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

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Robot Bees

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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Health

Radiation from smartphones may up miscarriage risk: Study

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Pregnant woman, smartphone

New York, Dec 14: Pregnant women’s exposure to non-ionising radiation from smartphones, Bluetooth devices and laptops may more than double the risk of miscarriage, a study has showed.

Non-ionising radiation — radiation that produces enough energy to move around atoms in a molecule, but not enough to remove electrons completely — from magnetic fields is produced when electric devices are in use and electricity is flowing.

It can be generated by a number of environmental sources, including electric appliances, power lines and transformers, wireless devices and wireless networks.

While the health hazards from ionising radiation are well-established and include radiation sickness, cancer and genetic damage, the evidence of health risks to humans from non-ionising radiation remains limited, said De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente — a US-based health care firm.

For the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, the team asked for 913 pregnant women over age 18 to wear a small (a bit larger than a deck of cards) magnetic-field monitoring device for 24 hours.

After controlling for multiple other factors, women who were exposed to higher magnetic fields levels had 2.72 times the risk of miscarriage than those with lower magnetic fields exposure.

The increased risk of miscarriage associated with high magnetic fields was consistently observed regardless of the sources of high magnetic fields. The association was much stronger if magnetic fields was measured on a typical day of participants’ pregnancies.

The finding also demonstrated that accurate measurement of magnetic field exposure is vital for examining magnetic field health effects.

“This study provides evidence from a human population that magnetic field non-ionising radiation could have adverse biological impacts on human health,” Li noted.

“We hope that the finding from this study will stimulate much-needed additional studies into the potential environmental hazards to human health, including the health of pregnant women,” he said.

IANS
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Samsung likely to lose ground in smartphone market in 2018

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Seoul, Dec 14: Tech major Samsung Electronics Co may lose ground in the smartphone segment in 2018 due to surge of Chinese smartphone manufacturers, an industry tracker said on Thursday.

“Strategy Analytics said the company is expected to post a market share of 19.2 per cent in the global smartphone industry in 2018 by shipping 315 million units, down from 20.5 per cent estimated for this year”, IANS quoted citing Yonhap News Agency reported.

According to the experts, the weaker outlook comes as rival Apple Inc is anticipated to expand its presence in the high-end segment, while Chinese companies are quickly making inroads to the industry with affordable devices.

“While the iOS-powered smartphones do not have competitors, Samsung will face tougher challenges in the Android segment,” said Park Nam-gyoo, a professor of business at Seoul National University.

With this, for the very first time Samsung will post a decline in smartphone shipments on-year, excluding 2016, when the company suspended the production of Galaxy Note 7 because of safety issues.

However, Samsung Electronics did not reacted on the outlook yet.

In the meantime, Apple is predicted to take up 14.3 per cent of the market in 2018 by shipping 234 million units, up from 14 per cent posted this year.

China-based Huawei Technologies Co and OPPO Electronics Corp are also expected to expand their shares to account for 10 per cent and 7.8 per cent, respectively in 2018, the data revealed.

WeForNews 

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Twitter launches live stream of Gujarat assembly elections

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New Delhi, Dec 14: Social media giant Twitter on Wednesday announced that it will live stream the conversations related to the high stakes Gujarat assembly elections on its platform as the political interest and discourse on the polls generated over 800,000 tweets in the last week on the microblogging website.

The live stream of elections will be available in English and Hindi, and will take place on Thursday when the second phase of polling is being held, and on counting day December 18, news agency IANS quoted citing the company said in a statement.

“We are excited to launch the first live stream of elections in India providing people with the opportunity to follow all the election-related action in real-time, with the best analysis and commentary in the business,” said Amrita Tripathi, Acting Head for News Partnerships, Twitter India.

The live stream is available for free to logged-in and logged-out users on the microblogging website and connected devices globally.

Each stream will be accompanied by a Twitter timeline depicting in real time Gujarat Election-related conversation.

In November, Twitter observed a growing interest in Gujarat politics as conversations related to the Assembly election climbed to 20 per cent.

The social media titan also introduced initiatives like real-time updates on the campaign trail and connect electors to politicians on key issues.

The company also revealed an emoji, available till December 22, which can be activated using hashtags such as #GujaratElection2017, #GujaratElection, #BattleforGujarat or #ElectionCaravan.

WeForNews 

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