SIR M VISVESVARAYA

Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya.

Anne Lammott explores these words in depth and beautifully in her work, “Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair.”

When there is a personality this eminent, this instrumental and this influential, it is difficult, almost impossible, to find a way to have a single article reflect all that deserves to be reflected. We can only try to make the reader get a glimpse, if not a picture, of just how much goes into becoming someone who lives on, not only as an able engineer of the past, but also of now, and in the hearts of those who are able to live the fruits of his efforts, and in the minds of everyone who strives for his traits and knowledge.

A.N. Moorthy Rao, a renowned author, recalls, in one of his works, a bus journey through Mandya. As he looked out of his window, and gazed at the soul warming-greenery stretched out as far as the eye could see, lush paddy fields, sugarcanes standing straight, almost with an air of seriousness and keen posture, he marvelled at the district’s transformation. He recalled how it had been nothing but a barren and thirsty land, and as he did so, a fellow companion in the bus resounded exactly his thoughts. The companion, with his hand outstretched to the scenery outside said, “All this is Visvesvaraya”.

Mandya Today

Notice how he said, “All this is Visvesvarayya” and not, “All this is Visvesvaraya’s work”. He could not have said so more rightly. They embody all that he stood for: dedication, service and support, to do better as a whole.

Mandya’s flourishing fields and people. The earth quenched by the waters of the KRS dam, which was envisioned and built by him. The rice growing there that feeds the entire state. In all of this lies Sir M. Visvesvaraya.

The travel companion then goes on to describe his other contributions-Bhadravati Iron and Steel Works, State Bank of Mysore, Mysore University, Mysore Chamber of commerce. However, before elaborating on any of these, let us begin at his beginning.

He was born on the fifteenth of September,1861, into a Telugu brahmin family in the village of Muddenahalli, in Chikkaballapur district to Mokshagundam Srinivasa Shastry and Venkatalakshmamma. Part of a learned family, he too went on to show great interest in academics.

Sir MV’s memorial in Muddenahalli

Having completed his primary education in Chikkaballapur,he came to Bangalore for his higher education. A little known fact is that he initially studied arts and In 1881, he received a bachelor’s degree in Arts from the Central College in Bangalore, affiliated to the Madras University. It was after that that he moved onto pursue civil engineering from the reputed College of Engineering, Pune.

A dedicated student, he emerged as the topper of the university examination, and as was the practice then, was immediately recruited into Bombay’s Public Works Department (PWD) as an assistant engineer.

An excerpt from his autobiography “Memories of my working life”. (All excerpts in this article are from the same book)

His passion for his work, love for challenges and ability to navigate even the toughest of issues with a clear head earned him the trust of the Government and the masses. Deemed as one of the most able of engineers, he was entrusted with problems that he saw through with a keen mind and a flair like no other. For instance, to solve the problem of reservoir overflow, he designed automatic sluice gates which were first used in Khadakvasla Reservoir near Pune. These were used later at Lake Fife in Michigan, Tigra Dam in Gwalior and KRS Dam in Mandya/Mysore. This design was patented by him and the Government was more than willing to pay him a recurring royalty for this brainchild of his. However, he sternly refused the royalty and asked the government to put that money to use elsewhere for the welfare of the public.

He was highly commended by one and all and in the years to come, his list of achievements only grew, all achieved not with the spirit of fame or power, but purely in the spirit to serve and put his mind to the best of use for the betterment of the people.

In 1906-1907, he was sent by the Government to Aden University in Yemen to learn more about water supply and drainage systems. The project he created during his studies there was in fact implemented in the city of Aden.

After his return, he designed a flood protection system for Hyderabad. He became a hero to the masses when he developed a system to make Visakhapatnam port free from the threat of sea erosion. Sir M Visvesvaraya envisioned, supervised and architectured the Krishna Raja Sagara Dam on the Kaveri River, which ensured lives and livelihoods of several. This dam created the biggest reservoir in Asia when it was built. Sir M. Visvesvaraya rendered valuable technical advice for the location of Mokama Bridge over the Ganga in Bihar. He planned the city of Jayanagar, in Bangalore and to this day, it is said to be one of the best planned cities in Asia, and on many lists the best.

Below is a timeline of his several successful endeavours and career line. Although, it is hardly fair to condense all these incredible feats into a timeline, it would be even more unfair to leave any out in an attempt to expand on each and every one of them.
(These lists are sourced from https://www.karnataka.com)

Offices held by Sir MV
1.Assistant Engineer, Bombay Government Service [in 1884]
2.Chief Engineer, Hyderabad State [he served only for 7 months starting April 15, 1909]
3.Chief Engineer in Mysore State [Nov 15, 1909]. He was also Secretary to the Railways.
4.President of Education and Industrial Development committees in Mysore State
5.Chairman, Bhadravati Iron Works
6.Member of the Governing Council of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
7.Member of the Governing Council of Tata Iron and Steel Company [TISCO]
8.Member of Back Bay enquiry committee, London
9.Member of a committee constituted in 1917 to make recommendations regarding the future of Indian States.
10. In 1908, visited Egypt, Canada. United States of America and Russia
11. Services lent as Special Consulting Engineer, Hyderabad, to supervise and carry out engineering works in connection with the Musi floods, 1909;
12. Retired from British service, 1909;
13.Chief Engineer and Secretary to the Government of Mysore, 1909;
14.Dewan of Mysore, P. W. and Railway Department, 1913;
15.Board of director of Tata Steel, 1927–1955.

Sir MV meeting with the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru

Projects he was responsible for
1.The architect of the Krishnarajasagara dam – or KRS or Brindavan gardens. One of the biggest dams in India which irrigate a hundred and twenty thousand acres of land. This was built at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore. It changed a barren Mandya district into rice granary, provides drinking water to Mysore and Bangalore.
2.Bhadravati Iron and Steel Works – as its Chairman he rescued it from becoming extinct. Mysore Sandal Oil Factory and the Mysore soap factory
3.Mysore University – Sir M.V.’s question was “If Australia and Canada could have universities of their own for less than a million population, cannot Mysore with a population of not less that 60 lakhs have a University of its own?”
4.State Bank of Mysore (it was first named as ‘The Bank of Mysore’)
5.Public libraries in Mysore and Bangalore
6.Encouraging girls to attend school.
7.Mysore Chambers of Commerce
8.Kannada Sahitya Parishad or the Kannada Literary Academy
9.Sri Jayachamarajendra Occupational Institute, Bangalore – funded by the ENTIRE money [Rs 200,000] he earned from rescuing Bhadravati Iron Works.
10.In 1912 he set up Hebbal Agricultural School, now University of Agricultural Sciences.
11.In 1903 he designed automatic, weir water floodgates, installed at Khadakvasla reservoir.
12.He implemented irrigation system in Karnataka.
13.Sri Jayachamarajendra Polytechnic Institute.
14.The Bangalore Agricultural University (University of Agricultural Sciences).
15. The Century Club
16. Visvesvaraya College of Engineering, Bengaluru
17. He had introduced compulsory education in the State which later was embodied as a fundamental right in the Constitution of independent India.

Some of the honors and laurels conferred
1904    Honorary Membership of London Institution of Civil Engineers for an unbroken period of 50 years
1906    “Kaisar-i- Hind” in recognition of his services
1911    C.I.E. (Companion of the Indian Empire) at the Delhi Darbar
1915    K.C.I.E. (Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire)
1921    D.Sc. – Calcutta University
1931    LLD – Bombay University
1937    D.Litt – Benaras Hindu University (BHU)
1943    Elected as an Honorary Life Member of the Institution of Engineers (India)
1944    D.Sc. – Allahabad University
1948    Doctorate – LLD., Mysore University
1953    D.Litt – Andhra University
1953    Awarded the Honorary Fellowship of the Institute of Town Planners, India
1955    Conferred ‘Bharat Ratna‘ (The gem of India), the highest distinction of the country
1958    D.Sc. Jadhavpur University Calcutta
1958    ‘Durga Prasad Khaitan Memorial Gold Medal’ by the Royal Asiatic Society Council of Bengal
1959    Fellowship of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

Sir MV being conferred the prestigious Bharat Ratna

Although, every one of the above deserve elaboration, it would be hardly possible to do so. However, it is strongly urged that you do so as there are not only enough resources to do so, including his own autobiography. More importantly, there is much to learn from each of his efforts and this in itself is enough incentive.

Some achievements however are so tied with his name that an article celebrating Sir MV is simply incomplete without bringing them up. The whole of Mysore city resonates his sheer excellence and dwells largely in the boons of his past ventures.

Soon after his retirement from British services in 1908, Sri Krishnarajendra Wodeyar, Maharaja of Mysore, engaged his services. Visvesvaraya was enraptured, not demotivated by the array of challenges.

When appointed Dewan, he served everyday in that office, strictly for the benefit of his society and not his own. Krishnaraja Sagara Dam, built across the Kaveri river, is one of the prime water supplies for the southern part of India and deemed one of the most brilliant engineering feats of the country.

A fond story one tells of the sanctity with he regarded his office is as follows; when he was first named the Dewan, he is said to have laid his appointment letter down at the feet of his mother and said that he would only accept the offer is she promised to not ask him to employ any of his relatives simply out of favour and to not ask him to do anything that could stain his professionalism. In fact, when a fellow relative who was already holding a government post asked Sir MV to influence a promotion, although he greatly liked and respected this relative, he very firmly refused to do anything of this sort.

He would be neatly dressed, by seven in the morning everyday. There would not be a single crease in his clothing. Thus, his attitude of perfection and orderliness was not limited to his work, but reflected in every aspect of his life. He once said, “Remember, your work may be only to sweep a railway crossing, but it is your duty to keep it so clean that no other crossing in the world is as clean as yours”.

He was an epitome of his words and was at his desk everyday till eight in the night. He would make each day count and had great respect for time and what was done with it. He was more than willing to listen to grievances and suggestions. However, he would expect prior notice about someone who wanted to meet with him. They were expected to write to him first. He would then allocate an hour for solely that purpose. Untimeliness was not tolerated. Preparedness was admired.

Similarly, as was the duty of a Dewan, he would visit towns and villages around. However, before he did so, he would ask for all the information he felt was necessary about the place. He would want to know of the area’s water supply, drainage facilities, number of hospitals, tanks and everything else right down to the smallest detail, and everything more that he felt was needed to make the most of his visit. He would then analyse the place and its needs. He would hold efficient meetings with the officials and representatives of the area.

Upon return to his office, he would write letters out to those concerned giving specific and well explained details of what measures were to be taken next for effective handling of the concerns at hand.

However, he felt like most problems could be avoided altogether is proper education could be made accessible to more. Acting on this belief, he envisioned several educational measures. In 1912, when he became the Dewan, there were about 4,500 schools in Mysore State, about 1,40,000 boys and girls went to them, and there was no college having degree classes for girls. When he retired in 1918, there were 6500 schools, about 3,66,000 school-going children and he set up Maharani's College in Mysore to be a First Grade College. The first hostel for girls was also opened. He also embarked on one more instrumental task in the educational sector-the setting up of a University. The university was to decide what subjects would be taught, who would be designated as the lecturers and the conduct of all examinations. Back then, Mysore was affiliated to Madras University. However, Sir MV felt the need for a separate university and thus was born the Mysore University. It was the first university in an Indian state governed by an Indian ruler. Due to the trust in his decisions and projects, the government gave full support to this and agreed to give scholarships to deserving students to pursue further students in universities abroad.

Students at Maharani’s putting up a cultural performance

Apart from the dire need for education, another aspect Sir MV considered absolutely integral to the country’s development was that of burgeoning the industrial sector. This would not only enable the self sufficiency of the nation but would enable large scale employment to its people. H brought in experts from Japan and China to help develop the silk industry of Ramnagara and Mysore. He made similar efforts to ensure that the sandalwood, steel and iron industries also blossomed.

Bhadravati Iron and Steel Factory

Trade needs to assist industries. Hence was set us the State Bank of Mysore and its chambers of commerce, enabling efficient methods to liquidate assets and assisting in lending and borrowing systems to merchants and farmers.

As previously said, this brilliance of his and excelling forethought for what the nation and people needed, could fill entire pages. However, what makes him truly remarkable was his spirit of growing together with others.

He was sincere, yes. He wanted to succeed, yes. He had an intense drive, yes. However, all this was fueled not by a sense of competition with others, but with himself and wanting to know more each day, and to better what he knew the precious day. He wanted others to be able to do the same. He wanted to pull others up with him and not stomp down on them to rise. He would work to instil confidence and dedication in those that worked with him and everyone around him. To assist with bringing in reforms and better machinery at Bhadravati’s Iron and Steel factory, he had called in engineers from the US. After the work was concluded, and after much deliberation. he called upon a young engineer in Mysore to henceforth oversee this responsibility. That was still a time when it was believed that only foreigners were blessed with the ability to be true engineers. The young Indian, nervously said he would do his best to fill the boots of the US officials. Sir MV, upon picking up on his shakiness assured him that he had been chosen because he was the best. He said that the only thing that could stop the official from fully unleashing his full potential was his inability to believe he could.

This is one of the main reasons Sir MV was revered for his opinions. He would say things like that they were. He was often called upon for counsel and assistance even after his voluntary retirement as Dewan by those who came after him. Thus, he was excellent at harbouring respectful relationships with those he interacted with.

Sir MV with the then Chief Minister of Mysore, BD. Jatti

He treated those who worked with him, well and this was one of the most important of reasons for his success. Even if his subordinates questioned some of his decisions, he would not devalue them but pay earnest heed to them as long as they were a product of actual thought and sensibility. He respected this trait of honesty and frankness no matter where it came from. He truly believed that words needed no beautification apart from honesty.

He appreciated words that were stripped bare down to meaningfulness instead of beating about the bush and not holding conversations that led to something fruitful. Once, on a trip to Jog falls, his companion is said to have spoken at length and poetically, about the scaling heights and its scenic beauty. Sir MV is said to have rebuked that all that was well and good, but it was intensely disappointing how much energy of the gushing water was going to waste.

Some might wonder if this is synonymous with not seeing life for the beautiful miracle it is, if perhaps he looked so intently for productivity everywhere that he missed out on the little marvels and joys.

This was not the case. He was fully aware of the spectacles and nuances of all that made life joyous and beautiful. The case was that he was just as aware of all the acute problems that the world faced and couldn’t be at peace with anything that was not being fully utilised to make the world better than it was.

Thus, he lived a life of service and purpose. His entity is not separate from his work. His work is not separate from his personality. He became one with his duty and lived his principles. Nothing captures his essence as what was said in the beginning of this article.

Truly, all that we know of Sir M. Visvesvaraya is Sir. M. Visvesvaraya himself-his endearing spirit, his immense dedication. his brilliance as an engineer and his legacy as a person.

Dr. Dwarkanath S

The theme of Phase Shift 2017, “Senses and Sensors” is a central concept that spreads its branches across many fields of expertise. A field in which Technology has proven to be a boon for mankind is that of Medicine. With the advent of technology, doctors have been able to improve both diagnosis and treatment and cure diseases far better than a decade ago.

Dr. Dwarkanath S, a renowned doctor of the BMS Hospitals, who gladly acknowledges the importance of Senses and Sensors in his field, was kind enough to spare his precious time with us and gave us his insights on the same.

1. How best could you interpret the theme, senses and sensors? What strikes your mind, at the first instant? Do you think both of them go hand in hand?

Indeed, senses and sensors go hand in hand. Sensors, being the output and the product that the current century demands, and senses, being the very cause for such an evolution in the technological advancement, there is none, more appropriate than the pair of an objective and its inception. In the day-to-day working arena, I’m within the purview of Fit bit - exercise tracker that counts the number of steps I've climbed and tracks my body metabolism, the outpatient recording through an electronic pen, which transfers the details written physically, into a chip and into the computer, the biometric device, that monitors attendance status by unique identification, the patient recorder in my chamber, that informs me about how many patients have been examined and how many are yet to be.

2. Do you come across sensors or at least certain things that serve as sensors? Do you think this is the era of sensors?

The primary health care center failed to classify 52% of the cases as tuberculosis stricken. The patients were not treated, because of misdiagnosis. When I was holding a key post at the National Tuberculosis Institute, we realized the value of efficient sensitization, and knowing, exactly, who should be actually diagnosed for tuberculosis.

While the x-rays are read by the same person, there are chances of the same case to be differently diagnosed, given a certain time gap, called the intra-reader variation. Also, there are chances of the same case to be differently diagnosed by different doctors, called the inter-reader variation. At the IISc, we developed on a computer simulation, where around 2000 x-rays were fed to the computer, having different examined results, and a brand-new case was reported by the system based on the existing result sheets, countering inefficiency, inaccuracy and inconsistency.I use an infrared thermometer which employs the non-touch technique of operation that needs no body contact. I absolutely feel, this is the sensor era, considering the amount of innovations and growth of newer technological devices.

3. If you had to call one sensor as your best friend, which would it be and why?

- It would be the mobile phone. It has everything integrated in the simplest possible way. I can give appointments, keep in touch with the patients, have my cases a click away, maintain databases and easily store information.

4. Which sensor has put you in trouble, as such? Also, were there any other lighter moments?

- It would be my mobile phone again! My trails can be tracked, no matter where my path leads me. It becomes very hard to find an escape, at times, from the grueling work schedule!

And thinking about the lighter moments, I remember this occurrence, where a person had been encountered with very high BP. There were fluctuations induced in the BP reading due to certain misinterpretations.

I was the casualty incharge. I monitored his condition for 4 hours, tracking the status once an hour, and it so happened, the condition was brought to normalcy without any medication. I went on to suggest some lifestyle changes, and the problem was resolved. So, I sensed the patient aptly, through sensor monitoring,

5. Where else do you think sensors could be implemented, boosting the ease of working?

- It is often said that, hospitals and computers do not go together!

When in a meeting, on my suggestion of computerization of the medical procedures, back in the days, I rather received an insensible laugh from the committee. Then, days ahead, there was a gradual change in our perception. We decided to look up on the matter and eventually, there was a better scenario, with the adaptation of system oriented techniques of diagnosis.

With better sensitizations, heart attacks could be combated. With increase in the use of anticoagulants, the rate of deaths due to heart attacks, reduced from 15% to 7.5%

With certain other furtherance, like angiogram and angioplasty, the percentage dropped to 2% In addition to this, pertaining to the eye surgeries, the cataract is carried out using incision less procedures.

A man who continuously strives for the betterment of human health makes no hesitation to acknowledge the importance of Senses and Sensors in the various domains of medicine. It only makes us proud to have chosen the theme for our fest, and brings a step closer to the conviction that inspires us to build technology that brings a better life for everyone.

We wholeheartedly thank BMS Hospital Trust and the BMS Hospital for having provided our team the opportunity to meet Dr. Dwarkanath S and interact with him, despite the busy schedules. We are grateful towards their consideration.

Gustation

“Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Courtesy: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-kjFRSbCox_k/UbGrWlVZ3zI/AAAAAAAACpI/ P43r4AdnVNw/s1600/4.+Mr+Labrador+and+the+Lily+by+What.jpg

Taste, gustatory perception, or gustation is one of the five traditional senses that belong to the gustatory system. Taste is the sensation produced when a substance in the mouth reacts chemically with taste receptor cells located on taste buds in the oral cavity, mostly on the tongue. The tongue is covered with thousands of small bumps called papillae, which are visible to the naked eye. Within each papilla are hundreds of taste buds. There are between 2000 and 5000 taste buds that are located on the back and front of the tongue. Others are located on the roof, sides and back of the mouth, and in the throat. Each taste bud contains 50 to 100 taste receptor cells.

Courtesy: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-kjFRSbCox_k/UbGrWlVZ3zI/AAAAAAAACpI/ P43r4AdnVNw/s1600/4.+Mr+Labrador+and+the+Lily+by+What.jpg

The sensation of taste includes five established basic tastes: sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and umami. Scientific experiments have proven that these five tastes are distinct from one another. Taste buds are able to differentiate among different tastes by detecting the interaction with different molecules or ions. Sweet, umami, and bitter tastes are triggered by the binding of molecules to G protein-coupled receptors on the cell membranes of taste buds. Saltiness and sourness are perceived when alkali metal or hydrogen ions enter taste buds, respectively.

As taste senses both harmful and beneficial things, all basic tastes are classified as either aversive or appetitive, depending upon the effect the things they sense have on our bodies. Sweetness helps to identify energy-rich foods, while bitterness serves as a warning sign of poisons.

Among humans, taste perception begins to fade around 50 years of age because of loss of tongue papillae and a general decrease in saliva production. Also, not all mammals share the same taste senses: some rodents can taste starch (which humans cannot), cats cannot taste sweetness, and several other carnivores including hyenas, dolphins, and sea lions, have lost the ability to sense up to four of their ancestral five taste senses.

Gustatory technology is the engineering discipline dealing with gustatory representation.

Virtual taste refers to a taste experience generated by a digital taste simulator. Electrodes are used to simulate the taste and the feel of real food in the mouth.

In 2012 a team of researchers at the National University of Singapore developed the digital lollipop, an electronic device capable of transmitting four major taste sensations (salty, sour, sweet and bitter) to the tongue.

This new methodology is called the Digital Taste Interface and has two main modules. The first is a control system which formulates different properties of stimuli: magnitudes of current, frequency, and temperature. These combine to trick the taste sensors into thinking they are experiencing food-related sensations, when in fact they are only experiencing thermal changes and electrical stimulation delivered via the second module, which is the tongue interface–two thin, metal electrodes. Noticeably, sour, salty, and bitter sensations were reported from electrical stimulation; minty, spicy, and sweet sensations were reported through thermal stimulation.

DIGITAL LOLIPOP

Courtesy: https://www.bunzlpd.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/waterproof-deltatrak-11040.jpg

In 2016 the same team created a square with thermoelectric elements to simulate the sensation of sweetness through changes in temperature. If this system is implemented in mugs or drinking glasses, it could make low-sugar drinks taste sweeter helping people reduce sugar intake.

A team from the University of Tokyo created a device that simulates the different textures of food through electricity. The device uses electrodes placed on the masseter muscle (a jaw muscle used for chewing) and simulates the texture by changing this muscle frequency. For example a higher frequency gives the food a harder texture.

ELECTRONIC TONGUE

Courtesy: http://antranik.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/smell-olfaction-epithelium-cilia-olfactory-sensory-neurons-and-basal-cells.jpg

The primary method for the taste measurement of drug substances and formulations is by human panelists. The use of sensory panelists is very difficult and taxing in the industry and this is due to the potential toxicity of drugs and subjectivity of taste panelists.

Problems in recruiting taste panelists, motivation and panel maintenance are significantly difficult when working with unpleasant products. Furthermore, Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-unapproved molecules cannot be tested. Therefore, analytical taste-sensing multichannel sensory system called as electronic tongue (e-tongue or artificial tongue) which can assess taste have been replacing the sensory panelists.

Thus, E-tongue includes benefits like reducing reliance on human panel. The present review focuses on the electrochemical concepts in instrumentation, performance qualification of E-tongue, and applications in various fields. The electronic tongue is an analytical instrument comprising of an array of nonspecific, low-selective, chemical sensors with high stability and cross-sensitivity to different species in solution, and an appropriate method of pattern recognition (PARC) and/or multivariate calibration for data processing. It involves a system that imitates the result of molecules with specific taste, interacting with taste buds on the human tongue. The taste buds are represented by sensors which interact with these molecules at the surface, initiating changes in potential. These signals are compared with physiological action potentials which are recorded by the computer, which correspond to the neural network at the physiological level. The data obtained can further be evaluated on the basis of already existing matrix of sensor responses which can be compared with human memory or association to already existing taste patterns. The most applied principle is potentiometry.

Efforts of electrical simulation affecting taste sensors on different parts of the tongue would definitely make way to a revolutionary era of addressing pressing day-to-day issues relating to health and well-being.

Courtesy: http://www.istockphoto.com/in/vector/the-five-senses-gm479430661-17001023?esource=SEO_GIS_CDN_Redirect

Depsite this might scope and potentioal,gustatory technology is often ignored, less thought of and unheard of, mainly due to the absence of digital controllability over the sense of taste.

Hence, the main focus is to introduce the sensation of taste as a digitally controllable media, especially to facilitate virtual and augmented reality domains.

Gustatory technology could be a break-through in the era of sensor technology, with appropriate progress, expansion, evolution and improvement.

Courtesy: https://d1o50x50snmhul.cloudfront.net/ wp-content/uploads/2016/11/04104145/vsweetuser-800x533.jpg

The Man Who Thought and Taught

“To me, teaching is a holy calling.It’s the gift not only of not giving up on people, but of even figuring out where to begin.”

Anne Lammott explores these words in depth and beautifully in her work, “Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair.”

While this book gives so much to discuss, here we will choose to focus on one particular aspect, and perhaps one of the most hard hitting aspects that one encounters while reading it-that never is there more of a need to not give up than there is in the field of teaching. A teacher’s effects never stop affecting, and the ripples cascade and spread out into the fabric of time, for as long as they can. Lessons taught and imbibed make their way from thought to thought, hand to hand and act to act.

Realising this immense power they have - to change how thinking works - is only the beginning of the beginning of their art and service. The ones who do realise and devote their lives into making the most of this ability they have to influence how students analyse the world, and also how students see themselves and their role in the world, make for the most incredible of mentors to have.

They become our anchors and our sails.

A name that is almost synonymous with all the attributes we spoke of here and more is Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishna- a man who thought and taught.

Teacher’s day is marked and celebrated on his birthday to uphold the qualities one should have, even if not a teacher by profession, to constantly learn from all that life has to teach us. These traits guide us in propagating lessons and experiences to those around us, so as to empower each other with knowledge and do better as a whole.

Born on September 5th, 1888 in Tiruttani pilgrim village, his father was initially adamant that his son become a priest. However, having seen his sheer brilliance at academics, his father agreed that he should be allowed to study English as per his choice. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan was sent to receive an excellent schooling at Tirupati and then Vellore. His interest in philosophy happened by chance and once it did, there was no turning back. He was educated in philosophy in Madras Christian college.

He had an undying desire to learn from one and all. This allowed him to make interesting points and comments in his work that had been inspired by his analysis of circumstances around him. He had incredible clarity of thought and a commendable hold on the language. This meant he was able to express even the most abstract and far fetched thoughts in words that could be comprehended easily and impactfully.These attributes, among others, set his work as a philosopher and thinker levels apart and above.

His first work was published in 1908. Titled "The Ethics of the Vedanta and Its Material Presupposition", it was written as his thesis for the M.A. degree examination of the Madras University. However, apart from resulting in the fact that he graduated with flying colors, this work also made it clear that this was a man of paramount ability and a natural flair for philosophy that was unparalleled.

Although, his service to India is known to most in the form of his tenure as a President, he served his motherland in more ways than one even before he took on this prestigious post.

During India’s struggle for independence, he was a speaker whose thoughts and views were revered. They helped encourage Indians to never stop in their fight. He headed a sort of “Cultural Therapy”, whereby he examined the nation’s traditions and practices. He understood the meaningfulness and innate and intricate reasoning behind them all. He spoke strongly and prudently about how Indians’ actions and culture had been inspired by brilliant logic.

Examining them from the point of view of western utility, he said that the westerners had much to learn from these rich values. In a time period when Indians were suffering from an acute sense of inferiority, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan reminded them about the fact that the British would take years to catch up with India’s thought process which was truly progressive and always had been.

This help instilled a sense of confidence and pride in Indians. However, he was a man of forethought and not just one who spoke to pacify the present. He spoke with the times to come in mind.

He believed that in India, the philosopher's duty was to keep in touch with the past while stretching out to the future. Thus he stressed on the fact that although India’s culture was wondrous, it needed to evolve with each passing day and with each circumstance, to better withstand the test of time. He said that the culture had to cut off and change all that was corrupt and abhorrent and move forward towards beneficial reforms.

He strongly believed that philosophy was not just reflecting on life, but that it was a way of life. He inculcated it in sociopolitical arenas and used them to make it available to the masses in a form that they could appreciate, understand and gain inspiration and strength from.

In the last decades of British rule, he produced a sophisticated and deeply thought out analysis of Gandhi's work which was the most exalted of its kind. This provided a strong ideology and basis upon which Nehru embarked to build a foreign policy for free india.

His endearment to the masses was not limited to India. He was internationally acclaimed, loved and revered for his unstained dignity, composure and excellence. To honor him, an institute of global repute and eminence, the Library of Living Philosophers, brought out an edition on him in 1952. Titled, 'The Philosophy of Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan' it was a detailed critical appreciation of his philosophical doctrines.

In the global sector, he also played the role of the Ambassador to the Soviet Union, shortly after India’s independence. With the interests of the nation in mind, but also fully aware of those of the world, he was the ideal move forward in helping young independent India grow.

Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishna with the then American President John. F. Kennedy

When he was appointed as the President, the entire world congratulated India. It had been more her win, than his. A contemporary philosopher, Bertrand Russell hailed his appointment and said, "It is an honour to philosophy that Dr.Radhakrishnan should be President of India and I, as a philosopher, take special pleasure in this. Plato aspired for philosophers to become kings and it is a tribute to India that she should make a philosopher her President".

Although he had previous experience in the Cabinet when he served as the Vice President, it was his time in the office as President that was full of challenges. However,none could defeat his spirit.

The first task came with 1962’s Sino-India war. India’s loss dealt a blow to its morale. Despite this, a resolute, Dr. S. Radhakrishna proceeded to say, "Owing to the difficult terrain and numerical superiority of the Chinese, we suffered military reverses. These have opened our eyes to the realities of the situation. We are now aware of our inadequacies and are alive to the needs of the present and the demands of the future. The country has developed a new purpose, a new will".

A shaken nation’s strength was well on it’s way to restoration, and it was prepared when Pakistan violated its western frontiers in 1965. His voice rung out once again with words to remind India what it could do when it stood united and that it need not bow down. India, with its confidence instilled again, successfully handled the threat and attack.

The philosophical luminary had immense respect and belief in the Indian democracy. In his final broadcast to the Nation as it’s beloved President, on May 12, 1967, he said that despite occasional forebodings to the contrary, the Indian Constitution had worked successfully so far. But democracy, he warned, was more than a system of the Government. "It was a way of life and a regime of civilised conduct of human affairs. We should be the architects of peaceful changes and the advocates of radical reform", he said.

In the Cabinet

He was indeed one of India’s greatest leaders. Just as, if not more, importantly, he was one of India’s most eminent teachers.

His early days as a professor were at Presidency College in Madras. An evocative teacher, he was hugely popular among his students. Later he was offered a position in the prestigious Calcutta university even before he turned thirty!

He served as Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University from 1931 to 1936. In 1939, he was appointed the Vice Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University .Two years later, he took over the Sir Sayaji Rao Chair of Indian Culture and Civilisation in Banaras.

His intellect was called upon once again when in 1936, he was asked to assume the role of Chair of Spalding Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics at the renowned Oxford University. He retained this for 16 years.

More praiseworthy than his role as a teacher was his support to the cause of teachers that he demonstrated throughout his life.

Thus, his illustrious character and mind which was bent on serving people, made him one of the most respected of public figures. His farsightedness, dynamic thinking proved invaluable to the nation in the times of its need and to honour the same, the coveted Bharat Ratna was conferred upon him in 1954.

This recognition for his service to mankind was duly deserved. However true recognition for his deeds comes in the form of us constantly reminiscing his philosophies and trying to imbibe them and learn from them, as we march forward into the future.

As we are faced with new challenges and tasks in the days to come, drawing from the thoughts and ideas of great thinkers such as Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, will better equip us to build our future efficiently and meaningfully, with strong roots, and soaring branches, nurtured and cared for with a sense of honesty, dedication and passion such as his own.

This is true validation for his efforts in the past. This is true preparation for the times to arrive.

Olfaction

“For the sense of smell, almost more than any other, has the power to recall memories and it is a pity that we use it so little.”

– Rachel Carson

Sense of smell can change our moods incessantly and tremendously . Have you ever realized the importance of deodorant that you spray on yourself every morning? A good fragrance can bring freshness to the mind and make you feel more confident. The smell of earth when it rains is a comfort of its own. Aromas are used to calm the mind and widely used in therapy sessions. The ancient practice of adorning hair with flowers also comes from the same reasons and roots. Thus, it is amply clear how directly our sense of smell can influence how we feel in our environment, not just how we smell it.

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The olfactory system is the sensory system used for smelling. The main olfactory system detects airborne substances, while the accessory system senses fluid-phase stimuli. It gives information to the brain about chemical compositions of objects around. Olfaction in humans has a role in adding emotional attributes to certain events and objects and it is vital in processing our environment and remembering it.

One’s characteristic smell is thought to be an attribute of sophistication and complexity, and more than often, personalities get associated with it. Also, the sense of smell is closely related to the sense of taste as dissolved chemicals in food or drink can evaporate and stimulate olfactory receptors.

These two would enable one to achieve a lot of things in multitude of fields like entertainment , Science ,etc.

Highly sensitive, we have as many as 350 different receptors identifying distinct, particular parts of molecules. An individual molecule can stimulate different receptors in different ways, leading to innumerable smells being identified.

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Now delving into the science behind being able to perceive via smell, focus must be brought to the term olfactory receptors (ORs). Also known as odorant receptors, they are present in the cell membranes of olfactory receptor neurons. They are responsible for the detection of odorants (compounds that have an odor). Activated olfactory receptors trigger nerve impulses which transmit information about odor to the brain.

Technology is already harnessing the scope of this innate sense and also looking into how to substitute for it, while making it further sensitive.

A step in this direction is an electronic nose. A device intended to detect odors,it was developed in order to mimic human olfaction so that an odor is perceived as a global fingerprint. Essentially the instrument consists of headspace sampling, sensor array, and pattern recognition modules, to generate signal pattern that is used for characterizing odors.

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Electronic noses include three major parts: a sample delivery system, a detection system, a computing system.

The sample delivery system enables the generation of the headspace (volatile compounds) of a sample, which is the fraction analyzed. The system then injects this headspace into the detection system of the electronic nose. The sample delivery system is essential to guarantee constant operating conditions.

The detection system, which consists of a sensor set, is the "reactive" part of the instrument. When in contact with volatile compounds, the sensors react, which means they experience a change of electrical properties.

The computing system works to combine the responses of all of the sensors, which represents the input for the data treatment. This part of the instrument performs global fingerprint analysis and provides results and representations that can be easily interpreted.

Another interesting development in this sector is machine Olfaction. This is the automated simulation of the sense of smell.

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It is an emerging application of modern engineering where robots or other automated systems are needed to measure the existence of a particular chemical concentration in air. The entire system is a means of converting complex sensor responses into an output that is a qualitative profile of the odor using a complex mixture of chemical volatiles that make up a smell.

Odor localization is the technique and process of finding the location of a volatile chemical source in a certain environment with one or several odor sensors. It is vital for both food searching and danger avoiding.

Mention needs to be made of another extremely useful creation- an olfactometer. This is an instrument used to detect and measure odor dilution.

They are used to measure intensity,by introducing an odorous gas as a baseline against which other odors are compared. A flow-olfactometer is a complex instrument for creation of well defined, reproducible smell or pain stimuli in the nose without tactile or thermal stimulation.

This technology can be further developed to relieve human moods effectively as smell is responsible for bringing in sense of pleasures, freshness and lucidity of mind.

Courtesy:www.researchgate.net

The detection of lung cancer or other medical conditions can employ olfactory means. It can also be used to detect certain bacterial and viral infections. It may also be used as a bomb detection method in airports. Through careful placement of several or more electronic noses and effective computer systems you could triangulate the location of bombs to within a few metres of their location in less than a few seconds.

Thus, the olfactory sense could have unbelievable attributes if we consider its capacity to modulate human behaviors. It has determinant roles in the evolution of human habitat, and, most important of all, in the social behavior.

The beauty of any sense at all shines through best when in association with other senses. As we work to further these developments and focus on impacting society with them, every once in a while, we must remember to breathe it all in and respect our ability to.

Just. Breathe.

Audition

"As soon as I hear a sound, it always suggests a mood to me."

-Brian Eno

After the sense of vision, sense of hearing or Audition is what enables us to perceive the world better. Sense of hearing gives a new dimension and dynamic to our experiences. Sense of Hearing which is also known as auditory perception makes us better aware of the surroundings. Unlike the sense of vision , we can hear all the sounds which we are surrounded with . Sense of hearing also gives us a sense of directionality in a more enhanced way compared to the sense of vision.

Now let us get to the biological aspect of the sense of hearing, that means science.
Hearing is the detecting and perception of the sound waves in the air.
The organs which look like the horn of a phonograph - Ears; ears focus the sounds waves through the ear canal onto the ear drum.

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The eardrum acts like a diaphragm, and vibrates to the incoming sound waves . These vibrations are transmitted into the inner ear by a chain of tiny bones. From the inner ear, auditory nerve carries the sound information to the brain where it is processed , perceived and stored. One is always listening , from the moment they’re born. 365 days 24 hours, even when you’re sleeping . This is a lot of information the brain is being fed and this information plays an important role in cognitive learning.

Now , there are various reasons why one would want to build a machine counterpart which achieves similar functionalities. Some of them are listed below.

  • Sound recording and analysis
  • Sound amplification

These two would enable one to achieve a lot of things in multitude of fields like entertainment , Science ,etc.

The machine/technological counterpart to achieve this functionality would be a microphone. A microphone is a transducer that converts sound into an electrical signal. Over these years many different technologies have been developed which lay the basis for a microphone. Let’s look at the major technologies used today in consumer and prosumer fields

1. Condenser Microphones

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Condenser Microphones are based on the principle of a capacitor , condenser means capacitor . A capacitor is an electronic component which stores energy in form of an electrostatic field.

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A capacitor has two plates with a voltage between them. In the condenser mic, one of these plates is made of very light material and acts as the diaphragm. The diaphragm vibrates when struck by sound waves, changing the distance between the two plates and therefore changing the capacitance. Specifically, when the plates are closer together, capacitance increases and a charge current occurs. When the plates are further apart, capacitance decreases and a discharge current occurs. A voltage is required across the capacitor for this to work. This voltage is supplied either by a battery in the mic or by external phantom power.

These kind are the most widely used in electronic gadgets and these tend to be more sensitive compared to others.This technology can also be shrunk in size , making it very versatile.

2. Dynamic Microphones (Moving Coil Microphones)

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The dynamic microphone (also known as the moving-coil microphone) works via electromagnetic induction. They are robust, relatively inexpensive and resistant to moisture. This, coupled with their potentially high gain before feedback, makes them ideal for onstage use.

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Dynamic microphones use the same dynamic principle as in a loudspeaker, only reversed. A small movable induction coil, positioned in the magnetic field of a permanent magnet, is attached to the diaphragm. When sound enters through the windscreen of the microphone, the sound wave moves the diaphragm. When the diaphragm vibrates, the coil moves in the magnetic field, producing a varying current in the coil through electromagnetic induction.

These are the two widely used microphones, but there is another type of microphones which have been developed and are also being researched into, the MEMS microphone.

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The MEMS (Micro-Electrical-Mechanical System) microphone is also called a microphone chip or silicon microphone. A pressure-sensitive diaphragm is etched directly into a silicon wafer by MEMS processing techniques, and is usually accompanied with integrated preamplifier. Most MEMS microphones are variants of the condenser microphone design. Digital MEMS microphones have built in analog-to-digital converter (ADC) circuits on the same CMOS chip making the chip a digital microphone and so more readily integrated with modern digital products. These have revolutionised product designs and have made their way into products like Amazon Alexa , Google Home and certain phones.

Microphones have now existed for a long time since their invention in 1876 by Emile Berliner. The growing advancements in the microphone technologies are opening up doors for creative applications. Better microphones along with machine learning and processing via Artificial Intelligence have led to things like Speech Recognition , which would be deemed magic a decade ago.

All in all , sense of hearing is one of the fundamental thing which enhances our perception of our surroundings and goes hand in hand with the sense of vision. The technology for the sense of hearing enables one to share their perception with others . The ability to record , playback and edit these sounds further enables one to build a whole new world of possibilities.

Vision

"Of all the senses, sight must be the most delightful."

- Helen Keller

The interpretation of the surrounding environment using light in the visible spectrum reflected by the objects in the environment is called vision. The resulting perception is also known as visual perception, eyesight or sight. The various physiological components involved in vision are referred to collectively as the visual system, and are the focus of much research in linguistics, psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, and molecular biology, collectively referred to as vision science.

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The act of seeing starts when the cornea and then the lens of the eye focuses light from its surroundings onto a light-sensitive membrane in the back of the eye, called the retina. The retina is part of the brain that is isolated to serve as a transducer for the conversion of light into neuronal signal. Based on feedback from the visual system, the lens of the eye adjusts its thickness to focus light on the photoreceptive cells of the retina, also known as the rods and cones, which detect the photons of light and respond by producing neural impulses. These signals are processed via complex feed-forward and feed-back processes by different parts of the brain, from the retina upstream to central ganglia in the brain.

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The first device that comes to our mind, when the discussion is about technology substituting our sense of vision, is the camera. In this era, where Digital Single Reflex Lens (DSLR) Cameras are becoming increasingly popular, it would not be wrong to state that the camera is the digital and technological counterpart of our eyes, providing the same functionality: processing visual information (light) into digital information, just as our eyes process light information and biochemically convert them into neuro-electric impulses that are sent to brain.

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Since the first digital backs were introduced, there have been three main methods of capturing the image, each based on the hardware configuration of the sensor and color filters.

Single-shot capture systems use either one sensor chip with a Bayer filter mosaic, or three separate image sensors (one each for the primary additive colors red, green, and blue) which are exposed to the same image via a beam splitter.

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Multi-shot exposes the sensor to the image in a sequence of three or more openings of the lens aperture. There are several methods of application of the multi-shot technique. The most common originally was to use a single image sensor with three filters passed in front of the sensor in sequence to obtain the additive color information. Another multiple shot method is called Microscanning. This method uses a single sensor chip with a Bayer filter and physically moved the sensor on the focus plane of the lens to construct a higher resolution image than the native resolution of the chip. A third version combined the two methods without a Bayer filter on the chip.

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The third method is called scanning because the sensor moves across the focal plane much like the sensor of an image scanner. The linear or tri-linear sensors in scanning cameras utilize only a single line of photosensors, or three lines for the three colors. Scanning may be accomplished by moving the sensor (for example, when using color co-site sampling) or by rotating the whole camera. A digital rotating line camera offers images of very high total resolution.

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The choice of method for a given capture is determined largely by the subject matter. It is usually inappropriate to attempt to capture a subject that moves with anything but a single-shot system. However, the higher color fidelity and larger file sizes and resolutions available with multi-shot and scanning backs make them attractive for commercial photographers working with stationary subjects and large-format photographs.

Although a camera is functionally largely similar to our eyes, it would not be wrong to state that the image developed does not exactly aid human vision, as the end product of these devices is a digital image or a visual hard copy, which have to be again processed by the eye as an image. Cameras may be similar to our eyes, but cannot be its substitute. Special hardware structures and software algorithms provide machines with the capability to interpret the images coming from a camera or a sensor. These signals from light sensing devices such as cameras or other sensors can be suitably modified to act as a signal source for a computer to interpret or converted into biological impulses that can directly stimulate sense of vision in humans.

One such fascinating piece of technology is the Argus II. In a rare incurable genetic eye disorder Retinitis Pigmentosa, genetic mutations cause photoreceptors, the cells in the retina at the back of the eye that convert light into an electrical signal the brain can interpret, to stop working and die. Without functioning photoreceptors, people with Retinitis Pigmentosa go blind. But with the help of a retinal implant, formally known as Retinal Prosthesis System, or simply "bionic eye" called Argus II, some patients with the rare disorder have regained their sight.

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At best, these patients could detect only bright light. With the device implanted and turned on, some patients did significantly better on vision tests, like touching a white square on a black monitor and finding a door in real life. Beyond lab tests, visual rehabilitation experts evaluated the effects of the Argus II in the daily lives of patients. For 65% of the study participants, the device positively impacted their lives, improving their quality of life and their ability to perform basic tasks.

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The Argus II system has two separate components: a camera and visual processing unit a patient wears, and the surgically implanted receiving antenna and electrodes. The camera and visual processing unit do what the photoreceptors in people with Retinitis Pigmentosa no longer can: convert visual information from light into electrical signals the brain can understand.

An antenna on the glasses transmits the data from the camera and visual processing unit to a receiving antenna implanted into the patient. The data received goes to an array of 60 electrodes implanted over the macula, the part of the retina that is normally the most sensitive. The electrodes produce small pulses of electricity that stimulate the nerve cells still left in the retina, which then carry information about the stimulation to the part of the brain that interprets this into vision.

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This technology is nothing less than a boon to the medical field, and a strong testimony of the capabilities of technology to aid in cases where medicine and natural physiology cannot achieve any better results. The Argus II received approval for commercial use in the European Union in March 2011. In February 2013, the FDA approved the Argus II under a humanitarian device exemption, authorizing its use for up to 4,000 people in the US per year. The Argus II was initially available at a limited number of clinics in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia, at an EU market price of US$115,000. When the Argus II launched in the United States in February 2013, Second Sight announced that it would be priced at around $150,000, excluding the cost of surgery and usage training. In August 2013, Second Sight announced that reimbursement payments had been approved for the Argus II for blind Medicare recipients in the United States.

Though Argus II can provide satisfactory results, it is evident that the device can target only one particular disorder, with results better than before but not perfect sight. Advanced research is being undertaken to provide similar technological aid to serve a wider spectrum of visual disabilities, and also enable mass production of the same to provide the device at affordable prices.