SRM AP students under the guidance of Dr. Sumon Sinha attempts to offer cost-effective solution to weather forecast problems
Faculty members of SRM AP-Dr. Venkata Nori and Dr. Jayaprakash Panchagnula (Department of Mechanical Engineering) and Dr. Anirban Ghosh (Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering) invited the celebrated researcher Dr. Sumon Sinha to visit our campus and conduct a three-day workshop on “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Design for Low Altitude Weather Data Acquisition”. Dr. Sinha did his B.Tech (Hons.) in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Kharagpur and his MS and Ph. D. from the University of Miami with specialization in Fluid Dynamics. After being associated as faculty in eminent institutes in the US including University of Mississippi, he delved into his business venture, Sinhatech in 2007 to provide innovative solutions to unresolved technical issues in Canada, USA, Japan, etc. Through his intuitive understanding of the subject, he developed and patented the Composite Flexible Surface Deturbulator to obtain higher controllability of drones in a high crosswind.
Dr. Sinha aims to offer solutions to certain fundamental problems in India through his expertise in aerodynamics. With his motivation to serve the country he has his roots attached to; he aims to build a team that would assist him to accomplish his dream project of using drones to gather weather reports on the sea surface at low altitude as well as general weather forecast data. “The sensors attached to the drone augmented with the deturbulator can gather critical data for accurate prediction of cyclones in the sea which the presently used Doppler Radar can only approximate”, says Dr. Sinha providing solutions to issues related to storm prediction. He further adds, “In India, weather stations use immensely expensive and non-reusable helium balloons embedded with sensors to capture data for general weather reports”. He intends to offer a cost-effective solution to these problems with reusable and less expensive drones.
On 3rd January, our faculty shortlisted a team of 15 enthusiastic students who worked on this assignment alongside Dr. Sinha. When asked what intrigued them regarding the workshop, N. Venkata Kishore Kumar Reddy (2nd year, ECE) says, “My father is in the Indian army which made me aspire to build a drone someday that can work as a spy for the army”.
The workshop began with a lecture by Dr. Sinha where the students got a glimpse of the engineering concepts behind building a drone which can go up to 120 feet to gather atmospheric data.
Later, he demonstrated the flight of the drone where the students got hands-on experience in controlling the device.
“I learned a lot about UAV from Dr. Sumon Sinha who is excellent in explaining the concept, he is also brilliant in flying RC objects. This knowledge will help us identify the various applications of the fixed wing plane-UAV in the future”, expresses M Raviteja (2nd year, ME).
The students were then divided into three groups and were assigned the task of building a drone each.
“The interactive sessions improved my knowledge on drones, air vehicles, and the basic aerodynamic science that works behind the flying objects” speaks Krishna Teja Vinnakota (1st year-CSE). On the last day of the workshop, the teams managed to develop three drones, one of which was embedded with the sensors that accurately captured data on temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, altitude, latitude, longitude, and dynamic pressure. “After having experience with the basic technicalities of building the drones, it is on us to improve its functionality and make it more usable” conforms Kishore who has already made an Agri Drone which can throw seeds coated with fertilizers in farming lands from a height of 4.5 meters above the ground. Inspired and educated from the workshop, our students plan to build a quadcopter in their next venture.
Bennet Benny (B.Sc. Physics, second year) wins Sakura Internship Program-2019 at Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST)
Bennet Benny has been honoured with the opportunity to attend an internship under the supervision of Prof. Ryo Maezono at JAIST, Japan. Established in 1990, JAIST is one of the research-intensive institutes for post-graduate studies located in the centre of Ishikawa Science Park (ISP). The internship is funded by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), a government funding agency.
Under the guidance of Prof. Ranjit Thapa, Bennet had applied for the internship in March. This internship begins on 16th December and will continue till 24th December,2019. Bennet will be given hands-on tutorial on electronic structure calculations using DFT and QMC computational methods on one of the supercomputers located at JAIST. He will be joined by five other students from Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia.
“I am very excited to be given this opportunity as it will provide me with excellent practical experience and ample exposure that will be helpful to build my career.”, says Bennet and further expresses his gratitude towards Prof. D Narayana Rao, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, SRM University AP, and Dr. Sabyasachi Mukhopadhyay, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics for their immense encouragement and guidance.
Prof. D. Narayana Rao receives honoured for his outstanding contributions to Physical Sciences
Prof. D. Narayana Rao, Pro Vice Chancellor, SRM University-AP, Amaravati has been conferred with the Fellowship of the Indian Science Congress (FISC) for his outstanding contributions to Physical Sciences.
The Fellowship has been awarded to Prof. Rao by the Indian Science Congress Association at their Council Meeting held in Bangalore on 16th October 2019. The main objective of ISCA is to advance and promote the cause of Science in India, recognize and support excellence in scientific research, technologies and innovations. Prof. Rao’s outstanding achievements and sustainable significant contributions to sciences were recognised and honoured.
SRM University AP organized a felicitation ceremony for Prof. Rao on this occasion where he encouraged the professors to pursue research by stating its significance. The ceremony was chaired by Dr. D Gunasekaran (Registrar), Dr. B Sivakumar (Deputy Registrar), and Dr. Anil K Suresh (Associate Professor, Biotechnology) who congratulated Prof. Rao on his achievements along with the faculty and staff members of the university.
“UNIVERSITY AS A ‘LIVING LABORATORY’ OF ENVIRONMENT SUSTAINABILITY, SOCIAL CHANGE AND REGIONAL GROWTH”.
“We aim to be at the forefront, bridging the gap between research & policy to actual action & outcomes on the ground which benefit the common people particularly those most affected by the environmental degradation.”
Vice Chancellor Jamshed Bharucha
SRM AP’s social service initiatives, partnered infrastructure development and environment sustainability projects serve as a grassroots level engagement with communities in the surrounding clusters of villages – Saakhamuru, Thullur and Nelapadu to the north, Pedaparami and Kuragallu to the west, and Neerukonda and Nidamaru to its east.
Through the NSS wing SRM AP Amaravati delivers social programs to villages (Neerukonda and Kuragallu) and school adoptions (renovations and advisory) blood donation camps, first aid and cancer awareness, cleanliness drives, environment protection (substituting plastics with jute bags,) donations to temples and environment sustainable programs like the university’s 1-acre kitchen garden that grows vegetables as a co-op with local villagers. In partnership with communities SRM AP Amaravati invests in infrastructure projects – working with villagers to build link roads. On campus – mechanised plants and technologies enable the deployment of environment sustainability projects like organic waste management, water harvesting, power conservation units for lights, heating, and generators; sewage treatment plant (treated for gardening and cooling towers) and rooftop solar power generation.
As VC Dr. Bharucha explains it, these programs speak to the university’s broader vision on its role and responsibility to the community and to do so in a manner that is integrated with university academics and policy.
How important are sustainability and environmental issues and how can universities play a part and provide solutions?
Dr. Bharucha: The sustainability of our environment is a collective responsibility for all humans on this earth, for all governments, for all parents and of course for all educational institutions. There is a concept called the ‘tragedy of the commons’ where if each individual person or each family or each company or each nation only pursues their own narrow interests – nobody is looking out for their collective good. The environmental destruction, degradation, is a consequence of the tragedy of the commons where anyone can put pollutants into the atmosphere or into the water system believing that it somehow gets blown away, somehow gets washed away but the research now makes it clear that we all get affected by it. Our health is affected; our well-being is affected.
As an educational institution it is critical that we become models of using the latest scientific knowledge, social organisational policy-related knowledge and to leverage the passions that many of our students and faculty feel about the environmental issues to really set an example. Academia must integrate with real world initiatives – we aim to be a university united with its region in thought and action.
On our locational advantage versus being in an urban setting – working with the surroundings?
Dr. Bharucha: It is a dramatic advantage for us to be located where we are. We, as educators, often tell our students, ‘go outside your comfort zone, make the world a better place, tackle the world’s problems.” So as educational institution we are located in a place where we can actually make a difference as there is a lot work to be done here. Of course there is a lot work to be done everywhere but whether we are talking about clean water, or waste management or energy consumption or air pollution we are in an ideal place to be a living laboratory, to demonstrate how latest research and good organisation of people can create a model – of the university as custodian of key pillars of education, community responsibility, sustainable growth and progress for all. So what I’d like to see is that we start with our campus and consistently and rapidly increase the percentage of energy (that is renewable energy that does not put pollutant in the air). We will have 30% solar power which is a legal requirement but we will seek to go beyond that by integrating our scientific and engineering research on alternate forms of energy. We would like to see what could be done by way of biomass energy production – turn waste into energy. Even maybe turn plastics into energy and maybe untapped wind energy to harvest water, be mindful of the water table levels and to clean the canals and streets that immediately surround our campus, to recycle and eliminate use of plastic. Our aim is to get a campus that does these things and then expand our influence into our communities – street by street, house by house, block by block and eventually village by village.
Combine that with a policy institute that we are considering to create that brings together scholars, researchers, practitioners, and political leaders and activists that brings together their wisdom to devise innovative ways to come up with and look for successful existing models where we can succeed and work with local communities, community leaders, residents and the villagers to show how in fact this is beneficial to them and is not an elitist idea.
What are your thoughts on Self Help groups within the college, biodegradable recycling, working with farmers and teaching them about new technology and better methods of farming, water management, and garbage and waste disposals?
Dr. Bharucha: We have, in our main iconic building, a water management drainage system which is part of the architecture. Currently, the water is used to refresh the ground water and we need to take additional steps to store some of that water for the dry season to reduce the consumption of water that we receive from the municipal supply. We need to make sure that we monitor water quality. As of now, we have started testing it so on campus but we would like to extend that to the canal around our campus and make this information available to local communities and make them aware and understand the national/international standards are for drinking water so that we can reduce disease, particularly childhood diseases are results of and spread by water. So if we can take care of the quality of water, we can eliminate a lot of suffering, illnesses which all drags down the economy.
All of these are incredible ideas and I would like to thank the Hon’ble Member of Parliament, Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi to move forward on it. We would like to explore all of them and set us several committees that will bring together the expertise of our faculty and the passions of our students and then we can connect with the local communities, first with their leaders and also with other organisations which might be on the ground to see where we can make the most difference in any of these areas.
Our higher education institutions have been focussed on theoretical knowledge. It is much more difficult to actually work with cultural, linguistic issues, socio-economic issues in the community than it is to go out and spread the knowledge we have.
This is not something that universities know how to do well but they need to figure it out especially if they are to be potent engines of change for society and for policy.
What I hear from you is that you would like translate the philosophy of the university into a more a practical classroom model to a more practical hands-on experience. So are you planning to create a new classroom model where the students get enough practical experiences in addition to the theory and work with the surroundings?
Dr. Bharucha: The word practical has a lot of historical baggage so what I would say that we have been too theoretical, particularly in the Indian education system. We need to offer applications of it (the teachings imparted). Applications can occur at different levels. We can apply the scientific knowledge in the design of technology, the production of new product/system. One can also apply the knowledge in economics and social sciences, psychology and sociology to try to design organisations that do good community work.
Social entrepreneurship programs aimed at communities give students the opportunity to find where they fit along the spectrum from theoretical (pure sciences, curiosity-driven knowledge) to the practical, the day-to-day tangible, all of which are essential for a university.