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From the news
- Chancellor Amma Addresses the Parliament of World’s Religions
- Amrita Students Qualify for the European Mars Rover Challenge
It is Amma’s firm conviction that humanity must unite the future of the Earth and the preservation of nature with science and technology as a means to ensure a sustainable existence. With this as its focus, Amrita innovates solutions to meet the needs of the poor and suffering. Researchers from various fields at the university—including engineering, medicine, nanoscience, AI, big data, sensor-manufacturing, and material sciences—participate in cross-disciplinary efforts to design innovations that can be used by anyone and everyone. There is a specific focus on the needs of poverty-stricken areas in rural India, the healthcare sector on a global basis, and disaster management via wireless networks. Many of Amrita’s endeavours have been acknowledged globally for their success in humanitarian relief.
The wireless sensor network is a state-of-the-art system that gives advance warnings of landslides so that people can be safely evacuated before disaster strikes. It was the world’s first such model for continuous surveillance of landslide risk when it was deployed in Munnar, Kerala in 2009. The wireless sensor-based infrastructure is considered more accurate than the rainfall-threshold model commonly used. In 2018, the second system was installed in the Himalayas in the Sikkim-Darjeeling belt, an area at the highest risk of landslides in India and a top location globally. The project is jointly funded by the Government of India and Amrita and has successfully provided nine warnings.
HuT Labs is an engineering research lab using robotics to help solve social issues. The main focuses are healthcare, human-aided devices, and embedded systems. For example, during COVID-19 with social distance a critical factor, HuT Labs quickly developed robots for disinfecting rooms with ultraviolet light, bringing meals and medications to patients, and remotely operating patient transportation units. Outside the sphere of the pandemic, HuT Labs has created many innovative machines, including a hand orthotic device based on machine learning, a robot for climbing trees to harvest coconuts, a wheelchair robot based on hand gestures, and a search and rescue robot for disaster management.
Smart Grids for Rural Electrification is running 40 projects in 13 villages across India to achieve rural electrification via smart grids that also use renewable energy. With a focus on isolated areas, some of the villages previously did not have any access to electricity and others often had frequent power outages, sometimes lasting for days. Key features of Amrita’s smart-grid design include optimization of electrical transmission; creation of smart solutions for major problems such as wastage of electrical energy and power theft; and providing smart solutions for automatic billing and system control.
Haptic simulators as a modality take advantage of the sense of human touch by applying forces and vibrations to provide real life-like experience to the user. Amrita has made pioneering contributions in the area of haptic systems for skill assessment, especially in rural India, which then provide guidance for applications such as vocational education and training, physical rehabilitation, and medical simulation. Specific research areas include haptic rendering, haptic devices, haptic guidance, and shared control schemes for haptic simulation.
The project to develop wearable medical systems involves research with the aim of providing solutions in rural areas. The project focuses on developing integrated, continuous monitoring, and medical alert technology using unobtrusive, wireless sensor devices in three distinct medical areas—cardiovascular disorders, neurological disorders, and sleep disorders. The research focuses on factors such as protocols for communication between sensors, smartphones and cloud access, and disease detection & analysis.
OceanNet provides access to a low-cost mobile network to help fishers at sea stay safe, as each boat’s coordinates, speed, and course are tracked on a land-based server. The support includes the ability to make SOS calls, especially during severe weather. To communicate, an onshore base station with internet connectivity boosts signals, and the connection is captured by fishing vessels equipped with an Amrita OceanNet system. In turn, those vessels also become broadcasters and the internet signal, through multiple boat-to-boat hops, can extend beyond 60 km (about 37 mi) from the shoreline.