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Innovations Galore

For the enthusiastic to discuss the latest innovations in Science & Technology...
by Praveen Baratam
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3D Printing and Desktop Manufacturing, a new revolution in the making, is reshaping the way we manufacture things by addressing the long tail of fabrication and customization. It took more than a decade to bring this technology restricted to expensive prototyping labs to the masses and is surprisingly driven by crowd funded garage born companies than large corporations. Bespoke manufacturing driven by bespoke innovation by people like you and me!

3D Printing is revolutionizing everything from Medicine to Aviation by rewriting the economics of niche and custom built parts. Surgeons will be able to order customized implants instead of relying on an expensive inventory of pre-made implants that in the end are still a compromise for the patient. Some scientists are even trying to print tissues and organs using this technology and this development can prolong life expectancy to unprecedented levels in the not so distant future.

On the other end, this technology can breathe fresh life into ageing equipment whose parts are no longer available due to short product life cycles across the industry. Repair shops will now become mini factories repairing and even producing custom products.

Finally Desktop Manufacturing is still in its infancy and could have more profound implications than Desktop Computing (PC Revolution). Welcome to the age of Manufacturing at the speed of thought!
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Makerbot Replicator 2
 
 
 
 
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Artificial organs made from harvested or artificial organ scaffolds and our own cells!! The dream of every transplant recipient and doctor. An unlimited supply of organs for transplant literally extending life.... This may be the ultimate frontier for medicine till we can cheat death..... Seems to be just a few years away :-)
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Artificial Organs
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This week Mahindra & Mahindra India lauched e2o, the world's most affordable city ready electric vehicle (EV), in New Delhi setting a benchmark for other automobile companies across the globe.

The e2o EV costs 14,000 USD. (Approx w/o subsidies) and is not just some hacky wacky limited edition prototype but an affordable and comfortable city vehicle for the Indian market.

e2o is one of the first EVs to bring down the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) below that of gasoline powered automobiles and marks an important milestone in our pursuit for a clean and efficient alternative.

Finally a ray hope for the environment and budget conscious average city dweller is on the horizon. It would be interesting to see what other auto-makers will come up with to compete with this sensible, practical and aggressively priced EV.
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Mahindra e2o EV
 
 
 
4 Comments
 
Srikanth Simhadri, Evangelist - 6 years ago Edit
Hmmm Environment friendly, but again looks expensive :-)
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 6 years ago Edit
If you are planning to buy a CNG or diesel vehicle this car is definitely an economical alternative for city commutes. It is priced competitively in that segment and is also cheaper to drive and maintain. More over it comes fully loaded with all the bells and whistles of a modern car. Check out the brief ownership analysis (3rd attachment) and their website - http://www.mahindrae2o.com/ .
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Prabhu Kandasamy, Evangelist - 6 years ago Edit
Hopefully this makes a dent, Reva has been there in Indian market for years but now that M&M owns them, they should be able to market it better and the specs look really good.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 6 years ago Edit
True! Mahindra brought in the much needed uplift to the Reva concept and made it a more appealing consumer car. But how 'Range Anxiety' will affect the average consumer mindset and how well will he receive it remains to be seen. However, for the usual city commutes 100 km range is more than sufficient!!!
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One of the greatest inventions of our time may just be computer driven automobiles and we are going to see them much sooner than we expect.

No wonder Google, Caltech and many other visionary companies are investing heavily on this technology and it may not just be about safety and convenience.

These cars can coordinate and cooperate to reduce congestion, commute times and fuel consumption.

Imagine door-to-door taxis, shuttles or even limos that are more comfortable and cheaper than driving yourself home. They will make the commute a more enjoyable experience and pool customers to get their price advantage.

How about socializing and sipping on a glass of wine or coffee on your way back home?

Fantastic!
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Google's Driver Less Car
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 6 years ago Edit
Any ideas about how you want your ride back home or anywhere to be?
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Tarak Nagireddy, Evangelist - 6 years ago Edit
I am curious how this car deals with a reckless driver coming from opposite direction.
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Tarak Nagireddy, Evangelist - 6 years ago Edit
ts an excellen invenion but I seriously doubt about the ability of this car in india though :(
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 6 years ago Edit
Well, first of all they are doing road tests means they have figured out how to deal with rogue drivers. Secondly they don't rely on any specific infrastructure (good roads, etc.) for this technology. I guess it will fit well in the third world too with some tweaking :-)
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Resistance free Anti-biotics may seem like a physicians pipe-dream but a new discovery about how bacteria coordinate and wreak havoc inside our bodies has just given us new hope in this direction.

Dr. Bonnie Bassler and her colleagues at Princeton have uncovered a dark secret about many disease causing bacteria and they are working on developing potent anti-biotics that can stem infectious bacterial diseases in their roots.

Normally every infection has an incubation period during which bacteria multiply in our body and after a while these bacteria start their offensive. This is common knowledge.

But according to Dr. Bassler, bacteria have a chemical mediated communication system that lets them assess their population strength and become virulent only after they have sufficient numbers. Now their team is working to disrupt this communication system and stop the bacteria from ever mounting an offensive. Same old bacteria but no more disease. Now this is news :-)
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How Bacteria Talk - Bonnie Bassler
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Praneeth Baratam, Evangelist - 6 years ago Edit
This is just great news. I truly admire these people who slog in laboratories worldwide at their microscopes trying to even terms with the microbes. This is a very intelligent attack strategy just like one of those war strategies, where you take down an opponent by disrupting their communications, not using any fire power.
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Praneeth Baratam, Evangelist - 6 years ago Edit
What concerns me, though, is that in our constant struggle to tackle infections over last several decades, what has ultimately won was and is evolution/mutations. The target proteins of this research, are alterable by mutations causing potential failure of the blocking agents. In other words, strains with resistance to the blocking agents may be 'selected' necessitating the need to constantly produce updated blocking agents.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 6 years ago Edit
Yet there is a silver lining to this approach. Mutations are isolated i.e. they affect a single organism and in current anti-biotic therapies resistance conferring mutations offer survival advantage (non-mutants are killed by the anti-biotic). But now even if an organism and its progeny can continue to communicate and coordinate they still have to compete with non-coordinating bacteria for resources and survival which will largely affect their survival and disease producing ability.
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Praneeth Baratam, Evangelist - 6 years ago Edit
@Praveen, that is an important concept that I missed. It surely gives these novel communication blockers an edge over evolution/mutation. This approach adds another really successful war strategy to our battle against microbes. 'Divide and rule', we make disease causing strains(mutated with resistance to the blocking agents) to fight for survival amongst a larger population of non-pathogenic strains(successfully inactivated by these novel blocking agents).
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Augmented Reality has received quiet a lot of attention recently but all that hype was about prototypes such as the Sixth Sense from MIT labs and Google Glasses.

But now an unlikely contender, Nokia, has launched City Lens, an augmented reality browser to explore the city around you. Its really a leap forward in terms of context awareness and sensing. You can just point your mobile camera at any street or building and know whats interesting in there. And its already available on their phones for you and me.

Hats off to Nokia for pulling off this feat in such troubled times.
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Nokia City Lens
 
 
 
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Sixth sense technology invented by Indian (MITstudent). If this product is mass produced will reduce the use of monitors, keyboards, mouse, cell phones which eventually help protect the environment.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 7 years ago Edit
Its a really exciting technology and Google is also pursuing this idea of augmented reality with its own Google Goggles initiative.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 7 years ago Edit
Interestingly a smart phone with a cam and an embedded pico-projector can also be used to realize a subset of this functionality and may be an app can be made to do the same.
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RamGopal Neerukonda, Evangelist - 7 years ago Edit
One of the main advantages of this augmented reality technology is that it can help mitigate the language barrier. Say, we are in the middle east where most of the sign boards and labels are written only in Arabic, this technology can really help the non-arabic speaking crowd.
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Praneeth Baratam, Evangelist - 7 years ago Edit
Augmented reality is definitely being put to good use by pioneering smartphone technologies. Nokia has brought in City Lens which is a great way to discover places of interest in your neighborhood and a remote city equally.
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Stem Cell technology: intresting to know that this can cure diseases. Below video will show its potential.
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 7 years ago Edit
If Stem Cell Technology can help drug discovery and testing, we should draw a line between SCT and Cloning and encourage SC research. Why should we test on real humans when we can get the job done in a petri dish in the lab. As Ms. Solomon rightly points out its important for the future of medicine.
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Amazing technology that was almost science fiction just a few years ago as shown in Minority Report (Movie)
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Leap Motion
 
 
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Praveen Sri, Evangelist - 7 years ago Edit
I am really excited about the possibilities and how it plays out in tandem with others.....
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Praveen Baratam, Maven - 7 years ago Edit
This technology can do the gesture sensing part of Pranav's incredible Sixth Sense technology. In fact his computer vision based sensing if perfected can have far more applications than Leap Motion but LM is already market ready.
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Near Field Communication (NFC) technology is all set to revolutionize payments, identity and authorization systems. With Google and other major players betting high on this technology to broker payments, its not difficult to imagine its utility and outlook. Its already in wide use across China as an alternative ticketing system. We can see the same thing happening in London museum too.
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NFC - Google Wallet and more...
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