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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Edition 27: Another feather in DRDO cap, ISRO students, Water care


India’s defence research agency DRDO has developed an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) specifically for anti-terrorist and counter insurgency operations, which will be inducted into the armed forces by the year-end. The 1.5 kg UAV, called ‘Netra’, is a collaborative development project between ideaForge, a company formed by a group of Indian Institute of Technology, Powai, alumni and one of Defence Research and Development Organisation’s Pune-based labs, Research and Development Establishment (Engineers) (R&DE) Pune.

DRDO scientist Dr Alok Mukherjee, who demonstrated the UAV, here yesterday said Netra would be ready for induction into the services within the next six months after it is subjected to some more trial tests. “The UAV is capable of operating in all the conflict theatres, including urban quarters, in a situation similar to that of the 26/11 terror attacks.”, he told reporters here yesterday.

Dr. Mukerjee said the estimated cost of Netra is Rs 20 lakhs, but the price could vary if additional components like thermal camera are added as per the requirements

of the security agencies concerned and their use. IdeaForge, vice-president (Marketing and Operations Unmanned Systems) Amardeep Singh said the UAV has been designed to carry out surveillance in an area of 1.5 KM Line of Sight (LOS) and has an endurance capacity of 30 minutes of battery charge. Apart from that, Netra is equipped

with a resolution CCD camera with a pan/tilt and zoom to facilitate wider surveillance. It can also be fitted with thermal cameras to carry out night operations. Singh said the operational altitude of the UAV is 200 meters maximum, having a vertical take-off and landing capacity (VTOL) and is equipped with a wireless transmitter.

In addition to that, the in-built failsafe features allows Netra to return to base on loss of communication or low battery. Asked if the UAV could function in all-weather condition, Singh said the machine cannot be operated in rainy conditions but research is being carried out to make Netra function even during monsoon. According to Ashish Bhat, an IITian, the vehicle can cover a distance of up to 1.5 km from the point where the controlling system has been set up. Real time transmission of images and

videos to the control point is also possible. The vehicle is compatible with thermal imaging cameras for night-time use. "The Netra can give live videos of the area it is urveying. It can also hover at one place; other vehicles keep travelling while surveying an area," said Amardeep Singh, another IITian.

Singh said that vehicle tests during heavy rains are yet to be conducted. Efforts are also being taken to convert it into a backpack system, making it easier to carry for soldiers



ISRO successfully launched the RH 200 rocket, which had a part of its payload developed by students from Vellore Institute of Technology University (VITU) in Tamil Nadu.

The RH 200 rocket, a technology demonstrator flight, was launched on 7th July from Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS) attached to Vikram Sarabhaio Space Centre, a VSSC release said on Friday.

The payload developed by the VITU students was part of ISRO's initiative of encouraging varsity students as partners in payload development. The students' payload comprised tri-axial accelerometers, power switching module and safe arm relay unit matching the requirements of RH 200 rocket, the release said. The tri-axial accelerometer can monitor accelerations in all three directions. The power-switching module is for the power control of the payload. The faculty and students of VITU

had taken keen interest during the development and test activities of these payloads at various work centres, it added.

The students of the Indian Institute of Space Technology (IIST) were also progressing well in their attempt to make the first indigenous "students' rocket" with support of the experts from VSSC. In its endeavour to handhold the student community, ISRO has included a picosatellite designed by undergraduate students across India, in its forthcoming PSLV-C15 mission. The decision was taken with the aim to provide hands-on experience in frontier areas of space technology such as design, fabrication and realisation of a space mission at a reduced cost.A fter the successful flight of the Advanced Technology Vehicle ATV D01, this was a major step to demonstrate

the performance of super capacitors in flight pyro systems activation. The flight successfully tested the super capacitor developed by VSSC. So far TERLS has recorded 2291 flights of sounding rockets and this is the 395th flight of RH 200 rocket. The 3.8-metre-long missile, which has a diameter of 178 mm, can carry a warhead

containing explosives weighing 15 kgs and can be fitted to any fighter aircraft.

It is intended for eventual integration with the IAFs Sukhoi-30 MKI, MiG-29, Mirage-2000, Jaguar and the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft, the sources said. Describing 'Astra' as

a futuristic missile, the scientists said the weapon could intercept targets at supersonic speed (mach 1.2 to 1.4).



The health benefits of water are manifold and according to a new study two more have been added to the list now, it raises alertness and blood pressure too. Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center of the US, have carried out the study and found drinking water increases the activity of the nervous system, which raises alertness, blood pressure and energy expenditure.

Lead researcher Prof David Robertson said that water dilutes the plasma in the blood vessels leading away from the duodenum and that this short-lived reduction in salt concentration is responsible for water's blood pressure-raising effect. The findings have been published in the latest edition of the 'Hypertension' journal.


You can Roll Up TV Soon

New-age gadgets like Apple's iPads and televisions could soon be rolled up like newspapers, thanks to a new technology being developed by researchers in Australia and Italy. Researchers at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Melbourne University and Italy's University of Padua were using laser technology to make products - including televisions, iPads, mobile phones and Kindles - more flexible, thinner and cheaper.

According to mX, the same technology was also being used to develop screens that would replace light bulbs. The screens would be fastened to a ceiling like wallpaper to light a room. The researchers were developing prototypes to take to Apple and other manufacturers next year. According to Melbourne-based CSIRO researcher Jacek

Jasieniak, the technology could easily be applied to iPads to make them more user-friendly.

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