Aircraft From Airbus Set To Have Zero Emission!

Aircraft From Airbus Set To Have Zero Emission!

Global aviation industry has committed to cut carbon emissions to half their 2005 levels by 2050, as per the Paris Agreement for Climate Change. The Aerospace Pioneer, Airbus has now launched 3 new concepts for the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircrafts serviceable by 2035. So what is the tech behind it?

Crux of the Matter

What Is This Emission Free Fuel?
All 3 aircraft concepts proposed by Airbus use hydrogen gas or ZEROe fuel. So the only emission when burned, is water vapor. Hydrogen can be:

  • Combusted directly through modified gas turbine engines.
  • Converted to electric energy via fuel cells.
  • Used to produce synthetic kerosene, when combined with CO2.

What Is The Concept Of The First Aircraft
Also called the Short Haul Turboprop aircraft, it would be powered by a pair of modified gas turboprop engines, with six-bladed propellers, designed to burn liquid hydrogen. The aircraft also uses electric batteries charged by the engines, in order to give power boost to the engines when required.

  • Capacity: 100 passengers
  • Travel Distance: Upto 1,000 nautical miles or 1,850 km
  • Purpose: short-distance trips.

How Is It Different From The Current Models?
The seats at the back of the aircraft have been removed to make space for the hydrogen tanks, resulting in less passenger space. This results in less passenger space and is comparable to the Airbus A220-100 design.

Why Is Tank Design Crucial?
Hydrogen becomes liquid at -425 °F, so the tank will have to be designed to ensure that temperature is maintained from takeoff to landing.

What’s The Concept Of Second Airbus?
It’s the Transcontinental Turbofan aircraft and would be the fitting successor of Airbus A320. As with the prior model, the liquid hydrogen fuel in this aircraft would be stored in tanks installed behind the rear pressure compartment, and distributed to the engines on the wings.

  • Capacity: 120-200 passengers
  • Travel Distance: Upto 2000 nautical miles or 3700 km
  • Purpose: Longer distance trips, for going across the Atlantic Ocean.

What If There Is A Gas Leak?
There is a chimney built into the vertical stabilizer to vent the hydrogen gas in case of a leak. A stabilizer is a structure designed to reduce aerodynamic side slip and provide directional stability.

The Most Unusual One – Third Aircraft Concept
Also called the Blended Wing Aircraft, it looks like a giant flying wing. This configuration has been tested with Airbus’ MAVERIC demonstrator.

  • Capacity: 200 passengers
  • Travel Distance: 3700 km.

What’s Great About This Design?
While the other two models look like conventional passenger jets, this aircraft has wings that merge with a fuselage or main body of the aircraft that is much wider. This allows more room and efficient configuration options to accommodate more passengers and store and distribute hydrogen fuel.

Look Forward To More Aerospace Partnerships
One of the airlines, easyJet has already publicly supported the ZEROe concepts and has started working in partnership with Airbus to research more about hybrid and electric aircraft designs and infrastructure.

  • The Airbus A380 is a wide-body aircraft manufactured by Airbus. It is the world’s largest passenger airliner. The A380 project was announced in 1990 to challenge the dominance of the Boeing 747 in the long haul market.
  • The Volkswagen emissions scandal began in 2015, when the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to the Volkswagen Group. The agency had found that Volkswagen had intentionally programmed turbocharged direct injection (TDI) diesel engines to activate their emissions controls only during laboratory emissions testing.
  • Fly-by-wire is a system that replaces the conventional manual flight controls of an aircraft with an electronic interface. Airbus’ A320, was known for being the first commercial jet to use a digital fly-by-wire control system.

Made In India, Microprocessor Moushik

Made In India, Microprocessor Moushik

Researchers from IIT-Madras have successfully developed ‘MOUSHIKMicroprocessor. It is said to be an integral part of Smart Cities of a Digital India and would be useful in rapidly growing IoT devices. So what are its features? How was it conceptualized? Let’s find out.

Crux of the Matter

What Is Moushik?
It is a processor cum SoC (system on a chip) and is part of the SHAKTI free and open source silicon project. It was conceptualised and developed at PS-CDISHA of the Reconfigurable Intelligent Systems Engineering (RISE) Group of IIT Madras.

So It Is Made in India?
Yes. The processor and Motherboard design is done by IIT Madras. The foundry-specific backend design and fabrication were done at ISRO, Chandigarh. The motherboard “Ardonyx 1.0” was made in Bengaluru. A truly made in India microprocessor!

What is System on Chip?
An SoC is a circuit that integrates most components of a computer like CPU, GPU memory, input/output (I/O) ports, and secondary storage, in a single microchip of the size of a coin. It is used in mobile phones, wearable devices, streaming sticks, etc.

What is Moushik Made of?
It was made using 180-nanometer technology and has 103 functional Input Output Ports, which are memory addresses used by software to communicate with the hardware on a computer.

Where All Can It Be Used?
Moushik has a Core Voltage of 1.8v and Input-Output Voltage of 3.3v, with a speed of 100Mhz speed that can cater to small home appliances. It can be useful in credit cards, Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), surveillance cameras, amongst other IoT Devices.

What About The Cost?
India needs billions of such chips for various purposes. So if there is an order for one million units, its cost can be reduced to even $1 per chip

What Are The Future Plans?
According to the developers, these microprocessors are at par with the industry standard. Thus, indigenous brands and startups can use them in their products and minimize the usage of imported systems.

Strategic Sectors To Gain Too
The Moushik microprocessors’ development will help in strategic sectors like defense, nuclear power installations, and Government Agencies.

  • Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Limited (TSMC) is a Taiwanese multinational semiconductor contract manufacturing and design company. It is one of the world’s most valuable semiconductor companies and the world’s largest dedicated independent semiconductor foundry.
  • Gordon Earle Moore is an American businessman, engineer, and the co-founder and chairman emeritus of Intel Corporation. He is also the author of Moore’s law.
  • The Turing Award is an annual prize given for contributions “of lasting and major technical importance to the computer field”. It is generally recognized as the highest distinction in computer science, or the “Nobel Prize of Computing”. The award is named after Alan Turing, who is often credited as being the key founder of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence.

Stubble Burning Creating Chaos

Stubble Burning Creating Chaos

As per a survey by the Delhi government, 2019‘s stubble burning accounted for 44% of the city’s air pollution and that Punjab burnt 9 million tonnes of such stubble in the same year. So what is stubble? How is burning it causing this high level damage to air? Moreover, what measures are being taken to combat it?

Crux of the Matter

What Is Stubble Burning?
It is the practice of purposefully setting fire to the straw stubble or crop residue that remains after grains, like paddy, wheat, etc., have been harvested by farmers.

Why Is It Done?
Burning stubble helps in killing pests like slugs that can cause damage to growing crops and reduces nitrogen tie-up, which causes the growth of yellow wheat. For the farmers, the turnaround time is reduced between harvesting and sowing for the winter crop.

Are There Any Ill-Effects?
Yes. Burning stubble also leads to the emission of greenhouse gases that contributes to global warming, increased levels of particulate matter, leading to air pollution and smog, which in turn cause health hazards. Moreover if done excessively, it also reduces soil fertility and causes fires.

What’s The Link Of Delhi’s Air Quality With This?
Scientists at India Meteorological Department (IMD) report that due to north-westerly winds blowing across Delhi, the smoke from Punjab and Haryana will directly be carried to the city, deteriorating the air quality there.

What Does The Delhi Government Say?
Their data shows that last year’s stubble burning accounted for 44% of the city’s air pollution. Delhi’s environment minister Gopal Rai said that Punjab produced 20 million tonnes of crop stubble out of which 9 million tonnes were burnt last year. In Haryana, 1.23 million tonnes of the 7 million tonnes of stubble were burnt by farmers.

What Does SC Say?
Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has written to the chief secretaries of Punjab and Haryana, asking to control these cases. EPCA chief Bhure Lal says it is imperative that early action is taken, in order to control possible fires ahead of the wintertime and the annual pollution spike in Delhi.

What Are The States Doing Now?
Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has said that monitoring teams are keeping a close watch on violators of stubble burning. Meanwhile Delhi CM, Arvind Kejriwal met scientists at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) for a live demonstration of a new machine called Pusa decomposer.

How Will Pusa Decomposer Work?
Made up of a set of 4 tablets, composed of extracted fungi strains, the decomposer will help the stubble decompose at a comparatively faster rate. Farmers can then shred the straw and spray a solution that contains the fungal strains mixed with the soil. It has an estimated cost of ₹20 per acre, which can deal with, up to 5 tonnes of raw straw.

  • Slash-and-burn agriculture is a farming method that involves the cutting and burning of plants in a forest or woodland to create a field called a swidden. In India, the practice is known as jhum or jhoom.
  • “The Great Green Wall of Aravalli” is a 1,600 km long green ecological corridor along Aravalli range from Gujarat to Delhi. The corridor is meant to act as a buffer against pollution, 51% of which is caused by industrial pollution, 27% by vehicles, 8% by crop burning and 5% by diwali fireworks.
  • An air quality index (AQI) is used by government agencies to communicate to the public how polluted the air currently is or how polluted it is forecast to become. Different countries have their own air quality indices, corresponding to different national air quality standards. The National Air Quality Index (AQI) was launched in New Delhi on September 17, 2014, under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

World’s First Human Bionic Eye

World’s First Human Bionic Eye

Researchers at Monash University, Australia, have built a bionic device that has the capability to restore the vision of the blind. As the team prepares for the first human clinical trials of the bionic eye, let’s understand the tech behind it and how they did it.

Crux of the Matter

How Did They Start?
They started with the Gennaris bionic vision system, which is a decade-old project, dedicated to bypassing damaged optic nerves to allow signals to be transmitted from the retina to the brain.

What Is The Retina?
It is a thin layer of tissue that lines the back of our eye and is located near the optic nerve. It receives light that our lens has focused, converts it into neural signals, and sends them to the the vision section of the brain, for real-time recognition of our surroundings and its components.

How The Eye Works And The Retina GIF | Gfycat
Source: VMR

Prosthetic Eye v/s Bionic Eye
Prosthetic eyes, also called glass eye, replaces the entire physical structure and appearance of an eye which was removed due to pain, disfigurement, or a disease.

Bionic eye implants work with the existing eye structure and are designed to achieve functional vision goals, and not serve physical/cosmetic purposes.

What Is The Bionic Eye Made Of And How Does It Work?
It is made up of a custom-made headgear, that includes a camera and a wireless transmitter. A processor unit takes care of data analysis, while tiles are implanted inside the brain to deliver signals.

  • The images from a video camera are converted to a high-contrast image representation, of which a part is selected for further processing.
  • The processor converts this part into electrical parameters, which are sent to electrodes implanted in the eye.
  • This allows the bionic eye recipient to recognize the presence of people and objects in both indoor and outdoor environments.

Is This Artificial Vision?
Yes. It is formed using the phenomenon of phosphenes – experiencing seeing light without light actually entering the eye, similar to swirling mosaics/colours you may see on closing your eyes.

So the vision provided by a bionic eye is not like natural sight, but a series of flashing spots and shapes the person uses to interpret their environment through training.

Has It Been Tested?
A trial in July this year, had the bionic transplants safely inserted in the brains of three sheep, with 2,700 hours of stimulation not causing any adverse health effects.

What Can We Look Forward To In The Future?
If successful on humans, the system can help those with untreatable neurological conditions, like limb paralysis, to regain movement along with giving vision to partially or completely blind people.

In fact, research is going on finding newer nanotechnology materials, that would allow electrodes to be small enough to produce high-quality resolution pictures too.

  • Dr. Bill Dobelle was a biomedical researcher who developed experimental technologies that restored limited sight to blind patients. He was the former director of the Division of Artificial Organs at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center.
  • The Six Million Dollar Man is an American science fiction and action television series, running from 1973 to 1978, about Colonel Steve Austin, portrayed by Lee Majors. Austin has superhuman strength, speed, and vision due to bionic implants and is employed as a secret agent.
  • The word bionic was coined by Jack E. Steele in 1958, being formed as a portmanteau from biology and electronics. It was popularized by the 1970s television series like The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman.

Electronic Skin Made To Feel Human Pain

Researchers from RMIT University in Australia have created an artificial skin prototype that is capable of reacting to pain just like real human skin. No electronic devices have been able to realistically mimic that very human feeling of pain until now. So what went into this?

Crux of the Matter

What Is Special About Human Skin?
Skin is human body’s largest sensory organ, designed to send instant warning signals when anything hurts. We typically sense things every second of the day via our skin but our pain response only kicks in at the correct moment. Like when we touch something too hot or sharp and our reflex action makes us pull our hand back in pain!

So How Was The Artificial Skin Made?
Three technologies have been combined:
1. Stretchable Electronics: Combine oxide materials with bio-compatible silicon to deliver unbreakable and transparent, wearable electronics.

Can be stretched easily with your skin, Source: PACE

2. Temperature-reactive Coatings: They are 1,000x times thinner than a human hair and are based on a material that transforms in response to heat. This makes them thin as a sticker.

3. Brain-Mimicking Memory: Electronic memory cells which imitate the mannerism in which our brain uses long-term memory to recall and retain known information.

What Does The Prototype Do?
As per Ph.D. researcher Md Ataur Rahman, the memory cells in each prototype are responsible for triggering a response when the pressure, heat, or pain reaches the set threshold. Thus, the prototypes work similarly to somatosensors, a part of our sensory nervous system which connect the receptors in the skin to the brain, for a fast feedback response.

What’s Different About This Tech?
There have been technologies, which used electrical signals to mimic different levels of pain. However, these new pain-sensing devices can react to real mechanical pressure, temperature and pain, and deliver the right electronic response at the right time, just like actual human skin.

Where All Will It Help?

  • Prosthetic implants, that replaces a missing body part.
  • Skin grafts, that transplant skin from one area of the body to another, in case of burns.
  • Augment human skin for the development of realistic humanoids.

Handheld Device “Prints” New Skin
Meanwhile, Canadian scientists have invented a device that uses bio-ink to print skin directly on our wounds. The ink contains healing proteins that assist the body’s immune system and encourage new cell growth.

Video: Watch this 3-D printer print an electronic device on human skin |  The American Ceramic Society
Pain-detection imprinted on your skin! Source: TACS

The device has already been tested on full-thickness burns in pigs. It was found to have deposited the ‘skin sheets’ onto the wounds uniformly and safely, as the sheets stayed in place with minimal movement.

  • Merkel cells are oval-shaped mechanoreceptors essential for light touch sensation and found in the skin of vertebrates. They are abundant in highly sensitive skin like that of the fingertips in humans.
  • Dermatology is the branch of medicine dealing with the skin. Attested in English in 1819, the word dermatology derives from the Greek for skin, dermatos.
  • In 1799, Francesco Bianchi wrote the book Dermatologia which is the first comprehensive textbook of modern dermatology written for the students of medicine. French professor of medicine, Jean Astruc, is often termed as the founder of modern dermatology.