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Science Monitor: 15 August, 2020

Science Monitor: 15 August 2020


1. Advances in Microscopy Answer Complex Questions


India Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru celebrates its founder day on the birthday of Dr. M. K. Venubapu is also known as the father of modern Indian astronomy. This year the day was celebrated virtually on 10th of August and on this occasion Prof. K Vijay Raghvan, principle scientific advisor to the government of India delivered a very interesting lecture on the development of locomotion. While delivering the lecture he highlighted how advances in microscopy have helped in studying the complex questions of locomotion by revealing the component of the cells as well as their functions.

About this technology:

  • The progressive developments in the microscope have led to great achievements in the field of physics, chemistry and biological sciences. Advances in microscopy have also aided in understanding the complex process of locomotion and movement. Now we can actually see the living cells and their components in action and even manipulate their functions according to our own will.
  • The tools for observation at all these parts at the finest level from the electron microscopic to the level of organism have become better and better over the last 20 or 30 years. So, we can open up the animal during its development and ask what is happening and observe what is happening.
  • It’s not just observing what is happening but we can use dyes of various kinds, labels of various kinds to highlight different components and observe them just as we have observational astronomy across various spectra, for example, we have learned enormously about cancer from studying the fruit fly, today a huge fundamental leak in our understanding of innate immunity which is important in dealing with the COVID pandemic.
  • It should be noted microscopy works on the principle of magnification and improvements in this field have played a key role not only in understanding the components of a cell but also in developing therapeutics in different pathogens.

India Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru

  • It is an autonomous Research Institute wholly financed by the department of Science and Technology, Government of India.
  • IIA conducts research primarily in the areas of astronomy, astrophysics and related fields.IIA contributed to Astrosat, India's first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory.
  • The Astrosat project is a collaborative effort of many different research institutions from India. The institute led the development of Ultra-Violet Imaging Telescope (UVIT).

2. ARCI develops coating to clean solar panels easily


Nanotechnology involves manipulation of matter at incredibly small sizes and this technology is being used innovatively across different sectors to manufacture revolutionary products. In this series researchers at Hyderabad based International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology have developed a special nanoparticles based coating for solar panels.


About the Coating:

  • The use of solar panels is being encouraged all over the world to harness the clean energy. Apart from rooftop panels for domestic use large scale solar parks are also being established but due to the weather conditions in India the soiling rate of the solar panels is high and this decrease their efficiency and affects the power output. Therefore, regular efforts are needed to clean the panels.
  • Now to solve this problem ARCI has developed an easy to clean nanoparticles based coating for photovoltaic panels. This coating helps in easy and quick cleaning of the panels.
  • The deposition of dusts on PV panels at solar power plant is one of the major issues in India, easy to clean coating based on super hydrophobic property is very useful to minimize the dust deposition and hence ease the maintenance of PV plants with good performance.
  • Prepared in ARCI‘s wet coating lab, this high-quality waterproof coating can counter extreme environmental conditions in India. The coating does not let dust and water settle on the panels and panels get cleaned easily. Thus, the coating can help immensely in maintaining the quality and efficiency of the solar cells.
  • ARCI has successfully developed nanoparticles easy to clean coating with high transmission and high weather stability suitable to withstand such harsh environmental conditions. So, this coating has been validated at standard test conditions and various field conditions such as ground level and rooftop power plants.
  • Apart from easy to clean coating for solar panels, coatings have also been developed for other devices used in the field of solar power using nanotechnology. ARCI ‘s Centres of Excellence are developing novel solutions for various sectors and the centre is scaling new heights.

3. IIT M remote monitoring solutions for COVID-19 patients


India is witnessing encouraging results in the fight against COVID-19, as its recovery rate is improving day by day and the fatality rate has also slipped but this is not a time to relax as healthcare professionals and caregivers who come directly in contact with the patients still have a high chance of getting infected. Keeping this in mind, researchers at the IIT, Madras have successfully developed and deployed a remote patient monitoring solution. The device accurately monitors the critical parameters of the patient and reduces the need to come in direct contact with the infected person.

             HTIC, IIT Madras and HELYXON develop and deploy remote patient ...

About the device:

  • IIT Madras, Healthcare Technology Innovation Centre (HTIC) together with an incubated startup Helixon has developed a remote monitoring device. With the help of this device, anybody can check the vital parameters of the patients without coming directly in contact with them.
  • Like a small oxymeter this wifi enabled device is clipped onto the finger of the patients and data is streamed to a mobile phone. The device accurately monitors the temperature, oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, and heart rate of the patient.
  • It can also be connected to the central monitoring system of the hospitals, in this way round-the-clock monitoring of patients can be done. The device also alerts about the drastic changes in the patients parameters. The use of this device may also reduce the need for expensive PPE kits worn by the health workers.
  • More than 2000 devices have been used successfully at various hospitals in Chennai; this solution can be very effective in view of the ever-increasing patients and lack of beds in the hospitals.
  • With this, health workers can easily monitor patients undergoing treatment at home. The scalable device is reusable and has a lifetime of over a year and can also be used for patient management beyond COVID-19.

4. MoEFCC -World Elephant Day


Elephants are the largest land animals on the earth. Though these majestic animals are revered across many cultures, yet they also suffer many a time due to the human elephant conflict. Therefore, in an effort to end the human elephant in the nation, The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has launched a compendium on best practices of human elephant conflict management. The compendium was launched on the eve of a World Elephant Day, which is celebrated every year on 12th of August.


About the Day:

  • Elephants have played an important role in many human civilizations since ancient times. Although lion is considered the king of the jungle yet the rulers of the earth have always preferred elephants to showcase their status and prestige. The animal also has religious significance in India but above all Elephant is an integral part of our ecosystem.
  • Over the years these majestic animals have suffered due to many factors, the human grid has killed elephants for ivory trade and growing human settlements have led to the loss of their habitat, which has also increased their conflicts with the humans.
  • Elephants have also lost their lives due to developmental activities carried out in forests such as highways and railway tracks. Asian Elephants are endangered on the IUCN red list of threatened species. Therefore to create awareness about the protection and preservation of Elephants, World Elephant Day is celebrated every year on 12th August.
  • Celebrating the same, MoEFCC, GoI organized on the eve of World Elephant Day, on this occasion Union Minister issued a compendium on best practices to deal with the human animal conflict in India. The pictorial guide list best practices in a different situations to end the human-elephant conflict and is one of the many efforts government of India is undertaking to encourage the co-existence of humans and elephants.
  • On this occasion, the beta version of the national portal on human-animal conflict called ‘Suraksha’ was also launched to collect real-time information and to deal with human-animal conflicts in real-time with its various tools and data. It will help in the formulation of policy and action to reduce such conflicts.
  • The pan-India rollout of the portal is likely to be done before the end of this year. World Elephant Day is an international event that was started in 2012, but India started Project Elephant much before in 1992 to protect Elephants, their habitats and corridors. The project also recognized the human-elephant conflict and welfare of the domesticated elephants, presently; the project is being run in 22 states and union territories.
  • An all India synchronized Elephant census was conducted for the first time in 2017. There are about 50,000-60,000 Asian Elephants in the world and more than 60 percent of their population resides in India.


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