Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Hearing Problems? Don't Worry, Just Wear This Cap

CHENNAI:  Hearing-impaired people may no longer wear the conventional hearing aids that proclaims their disability. Instead, they can just wear a stylish cap, which two students from a private university in Chennai have designed.

The students have named their invention ‘AaWAAZ’ (meaning sound in Hindi) - a specially-designed cap which amplifies sound inside the skull enabling even people with permanent hearing loss right from their birth to hear sounds around them.

Speaking to press, Aditya Sripada, a student from SRM University Chennai campus, said, “At present, people with deafness undergo an invasive surgery where an electrode is introduced through an artificial hole cut behind the ear. Despite low efficiency, the risk element associated with these bone- anchored hearing aids is high as the person might lose residual hearing ability post- surgery and the foreign body (electrode) results in persistent pain or meningitis (inflammation of brain membranes) or skin irritation.”

“But AaWaaz, working on non-invasive bone conduction principle uses an microphone-vibrator setup enabling hearing-impaired to hear sounds in their surroundings inside their skulls. This cap has a microphone which can pick up and convert sound waves into electric signals. This signal is amplified and fed into a vibrator (bone conduction motor) which conducts the sound to the inner ear through the cranial bones”, he said on the sidelines of displaying the project at the Indian Institute of Technology’s annual technical festival, Shaastra’16.

The entire set-up is placed underneath a sponge layer within the cap thereby helping the hearing-impaired conceal their disability. The microphone cable can also be connected to the headphone slot of mobiles helping the hearing-impaired make calls and listen to music just like ordinary people.

“This will also be of help to the visually- challenged. During our study, we found out that despite heaving a Google map installed in their mobiles for getting directions, many don’t prefer using it as they fear colliding against anything in their way, particularly with their headphones connected. Our project eliminates this problem by directly amplifying sound,” Abhinav Gandhi, another student of the project, said.

The cap costs between `200 and `300. It can also be attached to other wearables like sunglasses which has physical contact with the skull. “Since air as an communication medium is eliminated in this process, this can be used for underwater communication (while deep-sea swimming, scuba diving) and defence purposes,”, Abhinav added.

The project was secured the first place in the ‘Makers Summit’ conducted as a part of Shasstra’16 at IIT-Madras on Tuesday.

Friday, 8 January 2016

5S - For a clean and functional environment

Seiri : Sort Eliminate the unnecessary
Getting rid is the first of the 5S priorities. Start by getting rid of everything that is not strictly necessary. It is just as important nowadays to get rid of stuff as to keep it. The key issue is knowing what to keep and what not to.

Seiton : Streamline Tidy up: a place for everything and everything inits place
Tidying up means putting things in specific places so they can be found straight away when needed, thus avoiding wasting time by searching.
Seiso : Stay clean Getrid of the sources of dirt
Cleaning of offices, work places, and production tools is much more than cleanliness for cleanliness’ sake. When it comes to machines and tooling, for instance, cleaning is the first step toward self-maintenance. It’s often while cleaning that anomalies and premature wear are detected.

Seiketsu : Standardize Apply cleanliness and tidiness across the board
“Order” is the ongoing application of the above rules in order to maintain tidiness and cleanliness. It’s this step that defines the rules whereby the workplace will remain clear of extraneous objects and be kept clean. To eliminate the risk of disorderliness, Takashi Osada recommends visual management, using a number of aids.

Shitsuke : Sustain Adhere together and observe the rules that have been established
The rules that have been established are there to be followed; therefore the staff must be urged and encouraged to stick to them. This involves doing what has to be done as a matter of routine, so that 5S becomes an ingrained habit.
This practice from Japan is the result of a determination to unclutter workstations by ridding them of items that have no place there, to ensure they remain orderly and clean, and to instil the methodical discipline that is indispensable to quality, quality assurance, and good timing. It applies just as much to the office as to the factory and is based on simple, common sense rules that many people neglect. To guarantee the successful implementation of a 5S scheme, these considerations must be brought into effect one after the other and carried to their conclusion. A 5S plan must be drawn up, stating the planned actions and the timeline of their implementation.
5S is a simple method that gets the whole staff involved and can be applied to any factory (and offices too!).
By seeking the succession in a set of images, participants are motivated by their understanding of the content they will be asked to pass on to their colleagues.
A “field” application is set up once training is complete, which seals the motivation of the participants, for whom the possibility of permanent progress becomes a concrete reality.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

103rd Indian Science Congress

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi called to bridge the gap between science and indigenous knowledge while speaking to the august gathering of
Nobel Laureates, Scientists and delegates across the world during the inauguration of 103rd Indian Science Congress, at the University of the Mysore, Mysore today. Modi stressed that, innovation in approach is not just the obligation of thegovernment, but also the responsibility of the private sector and the academia. It was the time of a new awakening in India which sought not just freedom, but also human advancement in India. He drew the attention of the delegates towards the one of the biggest challenges for the world, and one that dominated global attention last year which is to define a path to a more prosperous future for our world and a more sustainable future for our planet. We were consistent in our message that it is not enough to speak of targets and restraints but it is essential to find solutions that help us easy transition to a future of clean energy said the Prime Minister.  For this, he stressed on 3 A’s Available, Accessible and Affordable for all. Prime minister suggested for the network of 30-40 universities and labs focusing for next 10 years on transforming the way we produce, distribute and consume energy which he said he will also pursue in G 20. This is especially critical for India to achieve target of adding 175 GW of renewable generation by 2022. He called to employ fossil fuel for more efficient use and tap newer sources of renewable energy like ocean waves to geo thermal. Calling the century as Urban Century where by middle of this century two thirds of world’s population will live in the cities he said that, studies suggest that nearly 40% of the global urban population lives in informal settlements, or slums, where they face a range of health and nutritional challenges.

He said that, the impact of science will be the most when scientists and technologists will keep  the principles of what I call Five Es at the centre of their enquiry and engineering: Economy, Environment, Energy, Empathy and
Equity. The occasion saw the presence of Shri. Vajubhai
Rudabhai Vala, Governor of Karnataka, Shri. Siddaramaiah,
Chief Minister of Karnataka, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of
Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Government of
India, Shri. Y.S. Chowdary, minister of State for Science and
Technology and Earth Sciences, Government of India, Dr.
Ashok Kumar Saxena, General President