Technology Innovations

Archive for the ‘September’ Category

Singapore-based Rishi Israni and his wife Pranoti Nagarkar have invented Rotimatic, a first-of-its-kind robot to make chapatis. The invention has raked in about SGD $5 million in pre-sale orders from the U.S.

Rotimatic, which can produce about one baked chapati per minute, is a 17-kilograms breadmaker type device which uses robotic technology and combines 10 motors, 15 sensors and 300 parts to produce chapatis. With Rotimatic, chapati making can be customized to the thickness, softness, amount of oil and type of flour.

Priced at USD $599, Rotimatic is easy to use and can clean simply as it comes with detachable dishwasher-safe components. Read more

Chennai-based Mad Street Den startup has built a cloud-based platform that uses artificial intelligence to enable any smartphone with a camera to identify faces, detect facial expressions and emotions, and react to facial and head gestures. The expression acts as a trigger for a certain action, for example, frowning at the phone when an unwanted call comes in could make it shut down forthwith, or lifting an eyebrow could send the caller a message asking ‘What now?’

This image-recognizing platform, called MAD Stack, can be used by app developers and companies to create a futuristic mobile user experience. Mad Street Den founders Ashwini Asokan and Anand Chandrasekaran  explain that the idea is to make machines more useful by making them a bit human: fun, intelligent, and relevant.

The process of recognizing a human expression or responding to a gesture is simple for a human brain, but quite complex for a smartphone camera to do digitally. It is artificial intelligence that enables a camera to do this. What’s more, the app keeps getting smarter with use, through machine learning algorithms. Read more

Indian American engineering graduate of North Carolina State University, Ankesh Madan, is one of the four entrepreneurs who have developed a prototype for a new nail polish line that changes color when it comes into contact with date rape drugs. A date rape drug, also called a predator drug, is any drug that can be used to assist in the execution of drug facilitated sexual assault. 

Ankesh Madan, Tasso Von Windheim, Tyler Confrey-Maloney and Stephan Gray founded Undercover Colors to be “the first fashion company working to prevent sexual assault,” as reported by The Mary Sue.

The team is developing a nail polish that changes color when it comes in contact with date rape drugs such as Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB. With this nail polish, any woman will be empowered to discreetly ensure her safety by simply stirring her drink with her finger. If her nail polish changes color, she’ll know that something is wrong.

Through this nail polish and similar technologies, Undercover Colors hopes to make potential perpetrators afraid to spike a woman’s drink because there’s now a risk that they can get caught. In effect, they want to shift the fear from the victims to the perpetrators. Some of the other drugs that the product would be effective for, include: (RS)-2-(2-Chlorophenyl)-2-(methylamino) cyclohexanone (ketamine), 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA) (aka: “Molly”/ecstasy) or γ-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHB). 8-Chloro-1-methyl-6-phenyl-4H-[1,2,4]triazolo[4,3-a][1,4]benzodiazepine (“Xanax”) and “roofies” (Rohypnol).

Undercover Colors is not currently a product to be marketed, but has raised tremendous interest in the start-up arena, having raised $100,000 from one investor. Undercover Colors is now seeking crowd sourced funding via online donations portal, which offers both one-time and recurring donation options.

The product is already gaining popularity, signaling need for the product by women who feel vulnerable going out on blind dates and who will seek any form of protection against being sexually attacked. Read more

Humming Whale Product Innovations, a company formed by a group of four IIT graduates, has launched a cricket bat called Falcon Blade whose 3D tapering to the sides of the blade promises to keep the ball down while travelling to the slips, off the edge, taken of a swinging ball.

Compared to the normal trajectory of the ball after impact, Falcon Blade imparts a downward velocity of the ball making it travel to a safer region rather than looping up for a catch or going straight to the fielders. It would fall short and squarer. The 3D taper is designed in a way that it also gives a more forward component to the ball.

The idea for the bat came to the young innovators after India was whitewashed in two successive Test tours abroad in 2011, first by England and then by Australia. The Humming Whale team realized that when a bat meets the ball, there is no downward force involved. To ensure that the ball doesn’t always carry to the slips, they modified the edges of the blade, thereby adding a greater downward force on impact. This modification changes the trajectory of the ball after hitting the edge in such a way that the chances of getting caught out, specifically behind the stumps, significantly reduce.

The most striking feature of the Falcon Blade is that a batsman doesn’t have to alter his game in order to use it. Unlike the Mongoose Bat, which had a longer handle and smaller blade, getting accustomed to the Falcon Blade is not at all difficult. The slight shaving off the edges to optimize the design is not too large to impact the middle of the bat. The exact ratios of the taper can be modified depending on the player’s batting style, his stance and the type of pitch, explains Ayush Jain, one of the architects of the new bat.

Falcon Blade’s unique aerodynamic design ensures greater bat speed. Also, due to the reduction of the edges, the bat is not too bulky to handle. A player who likes more weight on the bat can add some weight to the meat of the bat if he wants greater power.

Having worked in conjunction with a cricket simulation centre in Mumbai, Smaash, the results, they say are positive. The quartet of IITians are now hoping the bat will sooner rather than later find its way in the Indian dressing room. Read more

A team of scientists and engineers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bangalore, have created a ‘microneedle’ that take the sting off injections. The new microneedle is one-third of the thickness of conventionally used needles. With a diameter of just 130 microns, these injections can deliver drugs almost painlessly. The innovation can definitely prove to be good for diabetics who need frequent insulin injections.

Unlike the conventional stainless steel needles, these microneedles are made of silicon and are arranged in a set of several needles to deliver drugs of a required quantity. Initially the team had a challenge to resolve as silicon is not always “biocompatible”. It reacts with blood plasma and can corrode with time. Therefore, the researchers decided to coat the needle with fine layers of titanium and gold through electroplating. The coated microneedle are currently at the animal-testing stage and it could be a while before they are tested clinically on humans. Read more in a report by Divya Gandhi.

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