July 2021 Science Tech

Science and Technology

· Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has given its nod to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education to provide technical assistance for satellite TV classrooms in the country to bridge the learning gap due to COVID-induced lockdown. ISRO scientists have appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Education and made a detailed presentation about the proposed satellite TV classroom for students.

· India-origin woman Sirisha Bandla will travel to the edge of the space aboard ‘VSS Unity’ of Virgin Galactic, which is scheduled to fly off on July 11 from New Mexico. This is significant as she will be the third woman of Indian origin to go to space after Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams.

· Hyderabad-based pharma player Laurus Labs has received a licence from the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) for manufacturing and marketing Covid-19 drug 2-Deoxy-D-Glucose (2-DG) in India. The licence to Laurus Labs has been granted by DRDO as part of efforts to make the drug affordable and accessible to patients.

· Facebook has announced a set of publishing and subscription tools named Bulletin, aimed to promote independent writers in the US. The bulletin will include support focused on the creation of content, monetisation and audience growth. It also aims to integrate its existing tools to support writing and audio content — from podcasts to Live Audio Rooms in one place.

· IIT Madras Pravartak Technologies Foundation (IITM-PTF) and Sony India Software Centre Pvt Ltd have joined hands to organise a national-level hackathon named ‘SAMVEDAN 2021 – Sensing Solutions for Bharat’. With this hackathon, the foundation aims to inspire citizens to use IoT Sensor Board in order to solve India-specific problems of societal interest.

· The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is getting back into launch activity fully at Sriharikota spaceport with the planned orbiting of geo imaging satellite GISAT-1 onboard GSLV-F10 rocket on August 12. GISAT-1 will be placed in a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit by GSLV-F10 and, subsequently, it will be positioned in the final geostationary orbit, about 36,000 km above earth’s equator, using its onboard propulsion system.

· The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully conducted the third long-duration hot test of the liquid propellant Vikas Engine for the core L110 liquid stage of the human-rated GSLV Mk III vehicle, as part of the engine qualification requirements for the Gaganyaan Programme.

· Google Cloud has announced the launch of its new Cloud Region in Delhi NCR, for customers and the public sector in India and across the Asia Pacific. With the new region, the customers operating in the country will benefit from lower latency and higher performance of their cloud-based workloads and data.

· Indian Institute of Technology Madras Researchers has developed an Artificial Intelligence-based Mathematical Model called ‘NBDriver’ to identify cancer-causing alterations in cells.

· The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Ropar has developed a first-of-its-kind Oxygen Rationing Device called AMLEX, to save the oxygen which otherwise gets wasted unnecessarily, and in turn, increase the life of medical oxygen cylinders three folds. The device will supply a required volume of oxygen to the patient during inhalation and will trip when the patient exhales carbon dioxide.

· Billionaire Jeff Bezos has made a short journey to space, in the first crewed flight of his rocket ship, New Shepard. He was accompanied by Mark Bezos, his brother, Wally Funk, an 82-year-old pioneer of the space race, and an 18-year-old student. They travelled in a capsule with the biggest windows flown in space, offering stunning views of the Earth. On this flight was the oldest person who has been to space, Wally Funk and the youngest, student Oliver Daemen.

· Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) has launched the first technology innovation hub to find cybersecurity solutions for anti-drones technologies, intrusion detection systems, block-chain and cyber-physical systems. As many as 13 start-ups and 25 research and development principal investigators were selected after a rigorous application process.

· Xiaomi Corp. has become the world’s second biggest smartphone maker over the past quarter following an 83 per cent jump in shipments, according to preliminary estimates by Canalys. This marks the first occasion that Xiaomi, the Chinese maker of everything from rice cookers to gaming monitors, has broken into the top two, historically dominated by Samsung and Apple.

· The US space agency NASA has selected California-based SpaceX to provide launch services for Earth’s first mission to conduct detailed investigations of Jupiter’s moon Europa. The mission called ‘Europa Clipper mission is scheduled to be launched in October 2024 on a Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

· Google-parent Alphabet will launch a new robotics company, Intrinsic which will focus on building software for industrial robots. The segment comes out of X, Alphabet’s Moonshot factory that houses futuristic firms such as Waymo, Wing and Verily.

· For the first time, astronomers have uncovered evidence of water vapour in the atmosphere of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede. This water vapour forms when ice from the moon’s surface sublimates that turns from solid to gas. Scientists used new and archival datasets from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to make the discovery, published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

· India’s first Rapid electronic Covid-19 RNA Test kit that allows self-testing at home called ‘COVIHOME’ has been developed by a research group at the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad. The kit has been validated by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and can be used to check for Covid-19 trace at the comfort of home.

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