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Dr. Rajesh Ingle

Branch Counsellor

Dear All, It gives me immense pleasure to write this message for the new edition of PICT IEEE Student Branch’s (PISB’s) P.I.N.G. Over the past few years there has been an increase in the demand and number of readers of this newsletter. All editions of the newsletter have been well received. In a recent survey conducted by PISB’s P.I.N.G. editorial team, electronic and print versions were appreciated by the readers. It is a great contribution by PICT IEEE Student Branch, which provides an opportunity for all, including student members to showcase their talent, views and further strengthen IEEE activities. It is a great pleasure to serve PISB as a Counsellor. It is really interesting, valuable and great learning experience to work at various levels in IEEE. As a counsellor at PICT IEEE Student Branch; as a Chair, Conference Committee at IEEE Pune Section; Vice Chair, IEEE India Council, IEEE region 10 Students Activity Coordinator; and Member, MGA SAC. I am thankful to all the members of PICT IEEE Student Branch for their active support. In January 2016, I had an opportunity to attend IEEE Region 10 Meeting at Hong Kong. I got an opportunity to participate in IEEE Region 10 Annual General Meeting which was held at Makuhari Messe International Conference Hall, Chiba Prefecture, Japan on 4-5th March 2017 and conducted a training session for all section chairs and participants from Asia pacific. It was my honour and privilege to attend and participate in Japan SYWL Workshop for Next Generation of IEEE - Invent the Future – on 3-March-17, Chiba Institute of Technology. It was fruitful in understanding the requirement of all students from Japan. It was a memorable experience to attend “IEEE Japan Sections’ 60th Anniversary Celebration” on 3rd March 2017, at 2-1-1 Shibazono, Narashino, Chiba, Japan. We have successfully organised the first conference with the technical support from IEEE at Sheraton Grand & PICT Campus during 3-5 February 2017. First time in the IEEE’s history, Section Congress is being organised in Region 10 at Sydney in August 2017. I would also like to mention the strong support from Mr R.S. Kothavale, Managing Trustee, SCTR, Mr Swastik Sirsikar, Secretary SCTR & Principal Dr P.T. Kulkarni for the students to work at this level. We try our level best to create an environment where students keep themselves updated with the emerging trends in technology and innovations. At PISB, many events are conducted throughout the year and widely appreciated by the students, acclaimed academicians and industry professionals alike. The events include IEEE Day, workshops, Special Interest Groups (SIGs), Credenz and Credenz Tech Days. Credenz is the annual technical event held in September every year. I would like to thank all the authors for their contribution. On behalf of IEEE R10 & IEEE Pune Section, I wish PISB as well this newsletter all the success. I congratulate the P.I.N.G. team for their commendable efforts. Prof. Dr Rajesh Ingle IEEE R10 (Asia Pacific) Student Activities Chair, Vice Chair, IEEE India Council, Dean, Head ( CE) and Professor, PICT, Pune

Bridging the Rift


With Dr Anand Deshpande


ealous about our hi-tech future, Dr Anand Deshpande is the Founder of Persistent Systems, which has evolved into one of the most reliable technology services companies that build software. He believes that the key to being successful is differentiation, and with the same idea, he has galvanised Persistent to endeavour in innovating extraordinary products for the industry. Thus, by creating opportunities in our softwaredriven world, it has advanced one step ahead.


You started Persistent after leaving HewlettPackard and coming to India in the year 1990 when India itself was not very IT oriented. What inspired you to take such a huge step?


At Hewlett-Packard, I was a part of the database group for the software engineering environment projects. At that time, HP Labs was a pretty big place for database work. We had a fairly large group and were considered one of the top labs in the field. I did an 18-month stint there. I was on a practical training visa, and I never filed for an H-1, so I had to go back to India in 1990. I was trying to figure out what to do in India and was thinking about how to work with the United States, still working from India. I found a few projects started from there, mostly in the database world. Because the community of people in the database market is relatively small, I was able to convince some of them that I could work for them from India. That’s basically how I started- I bootstrapped the company in the early days.


Persistent has achieved various awards and commendations such as the NASSCOM’s Innovation Award in 2008. Persistent also has become a trademark and a benchmark for authentic and reliable outsourcing services. To what do you owe this success?


All credit goes to Persistent’s persistent efforts. The entire company has been working for 26 years now, so we have been very focused towards our work. We have been doing things that have helped our company grow. And as the company


P.I.N.G. ISSUE 13.0 JUNE 2016

Dr Anand Deshpande, Founder & CEO, Persistent Systems.

“Growth is not a straight line, the way I call it, it’s usually successive ‘S’ curves.” grows, you receive a sudden price advantage. You get noticed if you are larger and that has helped us to achieve some of these awards.


Could you please share with us your journey of starting Persistent from what it was to what it is now?


Let me try to give you a brief summary on what we have been focusing on. In terms of the size of the company, right now we are nine CTD.CREDENZ.INFO


Virtual batteries

developed to maintain the balance between demand and supply of power among suppliers and consumers are intended to scale down the costs incurred by the producers due to power generation and offer a lower-cost, lower-emission alternative to backup power generation.

thousand four hundred people worldwide. The total business has been approximately twentyseven thousand million dollars. Initially, when we started in 1990, we were a small company, starting with 2 people. Along the years, the company has gone through different phases of growth and at every stage, various kinds of things had to be done. In the early years, we were mostly working with the database companies doing technical work. We were hundred people in the year 1999. Later, the figures rose to 500 people in the year 2003 and today we are a pretty big company. But, we are still smaller than many of the largest companies in this market. And for a smaller company to win, it is necessary to be differentiated. All we have been trying to do is focus on, “Why should Persistent win”, “If companies have choices why should they come to Persistent?”, continuously trying to figure out how our company can be distinguished from others.


What in your view was a turning point for Persistent Systems?

In this 26-year journey, there were different points at every stage that had become important. It is a step by step journey, you move one step ahead and with every step you take, there is some kind of event or activity that changes you, helping you to grow. So growth is not a straight line, the way I call it, it’s usually successive ‘S’ curves. Every time you move from one S-curve to another S-curve, there are certain transitions that are crucial in the overall development of the company.


Persistent today is among the recognised names to provide dependable outsourcing services. Where do you think it’s headed to in the future?


Today, we are rapidly moving towards an age where everything is becoming softwaredriven. Business companies are trying to transform themselves on the basis of software. Examples of these are fairly well known, people like Uber


or Airbnb. These companies have been running their business on the basis of software. Many other companies are also trying to do that. We are trying to be their partners, for transformation. We think that recent technologies like IOT, Machine learning, are playing a big role in this transformation and we think that those are opportunities that we are trying to aggressively achieve.


It is rightly said that 2016 was a year which brought a lot of transformation in the field of Artificial Intelligence. What is your opinion about it?


I agree that a lot of changes have happened during the past 12 to 15 months in the sphere of machine learning, especially deep learning. This has made it possible for people who don’t necessarily have the ability to do machine learning on their own, to use standard libraries, make appropriate calls and use machine learning. So, in the past, somebody had to do this hard problem solving on their own and it would take a long time. Today, the availability of libraries like IBM Watson and Google TensorFlow have made it possible and accessible to a larger population, that has changed the way people lavish it.


Besides Persistent, you also lend a hand to senior citizen homes, orphanages, homeless shelters and welfare shelters through various charities and trusts. What drives you to participate in such noble causes?


There are two foundations I am actively involved in. There is a Persistent Foundation, which is our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Foundation. Whatever profits we make over a period of time, 2% of that is contributed to the Persistent Foundation. The Persistent Foundation has a three-point agenda, one is that we are very focused on making a contribution to the education field, mainly for women and children who do not have the financial ability to pay for the education. Second, again in the same category, we are looking at health care as an area that women, young JUNE 2017 P.I.N.G. ISSUE 13.0


Supersonic Plasma Jets,

in a recent discovery, can push temperatures to 10000 Celsius in the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere. Scientists at Calgary have based their claim on vast sheets of electric current in the atmosphere, theorised to flow in the atmosphere. o

children and elder people cannot afford. Third thing, we do a lot of work in social and communityrelated activities. We have done some projects like Solar Panelling on Pune Railway Station. Last year we did a lot of work in water conservation plants, a lot of rainfall that we receive washes away. To avoid the runoff of water, we have to deepen the lake so that the water can stay for a long time. We also need to create ways to collect water and make sure that it doesn’t run away. So we have been searching for ways to collect water so that at the end of the year water can be preserved.


Could you please elaborate about the deAsra project.

The deAsra foundation is a personal initiative. The sole objective of the deAsra Foundation is to create self-employment. The population of India is 1.3 billion, half of which is governed by people under the age of 25. Roughly, 650 million people in India are under the age of 25, and simple math shows that at every age, there are roughly 25 million people. If these 25 million people are looking for employment, then the government and the companies need to create approximately 15 to 18 million jobs. In no way is it possible for the government or any company to come up with jobs for such huge number of people. Hence, the deAsra Foundation focuses on helping people to acquire jobs in the urban areas and make them self-reliant and self-dependent.


With so many years of your experience in the corporate world, could you please tell us what kind of skills and qualities an engineer should possess, so that he/she can contribute better to the industry?


Firstly, we have to be aware of the things happening around us. If you are in a job, you need to know where the money comes from and how the money is coming to you. A company’s business is dependent on its customers, so it is important to know about your customer’s requirements. Overall, you need to know the ecosystem of this


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whole economic system. Secondly, we were a part of the technology industry should keep ourselves constantly updated. There is always something new happening somewhere around the world. We need to know what that is and in what context is that going to happen. And just being aware is not enough, how we deal with it is important. You are aware of stuff, you know what to do and then actually doing it is important since execution is the most important aspect. Make things happen, keep doing it and be persistent towards it. There is also an ethics layer that goes with all this. It is necessary for people to understand the need, to be honest, and true to themselves and their country.


What message would you like to give to our readers?

You have a long journey ahead and you have to work 50 to 60 years from now, therefore you need to be aware of the things happening around you. First of all, you will have to learn how to learn. That will help you boost your self-development. Secondly, you should be aware of the people you are interacting with and the network you are building among yourselves in that process. It takes efforts to build a network, so I think spending time interacting with people not only in college but outside as well and getting to know them is necessary. Next, there is no shortcut to success except hard work. Moreover, to work smartly in the future, you need to take efforts. There are a lot of things to do, but unfortunately, you cannot do everything. There will be a few things you will gain expertise in and you will be good at. Try searching for those things. Lastly, I would like to say that to be able to work for next 50 to 60 years, you need to stick to your ethical values because those are the ones that will keep you going. Do not compromise with your values and do not look for short term benefits. Because once you start compromising, then you are left with nothing!

We thank Dr Anand Deshpande for his time and contribution to P.I.N.G. - The Editorial Board CTD.CREDENZ.INFO


Time Crystal 4-D matter


he idea of a space expedition to a potentially habitable planet with severely dilated time span has fascinated scientists to delve deep into exploring the secrets of the limitless space. This idea might materialise soon in the near future. As scientists continue advancing deep into unveiling the mysteries of space, they come across several instances which forlorn the significance of time to reconnoitre space. The inclusion of time as a 4th dimension was first propagated through Einstein’s theory of relativity, owing to which we can presently talk of blackholes, time dilation, wormholes. But what if time could be perceived as a dimension of matter?

The universe consists of a vicissitude of processes which involve significant changes in different systems. A multitude of properties associated with a system can be characterised by studying the underlying molecular distribution of matter, symmetry being an indispensable appurtenance in understanding the arrangement of molecules. Contemporary studies in the structure of matter reveal the significance of symmetry in sustaining the invariance of the physical laws of nature. Certain objects behave unusually when they enter their ground state. These objects appear to violate CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

a fundamental law of physics called time translation symmetry and end up with asymmetric ground states. This phenomenon can be explained by considering the example of a magnet. It is unclear how a magnet decides which end will be its north or south pole, but the fact that it has a north and a south end means it won’t look the same on both sides, implying its asymmetrical nature. Another instance of a physical object with an asymmetrical ground state is a crystal. Crystals manifest as perfectly symmetric objects with repeating structural patterns in space. The fundamental process involved in crystal formation necessitates depriving the system of energy, instead of supplying it to the system. In its lowest energy configuration, the symmetric properties pertained by the system start breaking down, culminating into a partially organised spatial molecular structure which is symmetric in some directions, not all. Similar to magnets, crystals look different depending upon the point from where they are observed in space indicating their asymmetric nature. However, the thought that intrigued the researchers and scientists was instantiated by the possibility of the existence of a periodic molecular structure of the crystal in the fourth dimension, time, similar to its structure in space. This idea was persuasively argued by physicists Frank Wilczek and his friend Al Shapere. Wilczek envisioned an object that could achieve everlasting movement while in its ground or zero energy state, by periodically switching between states. Even though the idea was well received by many scientists all over the world, it faced a substantial amount of scepticism. One of the major obstacles in materialising this theory revolved around the uncertainties raised about the stability of such a crystal in thermal equilibrium. This ignited a debate in the literature, finally leading to a proof which made the scientists believe that such crystals could never exist in thermal equilibrium. However, it was later argued that time crystals could still exist in periodically JUNE 2017 P.I.N.G. ISSUE 13.0


Robot skin, developed in Switzerland is used by robots to de-

tect humans when they are around. It is a flexible, thin and transparent coating, which uses currents of ions for detecting temperature variations. Applying the skin on a robot’s body helps them navigate through crowded places and also locate humans in smoke-filled rooms. driven systems, which never attain thermal equilibrium. Summarising, a time crystal or space-time crystal is an open system in non-equilibrium with its environment that exhibits time translation symmetry breaking (TTSB). The fundamental process involved in making a time crystal incorporates a straightforward idea of creating a quantum system such as a group of ions arranged in a ring and cooling them until they are in their lowest energy state. Physicists have intimately examined the difference in the motion of these ion rings produced due to the breaking of the spatial and time symmetry, and their studies yielded erratic results.

cists in Berkeley. Norman Yao at the University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues came up with a blueprint for effecting a time crystal. The idea proposed by Yao used an external force, such as a laser pulse which was used to flip the spins of successive ions in the crystal. This set the system into a repeating pattern of periodic motion. Using Yao’s ideology, two groups created time crystals in the lab. A group headed by Chris Monroe of the University of Maryland in College Park built a time crystal out of a string of trapped Ytterbium ions.

They concluded that the ring is perfectly stationary when the spatial symmetry of the crystal collapsed completely in its ground state, however, the ring motion varies periodically when the symmetry of the crystal was broken in the time domain. Physicists also affirm strongly that the prospects of extracting energy from such motion are negligible since it tends to violate the law of conservation of energy.

Later, a team led by Mikhail Lukin built a time crystal by exploiting the defects formed in diamond. The first step for the University of Maryland was to find a quantum system. They chained together a line of Ytterbium ions with spins that could interact with each other and hold them in an out-of-equilibrium state, forcing the quantum ions to remain localised in space, thereby getting influenced by time. According to Yao’s idea, the team used a laser to alter the spin of specific Ytterbium ions, flipping the spin of one ion, which led to the next Ytterbium ion change its spin, and the process continued for a prolonged period until every ion in the ring began oscillating perpetually.

If things were as simple as described above, Wilczek would have built such a system back in 2012. But one of the major difficulties in creating such a system practically was based on the fact that quantum systems are not governed by time-dependent variables i.e. quantum particles blink in and out in space, their motion is independent of any time-dependent parameters. This difficulty was overcome by a team of physi7

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The researchers were startled on observing that once the system was allowed to grow, the interactions between the ions occurred at a rate that was twice the original period. The only explanation to CTD.CREDENZ.INFO


Cubit is a real life dimension measurement tool implementing

laser technology which enables you to take proper decisions in design and architecture. It guides you to have a visual plan, at first sight, allowing you to get over mental and physical hurdles, and steer your projects from idea generation to reality. this phenomenon was the breaking down of temporal symmetry of the crystal in time, which caused the ions to interact with each other at this colossal rate. At the Harvard University, Mikhail Lukin’s team used Nitrogen vacancy centres in diamonds. The experiment essentially produced similar results in spite of using different materials to conduct the experiment. Lukin’s group studied an ensemble of nearly one million dipolar spin impurities in diamond, called Nitrogen-vacancy centres.

the efficiency of lasers and fibre optics. These time-dependent properties of time crystals are most likely to find their way into equally novel fields, such as chrono-metamaterials for quantum computing, which uses the inherent properties of atoms to store and process data. Time crystals can be perceived as a new state of matter since it is one of the first examples of non-equilibrium matter. These new found crystals have proved to be the first successful attempt made by physicists to step into the impervious demesne of the fourth dimension, time. These crystals have been predicted to be used profoundly in quantum computing. Phil Richerme of Indiana University wrote that such similar results achieved in two widely disparate systems underscore that the time crystals area a broad new phase of matter, not simply a curiosity relegated to small or narrowly specific systems. Symmetry breaking is a pervasive concept which can be used to explain several scientific phenomena like spatial properties associated with different objects. However, exploring the temporal symmetry along the time domain was a path ventured for the first time, paving way for several startling technologies such as robust quantum memories and improved precision measurement devices.

The team employed microwave radiation to alternately flip the spins of the impurities and generate interactions between their spins. Despite using a completely different quantum system to that of Monroe’s group, the researchers observed the same significant features of a time-crystal state. The prediction, realisation and discovery of time crystals open a new chapter in quantum mechanics, with questions about the properties of this new found state. The symmetry-breaking properties of ordinary crystals have lead to the creation of phononic and photonic metamaterials, deliberately designed materials that selectively control acoustic vibrations and light that can be used to boost the performance of prosthetics or to increase CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

It is also predicted that the discovery of time crystals may unveil the mystery of time travel, making it possible in actuality! The story of time crystals started with a beautiful idea by a theoretical physicist and now has completed its first chapter with conclusive experimental evidence after a mere five years. Far from coming to an end, as scientists prove their big theories, it seems Physics is alive than ever.

- The Editorial Board JUNE 2017 P.I.N.G. ISSUE 13.0




The verification-aware language


very codebase in the software industry today contains bugs and issues.This limits the software from working at its full potential, substantially reducing its efficiency and usability. These bugs also cause it to crash, allowing infiltrators to find vulnerabilities and potentially cause harm to the common man. Null Pointer Exceptions and Buffer Overflows are the most common causes of crashes and security flaws in modern systems. Should developers be reprimanded for writing bad code? Or should we find a solution so that human error is minimised and hence such issues as well?

Dafny is a programming language with built-in specification constructs. Developed by Microsoft, it is a language that can verify the functional correctness of programs. It is very easy to write a functionally correct code in Dafny. It is imperative, sequential, supports generic classes, dynamic allocation, inductive data types and built-in specification constructs. The specifications include pre- and post- conditions, frame specifications (read and write sets), and termination metrics. The language also offers updatable ghost variables, recursive functions, and types like sets and sequences. These functional constructs of the programming language are used only during verification and the compiler omits them from the executable code. The Dafny verifier is run as a part of the compiler. As such, a programmer interacts with it much in the same way as with the static type checker. When the tool produces errors, the programmer responds by changing the program’s type declarations, specifications, and statements.

of positive integers as input that are less than 1 million and sort them. Dafny provides a keyword called ‘requires’ which can be used to define a pre-condition for a method. In the given example, to guarantee that all integers in the array are within the specified limits, we can use requires. Dafny also provides ‘ensures’ keyword that can be used to specify a post-condition of a method. For example, use of this keyword ensures that the abs() function will always return a non-negative value upon its invocation on any input. Another problem that Dafny tackles are that of the possibility of infinite loops. As you would know, invariants are an expression(s) associated with the loops which hold upon entering a loop and after every execution of the loop body. Dafny checks statically if a while loop written by you would end up in an infinite loop or not! var i := 0 ; while i < n invariant 0 <= i < n { i := i + 1 ; } For example, Dafny wouldn’t allow the above code to compile as the value of ‘i’ can be equal to n after a few iterations (after which the loop would break), but the invariant only allows ‘i’ to reach most (n-1). Such issues need to be handled using conditional statements in C++, Java, Python, etc. In Dafny, such errors are caught the moment you compile your code.

Let’s consider that you want to take a shuffled array

Apart from common features such as functions, classes, generics, etc., Dafny also provides Inductive Datatypes and the ability to return multiple values! Languages such as OCaml, F#, etc. also provide these features. Internally, Dafny uses Microsoft’s opensourced Z3 Prover as an intermediate verification toolbox. Overall, Dafny seems to have a bright future provided it performs common tasks such as I/O, Networking, etc. Being an open-sourced language, even you can contribute to Dafny! - Vaibhav Tulsyan Software Development Engineer CodeNation Bangalore



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Organ Microchip

Human organs on-chip


ith the advent of newer and faster technology, how far do you think have we reached? The usual answers we expect are “Now my phone is smarter than ever”, “I got Google home installed and now my home literally talks to me.” However, in an effort to escalate the comforts of people, scientists have scaled greater heights and developed a technology that can potentially transform the medical industry and delineate the doctor-patient relationship. The ‘Design of the Year 2015’ Awardee scientists from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Donald Ingber and Dan Dongeun have invented chips with human organs annexed on them. These microscopic chips behave like lab proxies for human structures like lab test animals. Merely the size of a computer memory stick, these chips refashion the biochemistry and mechanical function of the human organs.

The chip consists of a piece of rubber, which is etched with hollow channels to be queued with actual living human cells (harvested stem cells). The lung-on-a-chip, liver-on-a-chip, and gut-onthe-chip are just a few of the applications of such translucent chips, which have specific patterns that are compatible with the microarchitecture of a specific human organ. Even though there are many spheres to its vast application, what grabs our eyes is how the kidney on a chip works. A kidney-on-a-chip device has the potential to accelerate research, encompassing the artificial replacement for lost kidney function. In the current scenario, patients go to the clinic CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

thrice a week for dialysis. The technology being brought forward not only makes the whole process efficient but also tolerable. Scientists are determined to get transportability and implementation capabilities by few of the path-breaking innovations such as microfluidics, miniaturisation and nanotechnology. The best example of this implementation is nephron-on-a-chip. A nephron is the fundamental part of kidney composed of a glomerulus and a tabular component. The unique design comprises of two microfabricated layers separated by a membrane. Its design includes mainly functional units like the glomerulus, tubule, Henle’s loop and connectors. In the glomerulus section, a membrane allows certain blood particles through its wall of capillary cells. The product is called filtrate or primary urine. The next important section is fabulous. Here some part is being added to the filtrate as a part of a urine formation and some substances are reabsorbed out of filtrate and supplied to the blood. Tubulus is segregated into two sections, proximally convoluted tubulus and a loop of Henle. In proximally convoluted tubulus, complete absorption of nutritionally important substance takes place. In the loop of Henle, the reabsorption of water and ions from urine takes place. Like a coin, this special chip also has its two sides. While the Human Organ-on-a-chip guarantees to be cheaper, faster, more accurate, flexible and more humane. In short, more intelligent than ever. These special chips could have a momentous impact on the medical, research, pharmaceutical and even the cosmetics industry. The impending application is personalised treatment. So far, the Wyss Institute has developed microchips for around 10 organs. There are still many shortcomings to this invention, but the future remains widely optimistic. - Akshay Khonde Alumnus Pune Institute of Computer Technology Pune JUNE 2017 P.I.N.G. ISSUE 13.0


Incessant Power


Augmenting battery life


atteries have become an integral part of our lives. Not only are they found in our phones, laptops, tablets, cars, kitchen appliances etc., but they also play a vital role in making renewable energy viable as a long-term solution to our power requirements. The technology that powers our cell phones is based on the old two-way radios of the 1940s that were used in taxis and police cars. The Swedish Police Department kicked off the use of most primitive cell phones in 1946. The phone worked using the principles of radio transmissions and could be used for communicating over six calls before the battery died. This first battery for operating a cell phone was actually a car’s battery and was hooked directly to the phone instead of being a separate battery like cell phone batteries are today.

took a full 10 hours to recharge. Comparing this with today’s scenario, you could charge your phones via a home electric socket, the charging socket in your car or even via a USB cable plugged into your computer, in just a few minutes. What’s the best solution if your cell phone battery does not last long? Free cell phone charging stations everywhere! Or how about a battery that would last forever?

Earlier, phones needed a large amount of battery power, therefore charging was difficult. Small and efficient batteries which we use today had not yet been invented till then. Moreover, these early phones were very large, heavy and bulky. By the late 1960s, mobile phones existed that would work in one cell phone calling area only, but they wouldn’t work once the user got a certain distance away from the assigned calling area. That technology wasn’t developed until the 1970s. By the time the first prototype of the modern cell phone appeared in 1973, the phone was capable of being used independently and worked in multiple calling regions. Cell phones were being tested in trials in Chicago, Washington D.C. and Baltimore by 1977 and in Japan by 1979.

The main principle used to store the charged ions for a long duration with the help of different chemicals is known to us since 1890. In this process, a lifetime of the battery depends on discharging cycle of charged ions.

These phones looked nothing like the sleek, tiny flip phones and smart phones we have today and could only run for 30 minutes without the cell phone battery getting discharged. Also, the short-lived battery 11

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Battery technology today has advanced in leaps and bounds over the last few years, but one problem still remains-battery life. When using a battery regularly, within a year a noticeable drop-in both capacity and discharge are observed. In the last few decades, scientists are facing great challenges in designing a long life battery or a noble energy storage device.

The discharging of charged ions depends on the nature of chemicals and electrodes that are used to design the acidic cells like H2SO4, C, Zn, etc. Similarly, to design a dry cell, a suitable paste of electrolyte with enough moisture is used to allow current flow, unlike wet cell. A dry cell can operate in any orientation without splitting any liquid. Dry cells are of two types (i) Primary cell, some examples include Zinc-Carbon cell, Alkaline cell, Lithium cell, Mercury cell, Silver oxide cell (ii) Secondary cell like Ni-Cd cell, Lithium ion cell and Ni-Metal hydride cell. Primary cells are not rechargeable and are disposed of off after the chemicals have been used up through the cell’s internal reaction. Secondary cells CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

Falcon 9 is a two-stage rocket manufactured by SpaceX for the

reliable transport of satellites and the Dragon spacecraft into orbit. Its simple two-stage configuration minimises the number of separation events, and with nine first-stage engines, it can complete its mission even in the event of an engine shutdown. are rechargeable and have a lifetime of 1000 charging or discharging cycles. Ni-MH cells are advantageous for high drain current applications due to their lower internal resistance. Typical alkaline AA size batteries which offer approximately 3000 mAh capacity at a low load current of 25 mA and provides only 1300 mAh capacity with 500 mA load.

rates should increase well over a decade. This purpose is achieved by using redox chemistry of organometallic compounds and polymer material used as a catalyst or an initiator of the reaction process. In this oxidation and reduction are considered together as a complementary process. Redox reactions involve the transfer of electrons. The principle of redox flow reactions in the organometallic compounds is used to design noble energy storage devices. In this technology, organometallic Ferrocene molecules ( C10H10Fe ) are used as positive electrolyte material. It is an orange crystalline solid with a camphor-like odour. Ferrocene derivatives have the capacity of multi-electron transfer required to act as a mediator in redox reactions.

The discharging time of secondary cell depends on the properties of the atom of the material or element used for designing the battery like Ni, Cd, metal hydride atom. The discharging time of this battery can be improved by modifying the properties of the atom. Lithium-ion batteries have higher energy than NiMH batteries but it is expensive. Ni-Cd battery was first designed by Scientist Waldemar Jungner of Sweden in 1899. Ni-Cd battery has a terminal voltage of around 1.2 volts during discharge, which decreases slowly until the end of discharge. Nowadays, it is a great challenge to the scientists and engineers to develop a battery technology for noble energy storage to be used for sleek mobile phones, a design which can provide a longer lifetime to the battery and make the phone totally safe even in flights. In view of this, scientists from Harvard University attempted to develop a new battery technology to store energy in liquid solutions instead of solid Lithium-ion packs. By storing energy in liquids, these batteries should retain their capacity and the discharge CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

Viologen is used for electrochromic systems because of its ability to change colour reversibly many times upon oxidation and reduction process. Viologen is used as a negative electrolyte. Researchers modified the molecular structure of positive and negative electrolytes in order to make them water soluble. One of the main hurdles researchers addressed was finding out that Viologen ( the negative electrolyte) was decomposing very quickly. The team was able to tweak Viologenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s molecular structure to make it more stable. Next, they considered Ferrocene for the positive electrolyte. Ferrocene is known for its electro-chemical properties and the fact that it is not water soluble. Researchers were able to turn Ferrocene into a soluble molecule creating a whole new class of molecules for flow batteries because they were able to dissolve the electrolytes in neutral pH water. Basing battery technology around electrified water may sound rather dangerous and suspicious, but in reality, the use of water makes battery packs far safer than the current acidic models used today. Thus, achieving the dream of sustainable battery life at a very low cost. - Dr. K.C. Nandi Professor in Physics Pune Institute of Computer Technology Pune JUNE 2017 P.I.N.G. ISSUE 13.0


Immersit Delineating entertainment


ntertainment is the key to obscure the boredom of our daily lives. Gaming and animation occupy the foremost position in the make-believe world of leisure. Since its mercantile birth in the 1950s as a technological peculiarity at a science fair, gaming has blossomed into one of the most profitable entertainment industries in the world. Right from ‘Pong’ to ‘Uncharted 5’, one can see a dazzling inclination in terms of graphics coupled with virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

With this in mind, today’s animations are becoming increasingly realistic. What happens if sitting on a couch will turn any movie into a Disney World ride? Perhaps, that’s possible. Immersit is the ultimate motion and vibration generating device for movies and games so that each galvanising movement is experienced from your couch at home. What is Immersit? In virtual reality, when the video is playing, your brain can be tricked but not your body. To fix that, Immersit has a plug installed under the couch which can generate a very high amount of movement and vibrations in coordination with the video. This combination of intelligent vibrations and an adjustable intensity bestows users with each explosion, wave and sharp turns by moving the couch back and forth, from side to side and up and down. While this sort of experience seems geared towards virtual reality headset compatibility, Immersit also functions perfectly well on a typical monitor or TV. The rumbles, shakes and other motions your couch makes might not convince you that you’re a part of the action, but it 13

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philomath will still offer excitement similar to that of a 4D amusement park attraction. How does it work? Immersit is often described by its creators as a plug and play device. It comes with convoluted motion hardware and software which automatically recognises the game status and the movement to create the simulation. It is compatible with PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, and PC. Immersit hasn’t been tested on the recent HTC Vive and Oculus Rift models yet. However, it is expected to be compatible with them as well, considering that it works fine with Oculus DK2. Using signal combinations, the software translates movie motions and various actions on the screen into movements and vibrations to get you immersed in the most appropriate manner. The centre of the device receives the “motion code” commands from a laptop or tablet via WiFi to operate the feet in sync with a movie. Immersit then validates and modifies those motion codes and translates them into the right motion. It uses superior technologies to identify any media for vibrating in sync with the on-screen action. Immersit consists of:1. Muscles- 4 dynamic pads that provide a combination of over 1000 movements and vibrations to the sofa. 2. Brain- The pads are connected to the brain which controls its movements and vibrations. 3. Heart- It provides the energy to the entire system. It is small and can be placed behind the couch. To ensure safety, it is embedded with manifold sensors so that movement is ceased as soon as something crawls under the furniture. The feet of Immersit consists of injection moulded plastic, steel and aluminium. To avoid any vibrations with the floor, the flip side of the pads consists of an insulating material. Once Immersit’s pads have been deployed, it is really easy to set your couch’s, chair’s or bed’s feet onto Immersit’s pads allowing your furniture to tilt, rotate and vibrate. Immersit also comes with an app that allows its users to CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

Printone is an interactive design interface for three-dimension-

al musical wind instruments, which provides sound simulation feedback as the user edits, allowing exploration of original wind instrument designs. Furthermore, an approximate resonance frequency can be efficiently computed using generalised Eigen value problem. program certain movements which can be performed at certain times, controlling the intensity of experience. Immersit also has a consumer platform where you can write code to record videos of your adventures with your action camera and relive it all, complete with movements on your sofa. Pros & Cons: One of the major concerns regarding this device is that most people’s couches are not designed to withstand constant vibration and movement of this kind. So, people may find that their furniture can’t handle what the Immersit will dish out. However, Immersit is risk-free as it has been tested on couches of different sizes, weights and shapes with up to 1.100 lbs using X-ray technology to make sure it wasn’t stressed too much and prevents the furniture from damage.

In fact, Immersit has also been tested on the movies Jurrasic Park and Toy Story, and the results were surprisingly pretty good. Immersit gives a complete virtual experience including the sensation in your stomach as the couch tilts forward. A D-Box technology or “4D theatre” which moves your seat in sync with the movie is dreadfully expensive. On the other hand, Immersit brings similar live theatre at home which is less expensive. Content creators don’t have to alter their movies or video games towards compatibility with the device. But, Immersit can’t simulate vibrations and motions in real time. The company needs to encode vibrations for several movies and games so that it knows when to vibrate. Otherwise, there’s CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

a passive mode that matches the movement of the couch with the audio soundtrack. As for games, the device supports over 120 titles on the current and last-gen Xbox and PlayStation consoles and PCs, though, it hasn’t been listed which ones yet and the movement syncs up with the movement and vibration of your controller. Prototypes are under development and the company is working to showcase many more sophisticated designs of Immersit. Earlier, it was impossible to trick our body without physical signs, but Immersit gives our body an experience which virtual reality gives to our minds, allowing us to feel every situation. Immersit will also prove to be a flight filled with adventure and amazing experiences, which will take us to new places every time we watch a movie. We can experience every bit of thrill completely just by sitting on a couch at our home, making life more stress-free and fascinating. Immersit has definitely changed our way of simply sitting on a sofa. This probably has much more potential for gaming than cinema, but plenty of people out there would love to make their movie experience at home just a little more exciting. It is also proof that cutting-edge technology can now propel us to escape into the land of adventure and sagas of action. Innovative technology is what mankind needs and that’s how Immersit takes the entertainment industry one step ahead.

- Mrunal Bhokare Pune Institute of Computer Technology Pune & -Yash Shinde Fergusson College Pune JUNE 2017 P.I.N.G. ISSUE 13.0


Programmable Silk


Strength at its pinnacle


xisting research in the emerging field of material science has instigated the researchers to produce strong and sophisticated materials that can endure and respond to the most sensitive changes in their environment. The main purpose of this work is aimed at developing materials which are sustainable and fulfil their goal by providing the best of durability and strength. Engineered for perfection, these materials aim to achieve the perfect equilibrium between efficiency and sustainability. These materials can survive the toughest of the toughest conditions and can actively respond to the changes in the environment to produce a better output in terms of efficiency.

mechanical parameters such as the amount of strain are manipulated or performed as an input to test the durability of these polymers. These materials are modified to detect these changes in their environment and respond accordingly. These changes can be of any type- physical, chemical, optical, biological or mechanical. Fibres which perform any specific biological function like releasing an enzyme or changing their physical property in response to a particular biological action are regarded as biomaterials. Further research in the field of biomedical engineering and biotechnology is being carried out to design smart equipment. All this is done to produce efficient materials which can comprehend the environment in a better way and minimise the errors to simplify our tasks. This revolutionary method is designed to produce smart biopolymers which can be embedded with different functional elements using water-based fabrication techniques. In this technique, fibroin-a powerful silk protein is used to create three-dimensional bulk molecules. Then these water-soluble molecules is converted into multi-shaped objects, varying in size and scale, which are then configured with customised embedded functions. Fibroin acts as the key component to make this polymer durable and compatible with all types of biological ecosystems and environment. Here, silk is chosen as the base material for the polymer as it is one of the toughest materials found in nature whereas other properties include high tensile strength, low density and elasticity.

One such effective method developed by the researchers at Tufts University are programmable silk fibres which can be configured to produce specific results and actions for the corresponding changes in their immediate environment. For example, one such noteworthy application of these materials is the surgical pin which changes its colour after exceeding its strain limit. The elementary idea behind this invention is to produce smart materials which interact with their surroundings and produce relevant changes in their behaviour to improve their performance. In the above example, the changes in the physical 15

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There is excitement among researchers regarding the invention and further research of these materials by stressing on the fact that creating high-performing multifunctional polymers is an essential step of bio-fabrication and will open up new avenues of integrating nature with technology. Along with his team of biomedical engineers, Dr Fiorenzo is working on creating the next generation of smart materials which can be preprogrammed to face any condition of atmosphere or surrounding. - Saylee Marulkar Pune Institute of Computer Technology Pune CTD.CREDENZ.INFO



t is a pleasant December morning. Mr George is getting ready for work, excited as always. He walks down the stairs of his apartment only to be greeted by his best friend, whom he fondly calls ‘Genius’. He winks at her, and she winks back. Together, they leave for work. Mr George starts revising his recent presentations while Genius drives him to his workplace.

No, I am not talking about Mr George’s female friend here. I am talking about his car. Toyota has designed a car using the ‘Kinetic Warmth Technology’ which will surely redefine the relationship that car owners share with their cars. The car, named as ‘Concept-i’, is different from the driverless cars touted by Tesla and Future Faraday. This car not only provides the user with an option for manual driving and automated driving but also interacts with the user to get information about his or her driving preferences, routes, mood etc. This car is designed to erase the man-machine barrier. It has introduced an Artificial Intelligence agent named Yui that communicates with the user via light, sound and touch. The graphics are born out of the panels on which they appear, they are not projected onto them. Yui appears in the centre of the dashboard like an animated parabola with a circle for a funny eye in the middle, presenting information all around the car, inside and outside. As a person approaches the car, Yui displays the message ‘Hello’ on the vehicle’s CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

KineticRevamp Warmth your drive exterior. Sensors inside are able to monitor the driver’s emotional state and Yui can adjust the driving or even the route to make the commute more relaxing. Yui can also play appropriate music after sensing the mood of the driver. Isn’t that great? And because it’s connected to social media, Yui may remind the driver about an errand or suggest a restaurant along the way. Yui can even keep the driver engaged in a conversation on those long boring stretches between destinations, thus making a monotonous drive enjoyable. Depending on the road and traffic conditions, Yui can take control of driving the car. This automated driving can help prevent many accidents caused due to human negligence. Usually, car design begins with the exterior, but Concept-i started from the inside, with the team of Ian Cartabiano, Toyota’s CALTY design studio Chief in California, spending five months asking themselves, “What is the future?” and forging a philosophy before even sketching a single thing. According to him, Yui must communicate not only with the driver but also with other passengers in the car and the people outside the car. Yui relocates to exterior LEDs, communicating externally to pedestrians, bicyclists, or other car occupants by displaying “Watch out!”, “Turning left” and other such messages. Yui is not limited to a figure inside the car. In place of headlamps, eyes lurk beneath the paint and they open up like eyelids when a person goes closer. Doors communicate with the user, forming messages like “Good evening”, “Goodbye” etc. The interior and the exterior are lit with two distinct colours, depending on the driving mode: purple for self-driving and green for human-driving. This concept car has indeed become a ‘dream car’ for most of us. Toyota’s greatest victory lies in its attempt of establishing a bond between man and machine and making a car more welcoming and warm. The concept car is a testimony to Toyota’s efforts in scaling the man-machine barrier, leading to groundbreaking innovation in the field of automation, advocating the beginning of a new era. - Kritika Patade Pune Institute of Computer Technology Pune JUNE 2017 P.I.N.G. ISSUE 13.0




Resurrecting the equilibrium


e humans create a future we envision over and over again. To accomplish our goals, we put together our resources, capital and technology to materialise the future into reality. Our objectives are always inclined towards producing machinery which is sustainable and independent. Have you ever imagined a robot assembling itself on its own or changing its shape as and when required? Wouldn’t it be amazing if it were real?

Introduction: Compared to the old Inverted Pendulum technology, the Cubli has two unique features. One is its relatively small footprint (15x15x15cm), hence the name Cubli which is derived from the Swiss-German diminutive for “cube”. The other feature is its ability to jump up from a resting position without any external support, not only an interesting concept for a control engineer but also an appealing demonstration for the general public. In its early years, the maker Gajan Mohanarajah, a PhD candidate and research assistant at ETH Zurich, got himself thinking, “Can we build a 15-centimeter-sided cube that can jump up, balance on its corner, and walk across our desk using off the shelf motors, batteries and electronic components?” 17

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System dynamics: When we aim at creating a 3D object, it is necessary to test its 2D prototype first so that the specific parameters can be mapped and incorporated into the 3-D model later. Approximately 10N of force is essential to lift an object from rest. Hence, the first question that intrigued the minds of the scientists was to think of a source that can produce 10N force internally. The answer was a momentum wheel. There are multiple ways to keep a cube in its balance, but jumping up requires a sudden release of energy. Instinctively, momentum wheels seemed like a good idea to store enough energy while still keeping the cube compact and self-contained. In addition to this, the same momentum wheels can be used to implement a reaction torque based control algorithm for balancing by exploiting the reaction torques on the cube’s body when the wheels are accelerated or decelerated. The device contains a trio of reaction wheels that rotate extremely fast and can be controlled in terms of speed and combination to create gravity-flouting tricks. Reaction wheels mounted on three faces of the cube rotate at high angular velocities and a sudden brake is applied causing the Cubli to jump up. Momentum wheels which rotate at very high angular velocities when brought to an instantaneous halt, provide sufficient momentum to lift the cube to a standing position from its resting position. The motor driving the momentum wheels exhibits high torque to make the wheels stand in that stationary position. Due to the structure’s rigidity and off-the-shelf component constraint, only the momentum wheels permitted enough design flexibility in terms of mass distribution properties of the Cubli. Necessary angular velocities of the momentum wheels for jump-up were calculated assuming a perfectly inelastic collision between the wheels and the pendulum body. Although the high angular velocities of the wheels before applying braking can be reduced by increasing the wheel inertia i.e. increasing wheel mass since the wheel size is constrained, was not taken to the extreme since it would result in reduced CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

Torrefaction technology developed at the Stanford University

can convert biomass into a clean burning fuel. It is used to reduce air pollution caused due to the burning of agricultural remains. It consists of a reactor that uses the torrefaction process to increase the density of biomass, thereby making it portable. recovery angles while balancing. A gear chain between the wheel and the motor was avoided since it would not allow the high angular velocities for jump-up and would add extra weight and volume. Although the balancing movement, which requires high torques, was affected by the choice of no gear, the brushless DC motors were still able to provide enough torque for recovery angles up to 7°.

accelerometer, ADXL345 from Analog Devices and a 3-axis rate gyro sensor. Embedded hall sensors of the motors are used for wheel speed sensing. The CANopen protocol is used for the communication between the motor controller and the development board. All this is masked by the crucial back-end coding using embedded C and Eclipse Integrated Development Environment.

Initially, the Cubli, lying flat on its face, will jump about its edge by instantaneously stopping one of its momentum wheels. The other two maintain constant angular velocities for appropriate balance. Once the Cubli is balancing on its edge, the next two wheels are instantaneously stopped to make it stand on its corner. Once the Cubli reaches the corner stand up position, controlled motor torques are applied to make it balance on its corner. Finally, an inertial measurement unit (IMU) based state estimation is performed and the motor torques are precisely controlled to make the Cubli continue to stand. In addition to balancing, the motor torques can also be used to achieve a controlled fall such that the Cubli can be commanded to fall in any arbitrary direction.

To estimate the 2D as well as 3D tilt angle, the accelerometer-based tilt angle approximation is used by placing them on the two ends of the diagonal on each face. By preloading the two co-ordinates, the Cubli walks itself through the path on its own.

Combining these three abilities- jumping up, balancing, and controlled falling, the Cubli is able to ‘walk’. However, initial jump-up tests showed that the stress resulting from a sudden braking of the momentum wheel led to mechanical deformations of the momentum wheels and aluminium frame. This made repeated jump-ups of the whole Cubli impossible without part replacement. It was therefore decided to tweak the structure and braking mechanism to reduce the mechanical stress caused by the jump-up. Electronics and software: The motors and wheels are unserviceable without motor drivers, IMUs and the development board. The STM3210E evaluation board which houses Cortex-M3 clocked at 72 MHz, is the main controller best known for its rapid prototyping and readily available community support. The Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) comprises of a 3-axis CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

Conclusion and future work: This unique 3D object that jumps up using a self-generated impact and balances using the exchange of angular momentum has the potential to be used in space exploration in the future. Combining these three abilities- jumping up, balancing, and controlled falling - the Cubli is able to ‘walk’. Once complete, the Cubli will provide an inexpensive, open source testbed with a relatively small footprint for research and education in estimation and control. Researchers at MIT have taken this research forward by developing multiple such bots with an additional ability to interact with each other. By envisioning the complex problem of Self-Assembling Robots, Cubli has proved itself to be a breakthrough in the solution to this problem. Whilst there would be other difficulties down the road, Cubli will mark the beginning of a new kind of automation in this world.

- Dipin Sawlani Vishwakarma Institute of Technology Pune JUNE 2017 P.I.N.G. ISSUE 13.0


S. Ramanujan


A glimpse of infinite intellect


nceasing advances in diverse scientific demesne have a profound impact on the lifestyle choices of people. Technology has paved its way through the life of every person who acknowledges the 21st century as an age of technical renaissance. Significant scientific discoveries are a result of intuitive reasoning and their accurate mathematical interpretations. Mathematics plays a crucial role in modelling practical scenarios into a language that can be dealt with by engineers, scientists, economists to name a few. Several engineering marvels which stand at the epitome of structural modelling have been erected as a result of intricate mathematical calculations. Mathematicians divulge deep into the wide expanse of science to explore conspicuous subjects and procure significant results, making calculations easier and efficient.

Ramanujan attended Kangayan Primary School and the Town Higher Secondary School in Kumbakonam where he was an all-around scholar. He used to ask his teachers mind boggling questions. This is evident from an incident that took place during his schooling years when he was introduced to the notion of division. His maths teacher used the example of dividing three fruits among three children to explain the concept of anything divided by itself would be one, which prompted him to raise the question, “If no fruits are divided among no one, will each still get one?”. In the year 1900, he began to work on summing geometric and arithmetic series. Ramanujan was taught how to solve cubic equations in 1902 and he went on to find his own method to solve the quartic. The following year he tried to solve the quartic by radicals, not knowing that the quintic could not be solved by radicals. In Town High School, Ramanujan came across a mathematics book by G S Carr called Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure Mathematics. The concise style of this book provided Ramanujan with the first insight into the diverse realms of pure mathematics. But the style of the book had a rather unfortunate effect on the way Ramanujan later put forth mathematics, as the book contained only theorems, formulae and short proofs. By 1904, Ramanujan had begun to undertake deep research on topics like Bernoulli numbers. He investigated the series ∑(1/n) and calculated Euler’s constant to 15 decimal places.

Several mathematicians have made anarchistic contributions to mathematics. Srinivasa Ramanujan is one such preeminent personality, who changed the way modern mathematics is recognised and implemented. Ramanujan was born on 22 December 1887, to Mr K. Srinivsa Iyengar and Mrs Komalatammal in Erode, a small village about 400 km south-west of Madras. 19

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On the basis of his ingenious work in mathematics during school, Ramanujan was offered a scholarship to the Government College in Kumbakonam in 1904. However, the following year his scholarship was not renewed since he devoted all his time to mathematics and neglected other subjects. He then went to the town of Vizagapatam and continued his mathematical work. At this time, he worked on hypergeometric series and investigated relations between integrals and series which was later found to be the elliptic series. In 1906, Ramanujan went to Pachaiyappa’s College, CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

Nanometric Imprinting

is a method of imprinting nanometric patterns on the inside and outside of polymer fibres. These fibres could prove useful in guiding nerve regeneration and producing optical effects, which will eventually lead to the creation of artificial tissues and smart bandages. Madras. He wanted to get into the University of Madras but he couldn’t because, in the first year of his college, he couldn’t fare well in other subjects except for mathematics. In the following years, he worked on developing his own ideas without any help and any real idea of the then current research topics other than the ones provided by Carr’s book.

circumstances, the University of Madras offered Ramanujan a scholarship in May 1913 for two years. In 1914, Ramanujan came to Trinity College, Cambridge, to begin an extraordinary collaboration with Hardy. Their collaborative work led to many significantly important results.

Continuing his mathematical work, Ramanujan studied continued fractions and divergent series in 1908. At this stage, he became seriously ill and underwent an operation the same year. Later, he was married to S. Janaki Ammal on 14 July 1909. Ramanujan continued to extrapolate his ideas and began posing and solving problems in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society. He developed relations between elliptic modular equations in 1910. Ramanujan’s dexterity gained wide acceptance after his research paper on Bernoulli numbers was published. In 1911, Ramanujan was temporarily appointed in the Accountant General’s Office in Madras. After being recommended, Ramanujan was appointed permanently as a clerk. There, he was fortunate enough to be surrounded by some mathematicians. The Professor of Civil Engineering at the Madras Engineering College, C L T Griffith, who had studied at the University College London, was impressed by Ramanujan’s abilities. He wrote to M J M Hill, the professor of mathematics at the University College, sending some of Ramanujan’s work including a copy of his 1911 paper on Bernoulli numbers. Hill appreciated his work but failed to understand Ramanujan’s results on divergent series. In January 1913, Ramanujan wrote to G.H. Hardy after having gone through a copy of his book ‘Orders of Infinity’. Hardy and Littlewood studied the long list of unproved theorems which Ramanujan enclosed with his letter. Later, he replied to Ramanujan that he was exceedingly interested in his theorems. However, before judging properly the value of what he had done, Hardy found it essential to see proofs of some of Ramanujan assertions. Following these CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

The letters Ramanujan wrote to Hardy in 1913 contained many fascinating results. Ramanujan worked out the Riemann series, the elliptic integrals, hypergeometric series and functional equations of the zeta function. He discovered results of Gauss, Kummer and others on hypergeometric series. Ramanujan’s work on partial sums and products of hypergeometric series have led to major development on the topic. His most famous work was on the number of partitions p(n) of an integer n into summands. MacMahon had produced tables of the value of p(n) for small numbers n and Ramanujan used this numerical data to conjecture remarkable properties, some of which he proved using elliptic functions. In a joint paper with Hardy, Ramanujan gave an asymptotic formula for p(n) which gave the correct value of p(n). This was later proved by Rademacher. On 16 March 1916, Ramanujan graduated from Cambridge University with a Bachelor of Science by Research i.e. a PhD. Ramanujan’s thesis was based on highly composite numbers and consisted of seven of his papers published in England. In 1918, JUNE 2017 P.I.N.G. ISSUE 13.0



are distant objects in the universe, which have been used by the scientists to calculate the rate of expansion of the universe. Distant galaxies work their light through a quasar, creating multiple images of the same object. Variations in Quasar reflect how fast the universe is moving from Earth. Ramanujan was elected as a fellow of the Cambridge Philosophical Society which was one of the greatest honours endowed upon him. He was recommended by an impressive list of mathematicians, namely Hardy, MacMahon, Grace, Larmor, Bromwich, Hobson, Baker, Littlewood, Nicholson, Young, Whittaker, Forsyth and Whitehead. On 10 October 1918, he was elected as a Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge, the fellowship to run for six years. By the end of November 1918, Ramanujan’s health had greatly improved. Ramanujan sailed to India on 27 February 1919. However, his medical condition worsened once again and despite treatment, he died the following year at the age of 32. Yet, the last year of his life that he spent in Chennai was by no means any less significant for mathematics. R Balasubramanian, former director of the Institute of mathematical Sciences in Chennai, said that the Mathematics that Ramanujan developed after he became seriously ill and returned to India had a high potential for applications in number theory and also in physics. The mock theta functions introduced by Ramanujan in his last days were especially significant to string theory. During his short life, Ramanujan independently compiled nearly 3,900 results. Nearly all his claims have now been proven correct. One possible reason for Ramanujan not giving proofs is hypothesised to be the cost of paper, which at that time he couldn’t afford in his early days of research. So he used slate for proving the theorems and noted down the final results. This activity became his habit thereafter and also might be the reason for not finding his proofs. He was a spiritual person for whom an equation had no meaning unless it represented a thought of God. Ramanujan was a man of intuition, unlike the mathematicians in the west who proved each of their theorems systematically with extensive workings. Once Ramanujan was asked about a new equation he had derived. He replied saying that it was the goddess Namagiri (the presiding deity of a shrine in Namakkal) who had appeared in his dream and helped him solve that problem. Hardy once visited Ramanujan at a nursing home, telling him that he 21

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came in a taxi-cab with number 1729, and said that it seemed to him a rather dull number, to which Ramanujan replied, “No, it is a very interesting number. It is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways.” (1729=1^3+12^3=9^3+10^3). Ramanujan left a number of unpublished notebooks having a treasure of theorems that mathematicians have continued to study. Hardy passed it on to G N Watson, Mason Professor of Pure Mathematics at Birmingham. Watson published 14 papers under the title Theorems stated by Ramanujan and in all, he published nearly 30 papers which were inspired by Ramanujan’s work. His birth anniversary is celebrated annually as Ramanujan Day by IIT Madras. An award for young mathematicians from developing countries is named after Ramanujan, by the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in cooperation with the International Mathematical Union commemorating his contribution in mathematics. Vasavi College of Engineering named its Department of Computer Science and Information Technology as “Ramanujan Block”. On his 125th anniversary in the year 2011, the Indian Government declared 22 December as National Mathematics Day. It is said, “Mathematics, when rightly viewed, possesses not only truth but supreme beauty”. Ramanujan’s work with numbers, while brilliant in itself, also exceeds any notion of intellect the world has ever seen. He was one of the greatest mathematicians in Indian history and the beauty he has bestowed upon every arena of science and technology through maths will remain eternal! The editorial team is privileged to pay a tribute to S. Ramanujan for his unparalleled work in the sphere of mathematics.

- The Editorial Board CTD.CREDENZ.INFO


Streak Camera Capturing the ultra-fast


ver thought of picturing something that moves past you in the blink of an eye? It was nearly impossible for scientists to capture something so quick, especially the light rays, which according to Einstein’s theory of relativity traverse the fastest. But today, scientists have invented an ultrafast camera which is capable of capturing the seemingly impossible “light wakes”.

Analogous to sonic booms, which are generated when an object moves faster than the speed of sound, researchers have now been able to record the conical waves created by light. The objects which are moving in the air and faster than the speed of sound propel air out of their way. These objects travel very fast and rapidly force the surrounding air molecules together, causing a wavelike change in air pressure that spreads out in a cone called a Mach cone. Similarly, pulses of light can leave behind cone-shaped wakes of light. These elusive cones termed as “photonic mach cones”. Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis have developed an ultrafast “streak camera” that can actually catch the luminous boom. To bring this into action, photonic mach cones were created using an experimental setup. Optical engineers designed a narrow tunnel filled with smoke from dry ice. The interior of the tunnel was surrounded by plates made of silicone rubber and aluminium oxide powder. The idea was that since light travels at different rates through different materials, the plates would slow down the laser light, leaving a wake of light. Then researchers would then fired pulses of green laser light, each lasting CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

only 7 picoseconds down the tunnel. These pulses could scatter off the specks of dry ice within the tunnel, generating light waves that could enter the surrounding plates. As the laser pulse moved down the tunnel, it left a cone of slower-moving overlapping light waves behind it, within the plates. However, this experimental setup isn’t the star of the study. It’s the streak camera that the researchers have innovated to capture the event. It uses the photography technique called as Lossless-Encoding Compressed Ultrafast Photography (LLECUP). Although there are other imaging systems that can picture ultrafast events, these systems usually need to record hundreds or thousands of exposures of such phenomena before they can see them. Opposite to this, the new system can record this speedy phenomenon with just a single exposure. This also lends itself to capturing complicated, unpredictable events that may not repeat themselves in exactly the same manner each time they happen, where the tiny specks that scattered light moved around randomly. The so-called “streak camera” worked wonders for scientists, capturing images of the light cone created by the laser for the first time. The ultrafast camera has proved itself to be swift enough to watch neurons fire and image live traffic in human brains. The technology can also be used with existing cameras, microscopes and telescopes. Not only can it capture the functioning of neurons and cancer cells, it could also be used to examine changes in light in a supernova. Thus, framing light waves just marks the beginning of an era where we would be later studying the fastest activities taking place in the human brain or beyond the sky, in the vast universe.

- Shreyas Umare Pune Institute of Computer Technology Pune JUNE 2017 P.I.N.G. ISSUE 13.0


Quantum RAM


Era of computational renaissance


he demand for ever-faster processors, while important, isn’t the primary focus anymore. Processing speed has been completely irrelevant for the past five years. The challenge today revolves around developing techniques that can enable 100,000 slow processors to construe a problem, rather than relying on a single ultra-fast processor.

Most of us being 90’s kids, might have experienced extremely slow computers in some form or other. We have definitely experienced desktop computer and even old laptops coming to a grinding halt. We see that familiar and forever “loading” message flashing on the screen. This happens when the computer is involved in handling extremely data intensive files. This defect in the system can be attributed to insufficient RAM. Today, scientists have come up with an effective solution to kerb the difficulties arising due to the intricate inefficiency of the physical RAM, through quantum RAM. RAM is the physical memory of CPU used to store data. It allows data to be read and written in the memory in same time. However, it is volatile and loses the data stored when the power supply to the system is turned off. Primitively, Quantum RAM was designed to exponentially reduce the number 23

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of gates used and power needed to address memory. A team of researchers, led by Professor Geoff Pryde, constructed a quantum simulator using photons and measured the memory requirements of the simulator. It was observed that the quantum system was able to complete its task with much less information stored in it as compared to a classical system when the two systems were used to simulate a random process. Quantum RAM differs from physical RAM as follows. RAM uses n bits to randomly address N =2n distinct memory cells, while a quantum RAM uses n qubits to address the same task. A qubit (qbit) is defined as a unit of quantum information. It is analogous to the classical bit. Working: Quantum Computing is really a clone of Computer Science and Quantum Physics. The conventional system uses the presence of charge on the capacitor to encode a bit of information. In contrast, 0 and 1 in quantum computing correspond to the two states of a two-level quantum system. The difference is that, while conventional systems perceive the state of a bit as either 0 or 1, the state of a qbit can also be a superposition of both. This phenomenon is called quantum superposition. In short, we can say that a qbit is capable of holding more information than the conventional bit. These qbits can be synthesised mainly by using superconducting and spin qbits. The superconducting qbits perform the quantum logic gate operations and the spin qbits serve as memory elements used to store and retrieve data. The superconducting qbits are made up of aluminium. The spin qbits typically consist of chromium ions in aluminium oxide and their memories have a quite decent lifetime. Eventually, the stored information would decay owing to unavoidable interactions that occur with the uncontrolled environment of the spins. This lifetime is more than a thousand times longer than the lifetime of the superconducting qbits which are of the order of microseconds. In such hybrid schemes, the data buses used to transport information between computer CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

Sidekick and Hero

are the two augmented listening devices providing individuals with a new level of customisation. The Hero allows the user to create listening profiles along with selectivity of noise you want to hear, whereas the Sidekick allows consumers to personalise their own headphones. components can be constructed from long, thin metallic strips of aluminium or some other suitable superconductor such as niobium. The strips can be carefully engineered to form microwave resonators that have resonant frequencies in the few-to-several gigahertz range. This enables the superconducting (logic) and spin (memory) qbits to emit and absorb resonant-frequency microwave photons and exchange information between one another.

to transport information between computers a significant portion of the photon’s magnetic field will fill the crystal volume. A single photon, therefore, interacts simultaneously with a large number of the spins, resulting in the photon being stored non-locally throughout the crystal in the form of a many-spin superposition state. A strong coupling then depends simply on ensuring a high crystal spin density. The coupling strength can be measured by measuring the beat frequency. All this said, the Q-RAM is still in the nascent research stage. Particularly, it requires us to increase spin-qubit memory lifetimes, together with the introduction of the superconducting qubits. Quantum RAM would be a significant contribution in expanding data storage limits in a computer. It has an architecture that exponentially reduces the requirements for a memory call.  O(logN)  switches need be thrown instead of the N switches used in conventional (classical or quantum) RAM designs. This yields a more robust Q-RAM algorithm, leading to an exponential decrease in the power needed for addressing.  It has paved the way for the development of a new era of computation and provides optimism for the near-term implementation of a large-scale quantum processor based on superconducting circuits.

To realise a quantum RAM, the coupling between the microwave resonator and the ensemble of electron-spin memory qbits must be sufficiently strong. This allows the microwave resonator photon to be stored in the spin-qbit memory and retrieved on a timescale that is short compared to the lifetime of a photon. This strong coupling can be achieved in two ways. First, the large cross-sectional aspect ratio (the ratio of width to height) of the wide but thin microwave resonator strip. This means that the photon’s oscillating magnetic field component, which interacts with the electron spins, is largely confined to a small volume above and below the strip. This is comparable to the thickness of the spin-qbit memory crystal. Second, the microwave photon’s centimetre-scale wavelength along the strip length is comparable to the lateral dimensions of the crystal. Thus, CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

However, we can safely say that the Quantum Random Access Memory (Q-RAM) will be a reality in near future. We need not fret about decreasing computational speeds with respect to our ever increasing demand for speed and efficient computing.

- Vedang Manekar College of Engineering and Applied Science University of Cincinnati United States of America JUNE 2017 P.I.N.G. ISSUE 13.0


Data Civilizer


Organising the data clutter


here are nearly as many pieces of digital information as there are stars in the universe. Managing this ‘never clean’ data is a big deal! A statistical study claims that data scientists spend nearly 80% of their time searching, preparing, integrating and cleaning the huge number of available data sets. However, only the mere remaining 20% is spent productively doing the desired analytical tasks. To civilise means to raise something from barbarism to an enlightened stage of development and make it more polished. Honouring the literal meaning, the “Data Civilizer System”, an end to end big data management system is developed with a vision to kerb the time spent doing this repetitious work needed to facilitate the analysis of data.

The system comprises of two major parts namely the online component and the offline component. The offline component addresses indexing of the data sets and building the required linkage graph while the online component corresponds to the user directed workflow including discovering required data and even cleaning operations. The linkage graph is a graph comprising of simple nodes representing columns and hypernodes representing compound keys. This model is able to express column similarity, schema similarity, structure similarity, inclusion 25

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dependency, table subsumption and PK-FK relationships. The node label holds table metadata while the edge label holds metadata about the respective relationship. The graph builder initially computes the light relationships amongst pairs of nodes in sub-quadratic time during the offline stage using Local Sensitive Hashing (LSH) which is successful for data sets extending up to several terabytes. The computations of usually ‘expensive’ heavy relationships requiring not less than quadratic time are carried on in the background. An ‘Error - Robust Inclusion Dependency’ scheme utilising machine learning methods have been developed to tolerate the errors. The Baseling, a QuinStreet Magazine, states that a 10% increase in ease of data accessibility will result in more than $65 million additional net income for a typical Fortune 1000 company. The Data Civilizer is built using BigDAWG polystore consisting of a middleware query optimiser and executor that federates query processing across disparate systems in an enterprise since it is neither economically nor technically feasible to perform data processing on all the databases. One of the goals of the civilizer is to choose the join path that produces the highest quality answer rather than the one that is easiest to compute. Here, the user has to make a call for a trade-off between data quality and cleaning cost. The user can either minimise cost keeping cleanliness metric specific or choose to maximise cleaning accuracy for a specific cost. The system applies automatic error detection tools and uses a composite metric to accumulate detected errors which are limited to three types namely Outliers, Duplicates and Integrity Constraint Violations. However, the cleaning cost and the accuracy vary depending on the position of the data cleaning operation. The real-world data is never static and hence, the system supports updations when needed. This end-to-end data management system has obtained positive feedback from renowned users and will hopefully prove to be a boon for data scientists in the near future. - Anuj P. Agrawal Pune Institute of Computer Technology Pune CTD.CREDENZ.INFO


Solar Roadways

Inception of a renewable era


ith rising environmental issues and concerns all over the world, adoption and implementation of non-conventional energy technologies have been gaining popularity for a long time now. In the recent years, numerous projects have been making use of wind power, solar energy and hydro-electricity. Amongst these, solar energy has proved to be popular globally.

above-mentioned driving surfaces made of “green” and recycled materials. Some features of this technology include 24 X 7 lighting of roads and airport runways by LEDs, an indication of detours during emergencies, heating of panels to clear accumulated snow during winters, charging of electric vehicles upon setting up of necessary supplementary infrastructure etc. to name a few. Embedded LEDs would prove to be useful for the lighting of meandering and dark, lonely walkways. Parking lots consisting of such panels would facilitate lighting withtin the parking lot, electronic vehicle charging, as well as supply of electricity to surrounding building elevators. Water obtained from melted snow due to heating of the panels can be manoeuvred in “corridors”, from where it can be used for different applications such as watering of landscaping, lawns, etc.

From solar-powered panels on calculators and solar water heaters to solar-powered HVAC systems and solar thermal electric power plants, the use of this much talked-about the source of energy has been conceptualised in different fields. One such field that solar energy has made its foray into is the electrification of roads, pathways and infrastructure at the grassroots level. Solar Roadways is one such concept- building roads and supplementary lighting systems powered by solar energy. Founded by Scott and Julie Brusaw in 2006, Solar Roadways has come a long way from the conceptualisation of their idea to its preliminary implementation. These pathways consist of transparent surfaces for driving, combined with underlying sensors and electronic devices such as Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and photovoltaic cells. The system is programmable with the CTD.CREDENZ.INFO 0.31 EUSSI .G.N.I.P 7102 HCRAM

The applications of this technology are limitless. Its first public installation- a pilot project- in the form of a walkway, was made open to the public on 30th September, 2016 in Jeff Jones Town Square, Standpoint, Idaho, USA. Even though the idea seems promising and has received positive feedback, it has also been criticised for its limited technical and political feasibility and high initial cost. It has, however, been viewed as a possible success -or for small-scale, local applications at the city/ town level, such as small parking lots and playgrounds. With continued research and efforts to improve the feasibility of the concept, Solar Roadways aims to create full-fledged “smart” highways using these solar powered panels. It could change the face of infrastructure and roadway development. Developing countries can also start small - scale implementation of the technology for say, individual parking lots, with some nominal investment. Concepts such as the one put forward by Solar Roadways, contribute to a set of environmentally friendly solutions, and ultimately to a ‘cleaner, greener and smarter future. - Radhika Kulkarni Maharashtra Institute of Technology Pune JUNE 2017 P.I.N.G. ISSUE 13.0 OF NI.ZNEDER26 C

Sci-fi Hologram


From science fiction to reality


ike the hologram of Princess Leia asking ObiWan Kenobi for help in Star Wars, the holographic interface that Tony Stark uses in Iron Man 1 to design his Mark 5 seems far too futuristic to be true. However, advance in holography have brought us a step closer to realising these possibilities.

The first hologram, made about 50 years ago, was the culmination of work done by many different research groups. However, neoteric progress in modern optics has instigated the scientific community to develop holographic tools which are crudely similar to the ones used by the medical community, business corporations and even government agencies. Generally, holograms function by recording the interference pattern of light waves caused by an object and recreating the scene when illuminated. For example, to create a transmission hologram, one needs two beams of laser light. One beam bounces off a mirror directly onto the holographic plate and the other one illuminates the object. The light scattering off the object towards the plate interferes with the reference beam, creating a unique interference pattern that is recorded on the holographic plate like an undeveloped photograph. The plate doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t look like the object much at first, but when it is removed and the plate is illuminated by the reference beam, the patterned scattering off the original objected is recreated, revealing a 3D virtual image of the object. A team of scientists at the Australian National 27

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University have invented a tiny device that creates the highest quality holographic images ever achieved, opening doors to imaging technologies seen only in science fiction movies. The team has created complex holographic images in infrared using millions of tiny silicon pillars. These holograms can carry out complex manipulations on the incident light and reproduce necessary information. The device has been engineered using a transparent material, laying emphasis on the optimal use of incident light energy. Use of nanotechnology to structure the device adds additional optical properties which spread beyond the natural properties of the material used to create them. These devices, which are only about as thin as a strand of human hair, can potentially replace bulky components to miniaturise cameras and cut costs in astronomic missions, reducing the size of optical instruments boarded on the spacecraft. These holograms have indispensable applications in scientific research. They can explain how our brain can store so many memories in such little space. The National Accelerator Laboratory at Illinois has devised a holometer that can be used to model spacetime correlations. It is used to measure the quantum coherence of a location with unprecedented precision. The light passing through an arrangement of mirrors shows whether space stands still or keeps jittering due to quantum-mechanical fluctuations. This is often referred to as holographic noise. This allows scientists to understand the inter-relationship between space and time. Telepathy, precognition, mystical feelings of oneness with the universe and even psychokinesis can be explained through these holographic models. These holograms have not only brought us a step closer to understand the fictional world, but have also proved to be of immense importance in various realms of scientific research which involve 3D visualisation of objects. These sci-fi holograms put forth immense potential for researchers to revolutionise augmented reality.

- Ninad Abhyankar Pune Institute of Computer Technology Pune CTD.CREDENZ.INFO


Metallic Hydrogen

The Holy Grail of high-pressure Physics


cience never ceases to amaze us. Scientists envision developing technology which can profoundly minimise the use of existing resources, by exploring a plethora of possibilities in the limitless expanse of science. They often divulge into breaking conventional notions and methods to optimally use existing resources. Metallic hydrogen is the result of one such attempt.

More than 80 years after it was theorised, scientists from Harvard University have succeeded in creating metallic hydrogen, thanks to a stunning act of alchemy. This might turn out to be one of the most valuable elements mankind has ever seen. Hydrogen is the first element in the periodic table and exists in diatomic gaseous form (H2) at room temperature. In its gaseous state, Hydrogen has a melting point of -259.14 degree Celsius and boiling point of -252.87 degrees Celsius. Hydrogen has a density of 0.08988 g/L, making it less dense than air. Being gaseous in nature, it is colourless and fails to exhibit properties such as conduction of heat and light across its ends. To create metallic hydrogen, the scientists Isaac Silvera and Ranga Dias squeezed a sample of hydrogen at a pressure of 495 GigaPascals, greater than the pressure at the centre of the earth. Achieving such astonishing pressure was the greatest challenge in CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

the discovery of the element. To overcome this, Silvera and Dias used one of the hardest materials on Earth-diamond, and devised their own method of polishing it with alumina. Carefully polished synthetic diamonds were mounted opposite to each other to form a device known as “Diamond Anvil Cell”. It also had a screw which, when rotated, increased the pressure between the two diamonds. At such extreme pressures, solid molecular hydrogen first gets converted into black hydrogen, which on further application of pressure becomes metallic hydrogen. Silvera said that it had been very exciting. Ranga was running the experiment and they thought they might get there, but when he called him and said that the sample was shining, he went down there and it was metallic hydrogen. Metallic hydrogen is also predicted to be metastable, which means if pressure is taken off, it will remain metallic. Metallic hydrogen can be used for a wide range of applications. In the form of a superconductor, metallic hydrogen can save over 15% of the electrical energy lost during transmission. It could also change our transportation system by making magnetic levitation of high-speed trains possible, along with improved efficiency of electric cars. Not only will it transform life on earth, it could also play a key role in helping humans explore the far reaches of space, as the most powerful rocket propellant yet discovered. A tremendous amount of energy is needed to make metallic hydrogen. However, converting it back into molecular hydrogen would release a large amount of energy, making it the most powerful rocket propellant known to man. Most powerful fuels used today are characterised by “specific impulse”, a measure, in seconds, of how fast a propellant is fired from the back of the rocket. The specific impulse of metallic hydrogen is theorised to be 1700 seconds. This could allow scientists to put a rocket into orbit in one stage only. Metallic hydrogen can definitely be a step in revolutionising rocket science. With research going on, the prospects of using metallic hydrogen as a fuel with accelerated efficiency seem endless. - Rajat Pathak Pune Institute of Computer Technology Pune JUNE 2017 P.I.N.G. ISSUE 13.0


Biology Cloud Lab


Digitising your experiments


nternet, being one of the marvellous inventions of man, has led to an enormous information boom. In the modern world, its omnipresence holds the potential to truly connect the world and provide opportunities that weren’t even thought of before. Scientists have come up with something that not only uses the Internet to provide access to everyone around the globe, but also expands the horizons of knowledge of students. Stanford University researchers have developed a prototype of a biology lab. It is a lab of its own kind that provides students, teachers as well as scientists a remotecontrol software that will provide access to perform several biological experiments. The lab can be accessed remotely through any internet-enabled device like a computer, laptop or tablet.

Biology Cloud Lab has been conceptualised by Ingmar-Riedel-Kruse and Paulo Bilkstein, with a view of providing a new dimension to science and its learning. The lab consists of several Biological Processing Units (BPUs) having a microfluidic chip which holds the micro-organisms to be studied. The BPUs are fitted with a webcam microscope that streams the organism’s response to external stimuli onto the student’s desktop screen live. The responses generated are monitored, analysed and transmitted in real-time. The students can remotely alter the stimuli applied to the organism and record its behaviour. Biology Cloud Lab could 29

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revolutionise the way science is learnt, perceived and understood. It could immensely help the schools that lack basic educational infrastructure by providing an engaging way to understand science, which the conventional laboratories in schools fail to provide. The conventional labs just provide students with a passive learning experience where they observe what they see with little or no interaction with the creatures. With the Biology Cloud Lab, the students can alter the direction and intensity of light on the click of a button, employ some other stimuli or remove already applied stimuli to observe, record and understand a creature’s behaviour. Biology Cloud Lab provides a firsthand learning experience to students without even being present in the lab. At present, the BPUs are being used to study the behaviour of Euglena – a unicellular organism which is sensitive to light. In order to record Euglena’s response to light, the BPUs are fitted with different types of lights. The students can alter the direction and intensity of light with a click and track the organism’s behaviour instantly. One of the major challenges faced by the professors while working on the Biology Cloud Lab was the issue of keeping the organisms responsive and stable for a long time. This required formulation of new systems that could monitor and auto-correct the organisms to provide a functioning prototype at all times. All of this while ensuring that the prototype must remain economically viable. The researchers are trying to scale up the lab so that it is not only accessible to all, but also reduces the operating costs. They expect the operating costs to reduce to as low as one cent per experiment as the labs scale up. Researchers are currently working on adding more functionality to the current prototype and wish to popularise it among students. This could truly make students explore science in every possible way along with fun and excitement. - Rishika Goyal Pune Institute of Computer Technology Pune CTD.CREDENZ.INFO



ver had a thought of someone following you around everywhere, keeping track of where you eat, what you do, when you sleep and how your day pans out to the very last second? Unsettling, right? However, if you were to find out that your smartphone is keeping tabs on you, it wouldn’t be so strange now, would it? That’s how integral technology has become to our lives. “Necessity” is no longer the mother of invention, it’s “creativity”.

CodedProgrammed Couture attire consists of two distinct APIs. Fence API allows the application to combine various conditions that are needed to respond to a user’s present situation and create a fence. Once a fence is created, the app can continue giving callbacks when the user enters the region. When you board a train for a long journey, the app might suggest a good book to read. The Snapshot API processes 7 signals including time, location, places, beacons, headphones, activity and weather to optimise the user’s actions. The API thus tracks a person’s hobbies and happenings and intelligently analyses the data gathered. Based on the information, it customises the outfit to suit the occasion and other surrounding factors, giving you an ultra-personalised garment. A lot of people would be sceptical about this seemingly unimpressive use of the Google API. However, a person’s clothing not only defines who they are, but influences their confidence level and affects their temperament. Finding a suitable garment can be time-consuming and expensive. If we can use an app to choose a restaurant or shorten our drive to work in the morning, it’s inevitable that such technology would extend to the fashion world as well.

Google has taken up the task of designing a dress that can maintain your daily schedule. Just for you! Ivyrevel, H&M’s Digital Fashion House has teamed up with the technology giant, Google to design a customised outfit based on your daily activities. Using Google’s Awareness API, the application being created will track your everyday routine for a week, from the weather to the restaurants you visit, and craft a dress containing all those specifications. For instance, if you stay in Canada, the dress will be made of wool. The route you take for a morning jog could be sequenced onto the fabric. Basically, the outfit is all you, and there is no need for frequent trips to the mall or the tailor. By just selecting your preferences for the occasion, your 7-day agenda will transform into couture. The Awareness API that was recently released CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

The “data dress” that will be available to the public later this year, is currently being analysed and tested by several fashion specialists. This could be the ultimate union of technology and fashion. With the world becoming increasingly focused on the unique, what better way to do that than to transform your life into what you wear? Not everybody can employ a stylist or a personal shopper, but almost everyone owns a smartphone. We’ve progressed from predictive text to predictive dress. Data is the new currency and it can buy you a new apparel.

- Nidhi Ramanathan Pune Institute of Computer Technology Pune JUNE 2017 P.I.N.G. ISSUE 13.0




Imitating nature


ook deep into nature and you will understand everything better,” these words by Albert Einstein serve as a prototype to model innumerable contemporary discoveries through the mere inspection of the most unembellished processes of the natural world. Although the human mind is capable of colossal inventions in every arena of science and technology, nature is at the root of this medley of innovations, answering life’s ingenious questions. The countless issues we are trying to solve today have already been answered by evolution. All we need to do is forage deeper into this concealed ocean of panacea. The branch of science where the inspiration to advance an idea may come from deep sea creatures, the flight of birds or species from the animal kingdom is termed as biomimicry. Biomimicry has motivated scientists to create an extraordinary fusion of nature and technology. Let’s divulge into the world where innovation by human potential is influenced and emboldened by the natural life processes.

Spy Plane: Bats, the only mammals that can fly, also have the ability to precisely navigate through a treacherous environment with the help of ultra sonic waves and perceive obstacles even in the dark. This is with the help of a technique called echolocation, which allows bats to navigate by emitting sounds and detecting the echoes. Inspired by this, the scientists at the University of Michigan College of Engineering in Ann Arbor are developing a six-inch robotic spy plane for the militry. This device is capable of fully automated flight with in-built sensors to perceive 31

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its environment and collect surveillance data such as sights, sounds and smells in combat zones. The spy plane transmits the information back to soldiers in real time using radio signals. The aircraft is equipped with small cameras and microphones to transcribe stereo sight and surrounding noises respectively. To integrate functionality similar to that of a real bat, scientists intend to develop quantum dot solar cells to make this robot bat venture more stable, efficient and serviceable. The in-built sensors and detectors act as the most crucial module of the bat plane along with radar and a sensitive navigation system. The bat plane can operate on a mere 1 W lithium-ion battery which can be recharged using solar and wind energy. Owing to this creativity, the spy plane will prove to be a real asset to the military in the near future. Robotics: Automation is one of the gifts that technology has furnished mankind with. Since its advent, the sphere of robotics has revolutionised many aspects in the technical domain. In this pursuit also, many living creatures have been a source of stimulation for new ideas, leading to research and advancement. The gecko is one such reptile whose ability to scale vertical walls has long intrigued scientists. This gravity-defying feat is possible through the tiny hairs on the gecko’s feet, which increase the grip the harder they are pressed on a surface. Geckos can rapidly turn the stickiness of their feet on and off. Their little feet have led to the creation of a material containing minute synthetic hairs that stick to a surface when a force is applied to make the hairs bend. Using the same material, engineers at Stanford University have developed MicroTug. It is a small robot which can drag more than 2000 times its own weight. The material is used to cover the robot’s feet, which stick to the surface. After pulling the object, the rubber-like spikes straighten out again and detach. A MicroTug consists of a battery for power, followed by its computer brain and CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

Rocketbook Everlast is a smart notebook thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s endlessly reusable. Anything written in the book erases like magic when a water droplet is added. Its real virtue lies in its compatibility with the Rocketbook app. That means, before the writings go off, they go online to destinations like Google Drive. finally motors and wheels, used for movement. The front end has an arm and two motors which allow it to drive itself and manoeuvre. These miniature robots have the ability equivalent to a human dragging a blue whale, an astounding advantage which could be used in factories or building sites. On the other hand, scientists are researching ways to make combinations of these tiny bots as well as scaling the technology up to larger bots with more industrial parts and more robustness. MicroTugs will someday prove to be an invention of utmost importance in factories and also to accomplish the feat of humans walking on vertical walls! Samarai: The use of artificial means to impersonate natural processes is not limited to zoological creatures. Maple seeds, the most elementary part of a maple tree, which have a trivial connection with technology has also been manifested as an impulse to this boundless arena of science. These seeds, when falling off the tree, have the ability to travel a significant distance before they reach the surface of the ground. Maple seeds start autorotating the instant they are released from the tree, which enables them to stay airborne for a long time. They occur in distinctive pairs, each containing one seed enclosed in a flattened wing of fibrous, papery tissue. This complex design is responsible for its helicopter-like gyration, which has intrigued humans for a long time. Its benefaction to technology can be traced back to World War II, when the US Army developed a special airdrop supply carrier that could carry up to 65 pounds of supplies and was based on maple seeds. Today, inspiration from these seeds has led to the innovation of a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), which is named Samarai, after the maple seed. It is developed by Lockheed Martin in their Intelligent Robotics Laboratory in New Jersey, paving the way for a new drone design. This Samarai is a small aircraft formulated to fly vertically, land, take off and go in any direction. This 30 cm monocopter spins at a high speed with a lift from CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

its lone wing, taking power from a single rotor. The Samarai, after being tossed in the air, is capable of hovering and manoeuvring properly in confined spaces. The tiny propeller at the end of the wing allows it to rotate 600 to 900 times per minute. An onboard camera takes advantage of the craftâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s constant spin to provide a 360-degree view, streaming back to operators in real-time. This technology can be easily miniaturised to act as a surveillance swarm on the battlefield. These drones are also expected to be used in an emergency to rescue workers or during law enforcement. The US defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has taken on the project and aims to produce the drone to be used for reconnaissance in tight quarters.

Exoskeleton: Reformations in the sphere of medicine have improved the lives of many people suffering from assorted illnesses. However, today, technological advancements can only cure certain diseases. Biomimicry has provided a ray of hope to individuals dealing with adversity owing to the weak constitution of their limbs, for whom self-reliance was a distant dream. In this endeavour, the arthropods family have a lot to teach us. Arthropods, a phylum within the animal kingdom, are invertebrate who compensate for their low mobility with the use of an exoskeleton. These exoskeletons also act as a JUNE 2017 P.I.N.G. ISSUE 13.0


E-gloves embedded with tiny vibration sensors and accelerometers are being developed by Nottingham Trent University to help protect construction workers from exposure to damaging levels of vibration. When a dangerous level of exposure to vibrations is about to be experienced, a worker is alerted to stop work. suit of armor giving them the required strength and protection from their environment. The adaptability of these invertebrates prompted the scientists to build a wearable external skeleton for the weak-bodied individuals to support their bodies and facilitate their day-to-day activities. This lightweight device straps tightly around the torso of the patient. The legs are held by a rigid support and joints are driven by computer-authorised electric motors powered by advanced batteries. The device incorporates a technology called Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES), which applies small electrical pulses to paralysed muscles, producing contractions and relaxations. Patients can use the powered apparatus or forearm crutches to maintain their balance, thus making this wearable robot a comfortable antidote.

Super Aviator Submarine: Ever wondered how astonishing it would be to take a flight under the sea? Although swimming might be a contradictory characteristic of several bird species, creatures like vultures have inspired a revolutionary form of human transport. Relying on short rigid wings, vultures sail along the thermals, where they are lifted by the rising currents 33

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of air. They can fly with no efforts at all with their short outstretched wings once they are inside the thermal column of air. This air-lift is analogous to buoyancy in water bodies. This affinity has led to the invention of Super Aviator, an aerodynamic design shaped submarine, which has paved the way for underwater exploration. The Aviator needs energy only to travel away from the water surface; but once it has embarked on its voyage, the vulture technology enables it to simply glide. The Super Aviator is engineered to take a person as deep as 6000 feet with its pressurised steel hulls large enough to comfortably fit anyone. The Nuytco thrusters generate a thrust large enough to achieve a top cruising speed of 10 knots. Through individual controls, these two thrusters can operate in both forward and reverse direction independently, allowing you to pivot the submarine around while hovering at a standstill. The onboard wings and rudders that steer are controlled by a helicopter-like flight stick, as well as a pair of rudder pedals. The submarine will someday unveil the hidden mysteries in the depths of the enigmatic seas. Conclusion: Nature, as is evident from the above examples, has always been the greatest creator and source of inspiration for technological progress. In reference to Albert Einsteinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s words, it seems that nothing comes out of the unknown and it is for humans to tap into this wealth of knowledge through profound observation and inspection. We can innovate a million more technologies by examining a variety of species. Nature will always have room for more- more curiosity, more learning and ultimately, more advancements. Even in this hi-tech era, nature has not failed to pave the way for the elevation of future technologies, also proving the fact that great knowledge often comes from the humblest of origins.

- The Editorial Board CTD.CREDENZ.INFO

P.I.N.G. 13.0  

We are proud to announce the release of the much awaited Issue P.I.N.G. 13.0. With this Issue, we delve deeper into eccentric scientific swi...

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