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Meet a 12-year-old who is building robots to save honey bees

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New Delhi, April 12 : Just like any other girl her age, 12-year-old Kavya Vignesh likes to have fun when she is not studying. But unlike many others, she likes to make those moments memorable by creating something that helps solve some real-world problems.

Yes, you read that right. These days, she is busy giving final touches to a robot that has the potential to save honey bees in residential areas — and for making a presentation of her bot at an international robotics event to be held in Denmark next month.

Vignesh, a Class 7 student of Delhi Public School, Vasant Kunj, is part of Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious — India’s youngest ever team to qualify for the First Lego League – European Open championship in Aarhus, scheduled for May this year.

Using a combination of robotics and hi-tech components, Vignesh has developed a Bee Saver Bot that removes honey bees — the species primarily responsible for pollination and honey production around the world — safely and carefully without harming them or humans.

“I have been practising Robotics since I was nine. My aim in life is to use the power of robotics to solve some real-world problems,” Vignesh told IANS.

Over the past three years, she has won several robotics championships (Delhi Regional robotics championship 2015 and 2016) and is now excited about representing India in the forthcoming international competition.

The robot — Lightning McQueen — is made using Lego Mindstorms EV3, the third generation robotics kit in Lego’s Mindstorms line.

Lego Mindstorms is a programmable robotics construction set that gives you the power to build, programme and command your own LEGO robots. The Lightning McQueen uses EV3 large motors, colour sensors that are used for line following, gyro sensor to take accurate turns, and pneumatics for multi-tasking.

The First Lego League championship is organised by FIRST Scandinavia foundation in cooperation with the city of Aarhus, Aarhus University, Aarhus School of Marine and Technical Engineering and IT-forum.

It will witness some 100 teams and 1,000 children from all over the world competing on their skills in construction, programming and presentation of ideas and solutions while also sharing their culture, values, making friends and having fun.

Here’s why Vignesh chose only honey bees.

“We chose honey bees, because they are mostly overlooked. Bees are mostly killed by us humans through pesticides, colony collapse disorder and many more ways,” Vignesh said.

“We learnt that more than 85 per cent of the world’s crops are pollinated by honey bees. Every third bite of food comes from a bee pollinated crop or animal that depends on bee pollination,” she emphasised.

In general, when people see a beehive near their houses and in parks and the like, they tend to call the pest controllers, who burn the hive, killing nearly 20,000 to 80,000 bees.

“So we thought of building a solution that can safely relocate the beehive without harming the bees,” Vignesh said.

The ‘Bee Saver Bot’ scans the beehive, and relocates it by building an enclosure that safely transports the beehive to the nearest bee farm, without harming any humans or bees.

“This solution can save millions of bees from getting hurt and actually relocate them back to bee farms from where they can be back on the fields where they contribute so much to our food chain,” the robotic champion noted.

In her efforts to participate in the event, Vignesh started crowdfunding through Fueladream — a Bengaluru-based platform that allows for pooling of funds for a cause.

“Although crowdfunding in India has been relatively a new concept, it is growing very quickly,” Ranganath Thota, Founder and CEO at Fueladream, told IANS.

“Funding is the biggest challenge for students in India. Crowdfunding is a very democratic way to tell your stories and use social media and friends to raise money,” he added.

Vignesh’s achievement also earned her praise from Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha.

“Proud of 12-year-old Kavya Vignesh, representing India at the European Robotics Championship in Denmark,” Sinha said in a tweet.

Vignesh, who is also a digital graphic designer, said that she looks up to her mother, Shikha Suman, founder of a health-tech start-up, as her role model.

“Believe in your dream and do whatever you want and don’t let anyone bring you down,” Vignesh said as a message to children.

To parents who put all their focus on their children’s studies alone, Vignesh says, “All work and no play may make children dumb; so they should balance out studies as well as such extra-curricular activities.”

(Rachel V. Thomas can be contacted at [email protected])

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Black Friday Deals: Realme to bring offers on Realme X3 Superzoom, X50 Pro, Buds Air Neo and more

The Black Friday sale will take place on Realme’s online store, Flipkart and Amazon.

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Over the last few years, online and offline retailers have been offering their Black Friday deals for almost an entire week ahead of Thanksgiving, and some of these deals and offers last well after the Cyber Monday sale.

Black Friday Sale is here!!

After Xiaomi, handset maker Realme on Thursday announced a Black Friday Sale that would arrive with several offers and discounts on a range of its products. The Black Friday Sale would be live for 24 hours and would start November 27, 12:00 AM. The sale would see massive discounts on a range of Realme smartphones including Realme 6i, Realme 6, Realme X3 Superzoom and X50 Pro, and various AIoT products such as Realme Buds Classic, Realme Smart Watch, Realme Buds Air Neo and Realme Smart Cam 360°.

“Realme would also be hosting the ‘Realme Days’ sale offering similar discounts on its own website Realme.com, Flipkart and Amazon.in,” the company said in a statement.

The Black Friday sale will take place on Realme’s online store, Flipkart and Amazon. In addition to the discounts, SBI credit cardholders can avail of 5% cashback on EMI transactions.

  • Realme is offering discounts from Rs 1,000 up to Rs 7,000 for its Black Friday sale. Realme X50 Pro has received the biggest discount of Rs 7,000 bringing its price down to Rs 34,999 from Rs 41,999. Realme X50 Pro with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage also gets a discount making its offer price Rs 40,999.
  • Realme X3 SuperZoom will be available with a Rs 4,000 discount on all three variants. Realme X3 has also received a Rs 3,000 discount on both its variants. Realme C3, Realme 6, Realme 6i, and Narzo 20 Pro can be purchased with a discount of Rs 1,000.
  • In the AIoT portfolio, Realme Buds Air Neo would be available at a discounted price of Rs 1999, along with the Realme Buds Wireless Pro for Rs 3199 and Realme Buds Air Pro at a special price of Rs 4299. These offers would be applicable on all purchases made through Realme’s official website Realme.com.
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India’s ban on 43 Chinese apps draws mixed reactions

While announcing the ban on 59 apps in June, the ministry also said that it received “many representations raising concerns from citizens regarding security of data and risk to privacy relating to operation of certain apps.”

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New Delhi: While Indian startups have largely welcomed the government’s move to ban 43 more Chinese apps, taking it to a total of 267 in a span of about five months, experts have also cautioned that users deserve more information and transparency about the reasons behind the actions.

Extending its support to the latest “digital strike” on Tuesday that banned 43 more Chinese apps, homegrown short video-sharing platform Chingari said that some of the apps in the new list “were banned earlier as well but they just cloaked themselves under a new identity to enter the Indian market.”

“The ban is a very smart move and sends out a clear message that Chinese apps cannot use such tactics to engage in activities that are ‘prejudicial to India’s sovereignty’. At the same time, we would like to assure our Chingari family that the safety of their data is our highest priority,” Sumit Ghosh, CEO, Co-founder Chingari, said in a statement.

One of the banned apps include Snack Video which offered homegrown short video apps, that gained traction following ban on TikTok, very tough competitions.

“This is yet another welcome move from the government to stand against Chinese apps that always have had serious privacy issues. We happily extend our support to all the language users and creators of Snack Video especially who are residing in tier 3/4 cities to come and join Bolo Indya,” said Varun Saxena, Founder and CEO, Bolo Indya.

However, Mishi Choudhary, Founder of SFLC.in, a legal services organisation working on law, technology and policy, said that the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology “has made it a practice of issuing orders banning websites citing vague reasons without offering details that users deserve when being deprived of access to information.”

Earlier on June, 29, the government had blocked access to 59 mobile apps and on September 2, 118 more apps were banned under section 69A of the Information Technology Act.

In addition, the government in late July, cracked down on 47 more mobile apps, most of which were reportedly clones or lite variants of the Chinese apps banned in June.

Launching the fresh assault on 43 Chinese apps on Tuesday, the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said the “action was taken based on the inputs regarding these apps for engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”

While announcing the ban on 59 apps in June, the ministry also said that it received “many representations raising concerns from citizens regarding security of data and risk to privacy relating to operation of certain apps.”

“What started with the ironical assertion that the government was worried about personal data — considering we are still dithering on a personal data protection law and stories about data theft are so rampant that they don’t even make it to front page news anymore — has now turned into an unfortunate trend,” Choudhary said.

“If these Chinese apps are indulging in notorious practices which they might be, more information and transparency would help users see these orders as necessary instead of what they look like now –a sign of controlling choice,” she added.

SafeHouse Technologies, a cyber security tech enterprise that provides solutions to secure mobile phones, has welcomed the government’s move to ban 43 more Chinese apps, saying that “the government has yet again proved that the security and hygiene in the Indian smartphone and app ecosystem needs to be maintained.”

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India

Landline users need to prefix ‘0’ to call mobile phones starting Jan

Come January 1, landline users across India will need to prefix all calls to any mobile phone with a `0′ , with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) calling on telcos to modify the dialing pattern for such calls in line with the sector regulator’s recommendations.

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Kolkata: Come January 1, landline users across India will need to prefix all calls to any mobile phone with a `0′ , with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) calling on telcos to modify the dialing pattern for such calls in line with the sector regulator’s recommendations.

The move is likely to create fresh numbering resources for mobile services amid the continuing rise in India’s mobile user base and the decline in wireline connections.

The DoT, in a circular, dated November 20, has backed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s recommendations and mandated telcos to ensure all landline subscribers are “given a `0 dialing’ or STD facility” to be able to connect with mobile phones under the new calling system from next year.


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