[Prelims Spotlight] Innovations in Sciences, IT, Computers, Robotics and Nanotechnology

1.Atmospheric Water Generator (AWG)

  • A Navratna PSU Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) has unveiled the Atmospheric Water Generator (AWG).
  • It can be used to provide drinking water in community centres and public places.

Atmospheric Water Generator

  1. The AWG is being manufactured by BEL in collaboration with CSIR-IICT and MAITHRI, a start-up company based in Hyderabad.
  2. It employs a novel technology to extract water from the humidity present in the atmosphere and purify it.
  3. It uses heat exchange for condensing the atmospheric moisture to produce pure, safe and clean potable water.
  4. It comes with a Mineralization Unit, which is used to add minerals which are required to make the water potable.
  5. The AWG is configurable in static and mobile (vehicular) versions and is available in 30 litres/day, 100 litres/day, 500 litres/day and 1,000 litres/day capacities.

2.Quantum Computing

Advent of quantum computing

  1. Classical internet is constrained by a binary thought process
  2. With quantum computing, information is held in “qubits” that can exist in two states at the same time
  3. A qubit can store a “0” and “1” simultaneously
  4. If you build two qubits, they can hold four values at once—11, 10, 01, and 00
  5. Adding on more qubits can greatly increase the computing capability of such a machine

Towards quantum internet

  1. The logical extension of quantum computing is a quantum internet, where computers don’t just compute in isolation, they also communicate with one another
  2. Scientists are now working on how a quantum internet might work
  3. To accomplish this, they are beginning by providing a vision of fundamentally new technology protocols to enable network communications between any two quantum computing machines on Earth
  4. They say that such a quantum internet will—in synergy with the “classical” internet that we have today—connect quantum computers in order to achieve unparalleled capabilities that are impossible today
  5. Several major applications for the quantum internet have already been identified, including secure communication, secure identification, achieving efficient agreement on distributed data, as well as secure access to remote quantum computers in the cloud

Advantages of the quantum internet

  1. The ability of a quantum internet to transmit “qubits” that are fundamentally different than classical “1” and “0” bits is what is paramount
  2. Qubits also cannot be copied, and any attempt to do so can be detected
  3. This makes qubits well suited for security applications.

3.World’s standard definition of kilogram now redefined

Redefining Kilogram

  1. CGPM is the highest international body of the world for accurate and precise measurements and comprises of 60 countries including India and 42 Associate Members.
  2. The 26th meeting of the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) was held during November 13-16 2018 at Palais des Congréss, Versailles, France.
  3. In the meeting, the members have voted for the redefinition of 130 years old “Le grand K – the SI unit of kg” in terms of the fundamental Planck’s constant (h).
  4. The new definitions will come into force on 20 May 2019.

How will this take place?

  1. The International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), the main executive body of CGPM has the responsibility of defining the International System of Units (SI).
  2. This revision of the SI is the culmination of many years of intensive scientific cooperation between the National Metrology Institutes (The national Physical Laboratory for India) and the BIPM.
  3. The dissemination of SI units for the welfare of society and industries in the country is the responsibility of Legal Metrology, Department of Consumer Affairs, GoI.

International prototype of kilogram (IPK)

  1. The International prototype of kilogram (IPK) is kept at the BIPM, Paris and serves as the international standard of kilogram.
  2. It is made of 90% platinum and 10% iridium and is a cylinder of 39 mm diameter and 39 mm height.
  3. Replicas of the IPK are made of the same material and used at BIPM as reference or working standards and national prototype of kilogram (NPK), kept at different National Metrology Institutes (NMIs).
  4. NPK-57, kept at CSIR- National Physical Laboratory, is sent periodically to BIPM for calibration.
  5. NPK further is being utilized through transfer standards of mass to provide unbroken chain of traceability for dissemination of mass through Legal Metrology to the user industries, calibration laboratories etc.
  6. The precise and accurate measurements help country in the production of international quality products and help commerce through elimination of the technical barrier to trade.

Using a Kibble Balance

  1. Kibble balance is a self-calibrating electromechanical balance and provides the measurements of mass, traceable in terms of electrical parameters and provides linkage of macroscopic mass to the Planck constant (h).
  2. NPL-UK, NIST-USA,NRC- Canada, PTB-Germany etc. have successfully developed Kibble balance for 1 kg with an uncertainty of measurement in order of 10-8.
  3. The advantages of Kibble balance would be that the NPK need not to be sent to BIPM for calibrations and the accuracy and stability of Kibble balance is very high.
  4. This is very important where low weights with high accuracies are essential, for example in pharmaceuticals and biotechnologies.

4.World’s fastest man-made spinning object developed

Fastest rotor

  1. Scientists have developed the fastest man-made rotor in the world, which they believe will help them study quantum mechanics
  2. At more than 60 billion revolutions per minute, this machine is more than 100,000 times faster than a high-speed dental drill

Working of the rotor

  1. The team synthesised a tiny dumbbell from silica and levitated it in a high vacuum using a laser
  2. The laser can work in a straight line or in a circle – when it is linear, the dumbbell vibrates, and when it is circular, the dumbbell spins
  3. A spinning dumbbell functions as a rotor, and a vibrating dumbbell functions like an instrument for measuring tiny forces and torques, known as a torsion balance.

5.Pigment in Goa mushroom may help fight cancer

World’s first sulphur-rich edible melanin

  1. The mycological laboratory of the Department of Botany, Goa University has reported the discovery of a new pigment from local wild mushrooms
  2. The new sulphur-rich melanin biopigment is obtained from local Roen alamis (wild variety of Goan mushrooms that grows on termite hills) or Termitomyces species

About the research

  1. This discovery shows the chemical nature of the brown or black colour that is seen in these wild edible mushrooms
  2. The problem had eluded the scientific community from 40 countries for the past 100 years
  3. The scientist claim it to be the world’s first sulphur-rich edible melanin. Its structure is similar to black pigment found in human hair.

6.Central task force on AI recommends setting up of N-AIM

National Artificial Intelligence Mission (N-AIM)

  1. A central task force on Artificial Intelligence (AI) has suggested creating a National Artificial Intelligence Mission (N-AIM)
  2. It will serve as a nodal agency for coordinating AI related activities in the country

Defining AI

  1. Artificial Intelligence is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programmes

About the mission

  1. The mission shall involve itself in core activities, coordination of AI-related projects of national importance and establish Centers of Excellence
  2. The core activities include funding establishment of a network among Academia, services industry, product industry, startups and Government ministries, besides helping studies to identify concrete projects in each domain of focus
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