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Science Monitor: 19 September 2020

Science Monitor: 19 September 2020

                                   

1. DST’s Inspire Awards MANAK 2020-21

Context:

To promote creativity and innovative thinking among school students, Department of Science and Technology executes a special scheme called Inspire Award MANAK OR Million Minds Augmenting National Aspirations and Knowledge. This program aims to motivate students starting in classes 6th to 10th to come up with original S and T ideas to solve the problems of the society. This year also online application has been invited under the scheme.

About the Scheme:

  • Union Minister of Science and Technology, Health and Family Welfare and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan informed the Rajya Sabha on 15 September that the government is taking several measures to promote affordable and sustainable innovations in the field of science and technology.
  • Under the science, technology and innovation policy, the Department of Science and Technology runs a variety of programs which include awards, doctorate programs, research support and fellowships, skill development at skill level, incentive program for students and youth.
  • One such program is the Inspire Award MANAK, the Department of Science and technology started the program in 2017 in association with the National Innovation Foundation India to target one million original ideas rooted in science and societal applications to foster a culture of creativity and innovative thinking among school children.
  • In this series, online nominations for MANAK 2021 have been resumed. Schools can nominate five best original ideas of students through web portal www.inspireawards-dst.gov.in till 30th September. The ideas are first selected at the school level, district and state level before including them in national level competition.
  • An amount of Rs 10,000 is awarded as an incentive to the shortlisted candidates, after rigorous competition top 60 ideas are selected at the final level for the product development and the national awards.
  • Children can find new solutions with their imaginative thinking to solve everyday problems as they know no boundaries. The government is constantly striving to expand this imagination to strengthen the foundation of the innovation pyramid. Millions of children from remote areas of the country are coming up with the new solutions to various problems. In the year 2019, more than 3,80,000 students from across the country presented their ideas and best among them were chosen for the final awards.

2.  New AI Device for Lung Disease

Context:

The threat from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has become more acute under the covid situation with increased co-morbidity rates. Therefore, IIT Kharagpur has developed an affordable and high-tech diagnostic device for early detection of the disease which can be boon for the COPD patients. The device is based on Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and can be used at the home by the patients.

             

About the device:

  • Shortness of breath, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, persistent cough are some of the symptoms of COPD. The disease is caused by the long-term exposure to irritating gases and particulate matter present in the air and it is very common in country like India in fact it is no less than an epidemic as it is the second highest killer after the heart disease in India.
  • According to a report in 2017 alone, it claimed about 1 million lives in India. A recent survey has confirmed that the severity and mortality rates were over 63 percent for COPD patients to be affected by the covid-19.
  • COPD is a progressive disease which becomes severe with time if not addressed earlier stage. So, it is very important that patient’s clinical symptoms can be ascertained at the right time.
  • Researchers at the IIT Kharagpur have developed a diagnostic system based on IoT and AI to detect COPD. With the help of this device, one can continuously monitor breathing pattern, rate, heart rate and oxygen saturation and arrive at the results.
  • Named as SENFLEXT, the system has three main components- A smart mask, an android monitoring and a cloud computing server. The smart mask is synced with an android monitoring app via Bluetooth.
  • The app is connected to the cloud computing server, patient respiratory rate, heart rate, breathing pattern and the oxygen content in the blood is monitored by the app and sent to the server where AI predicts the severity of the disease through machine learning. The report arrives on the mobile app after the data is processed and it can be used for doctorsconsultation. In this way accurate readings and interpretation of vital parameters can save a patient life.
  • According to the researchers, the system can be used easily at home to manage and monitor patients and can save on unnecessary hospital visits.

3. Living Planet Report 2020 by WWF

Context:

According to WWF’s Living Planet Report 2020, global population of vertebrates has suffered a decline of 68 percent in less than half a century. This has happened largely due to the very same environmental destruction which is contributing to the emergence of zoonotic disease such as covid-19. The Living Planet Index (LPI) has tracked almost 21,000 population of more than 4000 vertebrates species between 1970 and the 2016 with the help of more than 125 experts around the world.