Is it possible to determine the amount of pollution we get exposed to every time we travel to our work place? Knowing the personal exposure could allow people travelling to their work place to choose a route based on an estimate of the exposure to pollution? We (along with other collaborators from IISc and around the world) are currently developing low-cost sensors that can enable this and many more applications.
A recent WHO study identified that India is home to 14 of the 15 most polluted cities in the world, with primary sources of pollution being vehicle emissions, traffic congestion and biomass and fuel-wood burning. Outdoor air pollution has been identified to be the fifth biggest killer in India and has been implicated in respiratory and cardiovascular diseases as well as asthma, bronchitis, lung cancer and acidosis. A first step towards getting rid of air pollution is to reliably measure the amount of pollutants in the air at a given location. The air quality index (AQI) is the measure of how good or bad the quality of air is over a region and is calculated based on measured concentrations of eight different pollutants including CO, SO2 and particulate matter (PM). In India, an AQI between 0-100 is considered to be safe while an AQI above 200 is considered harmful for humans.
Concentration of pollutants are typically measured at a few monitoring stations using expensive reference grade equipments. However, in view of their cost it is impossible to deploy many such monitoring stations to get data with high spatial resolution. In this context, developing low-cost sensors that can reliably measure the concentration of the pollutants and can be deployed in large numbers is important. IISc, in collaboration with the Central Electronics Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-CEERI) and the University of Southern California (USC), is currently working on a project funded by Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) to develop and calibrate low-cost air quality sensors.
The low-cost sensors (airCENSE) are built by the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering at IISc and consist of a metal oxide semiconductor thin film whose resistance changes deterministically on exposure to a particular amount of a pollutant, thereby allowing us to determine the concentration of the gas. But one of the challenges of using low-cost sensors is the issue of calibration. Calibration is the process of comparing the values measured by a device with a reference standard of known accuracy. Since the sensors will be deployed in harsh environments, the components of the sensors will degrade and the measurements become less accurate over a period of time. Thus for getting reliable measurements, sensors would have to calibrated regularly. Since calibrating each of these sensors can be a tedious and expensive task, it is important to come up with low-cost calibrating techniques. Scientists at RBCCPS along with colleagues from the Electrical Communication Engineering at IISc and USC are working on developing new calibration techniques by integrating sophisticated machine learning techniques with dispersion models, using data collected from a network of sensors instead of just one device.
Solar PV plant monitoring and maintenance
Large scale Solar PV plants need to be kept operational at their full capacity with minimal downtime. However, there are many possible failure modes in PV installations. Identifying and locating a fault in a large scale plant is a challenging task. We have developed a low-cost online IV tracer that sits at the junction box level to help identify and locate faults on a per string basis. Our unique power topology can provide an IV trace without the need to bring the plant offline (disconnection of the load). An analytics engine is also being developed that maps the shape of the recorded trace to a corresponding failure mode. The outputs take the form of cleaning schedules, maintenance alerts, fault diagnosis and localization.
Smart grid solutions: Smart switch
A smart switch is an integral part of the smart grid infrastructure. It helps enable solutions like home automation, demand response matching, peak load shaving/shifting. We have developed a low cost smart switch solution that provides remote and manual load control. In the event of network or controller failure the switch has a failsafe fall back to manual mode. This is accomplished with minimal additional hardware resulting in a low cost small factor device. The failsafe fallback circuit is patent pending.
Smart grid solutions: Intelligent electronic device
A low-cost intelligent electronic device (IED) has been developed with distribution level Phasor Measurement Unit (PMU) functionality. This device will sit at the distribution transformer level to measure three phase voltage and current at a maximum sampling rate of 64KHz . Multiple IEDs will form a “distributed” Distribution Management System. The device has enough edge compute capability to host distributed analytics (e.g. grid state estimation etc.). There is also a special emphasis on security.
Civilian use-cases of drones is poised for exponential increase in the coming years, which is expected to generate significant economic value in several sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure assessment, law and order, journalism, etc. Central to all these sectors is the deployment of drones that can navigate autonomously in both structured and unstructured environments.
The goal of our research into autonomous navigation of drones is to understand the complexities of navigation of small quadcopters, with the aim of developing readily-deployable technologies for several application verticals. One of the scenarios we are exploring is the use of smart infrastructure to aid navigation. The premise is that if drones are allowed to interact with smart infrastructure, then we can achieve precision navigation without GPS by employing machine learning. The key challenge here is to put up minimalistic infrastructure, and yet be able to accomplish navigational tasks that require precision. This approach is highly interdisciplinary, and it brings to bear expertise in machine learning, sensor technologies, as well as drone design and construction to solve complex navigational problems. Some of our projects in this area are described below.
The goal of the project is to achieve precise autonomous outdoor navigation of a drone without using GPS (i.e. the “under the tree canopy” scenario), between two waypoints inside the IISc campus, at an elevation of 2-3m from the ground. The approach uses the network of roads inside the campus and leverages our autonomous road following technology that uses the drone’s monocular camera. Road junctions are disambiguated with Smart City infrastructure assistance. Similarly, precision landing on predefined pads at the destination can be identified and characterised either by either smart-city infrastructure assistance or visual markers. The overall path planning for autonomous navigation within the IISc campus is achieved by using an Android application that has a database of Smart City infrastructure-assisted geofenced junctions, static obstacles, as well as landing and take-off pads.
The goal of this project is to enable an off-the-shelf drone to sense and avoid obstacles in unstructured environments using only a monocular camera. A depth map is essential for obstacle avoidance and path planning. The challenge lies in the fact that monocular vision is inherently deficient for depth estimation. To overcome this limitation, we have trained a deep neural network architecture for depth prediction from RGB images, with data collected inside the IISc campus using an RGB and depth sensor. The predicted depth maps are used for trajectory generation, followed by a controller which commands the drone to follow the trajectory. Currently, a clustering algorithm is being employed to generate single-step control actions such as “turn-left”, “go-straight” and “turn-right”. Other methods like deep reinforcement learning, and conventional path-planning techniques in 3D space are being explored.
One of the technologies that is being explored for creating smart infrastructure for drone navigation is ultra-wide band (UWB) transceivers. We have demonstrated that high precision (less than 10cm error in lateral position) for localization and fast refresh rate (40Hz) can be achieved with UWB. Infrastructure-aided navigation is crucial in regions where uncertainties associated with fully autonomous flying may pose a risk. When compared with QR/AR Tags having waypoints embedded into them, UWBs offer more reliable operation even in low visibility conditions and can function as far away as 50m from the infrastructure. Other scenarios being explored in conjunction with UWB include facilitating bundle adjustment of SLAM-based. An added advantage is that any other information obtained through the infrastructure (such as cameras mounted on street lights) can also channelled to the drone through the cloud, aiding in global or local planning strategies.
In collaboration with Yaskawa India Private Limited.
We are interested in the fusion of learning and control in the area of manipulation. The field of “learning to control” is getting a lot of attention of late. Traditional methods of applying control involve a rigorous formal analysis of stability, convergence rates, and also stability margins for a wide variety of nonlinear dynamical systems. But these methods often become very complex and computationally expensive as system complexities increase. On the other hand, learning based methods have a huge advantage of using prior data to obtain seemingly simple control tasks for realizing a wide variety of complex behaviors in nonlinear systems. But these methods do not provide formal guarantees of safety and stability for any of the learnt tasks obtained.
Therefore our objective is to explore control methodologies that take the best from both of these two approaches: Obtain control laws that not only guarantee sufficient performance and stability margins, but also are fast and simple to implement.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will enable a factory manager to monitor and track assets in real time thereby creating a potential for data-driven decision making towards system and process optimisation. Our high level aim is to convert large amounts of data being gathered into actionable knowledge.
The specific goal of the project is to
Our proof-of-concept involves real data from an SMT assembly line (Vinyas Innovative Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Mysore). We hope that the findings here will be of interest for adoption in a larger assembly line.
The Smart City Mission within the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched an ambitious Smart City effort, with about 100 cities selected for a total investment of around two Lakh Crore Rupees. The Smart City projects will be different, with each city investing in the applications and citizen services which are most needed by them. Planning and implementation efforts are in different stages, with the cities expected to be fully operational between 2020 and 2023.
The Centre is currently working on the India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX), a standard mechanism to share, discover and access data from IT systems across heterogenous departments and organisations. IUDX will enable cities to unlock and extract the full potential of the vast amount of data they generate.
Principal Investigator: Pradip Dutta (Department of Mechanical Engineering)
Renewable energy is a critical component of India’s energy portfolio given the ever increasing costs and large capital investments required by fossil fuel based generation. With solar power being a key part of this, a wide range of implementations can be expected from roof-top solar implementations, through micro-grids to large scale solar generation facilities. A huge need exists to develop a comprehensive picture of the deployment, operation and output of such systems, and to couple this information with insolation, geological and climatological models to understand the optimum way to grow and manage solar power infrastrusture in India.
The long term goal of this project was to enable the construction of a data gathering capability that can be deployed at the scale necessary to collect this information and to contribute to a total pathway for solar energy deployment in the country. A key component of this pathway was the development of facilities to ensure optimal operation. The project built a scalable measuring and monitoring infrastructure for development of condition based maintenance of photovoltaic generation systems. In addition to the infrastructure, the project developed algorithms tuned to local deployment and operational practices, and to local environments to optimize the operational efficiency of deployed systems such as in rural micro-grids.
The infrastructure and algorithms were tested and validated against a 5MW photovoltaic implementation that was instrumented and operated as part of the project to provide realistic design and operating data. The system will be extended to cover the solar thermal plant at Chellikere. Subsequent to that, the system will be scaled successively to incorporate corporate and facility solar generation and solar generation facilities with the goal of scaling to a comprehensive national facility. The project also examined the feasibility of providing “micro-monitoring” down to the level of individual roof-top solar installations.
Principal Investigator: M. S. Mohan Kumar (Department of Civil Engineering)
Water distribution systems (WDS) are one of the most critical infrastructures of a nation. It serves drinking water to the millions of people in the country. An accident or damage on the same will risk the life of many people. Hence securing the water network is of utmost importance. Indian water distribution network is under tremendous pressure owing to population growth, ageing infrastructure, poor maintenance, etc. Water supply in most of the Indian cities is intermittent. These factors cause the quality of water in the system to deteriorate to unacceptable levels. Pressure surges due to intermittent water supply cause pipe bursts and leakages which again increases the possibility of contamination (like cross contamination, accidental contamination, etc.)
And this is why the concept of “Smart Water Networks” is important. Such a network is transparent and flexible to meet future challenges and carries out efficient asset management; as a whole it provides a reliable source of water to the consumer. In a smart water network, water quality and quantity data can be collected from the source to the consumer points using sensors, and is transmitted to a central data base where it can be analyzed to understand its change in its hydraulics and quality. Collecting and analyzing water network data enables better understanding of the dynamics of the system and helps in improving system operations and the control on the system. Remote detection of leaks and water losses early detection of contaminant events, real time data acquisition, data analysis, demand forecasting online modelling, energy optimization, sensor placement optimization, real time control, etc. are the key features of a smart water network.
Principal Investigator: A. G. Ramakrishnan (Department of Computer Science and Automation)
The ultimate goal of agricultural automation is to manage the farm on a site‐by site basis. Traditional soil and plant sampling and analysis methods are very expensive, tedious, and time consuming for obtaining soil and crop parameters on a fine grid and at a short time scale. Sensors capable of gathering information from time to time are needed. They are particularly useful to measure parameters that vary faster in time, such as nitrogen and other nutrient content.
It is a technical solution which will actually be used in agriculture production systems to diagnose the problem, if any and suggest action based on the problem. Such monitoring is important in any production system to ensure quality and quantity in the product. Thus, with the help of suitable colour image processing of the leaf images, we can ensure quality and quantity output in any agriculture production system.
Principal Investigator: Rahul Pandit (Department of Physics)
Cardiac arrhythmias, such as ventricular tachycardia (VT) and ventricular fibrillation (VF), are responsible for approximately 17% of all deaths. Experimental studies suggest that rotating spiral or scroll waves of electrical activation in cardiac tissue are associated with VT, whereas, when these waves break to yield spiral- or scroll-wave turbulence, VT develops into life-threatening VF. In the absence of medical intervention, this makes the heart incapable of pumping blood and a patient dies roughly two-and-a-half minutes after the initiation of VF. Thus, studies of spiral- and scroll-wave dynamics in cardiac tissue pose important challenges for in vivo and in vitro experimental studies and for in silico numerical studies of mathematical models for cardiac tissue. Furthermore, the study of these waves and their eventual elimination from cardiac tissue is a problem of central importance in biomedical engineering and biophysical science.
We have been studying such spiral and scroll waves and their control in state-of-the-art mathematical models for human cardiac tissue; these models include (a) cardiac myocytes, (b) fibroblasts, one of the major non-myocyte cells in heart tissue, (c) cells that display earlyafterdepolarizations (EADs), because they are not normal, and (d) Purkinje fibers, a special conduction system that carries electrical impulses from the bundle of His to the interior of ventricular tissue. Our goal in this project has been the development of low-amplitude defibrillation schemes for the elimination of VT and VF.
Principal Investigator: Talabattula Srinivas (Department of Electrical Communication Engineering)
Surveys have revealed that cardio vascular diseases are leading the cause of death in the world. From this point of view, a sensor to record the pulse and a method to subsequently process it using computers have great potential in the medical field. The need here was to focus our research on the development of new methods and devices for monitoring and studying cardiovascular diseases. One of the traditional indicators of the condition of the human cardiovascular system is cardio vascular pulsation. Different cardiovascular diseases can be diagnosed depending on the shape, amplitude and rhythm of this pulsation.
The main objective of the project was to develop recording and processing techniques for wrist pulse signals using conventional and fiber optic sensors. Initially the focus was on processing of signals acquired using conventional sensors. Miniature optic sensors were studied subsequently.
Principal Investigator: T. V. Prabhakar (Department of Electronic System Engineering)
Infection control measures through sanitation protocols such as hand washing are key to controlling hospital-acquired infections, which is an enormous health hazard to patients as well as the hospital community at large. A simple, low-cost, scalable monitoring solution based on a ‘crowd-sourced’ architecture has been developed to ensure adequate thoroughness of disinfection. A combination of low-cost beacon tags and mobile phones deployed at multiple locations in themedical facility (in the proximity of ICU beds for instance) to compute location information for tracking the movements of hospital personnel, will be used in conjunction with integrated infection control models and state-following algorithms.
Principal Investigator: Ashitava Ghosal (Department of Mechanical Engineering)
Endoscopy is extensively used in examination and diagnosis of diseases in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Current endoscopy practice is primarily related to imaging, diagnosis and to a small extent in retrieving tissue for biopsy. There is an acute need of training for endoscopy on virtual (simulator) systems before an endoscopist can be allowed to examine patients. Although a few such systems exist, they are typically very expensive, and all do not give realistic virtual environment, i.e. do not provide haptics/force feedback and the surgical tools for minimally invasive surgery (MIS) cannot be positioned very accurately. The development of actuated end-effectors for use in endoscopes and MIS, imaging, visualization, and mechanical characterization of the GI tract and assisted identification and close examination of abnormal parts have been goals of this project. This project addressed these issues in terms of basic research and developing cost-effective laboratory prototypes.
Principal Investigator: Manoj Varma (Centre for Nano Science and Engineering)
The main objective of this project has been the development of a personal health diagnostic device based on a distributed sensor based on an array of individual sensing elements that have been functionalized in different ways (polyelectrolyte coatings with multiple receptors). The resulting platform is label-free, i.e, no fluorophores are required to generate the desired signal resulting in simplified sensing protocols. The sensing element is an etched Fiber Bragg grating (FBG) which is a type of distributed Bragg reflector along a short segment of an optical fiber whose outer cladding has been removed for higher sensitivity. This approach of exploiting the large multiplexing capability of FBGs coupled with Remote Neonatal Monitoring and Intervention Fiber Bragg Grating Sensors for distributed bio-chemical sensing two novel techniques for incorporating a wide spectrum of functionalization receptors is able to yield high specificities. Recently, this platform has been used for detecting various biomarkers for diagnosing cardiovascular diseases.
Principal Investigator: Aditya Kanade (Department of Computer Science and Automation)
Communication protocols and system software form critical components of cyber-physical systems. The concurrent and distributed nature of different components of a protocol make it difficult to design and debug the protocols. In addition, mechanisms for providing reliable communication over unreliable communication media (e.g. checksums,sliding window protocols) make the protocols intricate. This project aimed at formal modeling and analysis of protocols, in particular, protocols that provide reliable retransmission capabilities over noisy channels.
System software plays a significant role in cyber-physical systems by gluing together different components like sensors, controllers, actuators, and end-user devices. Control algorithms are also commonly implemented in software. The complexity of these software components make them susceptible to bugs. This project focussed at designing techniques to detect, localize, and fix bugs in programs. In particular, we explored combinations of dynamic analysis, symbolic reasoning, and machine learning to develop techniques for debugging and repair of programs.
Principal Investigator: Manoj Varma (Centre for Nano Science and Engineering)
Principal Investigator: Jaywant H. Arakeri (Department of Mechanical Engineering)
The project had been collaborative effort three institutes: IISc, the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, and Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore. UAS has allotted 15 guntas of land for erecting four polyhouses and a field laboratory. An experiment was completed with baby corn (which has a growth period of two months) to optimize the growth conditions inside the polyhouse, deployment of sensors, deployment of micro irrigation/precision delivery systems for water and fertilizers. The existing technologies and their limitations could be understood through design experiments with Capsicum as test crop. The results of the experiments in the standard polyhouse gave inputs for new designs for the climatic conditions obtained in Bangalore.
Technical details on fabrication of a new type of controlled growth chamber have been discussed with engineers of a Chennai based company. Studies have been carried out to optimize the sensors to be used in the polyhouse and for plant image capture. A mini-lysimeter was developed to measure continuously transpiration rates from single plants. The mechanism of clogging of emitters/actuators was researched by examining several emitters/actuators collected from the field. An emitter test set-up to study clogging, obtain pressure-flow characteristics and develop new emitters was set up. A new type of intermittent emitter is was designed as part of an M.Des. project of the Centre for Product Design and Manufacture (CPDM).
Principal Investigator: Bharadwaj Amrutur (Robert Bosch Centre for Cyber-Physical Systems)
A robust, easy-to-use prototype device has been developed for continuous, realtime monitoring of the core body temperatures of neonates. The design for this device has factored in considerations for ease-of-use in rural settings with minimal infrastructure. The primary utility of this wearable device is to be able to raise triggers/alarms for prompting appropriate interventions in the case of the neonate’s body temperature exceeding limits predetermined by clinicians (e.g. in the case of hypothermia or sepsis). Recent efforts have been directed into widening the sensing scope of the device by incorporating functionalities such as breathing rate determination, oxygen saturation (SpO2) detection as well as electrocardiogram (ECG) measurements.
Principal Investigator: K. Gopinath (Department of Computer Science and Automation)
The project’s original aim was to enable stroke patients in their rehabilitation by providing an interesting way to perform the required exercises. A stroke patient, during his/her rehabilitation period is required to perform regular, repetitive exercises, especially some predefined movements of the affected region, to gain back the functionality of those regions. However, these exercises are often highly repetitive in nature and may become boring over the time, because of which the patient may stop doing it. Instead, the basic idea was to make such movements part of some video game(s) that would have the desired motions (exercise movements). We also planned to capture the movement of the patient during these exercises by placing sensors on the moving body parts and provide feedback to the patient or the doctor, either off-line or, if possible, on-line regarding the patient performance.
In the process of formally defining the problem, we spoke to medical specialists who work in related areas. During these discussions it became clear that the Human Gait Analysis is a far more pressing problem. Given its immediate need, the cost of doing so can be reduced substantially. Also, from the point of validation, there are well defined standards available for Gait Analysis, like Optical Gait Analysis, which can be used for evaluating any new system.
Given the commonality of the hardware for our original problem and Human Gait Analysis and due to lack of data for the original problem, we therefore decided to shift our attention to Human Gait Analysis. Based on our discussions with specialists, our new goals was to calculate the clinically important joint angles (knee joint angle, ankle joint angle, hip joint angle, etc.) using IMU Sensors (Inertial Measurement Unit) and to validate the results using an Optical system (BIMRA Gait Lab). If the angles produced by the IMU sensors is comparable with that produced by Optical system, then potentially, one can use IMU sensors system to do Gait Analysis at a much lower cost.
Principal Investigator: M. S. Bobji (Department of Mechanical Engineering)
Epidural procedures are routinely performed by trained physicians for anesthesia and treatment. It is a procedure that requires considerable skill on the part of the physician to correctly place the needle and catheter at the exact position in the epidural space as puncturing or damaging the dura mater may lead to side effects like headache or even paralysis. Training on cadavers is one way to provide necessary skills in the procedure. The current project involved the development of a training system to realistically provide a simulation environment with a haptic feedback and immersive visualisation. Some key features of the project are development of custom sensors and mechanisms and an intelligent software engine to provide measurements, feedback and operations of the training environment.
Principal Investigator: T. G. Sitharam (Department of Civil Engineering)
Integrated Urban Transportation Planning includes collaborative planning of land use and transport, integration of various modes of transport in terms of infrastructure like coexisting terminals for public transportation and service like having common fare payment systems etc.
Intelligent Transport System (ITS) is another promising and prevalent means of improving mobility in an optimal manner, ITS provides very efficient and smooth coordination among functioning of various infrastructure elements that constitutes the transport system. It is majorly divided into Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS), Advanced Traveler Management System (ATIS), and Advanced Public Transport Systems (APTS). All three of these involve utilization of telematics. Real time estimation of traffic stream characteristics such as traffic flow, speed and traffic density act as inputs to all three and helps in unparalleled enhancement of mobility.
Principal Investigator: L. Umanand (Department of Electronic Systems Engineering)
Solar pump units provide varying power to pumps with varying solar isolation. The solar panels are also by about 25% oversized to accommodate wide seasonal variations. As a result, the pump rarely runs at full capacity, and thereby, subjects the pump, the pump motor and motor driver to run at lower efficiencies most of the time.
We developed a new solar pump system with an intelligent solar power management unit (SPMU) to help regulate constant power to the pump. The unit diverts solar power to battery whenever it is greater than the pump power requirement, and also supplements the solar power with battery power whenever it is lesser than the pump power requirement. The unit features “maximum power point tracking (MPPT)” to harness maximum power from the solar panel. The system also (uniquely) provides the capability to measure the total and time profile of water pumped, and also supports the collection of inline Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), a critical water quality parameter that is necessary to determine appropriate watering levels.
Principal Investigator: Monto Mani (Centre for Sustainable Technologies and Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing)
Clean energy technologies are an imminent necessity to sustain modern civilization and ensuring environmental vitality for future generations. While solar photovoltaics (PV) for clean electricity generation is promising, ensuring its optimum performance is crucial for sustainability. Often, onsite parameters such as dust-settlement and ambient climatic factors have a significant bearing on PV system output, including the dependence on clean-water for maintenance. Despite enormous ongoing efforts to devise novel materials for higher PV yield and efficiency, there is inadequate study dealing with onsite factors. Dust deposition and operating PV temperatures are acute considerations in tropical regions such as India. Research and development, under the current project, investigated the impact of dust settlement, associated water-based cleaning cycles and operating PV temperature profiles on PV system output (efficiency) for various PV material and design configurations. Further, to minimize use of clean water for maintenance, given site-specific conditions, an effort was made to evolve a methodology to identify appropriate cleaning mechanisms. Further, results of the study paved way for research in other domains of material sciences such as development of dust repelling coatings and self-cleaning glasses.
Principal Investigator: Deepak D’Souza (Department of Computer Science and Automation)
Real-time operating systems (RTOS) play a central role in embedded system applications, and will likely do so for cyber-physical systems in the future. Given the paradigm shift towards multi-core processors, most embedded processors are likely to be multi-core ones in the near future. Today’s RTOS that are typically designed to be run on uni-processors will need to be re-designed and implemented for multi-core processors. Reasoning about the correctness of embedded applications is impossible without a precise specification and proof of correctness of the RTOS itself.
In this project we used the open source Free-RTOS operating system as an example. To begin with we defined a precise specification (for example in a formal modelling language like Z notation or Event B) of the intended behaviour of a Free-RTOS-like OS on a multicore processor. Secondly, we proposed a multicore implementation of Free-RTOS. Finally we investigated techniques to prove the correctness of this implementation with respect to the top-level specification.
Principal Investigator: Joy Kuri (Department of Electronic System Engineering)
The Zero Energy Building project had two principal objectives: (a) To use renewable energy sources to meet, at least in part, the energy requirements of a building, and (b) to retrofit this capability to an existing building, with no structural changes allowed. A two-pronged approach was used: To exploit solar photovoltaics, and to implement load management to reduce energy demand.
The solution incorporated several novel features. On the supply side, the traditional inductor stage used in interfacing the transformer to the grid was eliminated completely — instead, the leakage inductance of the transformer was utilized; this lead to significant savings in weight and space. On the demand side, load management is the key requirement, and an elaborate measurement and control infrastructure has been developed. This consists of Load Management Units (LMU-s, one in each lab or office) that provide aggregate measurement and control functionality, a smart meter for pluggable loads with communication and storage capabilities called the Joule Jotter, and a Master Energy Consumption Scheduler, that collects measurements from LMU-s and Joule Jotters and makes load scheduling decisions, taking into account time-of-day energy prices, available solar energy as well as user convenience.
LMU-s and the master communicate using the DNP v3.0 protocol. Keeping the goal of retrofitting in mind, a Smart Switch that can be substituted for the traditional 2-terminal wall switch, has been developed. The Smart Switch can respond to commands from a remote controller sent via the power line (PLC) or via a wireless link. The challenge here is to provide power to the electronics inside the switch from the two terminals – line and load point – that are available at the switch; in particular, the neutral is not available.
The complete solution was designed and implemented in the Department of Electronic Systems Engineering, Indian Institute of Science Bangalore. It is operational and provides an average of 70 KWh of energy per day.
Principal Investigator: Malati Hegde (Department of Electrical Communication Engineering)
“AMBULET” is an interactive gateway for relaying physiological parameters and video data between mobile ambulances and the health practitioners/hospitals. Nearly 51% of accident–related deaths occur due to inadequate medical attention during transportation to the hospital. AMBULET supports multiple streams of multiplexed real-time data transport using associated application proxies over a set of bonded channels to transparently and dynamically maintain desired levels of service quality over the cellular communications infrastructure.
Principal Investigator: Sai Siva Gorthi (Department of Instrumentation and Applied Physics)
In this project, we developed an “imaging” based point-of-care diagnostic device, which can fully-automate the complete work flow of conventional clinical microscopy. A custom designed portable digital microscope augmented with dedicated microfluidic lab-on-chips enables process automation, as well as, cost effective implementation of microscopic diagnosis of malaria. Such an inexpensive, portable and easy-to-use diagnostic device, which requires minimal skilled human intervention, greatly enhances the quality of health-care available to the rural population of the world.
Principal Investigator: V. Kumaran (Department of Chemical Engineering)
This project addressed two critical technologies for performing complete blood counts for health diagnostics. The technologies include the rapid mixing of samples and reagents in channels of small dimensions and impedance measurements across these channels to measure and characterize the cells flowing through them. The process workflow is completely automated (liquid injection, mixing and handling processes such as lysing and quenching) and novel approaches have been adopted to fabricate miniature (less than a hundred microns) electrodes in the walls of the channels. This technology is currently being spun-off as a startup (MicroX Labs).
Principal Investigator: Manoj Varma (Centre for Nano Science and Engineering)
A micro-diffractive structure patterned on a thin film surface enables the differential read-out of phase and amplitude change caused due to the molecular adsorption on the surface with a limit of detection as low as 3×10-6 RIU (refractive index units equivalent to an optical thickness of about 10 picometers) comparable to dominant techniques such as Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR). This technique also allows the measurement of molecular binding kinetics similar to SPR.
Our implementation was based on transmission mode measurements and therefore enabled the use of low cost CMOS imagers, e.g. mobile phone cameras, to be used for interferometric measurements of molecular adsorption or refractive index changes. Such devices are very beneficial for low cost point-of-care diagnostics among other applications. Interferometry is one of the most sensitive metrological technique available today and is being used to detect gravitational waves (LIGO project), which are one of the weakest phenomena known to mankind.
Implementing interferometry using our micro-fabricated devices attached on top of the camera of a smart phone was the first demonstration of the mobile phone as a sophisticated metrological tool. Our microfabricated device consists of photolithographically patterned glass surface consisting of microarrays of a specified depth designed to maximize the interferometric contrast. Any small refractive index (or thickness) perturbation on this device can be measured as a change in diffraction pattern which is captured by the mobile phone camera. As pointed earlier, this interferometric technique is comparable to existing optical bio-detection techniques such as SPR.
Principal Investigator: Sanjiv Sambandan (Department of Instrumentation and Applied Physics)
Waste water management is a global problem. Technologies based on membranes and chemicals to treat waste water place immense costs to the environment. This project focused on developing a membraneless, chemical free wastewater treatment system. The designs thus far have permitted easy scalability from hand held systems to larger community based systems. Tests have shown that submicron impurities such as metal oxides, coliform bacteria, organic impurities are removed. Hardness is also abated. Future plans include a user friendly design of a hand held water bottle and the setup of a pilot project for continuous larger throughput systems.
Sambadan, Sanjiv: A desalination device, Indian Patent Application No. 1506/CHE/2013 (03.06.16)
Principal Investigator: K. Rajanna (Department of Instrumentation and Applied Physics)
A Polyvinylidene Difluoride (PVDF) based nasal sensor has been designed and developed to monitor human respiration, a novel and non‐invasive type sensor. The piezoelectric property of the PVDF film has been utilized to realise the sensor. In our work, we have used PVDF film in the cantilever configuration as a sensing element to form the nasal sensor. The dimensions of the PVDF cantilever sensing element are optimized using detailed theoretical analysis as well as experimental studies. Two identical PVDF sensors were mounted on a normal headphone such that the tidal flow of inhaled and exhale air impinge on the sensor in order to measure the breathing patterns. These patterns are recorded, filtered, analyzed and displayed on the computer screen. A necessary signal conditioning circuitry has been developed for the PVDF nasal sensors. Clinical trials were conducted at the nearby hospital to study the performance of the developed breath sensor. The results were analyzed and found very useful in identifying the breathing abnormalities.
Principal Investigator: K. V. S. Hari (Department of Electrical Communication Engineering)
Unmanned motorized vehicles are used in hazardous situations for disaster management. These situations can be anything ranging from fire, earthquakes, to other types of calamities (nuclear/chemical) where initially humans cannot be involved directly. This project aimed to develop an inertial navigation system (INS) for four vehicles moving in an indoor environment, in order to track their position indoors and also control them accordingly from outside. This is possible through the use of an inertial measure unit (IMU), which provides the position and a camera provides the visual and these are transmitted over the WiFi to the command station.
To go about building this, (1) a blueprint of the hardware system required for the four vehicles was prepared. This included identifying the hardware components for the system; such as the IMU, microcontrollers, wireless devices, battery packs and devices to provide visualization. With this in hand, (2) a prototype of the system was developed. The navigation algorithms are written in Matlab and C++, for porting onto the embedded system, which in our case is the BeagleBoard. The network modules for the communication between the vehicle and command station are setup using Wi-Fi. Also, a webcam is installed on the vehicle to provide visualization support. Having the system ready, (3) it was tested by collecting data and analysing the positioning details. The stop-and-go motion, on which the vehicle was designed to move, warranted a better threshold in order to get accurate distance and trajectory. This led to further modifications in the algorithm, to suit the system better. The video streaming was also tested simultaneously and found to be functioning as required.
Apart from this, the battery pack was improved upon, for superior functioning and compactness. The range of the WiFi was tested with different dongles. The vehicle was tracked and the trajectory the path taken was plotted, too.
Principal Investigator: G. K. Ananthasuresh (Department of Mechanical Engineering)
The project aimed to create a cognitive ring that – using hand-gestures – can interface with a smart phone, a computer and physical devices. The main task was to design, fabricate, and integrate a three-axis accelerometer, Bluetooth chip, and micro-controller chip into the small form-factor of the ring. Writing the necessary code was also part of the project.
Based on the literature survey and market studies done, currently the available devices which employ similar technologies are pedometers, wrist watches and other health parameters measuring devices. For gesture recognition wrist watches and inertial sensor based devices used in game consoles are available. Most of the game console controllers depend on line of sight, and a purely sensor driven game controller which does not rely on line of sight is not still available.
Saxena, Dhruv; Mehrota, Pragati; Rao Hiteshwar; Ananthasuresh, G. K.: A method for recognizing gestures using an accelerometer mounted onto a wearable device, Indian Patent Application No. 5699/CHE/2013 (24.06.16)
Principal Investigator: Bharadwaj Amrutur (Robert Bosch Centre for Cyber-Physical Systems)
We explored two threads for this activity. One was based on Microsoft’s Kinect platform to extract depth information, and the other was to use a standard camera for doing the same. In the Kinect approach, the Kinect system provides the depth information for any object placed in front of it. Thus the depth info for the fingers are obtained and then thresholded to determine if they have touched the surface. Kinect relies on a infrared structured light pattern projection, coupled with an IR camera to image the pattern. The pattern’s distortions are then analysed to extract the depth map.
In the second approach, we used a standard camera to image a structured light pattern modulation of the projected image. This enabled us to use any camera for such application. Furthermore, the modulation region is restricted to the places near the finger tips to minimize image quality degradation.
Principal Investigator: Karuna Kar Nanda (Materials Research Centre)
Undetected ammonia might lead to severe burns on skin, eyes, throat, or lungs causing permanent blindness, lung disease, kidney and liver malfunction, diabetes, asthma, cancer, and ulcers. Sensors based on optical, electrical, and chemical detection have attracted significant attention. It is desirable to detect few ppb (parts-per-billion) level or below for useful medical applications and environmental monitoring. Efforts are being made to detect ammonia concentration in wide range starting from ppb to ppm (parts-per-million) level and especially, at room temperature.
We synthesize Au nanoparticles by one-step green synthesis method using polysaccharide (Guar Gum, GG) as the reducing as well as capping agents. First, we demonstrated GG/AuNPs nanocomposite (GG/AuNPs NC) for detection of aqueous ammonia based on surface plasmon resonance (SPR). It has good reproducibility, response times of 10 s and excellent sensitivity with a detection limit of 1 pp. We also followed the chemiresitive method based on the change in the current with ammonia concentration. Here, we have reported for the first time an ultrasensitive gold nanoparticles based room temperature sensor that can detect ammonia level in urine and quantify the urea level in it. The sensor can detect sub parts-per-quadrillion (ppq) of ammonia which is the lowest ever achieved at room temperature. Sensitivity, stability, reproducibility and durability studies revealed excellent device properties that can be explored as ammonia sensor for environmental and medical applications.
Principal Investigator: Prabhu R. Nott (Department of Chemical Engineering)
Granular flows occur widely in industrial processes (processing of food grains, mineral ores, pharmaceutical powders) and in natural phenomena (avalanches, mud slides), yet their mechanics is poorly understood. A major factor hampering the control of processes involving granular flow, such as filling detergent sachets or dosing a drug capsule, is the poor quality of instrumentation available for these systems when compared to fluids.
In our laboratory, we expanded our understanding of the kinematics and rheology of such materials by making careful measurements in simple flows of model granular materials, experiments and using them to refine continuum theories. We find the need for measuring the stress on a rotating cylinder that is immersed in a granular material. This requires the signals to be transmitted wirelessly from the sensor. Wireless transceivers are commercially available from many sources, but are proved unsuitable for our purpose as we required wireless transmission of voltage signals that can vary over a wide range. The innovation in this product therefore is in building a custom-made, small, low-cost, and accurate sensor-cum-transceiver unit, that adapts to the strength of the signal. Another useful consequence of this project was the development of a sensor for granular materials that may be used for flow control.