prize of a six-week paid summer internship with the e-Yantra team where they get the opportunity to work 24×7 on ambitious technical projects under the guidance of e-Yantra mentors and exposure to a host of training in soft skills, theatre workshops, meditation sessions, lectures on history and so on.
This year, Prof. Arya plans to travel around the country helping connect these labs to industry. e-Yantra has a working platform and he has tasked himself to get the word out to industry to engage with its labs. “We owe it to the young talent who have been failed by our education system but have so much to contribute to society. e-Yantra wishes to inspire the new generation to think of itself differently: not just as knowledge consumers but also as knowledge creators,” he said. e-Yantra is definitely showing the way.
A detailed schedule is at:
http://elsi.e-yantra.org/eyantra/schedule

Source: http://indiaeducationdiary.in/e-yantra-national-finals-includes-e-yantra-robotics-competition-eyrc-2017-e-yantra-ideas-competition-eyic-2018-e-yantra-symposium-eys-2018/

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Last week, N Sivananda, Joint Secretary in Department of Heavy Industry, said in a statement that the government is making plans to set up four centres in the country which would support the SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) take steps to implement industry 4.0. The ministry proposed to set up the centres this year in institutes including IIT Delhi, Central Manufacturing Technology Institute, Bengaluru, and IIT Bombay.

Understanding Industry 4.0

The first industrial development came with mechanised processes that helped our ancestors in few methods of production. Then came electricity and mass production. The third phase was categorised by the advent of automation and computers when machines started replacing the human labour in assembly lines. The fourth industrial revolution, synonymously called industry 4.0, introduces what has been called the “smart factory”, in which cyber-physical systems monitor the physical processes of the factory and make decentralised decisions. The physical systems become the Internet of Things, communicating and cooperating both with each other and with humans in real time via the wireless web. Interoperability is an essential component, whereby machines, devices, sensors and people connect and communicate with one another. Decentralised decision-making is another component, which shows the ability of cyber-physical systems to make simple decisions on their own and become as autonomous as possible.

Leapfrog opportunity for India

For India, the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings tremendous opportunities to leapfrog many stages of development, hastening its journey towards becoming a developed economy. In many ways, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a leveller. The technologies being used in India will be the same as those in use in the developed world. Robots, AI and IoT, are all technologies transforming the industry in the West and are ready to do the same in India. In many ways, companies in India are ensuring their survival by adopting these technologies. Those who adapt faster and better will be more competitive than others, and definitely in a better position to compete with global entrants. Their survival comes at the cost of jobs. But these can be countered by reskilling and by creating new opportunities. The Indian automotive sector has caught the world’s attention and has attracted many global brands to set up manufacturing units here. The automotive sector alone contributes more than 45 percent to the country’s manufacturing GDP (and about 7.1 percent to India’s GDP) and employs 19 million people. Clearly, there is an opportunity for India to move from a lethargic manufacturing outfit stuck somewhere between Industry 1.0 and 2.0 to Industry 4.0 and beyond.

Is India ready?

The Indian government has implemented various schemes that promote digital penetration in the country. For instance, Digital India initiative started in 2015, which aims at providing access to digital technology and internet to every nook and corner of the country, has been helping the companies in rural areas apart from households. To tackle the job loss, Skill India initiative was started in recent years. However more has to be done to ensure the accessibility along with affordability. Various challenges should be confronted in this process of transformation. Data security issues are greatly increased by integrating new systems and more access to those systems. Additionally, proprietary production knowledge becomes an IT security problem as well. A high degree of reliability and stability are needed for successful cyber-physical communication that can be difficult to achieve and maintain. Loss of high-paying human jobs is always a concern when new automation is introduced. And avoiding technical problems that could cause expensive production outages is still a concern.

Towards 4.0

Major Indian states are taking initiatives to adapt to Industry 4.0. Andhra Pradesh has taken an initiative to capitalise on the IoT potential in the country. The state government has approved the first-of-its-kind IoT policy with an aim to turn the state into an IoT Hub by 2020 and tap close to 10 percent market share in the country. The Indian government has created Green Energy Corridors to bring in more renewable energies, to make smart grids that will support the variable input of renewable energies and create storage. India has committed over $1 billion in this initiative and has started projects in many states, such as Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Himachal Pradesh. India’s first smart factory, moving from automation to autonomy, where machines speak with each other, is being set up in Bengaluru. It is making progress at the Indian Institute of Science’s (IISc) Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing (CPDM) with investment from The Boeing Company. A smart factory, armed with data exchange in manufacturing and the Internet of Things (IoT) is the future and experts are calling it revolution Industry 4.0. Reports peg the smart factory industry to touch US$ 209 billion by 2025, and all major economies are likely to accept it. Various Indian companies are increasing their focus and partnering with other companies for developing new IoT, and M2M solutions, the Digital India initiative from the government of India is expected to enhance the focus on IoT in tackling domestic challenges.

The initiative is a welcome step by the government. However, more has to be done to ensure that India reaps the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution.

Source: https://qrius.com/industry-4-0-a-boost-for-manufacturing-in-india/

By Sravya Vemuri

A multipurpose and low-cost biological air purifier, a smartphone-based system for detection of cardiac biomarkers, a window solar cooker, a rolling water carrier-cum- purifier, buzzing bands for speech and hearing impaired, an augmented rehabilitation system for stroke patients, an eco-friendly water retention natural polymer, a rapid cervix cancer detection system and a social search engine.

These are among winners of Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Awards for 2018. The innovations and prototypes are on display at the Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship inaugurated by the President at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Monday.

GYTI awards recognize technological excellence imbued with social relevance among students from all over the country. Out of over 2,900 entries in 54 technology domains received from over 300 universities and institutions, 51 have been awarded this year. And 15 of them have got a research grant of Rs 15 lakh each to pursue their projects. The award winners come from IITs, Indian Institute of Science, central and state universities and research institutions.

The innovations span a large number of sectors– water and sanitation, early detection of communicable and non-communicable diseases, air pollution, technologies for differently abled, engineering and digital technologies. For instance, a team led by Divya Beri at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore has developed a new strategy to block transmission of malaria, while Brince Paul and team from IIT Hyderabad has come up with a low-cost, disposable microfluidic chip diagnosis of malaria.

Debasmita Mondal and Sourabh Agarwal from IIT Bombay have developed a smartphone-based system for detection of two common cardiac biomarkers – myoglobin and myeloperoxidase. Technological innovations in agriculture sector include a novel technique to replenish micronutrients in soil using iron-capped nanomaterials. It has been developed by Pallabi Das and Kasturib Sarmah of Tezpur University. Ravi Prakash of National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, has designed a low-cost milking and cooling plant based on Phase Change Material.

A few years back, a grassroots innovation of hippo roller – a rolling drum to transport water in rural area – had caught wide attention. Now Ramesh Kumar and Swathy Ravindran of IIT Madras have gone a step further – they have made the roller into a water purification system also. This means as water is transported in the roller, it will also get purified. The rolling water purifier designed by this team has an outer body to deal with mechanical forces and a polybag to store filled water which makes sure that even if barrel body is broken or cracked, there are no water leakages. It purifies water as it is transported, using novel nanomaterials without any power requirement.

Neeta Ganesh Waghle and Priti Prabhakar Yewale from D Y Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, have designed a biological air purifier which has a compact carriage assembly containing replaceable adsorbent packed in biodegradable pouches or wrappers. The natural biomaterials used as solid porous material act like an adsorbent. Since the material is recyclable, it reduces the cost. The purifier, according to the students, can be installed at the mouth of automobile exhausts. In tests done by them, it has been found that it considerably reduces levels of carbon monoxide, nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide.

The window solar cooker designed by Avinash Prabhune of IIT Bombay looks pretty much like a microwave oven and it can be fitted into a window like an air conditioner. Unlike old fashioned, box-type solar cooker, this one has a cylindrical chamber that makes sure that it absorbs sunlight all through the day. It has a higher efficiency compared to box-type cookers and cooks faster. Prabhune says it can be idea for those living in multistoried buildings and those with a taste of ‘slow food’.

The team of Narayan Lal Gurjar, Shashi Pratap Shekhawat and Ankit Jain of Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture Technology, Udaipur, has identified a natural polymer for water retention. While superabsorbent polymers that can absorb and carry water about 300 times their weight are commercially available, they are very costly and are not biodegradable. The team has developed a super absorbing material using orange and avocado peels. The material can retain large amounts of water and keep soil moisture high for crop.

The GYTI awards are given by National Innovation Foundation (NIF), Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI) and Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).

Source: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/science/frugal-yet-high-tech-innovations-that-can-change-your-lives/article23304234.ece

by Dinesh C Sharma

New Delhi, March 20, 2018

Indian consumers are willing to pay more for air conditioners with higher energy efficiency, says research from IIT Bombay.

Energy efficient devices contribute significantly towards a greener environment and help tackle climate change. In 2006, the Government of India initiated the program of ‘star labels’ on appliances that provide information regarding their energy efficiency. Initially voluntary and covering few appliances, star label is now mandatory in India for few appliances like the room air conditioners and frost-free refrigerators. While regulations and innovation are crucial to design such devices, consumer choice also plays a significant role. How influential are the rating labels in driving customer choices? To answer this, researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) have conducted a study and found out that on an average, consumers prefer air conditioners that have labels, and are willing to pay more for those that are energy efficient.

As per a report from the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation, households in India consume about 22% of electricity. Air conditioners, one of the most energy-intensive appliances, is increasingly becoming common and could impact electricity consumption in a big way. Investing in an energy efficient air conditioner can reduce the demand for electricity and be pocket-friendly too. It is believed that informing customers about how much energy a device consumes could push them to towards choosing energy efficient ones. Star labels, ranging from one star (least energy efficient) to five stars (most energy efficient), help customers compare different products and make an informed choice.

In this study, researchers from the Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas and Interdisciplinary Program in Climate Studies, IIT Bombay, led by Prof. Anand B Rao, used statistical tools to analyse what consumers preferred while choosing a 1.5-ton split air conditioner. The researchers analysed 1184 observations from 148 individuals, as each respondent gave 8 different preferences in hypothetical purchase situations. They estimated consumer preference for different attributes of ACs such as brand, air filter, noise level and star rating.

The study also found that 70% of the people surveyed were aware of star labels and 48% believed that higher star rated devices consume lesser electricity. Though customer preference varied with star rating levels, it was seen that 69% preferred an air conditioner rated 3-star over one with a 2-star rating, and 78% preferred a 5-star rated air conditioner over a 2-star rated one. In addition, 85% of the respondents preferred the presence of a star label on the ACs.

Using statistical models, the study found that customers were willing to pay up to ₹12,500 more for air conditioners with star labels — an amount significantly higher than what they would pay for the presence of a brand name (₹9,000). In addition, 62% of the consumers were willing to pay for the increment in star rating level from 3 to 5. The study concluded that such investment would be economically beneficial if the household monthly consumption of electricity is greater than 100 kWh, as the savings would be greater than the estimated cost incurred for more efficiency.

“This study provides empirical support for the standards and labelling program on air conditioners.  In India, the impact of the labelling program on consumer choices has been understood only qualitatively. This study provides quantitative estimates of the impact on the program on consumer choices”, says Dr Manisha Jain, an author of the study, talking about how the results could be used to design programs that drive energy efficiency.

The study demonstrates that the consumer information programs as mandated by the regulations have been bearing fruits through a wider recognition among the Indian consumers. “This shows that due to the standards and labelling program, the adoption of energy efficient ACs is market-driven and may not require any further government intervention apart from strengthening the standards”, say the authors. Extending this study further, the researchers plan to explore the relationship of rating preferences with household income, education, and other attributes to help design targeted programs for increasing energy efficiency.

Source: https://researchmatters.in/news/air-conditioners-energy-efficiency-star

Deekshith Nevil Pinto

Dear All,

The Central Library is pleased to unveil its new online catalogue of books, thesis, etc. We have migrated from a proprietary software (Libsuite) to Koha open-source integrated library system (ILS), which is more user-centered than ever before: with a focus on the tools, resources, and information which is most useful to our faculty, students, staff and other library users.

All users are requested to check your library account details online by login using your legacy employee/roll number in lower case (not LDAP username) and LDAP password.

Here is the link to the new catalogue: https://opac.library.iitb.ac.in (OPAC = Online Public Access Catalogue)

What New?

It is a complete web-based cataloguing system with a simple and clear search interface for users.

Simple and fast search of titles, authors, and topics.

When viewing a book, users can browse the virtual bookshelf for other books placed next to it.

It displays the cover images of books in the search listing (for most new books for which images are publicly available).

The logged-in user can see a summary of issued books with details, fines, personal information, search history, reading history, purchase suggestions, place holds for items (reservation), etc.

Faceted Search. It is an all-new resource designed to showcase the breadth and variety of content of the Library, helping users discover new and related books.

Users can create public reading lists and private reading lists.

Add to Cart option is available for users to save their shortlisted books and can be issued later.

It allows saving/print/email/ export search result and allows sorting of the searched result by date, title, author, etc.

Users can submit comments (review) on any item in the catalogue. Staff can choose to moderate the comments before they are displayed in the catalogue.

It allows tagging, RSS feeds, social sharing etc.

Allows integration of IIT Bombay Department Libraries (work in progress) into one single catalogue for the entire Institute.

Allows sharing of catalogue data with National library databases.

Mumbai-based VC firm Unicorn India Ventures is bringing on board Professor Soumyo Mukherji, a senior faculty member at Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B), as an adviser.

Unicorn India co-founder Anil Joshi told VCCircle that Mukherji, a chair professor in the department of biosciences and bioengineering at IIT-B, will serve on the firm’s Investment Committee, which is responsible for taking funding decisions.

Unicorn India focuses on investments in deep domain and hi-tech businesses and has backed startups exploring Internet of Things (IoT), 3D and robotics technology.

Mukherji’s primary research areas include biosensors and bioinstrumentation for wide-scale deployment.

The firm said he will help differentiate and filter investment proposals before identifying genuine potential.

Specifically, he will be involved in decision-making on investments in sectors such as electronic, system design and manufacturing (ESDM), robotics, cybersecurity, Internet of Things (IoT), nanotechnology and medical devices.

Mukherji will also mentor companies in Unicorn India’s existing portfolio with regard to research and development of products under development.

Mukherji has more than two decades of academic experience. He holds several patents and has been with IIT-B since 1997. He has a PhD from North Carolina University and is an alumni of IIT-Kharagpur and Colorado State University.

Apart from being a chair professor at IIT-B, he is also the dean for student affairs.

Unicorn India Ventures
Founded in early-2015 by Joshi and Bhaskar Majumdar, Unicorn India Ventures invests in early-stage startups in sectors such as consumer, enterprise, healthcare and deep technology.

Before launching the VC firm, Joshi headed operations at investment networks Mumbai Angels and Bangalore Angels. He has also held positions at Century Rayon, a BK Birla Group Company, and Transasia Bio-Medicals Ltd, maker of diagnostic instruments and reagents.

Last month, Unicorn India Ventures invested undisclosed sums in three Kerala-based tech startups.

Unicorn had floated its maiden fund in 2015 with a target corpus of Rs 150 crore (worth $23 million then), with an aim to build a portfolio of 30 companies.  It currently has 13 firms in its portfolio.

In December 2015, Unicorn hit the first close of its maiden fund at $6 million (Rs 40 crore).

Out of that fund, it has invested in Boxx.ai, GrabOnRent, Inc42, NeuroEquilibrium, Pharmarack, Sequretek, SmartCoin, VanityCube, among others.

In November last year, Unicorn launched its maiden debt fund with a target corpus of $93 million (Rs 600 crore). The fund will look to invest in 10 ventures in a year, with an average ticket size of Rs 20 crore ($3.5 million).

Source:  https://www.vccircle.com/exclusive-unicorn-india-ventures-appoints-iit-professor-as-advisor/  By Shweta Sharma on 13 March, 2018

Over a year after Pratham, a satellite designed and built by students of IIT-Bombay was launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) into space, the makers of the satellite have now launched a wiki page to make the information about its make and functioning accessible to all.

Called ‘Satellite 101’, the page has been created exclusively by the members of the IIT-Bombay Student Satellite Project (IITBSSP). It gives a step-by-step guide to building a student satellite, right from building a team for the task to developing the satellite sub-systems.

“We are hopeful that this Wiki page would lead to many more Prathams across several colleges of India, thereby leading to an overall improvement in the science and technology sector in the country,” said one of the members of IITBSSP.

The wiki page clearly warns students that the information provided by the team cannot ‘replace’ the efforts that go into the making of a sattelite, but can only ‘supplement’ them.

Pratham, a weather satellite, was launched into space on September 26, 2016, as a part of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) of the ISRO. The students of the institute are now working on the second student satellite — Advitiy (meaning unparalleled). The students hope to add to the contents of the wiki page with updates on the developments in the work of Advitiy. “We decided to maintain this wiki as a parallel to our work on Advitiy, so that it can keep evolving in tandem with our experience,” states the page. Stay updated with all the Mumbai Latest News headlines here. For more exclusive & live news updates from all around India, stay connected with NYOOOZ.

By DNAIndia | Tuesday | 6th March, 2018

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