The way forward for technology: Drones and Automation

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Automation has been a field of interest since many years now. From automated emails to cars, we as humans have achieved a lot and have been using these technologies for getting things done faster and more accurately. But what else are we looking at? How are we going to move forward? In this article I will be mentioning the missing links by taking an example of Drones.
Drones are available online for as low as 4000 INR and many individuals have started showing interest in them. But is it legal to fly a drone anywhere you like? Can we feel safe while these machines are hovering above our head? Let’s answer these questions one by one.
With the advent of technology, we can now control drones with our iPhones or iPods and it does not require a lot of practice and patience to get the flying skills. But many people don’t realize that they can face serious legal charges if they end up flying in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even if we are ok with the fines, we have to understand that machines are not perfect and things can go wrong with them. So the answer to the first question is no, it is not legal to fly drones anywhere you like.
In terms of hurting people, drones can be considered as flying lawn mowers. Also, since they allow us to record and stream videos they can be a serious threat to privacy. Thus, as of today it is difficult for us to feel safe with drones.
So how are we going to move forward? Every new technology has got its drawbacks and can always be exploited in a negative way. But this does not mean that we should stop inventing. Companies like Google and Amazon have already started exploring the options for using drones to deliver mails and packages. I am sure you must have heard about the 30 minutes Pizza delivery service. The future services might get anything within a certain weight limit, delivered to your door stop within 30 minutes. This has already been tested by Amazon and they are excited to launch Amazon Prime Air which may look like science fiction, but it’s real. These drones will be flying under 400 feet and will make use of sense and avoid technology which comes with intense automation to ensure safety.

Amazon prime air drone picture
When cars were first invented, people had so many objections. The suggestions which were made were mostly bizarre, like every car should have a man walking in front with a red flag. And these debates did not stop until the government decided that cars are good for the society and we should have more of them. That is when roads were constructed and traffic rules got defined. Same should be the case with drones or any other invention that is useful for the mankind. So, let’s collaborate and find the right balance for future.

Energy harvesting ideas on Discovery News

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I just came across some very nice ideas on Discovery news.

The first one was about using the kinetic energy of vehicles to produce electricity as they pass over speed bumps.

Speed bumps

Click to read the concerned article

And the other one used a similar concept for making tiles to harvest energy of footsteps.

tiles_discovery news

Click to read the concerned article

These inventions are magnificent. But can they really help us?

This comment from Mr. Bob might enlighten a bit:

Bob (Sunday, October 23, 2011, 02:31:13) : I wonder if they’ve gotten the production costs down to where it becomes profitable for corporations?  These sustainable energy technologies are great, but the inventors really need to focus on getting production costs down, or they’re just expensive toys.  No organization will buy these tiles if they’re so expensive that the first investment outweighs the energy savings over the life of the tile.
I hope such ideas can be put to their best use, which can be made possible if the government and concerned organizations put their interest to it.

P.S. : We need invention and innovation to succeed. 

Asia IT Expo 2011

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Bailiwick Reckoner

Asia IT Expo : 14-16 Jan 2011


Things that gained my interest

Even before entering the “Pragati maidan” (place where expo was held in Delhi) I was offered a newspaper named “Connexxion Plus” which is published every fortnight. It contained many advertisements from the top companies like Dell, HTC, Toshiba, Intel and was basically featuring latest technical news. Although it costs Rs.15 in the market but we were offered it for free.

As I had already registered online I just had to tick some check boxes to get my Visitor Card from the registration booth.

The free newspaper was just the beginning, I was offered a lot of pamphlets, bookmarks and even hand bags.

This was not like other fairs where one has to deal with the hustling crowd, the stalls were well organized and there was plenty of room to move around. I started with the stall of “WD” products featuring Portable hard disks, media players. The volunteers present there were very attentive and made sure that the person looking at their stall is taken care of. The one at this stall told me about the prices and capacity of their product called “My Book Mirror” in which one can store data from 1TB-2TB.

Reference: http://wdc.com

Next was a Chinese company called “Trus” which featured really attractive USB flash disks and solid state disks. They were uniquely creative with the designs of the USB disks which came in different shapes.

Reference: http://trus.cc

Another company with similar creativity was “Touchmate”. They experimented with the designs of  IT peripherals and digital lifestyle products. Some of the good ones included, Home theatre with touch panel, Polarized MP3 sunglasses, DVD Boombox and rechargeable MP3 speakers.

Reference: http://touchmateindia.com

Being a fan of movies, the stall featuring projectors gained my attention at once. The company called “Boxlight” provides various kind of projectors including ProjectoWrite2 which came with the interactive white board technology. The person could interact with the whiteboard using the wand or pen without even touching it. Actually the colour camera with I/R filter mounted on the projector allows for interaction with the wand and light pen. This would have been more interesting for me if I had not watched the video telling me about the cameras and sensors, so I just collected their pamphlet and moved on.

Reference: http://boxlight.in

Another interesting thing were the Mini USB speakers featured by “advik”. Despite of their streamlined sleek design they provided high-efficiency with low distortion. These looked really easy to carry and had USB direct power supply connection convenience.

Reference: http://advik.net

Next stall was of “HDRC” i.e. Hard Drive Data Recovery. Other than the recovery and cyber forensic services they were offering data recovery training as well. This included complete information on how to recover lost data in a secure and efficient way, so that one can make his own Data Recovery Lab. All the hardware products are being provided to the trainee along with online access. I think it is a nice way to build a career, as recovering data is considered to be most difficult and companies are ready to pay hefty amounts of money to get their data back from damaged drives.

Reference: http://hdrconline.com

I have used some online forms and databases lately and one of the websites that provides me such facility is “zoho.com”. They had their stall here providing online office, collaboration, business and productivity applications. Most of their applications are quite easy to use and give desired output. I will definitely suggest everyone to go through this website, as they give many services on trial basis.

Reference: http://zoho.com

We have been using scanners for different purposes, but we do have to bring our document to the scanner as we cannot carry our scanner to the document itself. Well, this is not the scenario anymore as the next stall of “Portronics” featured a portable handheld scanner which was much like a stick. Instead of using a bulky scanner, now we can use this handy machine to scan our documents, photos, maps, textures and anything up to 50 inches. It is not supposed to be connected to any computer as the scanned images are stored in its internal storage (up to 32 GB), which can be later accessed via USB port. It runs on AA batteries and doesn’t require any drivers. I think it is a very useful device and can be quite helpful for scanning difficult areas.

Reference: http://www.smartdevices.in/

A panel of computers is not a rare setting these days. And mostly it is not necessary for every terminal to have its own cabinet, especially for offices, banks, schools, internet cafes and factories. The company named “Sunde” was featuring thin client network computing using which one can extend a standard PC to a computing system with up to 40 users to work independently and simultaneously. Other than saving space and hardware cost it provides low power consumption with no noise output and no maintenance required. The device had all the required ports including Ethernet (RJ45), VGA monitor, USB, mouse, keyboard, mic and speaker. Moreover, it was designed in such a way that it could adjust between parallel and crossover cable automatically.

Reference: http://sunde.in

The companies often need a card printing machine and “Evolis” was featuring a similar portable color printer called Pebble, to personalize single-sided cards on demand or in volume. It provided large choice of consumables and encoding options like magnetic stripes, ID badges, payment cards, secured access control cards, driver’s licenses, health cards, transit passes, loyalty cards, event cards, contact smart cards and contact-less cards.

Reference: http://evolis.com

P.S. : Altogether it was a comprehensive expo!

 

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