IIT ROPAR’S INNOVATION TO SANITISE PAPER CURRENCY, GROCERY ITEMS AND DELIVERY PACKAGES
Amid the coronavirus situation, a team of engineers at IIT Ropar have developed a common sanitising solution for all purpose work i.e. from washing vegetables with warm water to currency notes or wallets. To tackle this situation, IITians have made a trunk-shaped device fitted with ultraviolet germicidal irradiation technology which works on the same principle as water purifiers. The team recommends people to place this device at their doorsteps or somewhere close to the entry gate so that all items brought from outside including currency notes, grocery and delivery packages will be sanitised by them thereby assuring safety from COVID-19. The customers are advised not to look directly towards the light as it can be harmful to the eyes.
As per the developers, one can put all items like notes, vegetables, wrist watch, wallets, mobile phones, any paper/document or any delivery package/courier in the trunk before further use. The device will take 30 minutes to sanitise the items followed by a cooling off period of 10 minutes before using them. After the commercialisation of the device, it will be available for less than INR 500 per piece. This device will be an indispensible medium to safeguard ourselves from COVID-19 infection as the virus has the capability to sustain itself on various surfaces for few hours after initial contact
HUMAN TEXTILE- THE GAME CHANGER
A team of researchers at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research have grown yarn named “human textile” from human skin cells that can be used by surgeons to stitch up wounds or assemble implantable skin grafts. The main advantage of the human textile is that unlike already in use synthetic surgical materials, this does not trigger an immune response which can complicate the process of healing. These yarns represent a whole new generation of completely biological tissue-engineered products and thus offer a unique level of biocompatibility with the human tissues.
The researchers claim to use these human yarns to sew pouches, create tubes, valves and perforated membranes. The yarn can be used in various textile approaches like braiding, knitting, weaving and also crocheting. To create the human textile, researchers cut sheets of human skin cells into long strips and then wove them into a yarn-like material which can be fabricated into a variety of shapes. So far, this yarn has been used by the researchers to stitch a rat’s wounds and the wound healed in two weeks. They also created a skin graft by using a custom-made loom to seal a sheep’s artery and stop it from leaking. The same team of researchers had earlier produced sheets of biomaterial and rolled them into artificial blood vessels. The paper was published in the Journal Acta Biomaterialis
WORLD’S FIRST TRANSPLANT OF LAB-GROWN HEART MUSCLES
At Osaka University, Japan, a team of scientists have carried out World’s first transplant using labgrown heart muscle cells. In the end of January this first-of-its kind of surgery was carried out as the first stage of a clinical trial, which proved to be successful. The pilot surgery was done on a patient suffering from ischemic cardiomyopathy which is a resultant condition by the damage to the heart caused by coronary heart disease or heart attack. As a result not enough blood can reach the heart due to narrowed arteries.
In the surgery, the team transplanted a man-made sheet of heart muscle tissues on the damaged areas of the heart. It is hoped that the heart cells on the degradable sheet will grow and secrete a protein that promotes blood vessel regeneration, eventually promoting cardiac function. To grow the heart muscle in the lab, researchers began with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) which are made from an adult’s cells either from skin or blood and then reprogrammed back to their embryonic pluripotent state which implies that they have the potential to become many different types of cells. The iPS cells were then encouraged to become the heart muscle cells that were required by the research team. These differentiated heart muscle cells were then placed on small sheets which were a little over 0.1mm thick and ready for transplantation. The clinical trial will be conducted over the next three years with ten operations slated to be done on patients suffering from heart conditions.
As of now many patients lose their lives due to non-availability of transplants and if this research becomes successful and proves to be safe for the recipients, this approach could be used to ultimately eliminate the need for some heart transplants. The study appeared in BioNews 1033.
ROBOT FINGERS THAT COOL OFF BY SWEATING
I n today’s world of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, who doesn’t want a robot which can operate for long hours without reheating? In order to make this dream a reality a group of researchers led by Rob Shepherd, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University, USA have taken the first step in creating robots that can work for extended durations without overheating. The research team has developed a 3D printed soft robot muscle which is similar to fingers that can sweat to regulate its temperature.
Overheating of robots is caused due to the inability to control the internal temperature and it has been a challenge since the time robots have been invented and used. To overcome this challenge the research team at Cornell University was inspired by sweating mechanism of mammals and ventured the idea with the Lab of Emmanuel Giannelis, to create nanopolymer materials for sweating by Walter R Read professor of engineering. A 3D printing technique which uses light to cure resins into shapes was used by the team to create fingers. Then the team created finger like actuators which were made from two hydrosol materials that retain water and react to temperature. The base layer shrinks when it is exposed to temperatures above 86 Fahrenheit squeezing water into the top layer which is perforated with extremely small sized pores that release the water. The actuators were able to cool off almost six times faster than fan. Therefore it helps the robot fingers to cool off by sweating. The ability to perspire is the Unique Selling Point of these robot fingers and they will revolutionise the change in which robots serve human beings.
SELF-CLEANING SMART TOILETS – THE KIND OF SANITATION INDIA NEEDS
Sanitation sector in India needs community participation at a very committed level. Taking note of this and extending the arm of Swachh Bharat Mission, Mayank Midha and Megha Midha started a social enterprise named ‘Garv Toilets’, which is an endeavour to address the growing issues related to public toilet maintenance in the country.
These intelligent toilets are powered by IOT and Artificial Intelligence. Manufacturing of these toilets is being done in such a way that the capital expenditure in constructing and maintaining them over the years is minimal. These toilets are made from metal enclosures, making them essentially indestructible and are equipped with Radio Frequency Identification System (RFID) and IOT Technology. They are self-sustainable in terms of energy consumption and waste disposal. All toilet units work on solar energy which ensures the availability of electricity at all times enabling the automatic features in the toilet running. These intelligent toilets can self-flush if any of the user has skipped to do so and also the jets are triggered to clean the floors after detecting the number of people who have used these toilets. Each unit has an LED light, an exhaust fan for ventilation and sanitary pad vending machine. The USP of these prefabricated toilets is that they give real-time updates on the use of these toilets, hygiene behaviour of users, can be customised for the differently-abled to have ramps and handrails and have low operating costs. One cannot overlook the excellent waste management done in these toilets. Each toilet has a bio-digester unit which treats pathogen in sludge and sewer, after disposal the waste can be used as organic fertilisers by farmers.
By far Garv has installed 798 toilets across the contry which are being used at least 1.4 lakh times a day. Garv via their vast network and associations with various NGOs, CSR projects and foundations has been able to install their toilets in schools, rural areas and cities making nearly 18,000 children use these toilets daily. The price of these smart toilets ranges between 2.5 to 4.2 lacs depending on the required features by the users.
‘MAMAROO SLEEP BASSINET’ – ‘MIMICS PARENTS’ MOVEMENTS TO PUT BABIES TO SLEEP
US-based company ‘4moms’ is dedicated for the innovative, easy to use baby products that make life easier for parents. With this aim in mind 4moms recently exhibited their smart cradle at CES 2020. The cradle can mimic parents’ cuddles to lullaby babies to sleep. This technologyenabled sleep bassinet named “mamaROO” is a smart sleep solution which integrates the same proven motions of infant seat which aids the baby to sleep in a safe, secured sleeping environment. The bassinet moves on the commands of parents as the base stays still and the basket glides up and down and also sideways to help babies sleep. The developers claim that this innovative product will help babies sleep faster and for a longer duration.
The cradle comes in five patterns like kangaroo, car ride, rock-a-bye, tree swing and wave wherein each of the five movements has five speeds. The bassinet offers a total of 25 settings. The movements have been programmed on the basis of natural movements or motions that parents make when they are trying to comfort their babies. There are four voice options including ocean, rain, fan and shush and vibration settings alongwith a timer. 4moms application can be connected to this smart baby gear. This bassinet was launched in the market in the month of February 2020 at a price of $330.
BATH MAT TO MEASURE YOUR WEIGHT, POSTURE AND EVEN YOUR SHOE SIZE
At Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 an innovative bath mat has been unveiled by the name of “MATEO”. The bathroom mat is a smart one as it captures and tracks health data of its user including weight, posture and body composition. Mateo has been named a CES 2020 Innovation Awards Honouree in the Health and Wellness category. The bathroom mat has two parts, the first, is a machine washable cloth covers which looks like a garden-variety bath mat and the second, and is a slim mat that includes the technology to detect the metrics of the user. The mat has medical grade 7000-dot pressure mapping. The unique feature it holds includes its ability to identify its users by their footprint and create a heat map that studies the contact of the foot with the ground.
The developers have expressed that their patent-pending technology can utilise the pressure mapping to help the users find out the users posture score and even suggest corrective exercises based on expertise from a podiatric medicine panel. The company also claims that the mat can detect certain medical problems like diabetic foot. The bathroom will capture the above data every time the user stands on it and it can analyse the readings immediately. The Mateo companion application comes along with the mat and it will alert the user when he/she reaches any meaningful numbers regarding weight gain or loss or improved posture.
The demonstrative mats exhibited at CES were early prototypes and the company intends to launch a crowdfunding campaign in the coming months along with the launch of several iterations by the end of 2020 including a high-end mat with conductive thread to detect body composition, body fat percentage and much more at a price of $ 179 per piece. The simpler models will be priced lesser than $ 179.