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Other Technological developments : news and updates

  • “Jivan Vayu”- Nation’s first power-free CPAP device developed by IIT Ropar
    What is the News?

    Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar has developed a device named ‘Jivan Vayu’.

    About Jivan Vayu:
    • Jivan Vayu is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure(CPAP) device. It can be used as a substitute for existing CPAP machines.
    • Key Features of the Device:
      • Firstly, It is India’s first CPAP device that functions even without electricity.
      • Secondly, the device is adapted to both kinds of oxygen generation units like O2 cylinders and oxygen pipelines in hospitals.
      • Thirdly, the device can deliver high flow oxygen up to 60 Litres Per Minute (LPM).
      • Fourthly, the device has an inbuilt viral filter which ensures that the air does not bring in any pathogens from the environment.
    • Significance: This device is especially important during the present Covid-19 pandemic. Further, the power supply is the key concern for saving lives of those on medical equipment such as ventilators and oxygen concentrators.
    What is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure(CPAP)?

    Read Also :-Medical Oxygen to be Imported

    • CPAP is a treatment method for patients having breathing problems during sleep called sleep apnea. The machine uses mild air pressure to keep the airways open for easy breathing.
    • This machine is also used to treat infants whose lungs have not fully developed. The machine blows air into the baby’s nose to help inflate his or her lungs.
    • Moreover, the machine is also required during the initial stages of Covid-19 disease. This is to mitigate lung damage and help patients recover from the inflammatory effects.

    The Issue of Medical Oxygen in India-Explained, Pointwise


    Source: PIB

  • What are “Overture supersonic aircraft” and what are its challenges?
    What is the news?

    Plans to buy 15 new Overture supersonic Aircraft have been announced by US-based United Airlines. These aircrafts are planned to be open for passengers by 2029.

    What are Supersonic Flights?

    • Supersonic aircraft are planes that can fly faster than the speed of sound.
    • Usually, supersonic planes can travel at the speed of around 900 kmph, twice the speed of normal aircraft.

    Read Also :-Centre eyes seaplanes in UDAN 3 

    First Supersonic Aircraft:
    • Concorde, the British-French turbojet-powered commercial airliner, was the first aircraft to carry passengers at supersonic speed.
    • But eventually, the aircraft had to be discontinued due to cost and other concerns.
    What about the Overture supersonic aircraft?
    • The Overture supersonic aircraft would travel at the speed of Mach 1.7 or 1,805 kmph. In a single flight, it could carry 65 to 88 passengers.
    • The aircraft will also not be noisy, as supersonic planes in the past were, as it aims for “zero overland noise.
      • Zero overland noise essentially means that the aircraft will fly at supersonic speeds only overwater. Thereby ensuring no sonic boom or excessive noise reaches the surfaces where people live.
    Challenges with Supersonic Flights:
    • Environment Pollution: The costs of making sustainable supersonic planes are extremely high. This is because using excessive amounts of fuel and energy is likely to have high environmental costs.
    • Excessive Noise: Travelling faster than the speed of sound causes a sonic boom which can be heard on the ground as a loud thunderclap or explosion. This limits where and when the supersonic planes can fly.
    • High Cost: Supersonic aircraft would not be economically feasible for everyone. Only the very rich can afford supersonic planes, as a ticket is likely to be way more costlier than a first-class ticket of a regular plane.

    Read Also :-Explained: What is Bhadbhut project? 

    Source: Indian Express

  • ISRO develops 3 types of ventilators(PRENA, VaU, SVASTA) to battle Covid-19
    What is the News?

    Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) has developed three types of ventilators(PRENA, VaU, SVASTA). These three ventilators have been developed at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre(VSSC), a major space research centre of ISRO in Kerala.

    Moreover, ISRO has said that it will transfer the technology of these ventilators to industry for clinical usage as India battles the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.

    Which are those three ventilators developed by ISRO?

     PRANA(Programmable Respiratory Assistance for the Needy Aid):

    • PRANA is a low-cost and portable critical care ventilator. The ventilator is based on the automated compression of an AMBU (Artificial Manual Breathing Unit) bag.
      • AMBU is a device commonly used to provide positive pressure ventilation to patients who are not breathing or not breathing adequately.
      • Positive pressure ventilation is a form of respiratory therapy that involves the delivery of air or a mixture of oxygen combined with other gases by positive pressure into the lungs.
    • Features:
      • The ventilator has a control system that includes an airway pressure sensor, flow sensor, oxygen sensor as well as expiration and PEEP (Positive End Expiratory Pressure) control valve.
      • The ventilator supports both invasive and non-invasive ventilation modes.
      • It is capable of giving mandatory breaths (controlled by a ventilator) as well as spontaneous breaths (controlled by the patient).
      • A robust algorithm for controlled and safe ventilation of the patient is implemented in the device. This raises an alarm and opens safety valves to prevent barotrauma, asphyxia during the ventilation.
      • There are also provisions to attach bacterial viral filters at each interface to prevent cross-infection and the contamination of air.
    VaU(Ventilation assist Unit):
    • VaU is an ICU grade positive pressure mechanical ventilator. It can assist or replace spontaneous breathing problems in patients under respiratory distress.
    • Working: The ventilator is based on a centrifugal blower that draws in filtered ambient air, compresses it and delivers it to the patient to achieve ventilation. It can therefore operate without a compressed pneumatic source.
    • The ventilator has been configured to operate in a variety of patient/ventilator triggered invasive and non-invasive ventilation modes. It also has provisions to detect fault conditions and raise alarms.
    Space Ventilator Aided System for Trauma Assistance(SVASTA)
    • SVASTA is a gas-powered ventilator. It can be used for non-invasive ventilation. Hence, it is well-suited for emergency use for first-line treatment and as transit ventilators inside vehicles.
    • Working: The ventilator runs on compressed air. It is able to perform various ventilation conditions using manual mechanical settings.
    • Significance: The basic design of the ventilator is simple as the components of it can be easily mass-produced for emergency use in pandemic like situations.

    Read Also :-Other Technological developments : news and updates

    Source: Indian Express


  • “Anti-hail guns” and their application in preventing hail storm
    What is the news?

    ‘Anti-hail guns’, developed indigenously, will be tested by the Himachal Pradesh government to help out horticulturists who face crop damage due to hailstorms.

    What are anti-hail guns?
    • An anti-hail gun is a machine that generates shock waves to disrupt the growth of hailstones in clouds.
    Who has developed these anti-hail guns?

    These anti-hail guns have been developed indigenously by IIT Bombay along with Dr Y S Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry at Nauni (Solan). They are likely to be much cheaper than the imported ones.

    How do anti-hail guns prevent a hail storm?

    • Anti-hail gun comprises a tall, fixed structure somewhat resembling an inverted tower, several meters high with a long and narrow cone opening towards the sky.
    • The gun is “fired” by feeding an explosive mixture of acetylene gasair into its lower chamber. This releases a shock wave (waves that travel faster than the speed of sound, such as those produced by supersonic aircraft).
    • These shock waves supposedly stop water droplets in clouds from turning into hailstones, so that they fall simply as raindrops.
    What are Hailstorms?
    • A hailstorm is an unusual weather phenomenon in which balls of ice, called hail, fall from the sky. The ice balls are nothing more than solid precipitation that forms under certain conditions.
    How are Hails formed?
    • Hails are formed by cumulonimbus clouds which are generally large and dark and may cause thunder and lightning.
    • In such clouds, winds can blow up the water droplets to heights where they freeze into ice.
    • The frozen droplets begin to fall but are soon pushed back up by the winds and more droplets freeze onto them, resulting in multiple layers of ice on the hailstones.
    • This fall and rise are repeated several times, till the hailstones become too heavy and fall down.
    Previous such anti-hail guns used in Himachal:
    • In 2010, the Himachal Pradesh government had imported three anti-hail guns from the United States. They were installed in the apple-growing belt of Shimla where hailstorms in summer cause severe damage to the fruit every year.
    • Two of the machines are currently functional, while the third one was rejected by local residents.
    • State horticulture department officials maintain that since the installation of the guns, hail has occurred very few times in the villages.

    Source: Indian Express


  • What is “XraySetu” Service?
    What is the News?

    The government has launched XraySetu service for rapid screening of COVID 19. with the help of Chest X-ray interpretation over WhatsApp for doctors who have access to X-ray machines.

    About XraySetu Service:

    • XraySetu is an Artificial Intelligence(AI) driven Xray interpretation platform.
    • Purpose: It has been developed to identify COVID-19 positive patients even from low-resolution Chest X-Ray images sent over WhatsApp.
    • Developed by: ARTPARK (AI & Robotics Technology Park) in collaboration with Bangalore-based HealthTech startup Niramai and Indian Institute of Science(IISc).
    How does XraySetu work?
    • A doctor takes a phone picture of the Chest X-Ray of a suspected patient.
    • Then the doctor sends the X-Ray pic over to a Whatsapp number of XraySetu via chatbot.
    • At XraySetu end, image review is done for anonymization, and then it is sent to the XraySetu AI service.
    • XraySetu AI Service then analyses the X-ray using specialized machine learning and deep learning algorithms built for detecting unique Covid features in the lungs.
    • After analysing, a full report with a probability of COVID, pneumonia, markings on the lung image is automatically generated.
    • The doctor then receives the report from the same WhatsApp number on his phone. The doctor then reads the report and appropriately advises the patient.
    About ARTPARK:
    • ARTPARK (AI & Robotics Technology Park) is a not-for-profit foundation. It was established by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, with support from the Department of Science & Technology(DST).
    • Purpose: To promote technology innovation missions in AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Robotics. These missions should have a societal impact in sectors such as healthcare, education, mobility, infrastructure, agriculture, retail, and cyber-security.
    • Nodal Mission: The park was established under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS).

     Source: PIB

  • “AmbiTAG”- India’s First Indigenous Temperature Data Logger

    What is the News?

    Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar(IIT Ropar) in Punjab has developed a device named AmbiTag.

     About AmbiTag:

    • AmbiTag is the first-of-its-kind Internet of Things(IoT) device. The device will be helpful in following areas. They are: secure transportation of vaccines, blood and body organs, perishable products (food and dairy) among others.
    • How does the device work?
      • The device records real-time ambient temperature during the transportation of perishable products, vaccines, and even body organs and blood.
      • The recorded temperature helps to know whether that particular item transported from anywhere in the world is still usable or perished because of temperature variation.
    • Developed under: AWaDH (Agriculture and Water Technology Development Hub) and its Startup ScratchNest developed the device.
      • AWaDH is a research center at IIT Ropar. Established with support from the Department of Science and Technology(DST) and the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB). It carries out extensive research in the field of agriculture and water.
    • Significance:
      • AmbiTAG is India’s first indigenous temperature data logger for the cold chain management
      • Moreover, the device is also particularly critical for vaccines including the Covid-19 vaccine, organs, and blood transportation.

    Source: PIB

  • High Mercury level Found in Rivers linked to Greenland’s Glacial Meltwaters
    What is the News?

    According to a study published in Nature Geoscience, Greenland’s glacial meltwaters have unusually high levels of mercury.

    About the study:
    • Researchers from the Florida State University have analyzed the meltwater rivers. These rivers receive substantial amounts of water from the Greenland ice sheet.
    • The samples were filtered to remove any sediment and kept safe from contamination. Then the researchers analysed the mercury concentration in each one.
    Key Findings of the study:
    • Firstly, researchers found high concentrations of mercury in the water bodies fed by the Greenland Ice Sheet.
    • Secondly, the mercury level was almost ten times the volume of mercury found in normal rivers.
    • Thirdly, the mercury level was also similar to that found in the polluted inland rivers of China.
    How did mercury reach the water bodies of Greenland?
    • Mercury is a naturally occurring metal found in some rocks. As glaciers slowly flow downhill, the meltwater grinds up the underlying rocks. It results in mixing mercury into the meltwater.
    • Hence, the mercury did not end up in the meltwaters from industries or other anthropogenic activities, as is the case with most contaminants.
    Significance of this study:
    • The findings will change the perception that glaciers have little or no influence on the Earth’s geochemical and biological processes.
    • Moreover, there is a concern that large volumes of mercury can reach the coastal food webs through bioaccumulation. It will impact the Arctic ecosystem.
      • Bioaccumulation: It refers to the process by which pollutants enter a food chain. Bioaccumulation occurs when an organism absorbs a toxic substance at a rate greater than that at which there is elimination of the substance.

    Source: Down To Earth


  • India starts importing “zeolite” for medical oxygen plants.

    What is the News?

    National carrier Air India has begun the first of its “zeolite cargo flights”. This was done after the government of India started the process of importing zeolite from across the world for use in medical oxygen plants.

    Zeolites in Medical Oxygen Plants:
    • Zeolites are used as adsorbent material in the Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) process to produce medical-grade oxygen.
    • How is it used? The zeolite is used as a molecular sieve to create purified oxygen from the air. This is done by using zeolite’s ability to trap impurities.
    • An oxygen concentrator uses Zeolites to adsorb atmospheric nitrogen and then vents out the nitrogen. This will leave highly purified oxygen and up to 5% argon.
    What is the Pressure Swing Adsorption(PSA) Process?
    • It is a technology used to separate some gas species from a mixture of gases under pressure.
    • Specific adsorbent materials (e.g., zeolites, activated carbon, molecular sieves, etc.) are used as a trap and adsorb the target gas at high pressure. For example, zeolite is used to separate oxygen from the air.
    • The PSA process operates at near-ambient temperatures.
    What are Zeolites?
    • Zeolites are microporous, aluminosilicate minerals commonly used as commercial adsorbents and catalysts.
    • Zeolites have small openings of fixed size in them. This allows small molecules to pass through them easily. However, larger molecules cannot pass through them. This is why they are sometimes called molecular sieves.


    • Zeolites occur naturally but are also produced industrially on a large scale.
    • Natural zeolites form where volcanic rocks and ash layers react with alkaline groundwater.
    • However, naturally occurring zeolites are rarely pure and are contaminated to varying degrees by other minerals.
    • For this reason, naturally occurring zeolites are excluded from important commercial applications.
    Properties of Zeolites:
    • Zeolites are very stable solids that resist a variety of environmental conditions. The melting point of zeolite is very high (over 1000°C), and they don’t burn.
    • They also resist high pressures.
    • Moreover, they also don’t get dissolved in water or other inorganic solvents and don’t oxidize in the air.
    • Since zeolites are not reactive and are obtained from naturally occurring minerals, they do not have any harmful environmental effects.
    Uses of Zeolites:
    • Zeolites are widely used as ion-exchange beds in domestic and commercial water purification, softening, and other applications.
    • They have the potential of providing precise and specific separation of gases. This includes the removal of H2O, CO2, and SO2 from low-grade natural gas streams.
    • Zeolites are also marketed as dietary supplements to treat cancer, diarrhoea, autism, herpes, and hangover. It is also used to balance pH and remove heavy metals in the body.

    Source: The Hindu


  • Project MediCAB: Augmentation of Hospital Infrastructure
    What is the News?

    IIT Madras supported start-up Modulus Housing has developed a portable hospital unit called ‘MediCAB’.

    About Project MediCAB:
    • Project MediCAB is an initiative of the Office of principal scientific advisor and IIT Madras.
    • Purpose: It is a portable hospital unit that has been developed to boost healthcare infrastructure by assisting states to set up COVID-19 extension hospitals.
    • The project is a decentralized approach to detect, screen, identify, isolate and treat COVID-19 patients in their local communities through these portable microstructures.
    • Features:
      • The portable hospital is foldable. It is composed of four zones- an isolation room, a doctor’s room, a twin bed ICU, maintained at negative pressure, and a medical room/ward.
      • The hospital can be easily assembled in eight hours by four people. Further, when folded the unit can be reduced five-fold which makes it very cost-effective for transportation.
    • Significance: Innovations such as MediCAB will help in boosting the healthcare infrastructure in India as it can be rapidly transported. The hospital can be deployed at any place and at any time.

    Source: DDNews

    “IIT Council” sets up panels for more autonomy

  • How does an Oxygen concentrator help?

    What is the News?

    Oxygen Concentrators have emerged as a sought after device as the demand for medical oxygen continues unabated and several states struggle to keep pace with the demand.

    What are Oxygen Concentrators?
    • Oxygen Concentrator is a medical device that takes in air and separates the oxygen and delivers it into a person via a nasal cannula.
    When is an oxygen concentrator needed?
    • Oxygen Concentrator could help those whose saturation levels range between 88 and 92.
    • Any lower would require more intensive oxygenation and any higher would mean that an improvement in lung function can obviate the need for such a device.


    • Atmospheric air has about 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen with other gases making up the remaining 1%.
    • The concentrator takes in this atmospheric air, filters out the nitrogen and concentrates all the oxygen.
    • The oxygen that is concentrated in this device holds about 90 to 95% purity.
    • Firstly, an Oxygen Concentrator consists of a compressor and sieve bed filter.
    • Secondly, the compressor squeezes atmospheric air and also adjusts the pressure at which it is delivered.
    • Thirdly, the sieve bed is made of a material called Zeolite that separates the nitrogen.
    • Fourthly, there are two sieve beds that work to both release oxygen into a tank that’s connected to the cannula as well as release the separated nitrogen and form a continuous loop that keeps producing fresh oxygen.
    Are all concentrators the same?
    • The Oxygen Concentrator comes with a variety of specifications.There are those with varying oxygen outputs.
    • For COVID-19 patients, a device with a 5L-10 L output is recommended.

    Types of Oxygen Concentrators: There are two types of oxygen concentrators namely:

    • Continuous flow: It provides the same flow of oxygen in a minute until its been turned off.
    • Pulse dose: It identifies the patient’s breathing pattern and gives out oxygen when it detects inhalation.

    Further Reading on Difference between Oxygen Concentrator and Medical Oxygen

     Source: The Hindu


  • “Global Electric Vehicles Outlook 2021” released by IEA
    What is the News?

    International Energy Agency(IEA) has released a report titled “Global Electric Vehicle Outlook Report,2021”.

    The Global EV Outlook(GEVO) is an annual report published by IEA. The report looks at the latest EV trends. Apart from that, it also looks at the drivers for road transport sector electrification around the world.

    Key Findings of Global Electric Vehicles Outlook 2021 related to India:
    • More than 30% of the new vehicle sales in India will be electric by 2030.
    • Electric Vehicles(EV) deployment in India will mainly be achieved through the electrification of two/three-wheelers. The report mentions that electric two/three-wheeler sales will reach a sales share of almost 50% by 2030.
    • However, the lack of government spending under the FAME II Scheme has delayed EV deployment in India.
    • Further, EV deployment was also delayed due to pressure on domestic automakers to focus on BS-VI innovation instead of EVs.
    International findings of Global Electric Vehicles Outlook 2021:
    • Firstly, three million new electric cars were registered in 2020. This was 41% higher than those registered in 2019.
    • Secondly, the rise in electric car sales in 2020 came even as the worldwide automobile market contracted by 16% due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • Thirdly, apart from that, the number of electric cars, buses, vans and heavy trucks on roads is expected to hit 145 million by 2030.
    • Fourthly, if the governments improve their efforts to meet international climate goals, then the number of global electric vehicles will increase to 230 million by 2030.
    About International Energy Agency(IEA):
    • It was established in 1974 as an autonomous intergovernmental organization under the OECD framework.
    • Objective: To ensure reliable, affordable, and clean energy for its member countries and beyond.
    • Members: It has 30 member countries and eight association countries. India became an associate member in 2017.
    • Secretariat: Paris, France.

    Source: IEA

  • “Oldest water on Earth” helps in the quest for life on Mars
    What is the News?

    According to scientists, the findings of the “Oldest Water on Earth” could provide information about the nature of water and life on Earth and the possibility of finding life on Mars.

    The Oldest Water on Earth:
    • In 2009, Geologist Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar of the University of Toronto extracted water from a Canadian mine. That water was found to be 1.6 billion years old– the oldest to be found on our planet.
    • The discovery of water was at a depth of 2.4 kilometres in Kidd Creek Mine in Canada.
    • The sample of the oldest water was then sent to the UK’s Oxford University for further research.
    What did the scientists find?
    • The oldest water on Earth was found to be highly saline. The oldest water was ten times saltier than seawater.
    • The chemolithotrophic microbes had been able to survive in this highly saline water
      • Chemolithotrophic microbes: These are bacteria that can thrive in the most extreme surroundings such as the absence of light, organic presence, etc.
    • Moreover, these microbes were found feeding on nitrogen and sulphate. The chemistry that supported them is similar to ocean beds that are known to support similar extreme life forms.
    • Hence, it was concluded that the Canadian Shield on which the Kidd Creek Mine is located used to form an ocean floor in the past.
    • However, due to millions of years of flux, the horizontal seabed became vertical from which the water sample was extracted.
    Significance of these Findings:

     Possibility of Life on Mars:

    • The Canadian Shield which has the least tectonic activity is the closest analogue on Earth to the subsurface of Mars.
    • If the life-supporting water can be found at this Canadian Shield which is 2.4 km below the Earth.
    • Then, it may be possible that the same could be true in the case of the Red Planet.
    • Hence, this hypothesis provides help for Mars missions like Perseverance. As the Perseverance and other missions are looking for signs of present or past life on Mars.

    Source: Indian Express

  • “Deep Time Project”: Volunteers Leave Cave After 40 Days in Isolation
    What is the News?

    The Deep Time project in France’s Lombrives Cave has come to an end.

    About Deep Time Project:
    • The Deep Time Project was led by the scientists of the Human Adaptation Institute in partnership with labs in France and Switzerland.
    • Aim: The project aimed to test how people adapt to changes in living conditions and environments.
    • As part of the Project, 15 participants lived in the Lombrives cave in France for 40 days with no phones, clocks or sunlight. They slept in tents, made their own electricity, and had no contact with the outside world.
    • The group also had to organise tasks without having deadlines measured with time. Instead, they had to rely on their body clocks and sleep cycles to structure their days.
    Significance of the study:
    • Firstly, the project will help scientists understand how people can adapt to extreme living conditions.
    • Secondly, the brain activity and cognitive function of volunteers were analysed before they entered the cave. This data is used for comparative studies after they leave the cave.
    • Further, the purpose of the study has particular relevance during the coronavirus pandemic, as millions of people live in lockdown induced isolation.

    Source: The Hindu

  • CSIR-CMERI Indigenously Developed “Oxygen Enrichment Technology”
    What is the News?

    CSIR-CMERI in association with MSME-DI has indigenously developed Oxygen Enrichment Technology.

    About Oxygen Enrichment Technology:
    • It is a device that concentrates the oxygen from the air around us by selectively removing nitrogen to supply oxygen-enriched air.
    • The concentrated Oxygen is delivered to the patients, having respiratory diseases, through an oxygen mask or nasal cannula.
    • Uses:
      • The device can be used in remote places, homes, or hospital-like facilities for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), chronic hypoxemia and pulmonary edema.
      • It may be used as an adjunct treatment for severe sleep apnea.
    Key Features of the Oxygen Enrichment technology developed by CSIR-CMERI:
    • Firstly, the unit works on the principle of Pressure Swing Adsorption(PSA). It utilizes Zeolite Columns to selectively remove nitrogen from air under certain pressure thereby increasing the Oxygen Concentration.
    • Secondly, the unit is capable of delivering medical air in the range of up to 15 Litres Per Minute(LPM) with oxygen purity of more than 90%. If required, this unit can even deliver up to 70 LPM at a purity of around 30%. It is way better in comparison to other commercially available devices.
    • Thirdly, the commercially available Oxygen Enrichment Units generally work till 8000 ft from sea level. However, this unit can work up to the altitude of 14000 ft. Therefore, it makes it very handy for the usage at high altitude terrain battlefield in contingencies.

    Note: Pressure swing adsorption(PSA) is the process by which atmospheric air passes through an internal filtration system (e.g. a molecular sieve [zeolite granules or membranes]). This system has a large enough total surface area to separate nitrogen(N2) from the air concentrating the remaining oxygen (O2) to a known purity.

    Source: PIB


  • “Oxygen Express” Trains – Railways Waive off Few Charges

    What is the News?

    Indian Railways has decided to waive certain charges on ‘Oxygen Express’ trains. This decision is important due to the increase in demand for Liquid Oxygen from major hospitals across the country.

    Oxygen Express:
    • Oxygen Express is a special train transporting liquid medical oxygen to states and Union Territories in cryogenic tankers.
    • It was started to meet the high demand for liquid Medical oxygen gas for the treatment of coronavirus patients.
    Why Transport of Liquid Oxygen through train?
    • Transportation of oxygen through trains is faster over long distances than road transport.
    • Transportation through rail takes 2 days. On the other hand, transportation through the road takes 3 days.
    • Further, trains can run 24 hours a day but truck drivers need to take halts.
    • Oxygen in a cryogenic state is a hazardous chemical. Hence, Railways have to avoid sudden acceleration, deceleration to check pressures in between especially when it is in a loaded condition.

    Source: The Hindu

  • What are “Oxygen concentrators” and how are they different from Oxygen cylinders?

    What is the News?

    Currently, Oxygen concentrators are in much demand for oxygen therapy. Demand is high especially among patients in home isolation and for hospitals running out of oxygen.

    About Oxygen Concentrators:
    • Oxygen Concentrator is a medical device. It filters oxygen from the atmosphere and helps individuals inhale it through a mask or cannula.
    How does it work?
    • Atmospheric air has about 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen with other gases making up the remaining 1%.
    • The concentrator takes in this atmospheric air, filters it through a sieve. Further, it releases the nitrogen back into the air and works on the remaining oxygen.
    • This oxygen compressed and dispensed through a cannula, is 90-95% pure.
    • A pressure valve in concentrators helps regulate supply, ranging from 1-10 litres of oxygen per minute.
    How is it different from oxygen cylinders and LMO?
    • The oxygen cylinder gives you a finite amount of oxygen. When the cylinder is empty, it needs to be refilled. Whereas the concentrator pulls oxygen from the air. So it can provide a consistent supply of oxygen, and it only needs a power source to draw in Atmospheric air.
    • Oxygen Concentrators are portable and need no special temperature. On the other hand, Liquid Medical Oxygen(LMO) needs to be stored and transported in cryogenic tankers.
    • Oxygen from Concentrators is not as pure as Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) which is 99% pure oxygen. But it is good enough for mild and moderate Covid-19 patients with oxygen saturation levels of 85% or above. However, it is not advisable for ICU patients.
    • Oxygen concentrators are the easiest alternatives to cylinders but can only supply 5-10 liters of oxygen per minute (critical patients may need 40-50 liters per minute).
    • Oxygen Concentrators are more expensive than Oxygen cylinders. But it is largely a one-time investment. Apart from electricity and routine maintenance, there is a little operational cost. While oxygen cylinders incur refilling and transportation costs.

    Source: Indian Express

    The Issue of Medical Oxygen in India-Explained, Pointwise

  • Green Hydrogen – The Fuel of the Future

    Synopsis Green hydrogen is becoming a new alternative to fossil fuel. Currently, many countries are taking steps to move towards a hydrogen economy.

    • Hydrogen is an energy carrier. It is converted into electricity by fuel cells, which generate electricity by mixing hydrogen and oxygen atoms.
    • It will play an important role in delivering zero-emission transport. The pathway to use hydrogen economy includes hydrogen production, storage, transport, and utilization.
    Importance of Hydrogen as a fuel
    1. Environment friendly- Hydrogen is a clean fuel that, when consumed in a fuel cell, releases only water as a by-product. Due to their high efficiency and zero-or near zero-emissions operation, hydrogen has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emission.
    2. Readily available –It is a basic earth element and is very abundant, but challenging to separate hydrogen gas from its companion substances.
    3. Alternative to fuel – It produces three times more energy than other fossil fuels.
    4. Hydrogen as an Energy Storage System-
    5. Future’ fuel – Fossil fuels can no longer be used to meet the world’s energy needs.


    1. Cost – The greatest challenge for hydrogen production, particularly from renewable resources, is providing hydrogen at lower cost.
    2. Storage- Moving even small amounts of Hydrogen is a very expensive matter. For that reason alone, the transport and storage of such a substance looks impractical.
    3. External energy source is required to isolate hydrogen – It does not occur naturally as a gas on the Earth. It is always in combination with other elements such as water (H2O).
    4. Lesser production of green hydrogen – Around 120 tons of hydrogen are produced annually and less than one per cent is green hydrogen.
    5. Low production of Electrolysers – There is currently no major Indian manufacturer of Electrolysers [splits water into hydrogen and oxygen]. As a result, India is reportedly importing electrolysers, which makes the cost uneconomical.
    6. Limited technology for compressing and storing hydrogen for automobiles.

    Initiative taken by different nations and global companies in field of green hydrogen-

    • European Union-
        • In June 2020, EU announced to install 40GW of renewable hydrogen electrolysers. It will produce up to 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen by 2030.
    • Saudi Arabia-
        • Saudi Arabia is setting up a $5 billion solar and wind energy plant to produce green hydrogen. On completion the plant will be the world’s largest green hydrogen facility, producing 650 tons of green hydrogen.
    • India-
        • During Budget 2021-22, FM launches the National Hydrogen Energy Mission (NHEM). The goal is to produce 175GW of green hydrogen by 2022. It has set aside Rs 1,500 crore for the mission.
    • 7 global companies launch Green Hydrogen catapult initiative-
        • World’s leading green hydrogen companies unite to drive 50-fold scale-up in six years. The New initiative aims to reduce costs to below $2 per Kg, to transform energy across most carbon intensive industries, speeding the race to zero emissions.
    Way forward-
    • Green Hydrogen must be cost-competitive with conventional fuels. To reduce overall hydrogen cost, research must focus on improving technologies related to compressing and storing hydrogen for automobiles.
    • Electrolyser manufacturing and deployment must be scaled up from the current capacity of 0.3 GW to nearly 5,000 GW by 2050.
    • India should focus on pilot projects to get better understanding of the usage.

      Source – Down To Earth

  • What is “Dogecoin” cryptocurrency?
    What is the News?

    Dogecoin’s value has risen phenomenally this week– adding around $19.9 billion in the last 24 hours and now valued at $34 billion.

    About Dogecoin:
    • Dogecoin is a Cryptocurrency created in 2013 by software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer. It was created as a faster alternative to Bitcoin.
    • Origin: The starting of Dogecoin was as a satire on the numerous fraud crypto coins that had sprung up at the time. It takes its name and logo from a Shiba Inu meme that was viral several years ago.
    • How is it different from Bitcoins? Bitcoins fixed the maximum possible number as 21 million. It is a figure that is estimated to be reached by 2040. But the Dogecoin numbers do not have an upper limit and there are already more than 100 billion in existence.
    • The reason behind Dogecoin’s Rise: The main reason believed to be behind Dogecoin’s rise is its listing on Coinbase (Coinbase is the most popular virtual currency exchange in the US).
    • Concerns: Cryptocurrencies can be highly volatile and may crash as fast as they rise. This is because they do not have any intrinsic value such as land or gold. Further, they are also susceptible to manipulation by small groups who often hold large numbers of virtual currency in circulation.

    Source: Indian Express

  • DRDO Develops SpO2 Based “Supplemental Oxygen Delivery System”
    What is the News? 

    The Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) launches the SpO2 (Blood Oxygen Saturation) supplemental Oxygen Delivery System. It will be useful for soldiers in extreme high-altitude areas.

    About DRDO’s Supplemental Oxygen Delivery System:
    • Purpose: The system delivers supplemental oxygen based on the SpO2 (Blood Oxygen Saturation) levels. Thus, it prevents the person from going into a state of Hypoxia.
      • Hypoxia is a state in which the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues is inadequate to fulfil all the energy requirements of the body.
    • Developed by:  Defence Bio-Engineering & ElectroMedical Laboratory (DEBEL), Bengaluru of DRDO
    • Significance: This system will also be helpful in the current Covid-19 pandemic. It is useful for household care for moderate Covid patients for Oxygen flow therapy.
    Key Features of the System:
    • The system has been indigenously developed. It has dual qualities of being robust & cheap.
    • Further, this system reads the blood oxygen saturation levels of the subject from a wrist-worn pulse oximeter. After that, the system delivers the required oxygen.
    • Moreover, the system can function at extreme altitudes featuring low barometric pressures, low temperatures, and humidity.
    • The system also has software safety checks in the system to ensure the functional reliability of the system in field conditions.

    Source: PIB


  • The Issue of Medical Oxygen in India-Explained, Pointwise

    A number of states are reporting shortage of medical oxygen after an increase in the number of Covid-19 patients. So, India is planning to import at least 50,000 metric tonnes of medical oxygen to cater to the rising demand. With the Covid-19 cases increasing day by day, the demand for medical oxygen is going to increase in near future.

    Bridging the shortage of oxygen supply is essential to avoid a situation like the Gorakhpur Hospital tragedy that occurred in 2017.  In 2017, 72 children of Uttar Pradesh’s Gorakhpur BRD Medical College died due to a lack of medical oxygen supply. So, in this article, we will explain the importance of medical oxygen and its impact on health care.

    About the decision to import medical oxygen
    • According to industry experts, India has the capacity to produce more than 7,000 metric tonnes of medical oxygen.
    • Maharashtra has the total capacity to produce  1,250 tonnes/day. But according to the government sources, Maharashtra has already exceeded its production capacity. Further, they are also procuring 50 tonnes from Chhattisgarh and 50 tonnes from Gujarat daily to meet their regular medical oxygen demands.
    • Madhya Pradesh, on the other hand, does not have its own manufacturing plant and relies on Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, and Uttar Pradesh for oxygen supply. With 59,193 active Covid-19 patients as of April 16, it requires 250 tonnes of oxygen daily.
    • Similarly, Gujarat’s Oxygen requirement has increased to 500 tonnes per day.
    • Further, As India touches 16 lakh active Covid-19 infections, many states reported a shortage of medical oxygen.
    • So the Health Ministry decides to import 50,000 metric tonnes of medical oxygen.
    What is medical oxygen?
    • Medical oxygen is high purity oxygen suitable for use in the human body. So, it is used for medical treatments.
    • The Medical Oxygen cylinders contain a high purity of oxygen gas(99.5% purity). No other types of gases are present in the medical oxygen cylinder. This is to prevent contamination.
    • The cylinders previously used for other purposes have to be evacuated, thoroughly cleaned, and labelled appropriately before filling up oxygen.
    Application of Oxygen in medical field

    Due to the indispensable use of medical oxygen, the World Health Organisation include this on their List of Essential Medicines. Today modern medicine almost depend on the support of oxygen supplies. Benefits include,

    • Provide a basis for virtually all modern anaesthetic techniques.
    • Restore tissue oxygen tension by improving oxygen availability. This is used for a wide range of conditions such as shock, severe haemorrhage, carbon monoxide poisoning, major trauma, cardiac/respiratory arrest.
    • Provide life support for artificially ventilated patients.
    • Aid cardiovascular stability of patients.
    • To aid heartbeat stability in an acutely ill patient
    Side effects of medical oxygen

    If it is used above the prescribed amount, the medical oxygen creates certain side effects. This is why the doctor prescription of oxygen is essential. The side effects include,

    • Convulsions or seizure will appear in patients after a few hours of exposure to oxygen at pressures above 3bar(g).
    • It can cause Retrolenticular fibroplasia in premature infants if they exposed to oxygen concentrations greater than 40%. In short, it is a condition of abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye. Retrolenticular fibroplasia is the leading cause of child blindness today in the world.
    • Some patients will also develop coughing and breathing difficulties after they put under medical oxygen.
    • The issue of Oxygen toxicity: Excessive or inappropriate supplemental oxygen can cause severe damage to the lungs and other organ systems.
    Why there is a shortage of medical oxygen in India?
    1. Lack of cylinder and cryogenic tankers: India does not have enough cryogenic tankers to ensure 24×7 road transport of oxygen. Similarly, smaller suppliers do not have enough jumbo and dura cylinders to supply medical oxygen to remote locations. This results in higher prices for an oxygen cylinder. Thus raising the cost of oxygen.
    2. Setting up a medical oxygen plant is a time-consuming process: It is not feasible to set up new oxygen manufacturing plants or expanding existing plants within a month. For example, A private company that starts to install a new oxygen-producing facility in the past took almost 24 months to properly installing one manufacturing plant.
    3. Oxygen wastage and unnecessary use in hospitals: In the past, the Health Ministry repeatedly demanded hospitals to reduce wastage and unnecessary oxygen use in Hospitals. But the hospitals not yet take any decision on this. Industrial experts also raised concerns over possible leakages in hospital pipelines that supply oxygen.
    4. Heavy reliance on private players: Of the total medical oxygen supply nearly 60% is manufactured by only one private firm.
    Regulatory provisions of medical oxygen in India
    • According to the  Drug Prices Control Order, 2013, Medical oxygen is placed under the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM).
    • The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority will monitor and control the prices of the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM). 
    • So, the NPPA controls and monitors the medical oxygen prices in India.

    NPPA: It is an independent body set up in 1997. It is under the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

    Mandate: To fix/revise controlled bulk drug prices and formulations, enforce prices and availability of medicines under the Drug(Price Control) order, 2013.

    Government initiatives to increase the availability of medical oxygen

    During the Covid-19 pandemic, the government initiated various steps to increase the production of oxygen and also maintaining the prices. This includes,

    1. Under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare(MOHFW) delegated its powers to the NPPA. Especially to take all necessary steps to regulate the availability and pricing of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) and oxygen cylinders.
    2. Further, to ensure the availability of oxygen at a reasonable price the NPPA capped the price of medical oxygen cylinders and LMO for six months(in September).
    3. Recently, Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute(CMERI) develops an oxygen enrichment unit(OEU) that could provide crucial support to COVID-19 patients.  An oxygen enrichment unit is a device that concentrates the oxygen from the surrounding air.
    4. Mapping of oxygen sources for 12 high burden state: The Centre-appointed Empowered Group-2 mapped the medical oxygen capability in 12 States having high disease burden. Such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Gujarat, Delhi, etc.
    5. Identification of hospitals for installing PSA plants: Recently the MOHFW sanctioned the installation of 162 Pressure Swing Adsorption plants at hospitals to augment oxygen capacity by over 154 Metric Tonnes.
    6. During the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, industrial oxygen producers were allowed to produce LMO.
    Suggestions to improve medical oxygen
    1. Fixing the PSA Plants in remote locations: This will make hospitals manufacture their own oxygen and make the hospitals self-reliant. Further, it will reduce transportation costs and delays in oxygen supply.
    2. Exploring alternate mode of oxygen transportation: At present, oxygen transportation relies primarily on road transport. Industry experts suggest using trains to transport oxygen faster.
    3. Converting surplus industrial oxygen into medical oxygen: Empowered Group-2 suggested using argon and nitrogen tankers in oxygen transport to fulfil the demand. It also suggested using industrial cylinders for refilling. The government can implement the suggestions.
    4. Curbing oxygen wastage and unnecessary use in hospitals: The MOHFW repeatedly warned against this. The health ministry even appointed an expert committee to fix medical oxygen for patients. The committee suggested the following,
      • Firstly, fixing the oxygen supply to 40 liters in intensive care units and 15 litres in normal wards per patient per minute.
      • Secondly, providing oxygen only to patients having oxygen saturation levels below 94%. (Oxygen saturation in the blood below the level of 94 is considered as a matter of concern for people suffering from Covid-19).
        The hospitals have to follow this limit as it will reduce wastage.

    Oxygen is essential for hospital care. India is improving its capacity drastically. But till then it is the responsibility of doctors to use the oxygen effectively.

  • India to Import “Medical Oxygen” to cater demand

    What is the News? A number of states are reporting shortages of medical oxygen for a growing number of Covid-19 patients. This is why, India is planning to import 50,000 metric tonnes of medical oxygen to cater to the rising demand.

    About Medical Oxygen:
    • Medical oxygen is high purity oxygen suitable for use in the human body. So, it is used for medical treatments.
    • No other types of gases are present in the medical oxygen cylinder. This is to prevent contamination.
    Applications in the medical field:
    • Firstly, Provide a basis for virtually all modern anesthetic techniques.
    • Secondly, Restore tissue oxygen tension by improving oxygen availability in a wide range of conditions such as shock, severe hemorrhage, carbon monoxide poisoning, major trauma, cardiac/respiratory arrest
    • Thirdly, Aid resuscitation (action or process of reviving someone from unconsciousness or apparent death)
    • Fourthly, Provide life support for artificially ventilated patients, etc.
    Manufacturing and distribution of Cylinders
    • Manufacturers prepare Medical oxygen cylinders with 99.5% high purity liquid oxygen.
    • Using the Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants the companies manufacture medical oxygen. PSA is a technology used to separate some gas (here oxygen) from a mixture of gases under pressure.
    • Manufacturers prepare oxygen in liquid form. Later they store this liquid oxygen in jumbo tankers or transport it in cryogenic tankers at a specified temperature.
    • At the distributor level, they perform the process of regasification. After that, they store oxygen gases in jumbo cylinders and dura cylinders.


    • Oxygen poses a fire risk: Oxygen is highly inflammable. So, the lab or Oxygen cylinder has to be smoke-free and avoid using any flammable materials nearby when using oxygen.
    Why is there a need for Medical Oxygen?
    • During diseases such as Covid-19, oxygen levels are low. It results in low oxygen levels in the cells in the body, not sufficient to do their normal function.
    • If the oxygen levels are low for a long time without any treatment then the cells themselves stop working completely and can actually die.
    • This may impact the organs such as the brain, heart, lungs, and kidney which may start malfunctioning, Hence, it is useful as a life-saving treatment in these extreme cases.
    How medical oxygen is different from others?

    There is a big difference between regular oxygen, medical oxygen and industrial oxygen.

    • Firstly, atmospheric oxygen: In the atmosphere, dry air contains 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.04% carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases. So in atmosphere Oxygen content is approximately 21% only.
    • Secondly, industrial oxygen: It is used in industrial plants especially in combustion, oxidation, cutting and chemical reactions. The industrial oxygen purity levels are not appropriate for human use. It contains impurities from dirty equipment or industrial storage that could make people ill. Industrial oxygen is used in the iron and steel industry, the manufacture of vials, the glass industry, etc

    Source: Indian Express

  • Electronic nose to detect “Hydrogen Sulphide” from Sewers

    What is the News?

    Scientists from the Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences(CeNS), Bangalore have developed Electronic Nose to detect Hydrogen Sulphide from swamps and sewers. CeNS is an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology

    About Hydrogen Sulphide:
    • Hydrogen Sulphide is the chemical compound with the formula H2S. It is a colourless chalcogen hydride gas. It is with the characteristic foul odour of rotten eggs. (Chacogen –  chalcogens are the chemical elements in group 16 of the periodic table).
    • Hydrogen Sulphide is slightly denser than air. It is also poisonous, corrosive and flammable.
    Production of Hydrogen Sulphide:
    • Hydrogen sulfide is often produced from the microbial breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen gas, such as in swamps and sewers. Anaerobic digestion is the name of this process.
    • It occurs naturally in crude oil, natural gas, and hot springs.
    • H2S also occurs in volcanic gases, natural gas and in some sources of well water.
    • The human body also produces small amounts of H2S and uses it as a signalling molecule.
    Impact of Hydrogen Sulphide on Health:
    • Firstly, the health effects of hydrogen sulphide depend on how much H2S a person inhales and for how long.
    • Secondly, exposure to Hydrogen Sulphide include headaches, memory loss, and problems with the cardiovascular system.
    • However, many effects are seen even at low concentrations. Effects range from mild, headaches or eye irritation to very serious, unconsciousness and death.

    Source: PIB

  • CSIR-CMERI develops “Oxygen Enrichment Unit”
    What is the News?

    Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute(CMERI) develops an oxygen enrichment unit(OEU) that could provide crucial support to COVID-19 patients.

    CMERI is an apex R&D institute for mechanical engineering that functions under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR). It is located in West Bengal.

    What is the Oxygen Enrichment Unit(OEU)?
    • An oxygen enrichment unit is a device that concentrates the oxygen from the surrounding air. For that, it selectively removes nitrogen to supply oxygen-enriched air.
    • The concentrated Oxygen is delivered to the patients having respiratory diseases through an oxygen mask or nasal cannula.
    • Uses:
      • Firstly, the device is useful in remote places, homes, or hospital-like facilities for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), chronic hypoxemia, and pulmonary edema.
      • Secondly, it may also be used as an adjunct treatment for severe sleep apnea (in conjunction with a continuous positive airway pressure unit).

    About Oxygen Enrichment Unit(OEU) developed by CMERI:

    • The Oxygen Enrichment Unit(OEU) of CMERI is indigenous.
    • Principle: The unit works on the principle of pressure swing adsorption (PSA). It utilizes zeolite columns to selectively remove nitrogen from air under certain pressure thereby increasing the oxygen concentration.
    Benefits of this Oxygen Enrichment Unit(OEU):
    • This unit is capable of delivering up to 30 Litres Per Minute(LPM) Oxygen enriched air,  which is absent in the other commercially available units.
    • The available Oxygen Enrichment Units generally work till 8000 ft from sea level. However, this unit can work up to the altitude of 14000 ft. Thus, it is very handy for usage in the high-altitude terrain battlefield in contingencies.
    • Further, this unit will help in High Flow Oxygen Therapy. This therapy is a better method in the treatment and management of COVID-19 patients.
      • High-flow oxygen therapy is a form of respiratory support in the hospital.  In this therapy, the oxygen in conjunction with the compressed air and humidification travels at a higher rate of flow compared to normal methods.

    Source: PIB 

  • INCOIS to go for bathymetric study of Andaman and Lakshadweep

    What is the News?

    Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services(INCOIS) will conduct a bathymetric study of Andaman and Lakshadweep. INCOIS will take the help of the National Remote Sensing Centre(NRSC) for airline mapping of the ocean floor around islands.

    What is the need for this study?

    • The study is needed in view of the recent tsunamis near the Indonesian coasts. The damage was more due to High tides by underwater landslides compared to the earthquake.
    • These landslides caused sudden wave surges leading to much damage without giving sufficient time to alert people.
    • By this study, INCOIS will map the landslide vulnerable areas on the ocean floors.

    Why has INCOIS planned to take help from NRSC for this study?

    • NRSC has already conducted a similar high-resolution topographic Airborne Laser Terrain Mapping (ALTM) for entire coastal areas of the country.


    • Ministry: It is an autonomous organization. It was established in 1999 under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
    • It is a unit of the Earth System Science Organization(ESSO).
    • Mandate: Its mandate is to provide the best possible ocean information and advisory services to society, industry, government agencies and the scientific community.
    • Location: Hyderabad, Telangana

    Other studies by INCOIS:

    Tide Gauges for Monitoring of Sea level:

    • INCOIS has installed tide gauges for better monitoring of the sea level and more accurate prediction of disasters like cyclones. It has already installed 36 tidal gauges in the Bay of Bengal.
    • Further, it has identified ‘gaps’ across the coast of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha for the installation of more tidal gauges.

    Flux Buoy:

    • INCOIS had deployed a Flux Buoy in the Bay of Bengal in 2019.
    • The buoy was deployed into the sea to monitor the temperatures, pressures, salinity, radiation and geochemical changes at various depths.


    • It is one of the primary centres of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO),Department of Space(DOS).
    • Functions: It is responsible for remote sensing satellite data acquisition and processing, data dissemination, aerial remote sensing, and decision support for disaster management.
    • Location: Hyderabad, Telangana

    Source: The Hindu

    NITI Aayog’s “Megacity plan for Little Andaman”

  • What is “Einsteinium”?

    What is the News?

    A team of scientists at the Berkeley Lab has reported some properties of the element “Einsteinium”.

    About Einsteinium

    • Einsteinium, named after Albert Einstein is a synthetic element with the symbol Es and atomic number 99.
    • It was discovered in 1952 in the debris of the first hydrogen bomb (the detonation of a thermonuclear device called “Ivy Mike” in the Pacific Ocean).

    Properties of Einsteinium and key research findings:

    • Einsteinium is difficult to create and is highly radioactive. Therefore, very little is known about this element.
    • Einsteinium-254 is one of the more stable isotopes of the element that has a half-life of 276 days. The most common isotope of the element, einsteinium 253 has a half-life of 20 days.
    • The element was present on earth during its formation. However, because of its high radioactivity and short half-life of all einsteinium isotopes, it has most certainly decayed.
    • The element is not visible to the naked eye. After it was discovered, it took over nine years to manufacture enough of it so that it could be seen with the naked eye.
    • The usage of the element is also limited except for the purposes of scientific research.

    Source: Indian Express

  •  DRDO hands over MotorBike Ambulance Rakshita to CRPF 

    News: Defence Research and Development Organisation has handed over MotorBike Ambulance Rakshita to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). 


        • Rakshita: It is a bike-based casualty transport emergency vehicle. It has been developed by the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS),Delhi based DRDO laboratory. 
        • Purpose: The bike ambulance will help in overcoming the problems faced by Indian security forces and emergency health care providers. It will also provide life-saving aid for evacuation of injured patients from low intensity conflict areas. 
        • Key Features:  
        • It is fitted with a customized reclining Casualty Evacuation Seat (CES), which can be fitted in and taken out as per requirement. 
        • Other major features are the head immobilizer, safety harness jacket, adjustable footrest, physiological parameter measuring equipment with wireless monitoring capability and auto warning system for the drive. 

    Article Source

  • INSPIRE Faculty produced heat-tolerant wheat varieties resulting in improved grain yield

    News: Researchers of the INSPIRE Faculty under the Department of Science and Technology(DST) are studying to develop a variety of wheat that does not lose its productivity under heat stress.


      • Wheat and Heat Stress: Wheat is affected severely by Heat stress as it causes a dramatic reduction in yield as well as quality of wheat which is the staple for more than one-third of the world’s population.

    What are the researchers studying and developing?

      • The researchers are studying the role of DNA methylation (a biological process by which methyl groups are added to the DNA molecule) patterns as it plays a significant role in plant development as well as in heat stress tolerance during different grain filling stages.This study is carried out through a process called epigenomic mapping.
      • It will explore the epigenetic route to modify gene expression in a manner that is stably transmitted but does not involve differences in the underlying DNA sequence so that the heritable genes do not buckle under heat stress and non-stress conditions during different grain filling stages.

    Article source



  • Scientists got clue to origin of fluctuations in active matter systems like fish schools

    News: Scientists have found a clue to the dynamic origin of fluctuations in systems like fish schools, swarms of insects, flocking birds and bacterial colonies. These are called active matter systems.


    What are Active Matter Systems?

    • It is composed of large numbers of self-driven components that extract energy from their surroundings to generate mechanical work. Due to continuous energy input, such systems are driven far from equilibrium and exhibit fascinating collective behaviors like clustering, giant mass fluctuations and anomalous transport.
    • Example: The anomalous behavior of active matter systems can be understood by considering a cup of coffee stirred with a spoon. If one stops stirring, the coffee will eventually come to rest due to the internal viscous forces which resist the fluid motion.
      • In contrast, imagine stirring a bacterial solution which under suitable conditions (bacterial concentration), can exhibit perpetual or unceasing collective directed motion. This is called Active matter. In cases like this, the viscosity would vanish.
    • Significance: This understanding can be useful in nanotechnology applications like building small-scale energy-efficient bio-devices as well as biomedical applications like characterising infection spread in organs, antibiotic resistance and so on.

    Article source


  • Technology Transfer Agreements signed to bring India’s first indigenous Flow Diverter Stent

    News: Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) has entered into Technology Transfer Agreements with Pune based Biorad Medisys for flow Diverter Stents.

    The cost of the Chitra Flow Diverter stent is expected to be priced significantly lower than the currently imported ones.


    What are Flow Diverter Stents?

    • It is a endovascular technique used for diverting blood flow away from an intracranial aneurysm or localized ballooning of arteries in the brain, helping reduce chances of its rupture and related stroke. Currently, India does not manufacture flow diverters stents,
    • Flow diverters have the advantages of being flexible and adaptable to the shape and course of the vessel. Also, flow diverters promote healing of the vessel wall by removing the constant stress of blood flow on it.

    What are Technology Transfer Agreements?

    • Technology transfer is the process by which a technology, expertise, know-how or facilities developed by one individual, enterprise or organization is transferred to another individual, enterprise or organization.
    • It may happen from country to country, from industry to industry or from research laboratory to an existing or new business.

    Article source


  • BARC Develops India’s First Ruthenium 106 Plaque For Effective Eye Cancer Treatment

    News: Bhabha Atomic Research Centre(BARC) Mumbai has developed an Eye Cancer therapy. It was the first indigenous Ruthenium 106 Plaque for the treatment of Ocular Tumors.


    • Ruthenium-106: It is a radioactive form of the rare heavy metal ruthenium. It is a “platinum group” metal similar to platinum.
    • How is it produced? It is produced from the fission or splitting of uranium-235, the type of uranium used in nuclear fission reactors, so it’s found in spent nuclear fuel.
    • Uses: It is used in medicine for cancer radiation therapy, especially for eye and skin tumors. It is also used in radioisotope thermoelectric generators that power satellites.
    • Harmful to Humans: High doses of ruthenium are toxic and carcinogenic when ingested. The material is strongly retained in the bones.

    Article Source



  • Union Minister to launch “Khadi Prakritik Paint” developed by KVIC

    News: Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways will be launching an innovative new called “Khadi Prakritik Paint”.


    • Khadi Prakritik Paint: It has been conceptualized by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and later developed by Kumarappa National Handmade Paper Institute, Jaipur (a KVIC unit).
    • Key Characteristics:
      • It is a first-of-its-kind eco-friendly, non-toxic paint with anti-fungal, antibacterial properties.
      • Based on cow dung as its main ingredient, the paint is cost-effective and odorless and has been certified by Bureau of Indian Standards.
      • The paint is free from heavy metals like lead, mercury, chromium, arsenic, cadmium and others.
    • Forms: The paint is available in two forms – distemper paint and plastic emulsion paint.
    • Significance:
      • Production of Khadi Prakritik Paint is aligned with the Prime Minister’s vision of increasing farmer’s income. The paint is estimated to generate additional income of Rs 30,000 (approx) per annum per animal to farmers/ gaushalas.
      • It will be a boost to the local manufacturing and will create sustainable local employment through technology transfer.
      • This technology will increase consumption of cow dung as a raw material for eco-friendly products and will generate additional revenue to farmers and gaushalas. Utilization of cow dung will also clean the environment and prevent clogging of drains.

    Article Source

    Read Also :upsc current affairs

  • Swasth Vayu Non-invasive Ventilator receives regulator nod

    News: Swasth Vayu Ventilator has received the approval of the expert committee constituted by Director General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.


    • Swasth Vayu: It is a ‘Made in India’ non-invasive (involves use of masks or similar device) ventilator developed by the National Aerospace Laboratories(NAL),Bengaluru.
    • Key Features:
        • It is a microcontroller based precise closed-loop adaptive control system with a built-in biocompatible 3D printed manifold and coupler with HEPA filter (Highly Efficient Particulate Air Filter).
        • It also has several advanced features like Bi-level mode(BiPAP), Continuous Positive Airway Mode(CPAP) and Spontaneous modes with provision to connect Oxygen concentrator or Enrichment unit externally.
          Read Also : current affairs for upsc
    • Significance:
        • The ventilator is ideal for treating Covid-19 patients in wards, makeshift hospitals, dispensaries and homes.
        • The major advantage of this machine is also that it is simple to use without any specialized nursing, cost effective, compact and configured with majority of indigenous components.

    Article Source

  • PM launches India’s first driverless metro train in Delhi

    Source: The Hindu

    News: The Prime Minister of India has flagged off the country’s first ‘driverless’ metro in Delhi.


    • Delhi driverless Metro train: It will be rolled out on the 38-km Line 8 or Magenta Line of the Delhi Metro which has a 390-km-long network spread across the national capital and adjoining cities.
    • Significance: After this inauguration, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has entered the elite league of 7% of the world’s Metro networks which can operate without drivers.
    • How will it benefit the citizens?
      • Operational flexibility & efficiency
      • Inspection/testing to be done remotely ensuring Higher reliability with no human intervention
      • Improved safety and quality of service
      • Save Train Operators’ time & effort and improve the quality of his/her job.

    What does Driverless Metro Train mean?

    • Driverless technology does not mean that there will be no driver – at least that is not going to be the case to begin with. It does mean though that slowly the role of the driver will get more and more limited as the technology and its systems expand.
    • Grades of Automation: The driverless train technology has set standards for automation known as Grades of Automation(GoA).
      • In GoA 1, the train is run by one driver.
      • In GoA 2 and GoA 3, the driver only needs to operate doors and take over if there is an emergency.Trains start and stop in automated mode in GoA2 & 3.
      • The last level is GoA 4, where trains run on complete unattended mode.
  • What is 3D Printing?

    Source: The Hindu

    News: L&T Construction has 3D printed a G+1 (Ground plus one) building for the first time in India at Kancheepuram, Chennai with indigenous concrete mixture. 


    • 3D printing or additive manufacturing(AM) is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. 

    What is the process of 3D Printing?

    • The process starts with making a virtual design of the object that has to be created. 
    • This virtual design is made in a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file using a 3D modelling program (new object) or using a 3D scanner (existing object).  
    • Slicing software slices the final model into hundreds or thousands of horizontal layers. When this prepared file is uploaded in the 3D printer, the printer creates the object layer by layer. 
    • The 3D printer reads every slice (or 2D image) and proceeds to create the object blending each layer together with no sign of the layering visible, resulting in one three-dimensional object. 


    • Applications of 3D Printing: The 3D printing technology is used for both prototyping and distributed manufacturing with applications in architecture, construction, industrial design, automotive, aerospace, dental and medical industries, biotech (human tissue replacement), fashion, jewellery, education, geographic information systems and many other fields. 

    What are the advantages of 3D Printing? 

    • Low cost: 3D printing is cheaper than traditional methods of manufacturing. 
    • Less Time: Printing of the 3D object can be done directly, differing from the traditional manufacturing where different components had to be joined to form the final product. 
    • Efficiency: Generating prototypes with 3D printers is much easier and faster with 3D printing technology. 
    • Flexibility: Different materials can be used in the 3D models. This makes it very easy to create construction models or prototypes for a wide variety of projects within many industries. 
    • Reduced wastage: AM process produces less waste in comparison with other traditional manufacturing techniques 

    Issues with 3D Printing: 

    • Limited size: The size of objects created with 3d printers is currently limited 
    • Limited Raw Materials: With 3D printing being an additive method (layer after layer), the materials available suited for it are limited- ceramics, resin, plastics, etc. 
    • Effect on employment: Jobs in manufacturing will be rendered obsolete which will have a negative impact on developing economies. 
  • Indian Railways to use LIDAR Technique for ground survey

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    News: National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited is adopting Light Detection and Ranging Survey(LiDAR) technique for conducting ground survey for the proposed Delhi-Varanasi High Speed Rail(HSR) corridor.


    • LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging): It is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges & variable distances.
    • Working: These light pulses combined with other data recorded by the airborne system generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.
    • Instrument: LiDAR instrument principally consists of a laser, a scanner, and a specialized GPS receiver. Airplanes and helicopters are the most commonly used platforms for acquiring LiDAR data over broad areas.
    • Applications: LiDAR is used for agriculture, hydrology and water management systems, geology-related applications and also in archaeology.
  • What is Havana Syndrome?

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    News: National Academies of Sciences(NAS) has found microwave radiation to be the cause for the “Havana syndrome”.


    • Havana Syndrome: In 2016, US diplomats in Havana reported feeling ill after hearing strange sounds and experiencing odd physical sensations in their hotel rooms or homes.The symptoms included nausea, severe headaches, fatigue, dizziness, sleep problems, and hearing loss which have since come to be known as “Havana Syndrome”.
    • Microwave weapons: These are supposed to be a type of direct energy weapons which aim highly focused energy in the form of sonic, laser, or microwaves, at a target.
      • Effects: People exposed to high-intensity microwave pulses have reported a clicking or buzzing sound, as if seeming to be coming from within your head.It can have both acute and long-term effects without leaving signs of physical damage.
  • China turns on ‘artificial sun’

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    News: China has successfully powered up its artificial sun nuclear fusion reactor named “HL-2M Tokamak reactor”.


    • HL-2M Tokamak reactor: It is China’s largest and most advanced nuclear fusion experimental research device that can potentially unlock a powerful clean energy source.
    • It uses a powerful magnetic field to fuse hot plasma and can reach temperatures of over 150 million degrees Celsius approximately ten times hotter than the core of the sun.
    • Hence, the reactor is often called an “artificial sun” on account of the enormous heat and power it produces.

    Additional Facts:

    • Nuclear Fusion: It is considered the Holy Grail of energy and is what powers our sun.It merges atomic nuclei to create massive amounts of energy — the opposite of the fission process used in atomic weapons and nuclear power plants which splits them into fragments.
    • Advantages of Fusion: Unlike fission, fusion emits no greenhouse gases and carries less risk of accidents or the theft of atomic material. But achieving fusion is both extremely difficult and prohibitively expensive.