VOL. 3 NO. 1 | JANUARY 2011

                                MIT’s Magazine on Innovation




                              IN INDIA
                              Agro App, Future School, Communication
                              Aid, Smart Power, Mobile Health Care,
                              Automated Traffic Management, and
                              Water Purifier. p33

                              Searching for the Future of Television p54
                              Business Impact: The Mobile Enterprise p73
                                                                                                                 From the Editor

                                Innovative Solutions Made for India
                                Technologists respond admirably to Technology Review India’s Grand
                                Challenges Project.

T    he six month wait to know the results of the first Technol-
     ogy Review Grand Challenges project for technologists,
assisted by DuPont as the Strategic Partner, is over. A 12 mem-
                                                                   embedded in all driving licenses. The key will communicate
                                                                   real-time data about the movement of the vehicle to a central
                                                                   server. If all driving licenses use this key, every time a vehicle
ber jury of technologists, researchers, technology promoters,      hits the road it will be possible to estimate traffic density. It will
helped by the magazine’s editorial team, has chosen the best       also be possible to track unlicensed drivers on the road.
solutions from over 200 entries received in the last few months.      A low-cost water purifier, Sujal, developed by Chetan Malhotra,
Though most of the solutions were good, in four of the 10 seg-     Dilshad Ahmad, and Shankar Kausley using a matrix of pebble,
ments they did not make the cut.                                   cement, and rice husk ash, at TCS is the jury’s choice as the best
   In agriculture, methods to reduce the phenomenal wast-          solution to help rural India with clean, potable water at afford-
age of produce at the ground level was the challenge. mKrishi,     able cost. In the education sector, there is an innovative solution,
a software-based advisory platform which combines ground           Signntalk, an online interpretation service to help people with
based sensors and mobile signals, has won the jury’s vote as       speech disabilities to communicate freely with the world. Here
the best solution possible currently. Developed by Bhushan         those with speech disabilities have to connect to the company’s
G. Jagyasi and Arun Pande of Tata Consultancy Services, the        website through the Internet. A round-the-clock call center will
platform has the ability to provide warnings to farmers about      have interpreters who read the sign language and communicate
impending pest attacks, take preventive measures, using the        their messages to anyone they wished to speak to. Developed by
ubiquitous mobile phones.                                          Ramya Venkitesh from a small Mumbai-based company, Barrier-
   Providing cost-effective education in India’s vast hinterland   Break Technologies, Signntalk has the potential to transform the
has been a major challenge. The jury found the personalized        lives of millions of people in the world. The editors of TRI used
education delivery system based on cloud computing platform,       their discretion to make Signntalk an Editors’ Choice solution.
developed by Hewlett-Packard Laboratories India, the most             TRI is indebted to each of the 12 jury members for their
innovative technology solution to develop future schools in        immense efforts, sincerity, and commitment to evaluate nearly
India. The HP team of Sudhir Dixit, Krishnan Ramanathan,           a dozen solutions, each minutely, over the last few weeks. In
Ashish Sharma, and Srinivasa Ramani has developed an online fact, all the jury members went out of their way to evaluate the
school hosting service too to help spread the benefits of educa-    solutions keeping up their promised commitment to us despite
tion to millions of school children around the country.            facing unforeseen challenges like some being stuck in the
   Meeting the ever-growing need for energy in India’s fast grow-  inclement weather conditions in European airports.
ing economy has been a major cause of concern for policy makers.      According to a jury member, Sumitesh Das, Tata Steel, some of
The solution developed by Kumar Padmanabh and Sanjoy Paul          the entries were still in the development phase (at best classified
from Infosys Technologies is a smart chip that can be plugged to   under inventions to be). However, innovation is about making
all power-hungry devices. The chip can identify energy wastage     money out of an invention and putting different strings together.
and can be controlled remotely using mobile phones.               “I really enjoyed going through the submissions,” he said.
   India’s mobile revolution has really spurred technologists to      TRI Editor, Chandan Srinivas Rao, who handled this project
develop applications in many segments. The best solution in        admirably summed it up nicely, “Our understanding when we
the health care category is SiteOnMobile application devel-        started the project was that the technologists of the country
oped by Geeta Manjunath, Revathi MM, and Sudhir Dixit              need to come together to architect solutions to solve complex
at HP Labs India. The application delivers a variety of health     problems in simple ways. This has certainly happened in a
care related information to health care providers in all corners   small way through this concerted effort. As a technology com-
of the country using even low-featured mobile phones both          munity, we still have a long distance to cross to reach the desti-
through text and voice modes. This will enable the fruits of       nation. But it is bound to happen sooner than later.”
modern medical research to reach all parts of the country.            On that note I wish you all a great year ahead in 2011. Do
   Most Indian cities are burdened with ever increasing traf-      write and let me know about our efforts to promote India-
fic. Malavika Sujith and Lakshminarasimham G. at Nokia              made technology solutions at
Siemens Networks have developed a smart key that can be              – Narayanan Suresh                                                                                                      From the Editor   11



Strategic Partner
34   Feature Story
                                                                                                                            THE GRAND


                                                                                                                              IN INDIA

Technology Review India features innovative technologies and solutions relevant to solving

                                                                                                      S O LU T I O N S
some of the most urgent challenges facing the nation. In our anniversary issue (July 2010)
we published a core list of technological challenges that India is grappling with so that tech-
nologists have enough reason, passion, and single-minded focus in solving the problems. The
objective was to generate useful new ideas that could have a widespread impact on India’s
technological temper in general. After an extensive search for solutions over three months, in
November, we shortlisted 70 solutions from over 200 that we received. Helped by a panel of
expert judges, we now present you top seven winning solutions from six challenge areas which
we believe can tackle problems in a way that is likely to benefit society and business. We look
forward to see them implemented in near future. Hope you like the selection. —The Editors

                                                         THE JURY

             Ambuj D. Sagar                             J. Srinivasan                             Sumitesh Das
             Vipula Mahesh Chaturvedi Professor         Chairman, Divecha Centre for              Chief, Global Research Program
             Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi      Climate Change, Professor, Centre         Tata Steel
                                                        for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sci-
                                                        ences, Indian Institute of Science
             H. Harish Hande                                                                      Umesh Malhotra
             Managing Director
                                                        Mohanjit Jolly                            Founder
                                                        Managing Director
             Selco-India                                                                          Hippocampus
                                                        Draper Fisher Jurvetson

             Harshal J. Shah                            Mukul Saxena                              Wido Menhardt
             Chief Executive Officer                    Senior Vice President and Head            Chief Executive Officer, Philips
             Reliance Venture Asset Management          Siemens Corporate Research and            Innovation Center Bangalore
                                                        Technologies                              Philips Electronics India

             I. Vijaya Kumar                            Subrahmanyam Goparaju                     Yalla Veera Prakash
             Chief Technology Officer                   Vice President and Head, Software         Vice President - R&D
             Wipro                                      Engineering and Technology Labs           Acme Telepower
                                                        (SETLabs), Infosys Technologies                                                                                                  TRI Grand Challenges   35



                               AG R I C U LTU R E

                               Advisory App for Farmers
        mKrishi is an advisory services platform that communicates farmer’s query along
        with other agricultural parameters to an expert at a remote location through a
        sensor network and mobile phone.

                  uman beings have been
                  endowed with senses which
                  help in perception of vision,

                                                                                                                                           S O LU T I O N S
        sound, touch, taste, smell, pain, direc-    Solution Architects: Bhushan G. Jagyasi and Arun Pande
        tion, and so on. Traditional methods of     Company: Tata Consultancy Services
        agriculture and cultivation rely heavily    Challenge Summary: India loses nearly `60,000 crore worth of agricultural
                                                    food items due to lack of post harvesting infrastructure such as cold chains,
        on human senses for decision-making.
                                                    transportation, and storage facilities, inadequate quality control and testing
        For example, observation or feel of a dry   infrastructure, inefficient supply chain and involvement of middlemen, and high
        soil leads to the decision of irrigation.   packaging cost. How to reduce the food produce wastage by 70%? How to
                                                    increase the share of processed food to 20% level?
        Now, with the advancement in elec-
        tronics sensing technologies, sensors
        can assist farmers in accurate diagnosis
        and decision-making. The sensors can
        help in quantification of the obser-        and human participation. The WSN is              thora Infestans. About 80 percent of the
        vations in the form of measurements         a network formed with large number               potato farming in India is done in the
        and at times go beyond the capacity of      of sensor nodes with electronic sens-            winters, which is ideal for infestation by
        human senses to observe what cannot         ing, processing, and communication               the Phytophthora Infestans.
        be observed naturally. Wireless tech-       capability. The sensor nodes can either             The mKrishi WSN collects details of
        nology can enable deployment of such        communicate data to the nearest mobile           the weather and soil parameters such as
        sensors at remote locations. The mKri-      phone or directly to the base station.           ambient temperature, relative humidity,
        shi is a mobile phone based agro-advi-         The sensors on the mobile phone,              precipitation, soil moisture, soil temper-
        sory services platform that provides a      such as camera, global positioning sys-          ature, wind speed, and wind direction.
        mechanism to communicate farmer’s           tem, and microphones enable farmers              These parameters are communicated
        query along with other agricultural         to participate through a mobile phone            to the remote server through a wireless
        parameters to an expert at a remote         application developed by TCS. The                modem. The existing disease forecast-
        location through a sensor network           information from all the sensors gets            ing models are used to compute the dis-
        and mobile phone. It also enables the       stored in an integrated disease analysis         ease risk due to environmental factors.
        expert’s advice to reach the farmer on      console which can be remotely accessed           For example, when the weather circum-
        his or her mobile phone instantly and       by an expert who can advise the sender           stances are conducive the probability
        cost-effectively.                           of the query on further course of action.        of the pest attack increases, thereby
                                                                                                     leading to a higher risk of the disease.
        THE APPLICATION                             HOW IT WORKS                                     The application installed on farmer’s
        The proposed Rural Participating            India is the third largest potato growing        mobile phone can be triggered from a
        Sensing (RuPS) architecture of mKri-        nation in the world. And the Late Blight         remote location automatically to collect
        shi incorporates wireless sensing net-      is the most common disease in potato             symptoms of the various diseases affect-
        work (WSN), mobile phone sensors,           farms caused by the pathogen Phytop-             ing the crop. It requires the farmer to

36      TRI Grand Challenges                                            technology review | India Edition | A Cybermedia Publication   January 2011
                                                                                                                        THE GRAND


                                                                                                                          IN INDIA

                                                                                                    SYMPTOM COLLECTION mKrishi’s
                                                                                                    rural participatory sensing mobile
                                                                                                    application to collect symptoms of
                                                                                                    the plant disease in Hindi.

answer simple questions about the dis-        cesses data from the WSN to predict          the image processing algorithms for
ease symptoms with simple (Yes/No)            the risk of the disease. Its image pro-      enabling autodetection of a particular
inputs. The collection of these inputs        cessing based symptoms detection algo-       symptom from the received images.
also leads to the computation of diagno-      rithm processes data from sensors on         This will facilitate concluding the type
sis severity and effective decision-mak-      the mobile phone, indicating the extent      and stage of the disease. Also, wind is
ing by the expert.                            and severity of the disease.                 the main cause of the spread of the Late
   The application has been designed                                                       Blight. It transfers the sporangia from
for various Indian languages to make it       BENEFITS                                     the infected plant to the plants in the
more accessible. A photograph provided        The mKrishi’s forecasting system is scal-    neighboring farms, thereby causing
with each question depicts the symptom        able to various crops diseases and for       a potential disease threat. The chal-
visually to be confirmed by people who         different geographies. The system helps      lenge is to forecast the spread of the
cannot read. The mobile phone sensors         in establishing farmers’ trust in the        disease based on early detection and
are likely to help farmers in capturing       expert’s advice as it is personalized and    measurement of the wind’s direction
additional information regarding the          tailor-made for their farm unlike the        and speed. Besides these, there are
diseases present in the farm, such as         traditional disease forecasting advices      certain economic challenges as well.
images of the diseased stem, leaves and       which were meant for a region. The par-      To make a farmer participate in the
tuber; the microphone can be used to          ticipation factor is likely to boost farm-   symptoms collection process, the sys-
record the voice in order to capture the      ers’ confidence in executing the advice       tem requires him or her to possess a
context in which the images were cap-         of the expert.                               mobile phone with basic functionality
tured and the GPS can record the exact                                                     like a camera and, if possible, a GPS.
location in the field where the infection      CHALLENGES                                   Another challenge is to make the sen-
has occurred. These sensors are helpful       The WSN needs large-scale deploy-            sors easily available. However, with the
in rigorous analysis of the disease spread.   ment in agricultural fields that can         involvement of more farmers sharing
   The disease analysis console com-          lead to greater impact on the yield.         the infrastructure, the overhead cost
prises a forecasting model that pro-          The key challenge lies in developing         will become manageable.                                                                                              TRI Grand Challenges   37



                                E D U CATI O N

                               Future of School on Cloud
        A vision of a school that will have a personalized education delivery system, lever-
        aging research in personalization, feedback mechanisms, network architecture,
        computing, storage, virtual school provisioning, and education service delivery.

               he industrial revolution in the
               eighteenth century gave rise to
               a model of education, with the

                                                                                                                                              S O LU T I O N S
        school as a factory for mass production.        Solution Architects: Sudhir Dixit, Krishnan Ramanathan, Ashish Sharma
                                                        and Srinivasan Ramani
        The model has scaling problems, quality
                                                        Company: Hewlett-Packard Labs India
        problems, and the notion of “one size fits
        all”. According to the Central Board of         Challenge Summary: Education is at crossroads today. Though the num-
                                                        ber of institutes have gone up significantly, most of them unfortunately
        School Education, India has a current           provide an average education. In India, only one percent of the students go
        shortage of 200,000 schools. To build           for the post graduation and 0.1 percent for PhDs. Almost 20 percent of the
        200,000 schools will require a long             engineering graduates are unemployed. How to make education useful and
                                                        reduce the talent gap by 50%? How technology can substitute the need
        time and a lot of capital. Also, building       created by shortage of 200,000 schools? How to increase the quality of
        a school by itself does not ensure qual-        teaching so that the number of PhDs go up to 1% level?
        ity education. Unless personal attention
        is provided to the individual student,
        the quality of learning is unlikely to
        improve. The schools have not been able
        to address the problem of personalized          increasing the allocation of public              platform, leveraging research in person-
        learning, though teachers have tried to         resources to education. Moreover, with           alization, feedback mechanisms, net-
        do so to some extent by giving private          the enactment of the Right to Education          work architecture, computing/storage,
        tuition and opening tutoring institutes.        Bill, there is a strong need to increase         virtual school provisioning, and educa-
        Now there is pervasive deployment of            the number of teachers in schools. It is         tion service delivery. The future school
        new information technology resources            also necessary to improve the effective-         will provide an online school hosting ser-
        (computer, cell phones, other handheld          ness of teachers by making available             vice where anyone who wishes to cre-
        devices) in the educational systems to          the right tools and technology. There            ate an online virtual school can use the
        address the pressing issues of the edu-         is a need to offer students opportuni-           infrastructure (servers, storage, com-
        cation sector.                                  ties to learn by themselves for example,         munication, and e-learning software)
           The Indian government has launched           by watching television, using computer,          required for hosting and running an
        major initiatives to promote education          studying online content. Unfortunately,          online school. This will also address
        through information and communica-              these facilities are not yet available to        the problem of synchronization of edu-
        tions technology. The major problems            majority of students.                            cational content with latest develop-
        in using ICT to promote education are:                                                           ments and industry trends. The school
        difficulties in scaling up, inability to pro-   THE FUTURE SCHOOL                                will facilitate teacher-student interac-
        vide real-time feedback to the teacher,         Hewlett-Packard has developed a new              tion for every learner to utilize services
        the cost of access devices at the user-         vision of how a future school will look          of the best teachers to get quality edu-
        end, and more. To overcome the chal-            like. It will have a personalized educa-         cation from anywhere at affordable cost
        lenges, the government has been steadily        tion delivery system dependent on cloud          while encouraging a competitive envi-

38      TRI Grand Challenges                                                technology review | India Edition | A Cybermedia Publication   January 2011
                                                                                                                                          THE GRAND


                                                                                                                                            IN INDIA

                                                       Real Time (Online)
                                                                                                             tional networking, and service delivery
                                                                                                             aspects to provide a good learning expe-
                                                                                                             rience. On the server side, HP’s research
     Student Interface
                                                                                                             will focus on creation of a cloud based,
                                       Teacher Interface
                                                                                                             multi-instance hosting platform where
                                                               Class Interface
                                                                                                             multiple online schools can simultane-
                                                                                                             ously run.
                                                              Tutor Interface
                                                              (Paid Service)                                    HP plans to focus on enhancing user
                                                                                                             experience through personalization
                                                                                                             with user selection of preferred media –
                                                                                                             text, video/audio, slides, and more. The
                         Cloud based
                         Education Delivery
                                                                                                             student’s learning style would be taken
                                                                                                             into account to choose the appropriate
School Administration                                                                          Contributor   method of instruction. The system will
                                        Partner Ecosystem                                                    provide for student-teacher interactions
                                                                                                             to occur over the network, to handle sit-
                                                                                                             uations in which the student is unable to
                                                   Education Boards                                          learn a topic without human help. The
                                                                                                             solution will support virtual classrooms
VIRTUAL SCHOOL Hewlett-Packard’s vision of how future school will look like and help in                      in which groups of students can be given
improving the standard of learning.                                                                          presentations.

                                                                                                             THE IMPACT
ronment for teachers to innovate new                           The future school will result in a large      The Future School project will need
techniques in teaching. The interaction                     cloud platform for educational service           to be carried out in phases beginning
facility will also support institutions and                 delivery that offers personalized educa-         with pilot projects and creation of the
teachers to offer tuition over the Inter-                   tion with a school-like experience. On           technical infrastructure in parallel with
net. The future school’s facilities will                    the client side, the research will focus         relevant research and training as well
include audio/video sessions or online                      on how to use video and personalization          as building up of large groups of edu-
chats that would enable a convenient                        to automate the delivery of the routine          cational content and service providers.
and effective environment for learning.                     educational content, thereby enabling            Collaboration between brick and mortar
In addition, there will be a facility to use                teacher interaction to be focused on the         institutions and online schools would
educational content enrichment tools for                    content the student has trouble under-           be required to provide the right blend
authoring, reviewing, and publishing to                     standing. The future school will enable          of educational resources—human and
promote creation of new content.                            virtual classrooms, collaboration, educa-        technical, physical and virtual. This proj-                                                                                                                TRI Grand Challenges   39



        ect aims for a nationwide reach using          ute individually or through organized           use by students; a large fraction of these
        Internet connectivity available over large     institutions, groups, and companies. It         will be owned by families, schools, and
        parts of India as well as the cellular net-    also allows learners to get private tuition     other teaching institutes. The complexity
        work which has a broader coverage. The         without having to commute.                      of current operating systems and their
        system will support a variety of wire-                                                         interfaces is a major impediment to the
        less Internet access technologies such         TECHNOLOGY CHALLENGE                            use of ICT in education. Hence, devices
        as GPRS, 3G, CDMA, WiFi and WiMax,             The first challenge is the creation of a         with simpler interfaces are required for
        in addition to broadband connections           specialized infrastructure of educational       students to use them intuitively at vari-
        over landlines.                                software systems and tools, providing           ous levels.
           Facilities for supervised evaluation        ease of access to quality educational con-         The education sector is a fast grow-
        will support virtual schools prior to          tent. This infrastructure should enable         ing segment because a large and increas-
        certification of students. Online schools       every group sharing the infrastructure          ing fraction of the population (30%) in
        could also prepare students to benefit          to benefit from advanced personaliza-            the emerging markets is of school and
        from open school systems that certify          tion facilities as well as evaluation and       college students. Non-availability of
        students on the basis of their tests/          feedback mechanisms. The second chal-           qualified teachers is another impedi-
        examinations. The solution will also give      lenge is to create a huge cloud-based sys-      ment to the spread of quality education.
        access to all open educational resources       tem providing computing, storage, and           An increasing number of students are
        as well as to commercially available           communication resources on a massive            availing distance education, but level of
        content. Moreover, courses offered/            scale. It should support the operation          educational achievement possible with
        supported over the network can be fre-         of a large number of separate groups to         distance education remains low in India.
        quently updated. Educational content
        on the Web has enormous variety, sup-
        porting every learning style.                  The future school will facilitate teacher-
           Addressing the problem of a talent
        gap in the population, the future school
                                                       student interaction for every learner to
        will enable students to learn what they        utilize services of the best teachers to get
        need and when they need it. Students
        will be allowed to study in job-oriented
                                                       quality education from anywhere at af-
        courses along with academic courses if         fordable cost while encouraging a compet-
        they wish to, after attaining a specified
        minimum of academic requirements.
                                                       itive environment for teachers to innovate
           The fact that everyone involved in          new techniques in teaching.
        the system can share in revenues to
        the extent of their contribution will
        offer incentives to good teachers and          benefit from the common infrastructure;          All these factors indicate that there is
        organizations to participate. Students         it should also offer them the freedom           a need for new channels of education
        would be free to choose among the many         and flexibility to grow at their own pace        service delivery to large student popu-
        institutions and teachers on the sys-          on the technical resources involved. In         lation which can give quality education.
        tem and this will promote quality and          other words, virtual school provisioning        The challenge is to invent new models
        affordability.                                 should be easy, enabling flexible assign-        for public-private partnerships to serve
           HP has visualized the system with an        ment of requisite types and quantities of       the education field. New taxation and
        infrastructure covering technical as well      computing resources to each group. It           regulatory policies will be required and
        as organizational/business requirements.       should also enable users to choose spe-         a regulatory mechanism will need to
        It will allow a large number of players,       cialized software and middleware for            be created.
        individual teachers as well as organiza-       running an online school.                          The Future School will provide a per-
        tions, to share the technical facilities          Another challenge is the availability of     fect platform to connect government
        without being regimented about their           a large number of affordable, easy-to-use,      policies and India’s middle class expec-
        objectives, area of work, style of teaching,   robust, and easy-to-maintain devices for        tations in return for their willingness to
        or fees. It will enable teachers to contrib-   Internet access that will be needed for         pay for good education.

40      TRI Grand Challenges                                              technology review | India Edition | A Cybermedia Publication   January 2011
                                                   E D I TO R S ’ C H O I C E                                          THE GRAND


                                                                                                                         IN INDIA

                                 E D U CATI O N

                                Online Communication
                                Aid for The Deaf
Signntalk web portal provides an online interpreter to convert sign language to
speech and visa versa, connecting the deaf with the hearing world.

      o ensure inclusive growth in our
      society, it is important to include

                                                                                                                                    S O LU T I O N S
      persons with special abilities into
mainstream education, employment,            Solution Architect: Ramya Venkitesh
and social life. In India there is a bar-    Company: BarrierBreak Technologies
rier between the deaf community of           Challenge Summary: Education is at crossroads today. How to make educa-
nearly 10 to 15 million people and the       tion useful?
hearing world, and therefore the for-
mer has been unable to be part of many
social activities. The real issue in India
is the woeful inadequacy of facilities for
the deaf. Many organizations that work       community to connect with friends, fam-
towards equal opportunity and equal          ilies, associates, and colleagues across
rights are unable to recruit deaf candi-     the world using sign language at which
dates due to either their lack of educa-     they are at their best while communi-
tion or lack of infrastructure solutions     cating. The platform requires a deaf
to include them.                             user to possess a computer with Inter-
    Education for the deaf is a grave con-   net connectivity to log on to Signntalk
cern. Though India has many schools          website and a decent Web-enabled cam-
for the deaf, majority of students from      era to show the user’s signs. However,
these schools are functionally illiterate.   not everyone knows sign language and         Signntalk interpreter. As soon as the
Even on completing the high school, a        that is the primary reason why a hear-       caller connects to the interpreter a ser-
deaf person can barely read or write         ing impaired person has problems com-        vice agent gets connected online with
English properly. The main problem           municating ideas or thoughts effectively.    the caller from a remote location. The
preventing them from getting proper          To plug this gap, the Signntalk website      sign language interpreter connects the
education and employment is the com-         provides online interpreting service that    caller to the desired contact number
munication gap between the deaf and          acts as a connecting solution.               through a telephone. The interpreter
the hearing world. is a                                                     then interprets signs of the deaf caller
step towards creating an inclusive envi-     HOW IT WORKS                                 and communicates the messages in
ronment for the deaf in the country by       The Signntalk requires the deaf caller to    speech to the other receiver and visa
bridging the communication barriers.         register on the website and log in using     versa. Signntalk enables the deaf to
    BarrierBreak Technologies and the        his or her username and password. The        order pizza, take doctor’s appointment,
Deaf Way Foundation have jointly devel-      caller is then required to fill in the call   talk to friends, contact helplines, and do
oped Signntalk website, a unqiue plat-       details, such as name and phone num-         more of what wasn’t earlier possible for
form that enables the hearing impaired       ber of the person, and connect to the        them to do independently.                                                                                            TRI Grand Challenges                41



                                E N E R GY

                               Smart Power Management
        Smart power strip can accurately identify when and where electricity is being
        wasted and switch off the energy-guzzling plug points remotely.

               here is a causal relationship between
               energy consumption and economic         Highlights
               growth. Higher economic growth
                                                       Solution Architects: Kumar Padmanabh and Sanjoy Paul

                                                                                                                                             S O LU T I O N S
        implies greater consumption of energy
        which in turn implies higher carbon            Company: Software Engineering and Technology Labs, Infosys Technologies
        emission. However, developing countries        Challenge Summary: India’s current per capita energy consumption is
                                                       among the lowest in the world. Its current generation capacity is 147 giga-
        cannot stop their growth for minimiz-          watts. Based on growth estimates, India will need to add 280 GW by 2022.
        ing carbon emission, the primary reason        Our 2022 energy requirements can be met by utilizing just 1 percent of the
        why the 2010 Copenhagen discussions            incident solar radiation. The major challenges with current solar technology
                                                       are the poor efficiency of solar cells and their high manufacturing costs. Also,
        fell through. There is a need for new solu-    there is a need to innovate and make more efficient machines that consume
        tions that can enable growth without           lesser energy. How to make solar-PV based power 50% cheaper than the cur-
        compromising environmental concerns.           rent costs? How to increase grid-interactive solar capacity to 100 MW? How
                                                       to lower the power consumption and improve energy efficiency by 30%? New
           We can save energy in three ways:           technologies that can lead to 1 billion units of annual savings?
        By using the devices that consume less
        energy (for example, LED light); avoid
        energy wastage; and by enforcing policy
        that puts a cap on the energy usage by
        an individual or by an enterprise. The         being wasted. It is even equipped to take         accessed from anywhere using any device,
        main issues which need to be resolved          action to eliminate such wastage. The SPS         provides the interface to both monitor
        to achieve the last two techniques are to      monitors a variety of ambiance parame-            and control energy consumption. In
        detect when and where energy is wasted         ters, such as movement, light, sound, and         addition, the devices can be scheduled
        and how to enforce a policy to limit con-      temperature to identify whether energy            to switch on or switch off at specific times.
        sumption. The current electricity infra-       consumption can be avoided, and if so,               Although researchers have developed
        structure does not have any provision for      it can turn off the relevant devices. Simi-       the technology in a power strip, they say
        tracking energy wastage on individual          larly, based on the temperature and the           the same technology can be incorpo-
        scale. Moreover, the present infrastruc-       presence of natural light in an enclosed          rated inside the legacy switchboards as
        ture is not integrated with information        area, it can decide whether air condition-        well. Thus, even legacy appliances can
        technology through which government            ing needs to be switched on or off.               be connected to the consumption points,
        could monitor and remotely control                 A large area can be covered with mul-         transforming them into smart appliances
        such wastage by using a device, such as        tiple such SPS units which can com-               with monitoring and control capability
        a mobile phone, desktop computer, or           municate amongst one another using                just as their smart counterparts. Smart
        any other handheld device connected to         wireless sensor network technology and            power strip can be used as a normal
        the Internet.                                  use multi-hop wireless routing to send            power strip in which various appliances
           The smart power strip (SPS) solu-           data to a gateway that consolidates the           can be connected.
        tion from Infosys is capable of accurately     information and forwards it to a portal              A SPS comprises an electronic circuit
        identifying when and where electricity is      on the Internet. The portal, which can be         to calculate the voltage and current con-

44      TRI Grand Challenges                                                technology review | India Edition | A Cybermedia Publication   January 2011
                                                                                                                          THE GRAND


                                                                                                                            IN INDIA

sumed at each plug point. Algorithms are
executed in a microcontroller to calcu-
late the power factor of devices plugged
into the sockets, enabling the calculation
of electricity consumption in every plug
point. Moreover, electricity consumption
can be controlled by switching on or off
the devices connected to the plug points
using relays. The system has USB, Eth-
ernet, and Zigbee interfaces to commu-
nicate with the outside world.
   The SPS can transform the existing
electricity infrastructure into a software-
controlled smart infrastructure. Various
kinds of software applications can be
built on it. For example, one can com-
municate with the appliances connected
to the smart power strip using instant
messaging (IM) just as one would com-            SMART SOLUTION Infosys has developed an iPhone application through which users can
                                                 access and control smart power strip from anywhere, anytime.
municate with an individual. One of the
biggest advantages of SPS is its applica-
tion in smart grid for supporting demand       demand below the available supply as well    change the behavior of employees of an
response mechanism. Currently, in a city       as avoids complete blackout of a particu-    enterprise and avoid wastage of electricity.
environment when the demand of elec-           lar area.
tricity is more than the supply, the energy/      Smart power strips can also be used in    INSIDE OUT
utility service provider forces consum-        an enterprise’s smart space management       There are three components of a SPS:
ers in a neighborhood to shut down all         program, whereby the enterprise can          hardware, middleware, and the appli-
of their electrical appliances, a phenom-      monitor the occupancy of cubicles and        cation. Each SPS has a potential trans-
enon commonly known as load shedding.          turn off the computer monitors, VOIP         former (PT) to cut down the voltage
Smart power strip enables selective load       phones, and lights connected to their        consumption, a current transformer
shedding, which means that only select         sockets when cubicles are not occupied.      (CT) to bring down the current consump-
appliances are turned off at the peak          An enterprise level energy consumption       tion, and a microcontroller to compute
load times as chosen by consumers par-         policy can be imposed to ensure that every   the power factor. Output signals from
ticipating in the demand response (DR)         employee has a particular daily, weekly,     PT and CT are processed through signal
program. This brings down the overall          and monthly energy budget. This can          conditioning circuit and are passed to the                                                                                                TRI Grand Challenges   45



        microcontroller which samples these sig-                                                        control devices connected to the smart
        nals at 1 kilohertz and computes the root                                                       power strips.
        mean square voltage and current as well                                                             There are several economic challenges
        as real and apparent power factor. In                                                           for the SPS depending on its application
        addition, there are temperature, move-                                                          domain and market segment. If the smart
        ment (PIR), sound (MIC), and light sen-                                                         power strips are targeted to residential
        sors. The data received from smart power                                                        users, then they must be inexpensive
        strips is processed and analyzed at the                                                         enough for consumers to get the return
        central server which stores the history of                                                      on investment in less than a year. For
        each smart power strip.                                                                         example, a five-socket power strip should
           The middleware component of SPS                                                              be priced between $25 and $40 for mass
        connects the device to the outside world.                                                       market adoption. However, providing all
        The middleware stack (named MoJo)                                                               the monitoring and control capabilities
        converts a real wireless sensor-based net-                                                      within that price point is tough. For the
        work to a virtual network of Java objects.                                                      commercial segment, the economic ben-
        The MoJo platform exposes a Java-based                                                          efit is more than the savings in electricity
        application programming interface to                                                            bill. Huge benefit entails from the fact
        developers so that they can write appli-                      ACCESSIBILITY                     that the smart power strips will enable
                                                             iPhone app for smart power strip.
        cations without being aware of the func-                                                        enterprises to meet their target carbon
        tioning of the underlying wireless sensors.                                                     footprint thereby helping them brand
        MoJo also ensures that power strips are        turn off the geyser remotely.                    their corporation as “green” and “sustain-
        networked together and enterprise level                                                         able”. Thus, corporations will be willing
        energy consumption policies can be             CHALLENGES                                       to pay higher premium than the residen-
        applied. There are many APIs exposed           Some of the technology challenges related        tial market.
        for various functions on a power strip. For    to SPS are measurement of power, that is,            When positioned for the energy or util-
        example, there are APIs for getting a list     computation of power factor by sampling          ities market, the economic challenge will
        of power strips, renaming a power strip        current and voltage and measurement of           be to incorporate smart demand response
        or an individual socket (or plug point),       voltage over a wide range of inputs rang-        resulting in the energy or utility service
        getting the current consumed by a power        ing from 110-220 volts. Controlling the          providers giving better than existing rate
        strip or an individual socket, getting         plug points is another challenge. Recep-         to those customers that participate in DR
        various sensor values on the power strip,      tion of messages, interpreting them, and         program. We already see that there are
        switching on and off individual socket,        activating the relays; protection of appli-      intermediaries between the energy/util-
        and more. Any software application can         ances connected to plug points against           ity service provider and the residential/
        be built using such API.                       surge in power supply; software fuse             commercial customers who are provid-
           Researchers at Infosys have devel-          to cut off power even before the actual          ing this service by requesting consumers
        oped a Web-based application that can          threshold is hit are key issues to deal with.    to turn off their non-essential appliances
        be accessed through Internet and an            Other challenges include dynamic cre-            at the peak load time and compensating
        iPhone application to access SPS. Like         ation of wireless mesh network; multi-           them for their support of the DR program.
        an email or a Facebook account, the user       hop energy-aware routing; converting                 The SPS solution has been piloted in
        will have power management account on          physical wireless motes to Java objects;         Infosys campus. When a cubicle is not
        the Internet where he or she can monitor       collating, calibrating, filtering and aggre-      occupied for a duration of more than 10
        and control the power being consumed in        gating data from multiple sensors; auto-         minutes at a stretch, the light, phone
        his or her house or office. If someone is      matic detection of smart power strips as         and monitor connected to the smart
        present at home, the application allows        they are plugged on the wall socket and          power strip are switched off. This is
        SPS to use discretion whether or not to        devices are plugged into the power strip;        done by running business logic in each
        turn off appliances at home. The applica-      creating a visually appealing and easy-          power strip. The project helped Infosys
        tion also throws an alert when a critical      to-use intuitive Web-based interface;            gain significant savings in energy bill
        appliance like a geyser is on for some time.   and developing a simple to use applica-          (approximately 10 percent) and reduc-
        One can then go to the control panel and       tion for mobile handsets to monitor and          tion of carbon footprint.

46      TRI Grand Challenges                                               technology review | India Edition | A Cybermedia Publication   January 2011
                                                                                                                             THE GRAND


                                                                                                                               IN INDIA

                          H EALTH CAR E

                          Delivering Health Care on Phone
New technology platform can make Internet content and services available to the
masses from low-end mobile phones.

           ne of the major challenges
           in developing countries like
           India is to make health care
accessible to rural areas. Seventy per-        Solution Architects: Geetha Manjunath, Revathi MM, and Sudhir Dixit

                                                                                                                                    S O LU T I O N S
cent of rural areas in India lack hospitals,   Company: Hewlett-Packard Labs India
physicians, and medical equipment. To          Challenge Summary: Seventy percent of Indian population is in rural
address this lacuna, many government           India and majority of these rural areas lack hospitals, physicians, and
                                               medical equipment. The country has less than 25,000 primary health
funded projects set up rural health cen-       centres (PHCs) and these are in poor conditions. Another issue is mater-
ters with a connectivity to a central hub      nal healthcare. India alone accounts for a quarter of the global burden
of expert doctors. There are approxi-          of maternal deaths with nearly 136,000 women dying annually due to
                                               causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. How to make specialized
mately 4,000 such community health             healthcare accessible to 25,000 PHCs in the next two years? How to
centers (CHCs) and 25,000 primary              reduce the total cost of consultation to less than `10 per session? What
healthcare centers that aim at providing       are the technologies that can help reduce India’s share of global burden
                                               of maternal deaths to less that 5%? What are the smart healthcare sys-
specialized medical care in India. How-        tems that can help register 90% of all pregnancies?
ever, for effective functioning of these
projects, providing anytime, anywhere
access to important health-related infor-
mation for health workers is crucial.
   With the growth of the Internet, sev-       areas, is very low. Internet penetration in     developing countries. India has more
eral healthcare portals are now available      India is less than five percent and com-         than 700 million mobile phone users,
to provide appropriate solutions to com-       puter adoption is just nine percent. On         which is nearly 40 times the number of
mon problems. However, information             the contrary, there is huge growth in the       Web users in the country. On the flip side,
technology adoption, particularly in rural     mobile phone usage in India and other           more than 50 percent of these phones are                                                                                                   TRI Grand Challenges         47



        ultra-low-end handsets with just voice
        and text messaging capabilities.
           To meet this demand, Hewlett-Pack-
        ard has developed an application called
        SiteOnMobile that delivers Internet expe-
        rience over low-featured phones. It helps
        patients, doctors, and pharmacists access
        and upload healthcare related informa-
        tion through either a message or by use
        of voice. The application does not require
        users to have any sophisticated comput-
        ing skill set to upload or access content.
        A Beta version of the solution was made
        available in July 2010 at www.siteon- and a pilot project is cur-
        rently on, enabling voice and text-based     MOBILE HELP SiteOnMobile allows users to create and access tasklets in the cloud.

        access to Indian consumers with low-
        end phones. The pilot is planned to be       web pages. These tasklets are hosted in a        target users for the SiteOnMobile solu-
        expanded for rural health care in Orissa     cloud service and hence can be executed          tion: The website owners who would be
        to monitor the health of pregnant moth-      on diverse thin clients. For example, if a       interested in enabling new content/ser-
        ers and infants under the ASHA initiative.   user creates a tasklet of “Book a Taxi,” he      vices over SMS or voice can expand their
                                                     or she will get an access code. The next         reach (for example, hospitals, medical
        HOW IT WORKS                                 time the user wants to book a taxi he or         practitioners, pharmacists, community
        There are several small and medium           she need not go through several Web              portals) and the consumers who would
        businesses in India that have invested       pages to reach the booking page. The             be interested in accessing specific (health-
        in e-commerce Web portals for their          application will do all of it for the user       related) Web content or service using low-
        businesses, but they have been unable        internally and serve the booking page            end mobile phone (by using either voice
        to leverage from such portals. The SiteO-    on the user’s phone screen instantly. The        or SMS).
        nMobile is a cloud service that enables      user could also use voice access code to
        such website owners to define specific         book a taxi.                                     BENEFITS
        tasks on their website, such as “Buy             The tasklets can be accessed by users        SiteOnMobile can enable healthcare
        Solar Stoves”, and make those tasks eas-     over SMS and voice services. The mes-            centers in rural India, which lack infra-
        ily accessible to their customers using      sage text sent from the mobile device            structure to provide specialized doctor
        low-end mobile phones. The key idea          provides the details of the Web task that        consultation to their critical patients, to
        is to view the Web not as a set of web-      needs to be executed and the system per-         easily access the valuable healthcare infor-
        sites or web pages but as a set of Web       forms the task on the cloud and sends            mation from hospitals’ Web contents and
        tasks that one would want to frequently      back the result over SMS. For example,           services using a low-end mobile phone.
        perform. HP has introduced a concept         if the user sends an SMS “weather ban-           The solution can also allow patient’s med-
        called Tasklets that are special type of     galore” to a predefined SMS access code,          ical data such as glucose level and blood
        task-based widgets which can be cre-         he or she will receive back the weather          pressure information to be uploaded by
        ated by a user by just “showing the action   information from                    using a mobile phone and sent to a city
        once on the browser”. The user needs to          Mobile phone users can also access           doctor for monitoring patient parameters
        perform the Web task on multiple web-        these tasklets through an interactive            and medication advice. This particular
        sites using HP’s special browser and the     voice recognition (IVR) interface. Once          use case is currently under development
        system then automatically generates a        a user dials the access code, an IVR appli-      and is planned to be first used for Malaria
        widget-like interaction for that task.       cation provides voice menu and sub menu          control in Orissa. The health data will be
           A tasklet basically models a Web          dialogues and enables the user to select         updated by health workers who regularly
        interaction as a sequence of Web actions     the task and get results.                        monitor health of such patients during
        needed to perform the task on different          Essentially, there are two classes of        the treatment period.

48      TRI Grand Challenges                                             technology review | India Edition | A Cybermedia Publication    January 2011
                                                                                                                                   THE GRAND


                                                                                                                                     IN INDIA

                          I N F RASTR U CTU R E

                          Automated Traffic Management
Existing mobile communication technology can be used to overcome traffic
management woes.

    n the recent past, several auto-
    mated solutions have been deployed
    to enforce traffic regulation. For

                                                                                                                                           S O LU T I O N S
example, cameras on the junctions to           Solution Architects: Malavika Sujith and Lakshminarasimham G.
monitor signal jumps, speed intercep-          Company: Nokia Siemens Networks
tors, camera enforcement for lane dis-         Challenge Summary: The overall infrastructure in India, be it physical con-
cipline, evading toll payment, and so on.      nectivity or basic utilities like power, ports and highways, is inadequate and
                                               constrains most of the industries. Since the past two decades while the
Though such automated solutions have           urban growth has been exploding, the quality of urban life has deteriorated.
helped in reducing the number of road          There is an urgent need for creating a vibrant, efficient, and sustainable
accidents and casualties, they still fail to   urban infrastructure. How can we make the administration responsive to
                                               provide effective services 24/7? How do we make our cities smarter with
address many issues related to technical,      integrated systems and reduce energy consumption by 50%, traffic density
financial, operational, and legal aspects,      by 50% and crime by 50%?
such as dependence on good weather
conditions for road cameras to click
clear images; acceptance of the images
captured as evidence in courts; partially
automated system resulting in an over-         with a chip embedded on it contain-               system can provide additional services
head of employing more resources to            ing basic details of the driver, such as          such as give live traffic update, both
operate the system; public acceptance          name, age, address, blood group, driver’s         on a website and via push messages to
and lack of awareness; overhead cost           license information, insurance details,           mobiles, collect toll, track stolen vehicles,
and planning in deploying new infra-           and more. This smart key interfaces               and more.
structure on roads; and privacy issues.        with the mobile communication unit                   The central management server
   The automation provided by existing         (MCU) which is installed in the vehicle.          would have a standard interface towards
systems is not sufficient to ensure hassle     The MCU is capable of capturing infor-            the network, thus making the automated
free traffic movement on the road. It also     mation from the car and transmits and             traffic management system versatile.
fails to deliver the benefits of an auto-       receives data via the existing 2.5G/3G            This leaves scope for new technologies
mated system due to continued depen-           wireless infrastructure. The MCU pro-             to be integrated easily as and when they
dence on manual intervention. Nokia            vides the information required by the             evolve. The MCU provides the speed-
Siemens Network has developed an               traffic management system periodically            ometer value in the vehicle at any given
automated traffic management solution          to the central management server. The             point of time, location of the vehicle at
that integrates various existing technolo-     central management system processes               that instant, type of the vehicle, and the
gies to give a comprehensive solution to       the information received by the MCU               driver’s details. With this information
traffic management problems.                   and takes appropriate actions. The setup          the central management system can
                                               also includes an interceptor, which is            accurately conclude if there were any
THE CONCEPT                                    installed at strategic places in the city to      violations caused.
The proposed solution introduces a new         detect vehicles without the MCU.                     The automatic traffic management
smart key, which is the driver’s license          In addition to the main features, the          system allows central management sys-                                                                                                         TRI Grand Challenges          49



                                  AUTOMATED TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT NETWORK

                                                                                                       Vehicle Database
                                                                                  Rules Database                             Driver Database


                                                                                                                                 Traffic Administrator

                                                                   2.5G/3G NETWORK

                                                                                                                             City Planners


        tem to determine the direction of the            The solution provides multiple ben-          effective solution.
        moving vehicle by recording two con-          efits such as fully automated traffic man-          The proposed solution does not intro-
        secutive positions of the vehicle. If the     agement system which can address all            duce a new technology but describes how
        direction it is moving in is not according    aspects of enforcing traffic rules; signif-     the existing mobile communication
        to the rules, it reports to the complaint     icant cost savings resulting from elim-         technology can be leveraged to over-
        monitoring system. Since the central          ination of the extent of manual effort          come the challenges described earlier
        management system controls the sig-           involved; cost-effective and quick solu-        with automated traffic management sys-
        nals, it is also equipped to track vehicles   tion; and accurate planning and adap-           tem. By introducing a reliable and tam-
        which jump signals.                           tive management of traffic.                     per proof mobile communication unit
                                                                                                      in the automobiles, it is possible to col-
        REAL-TIME FEED                                TECHNOLOGY CHALLENGE                            lect information required for all kinds
        Real-time data coming from all the vehi-      Most existing automated traffic man-            of traffic rules enforcement. The mobile
        cles on the road indicate the extent of       agement systems rely on sensors and             communication unit is supplemented
        congestion accurately. Hence this can         automatic visual identification of vehi-         by a smart key which can act as a key to
        act as a feedback loop within the man-        cles. These techniques tend to be more          the vehicle and also provide the auto-
        agement system to operate the signals in      expensive, less accurate, and do not work       mated system information about the
        an optimal way which would decongest          in all weather conditions. There is also        person who is driving the vehicle. Cur-
        the traffic. This information can also be     an element of maintenance involved in           rent automated systems lack the ability
        transmitted to the road users to indicate     such systems. Hence, the technology             to identify the driver when the offense
        which routes are currently blocked. An        challenge is to set up an automated sys-        is committed and therefore there is no
        integration into other navigation tools to    tem which can enable more accurate and          enforcement of rules, such as automatic
        indicate realistic times to reach a desti-    reliable information for enforcement of         license suspension in case of repeated
        nation is also possible.                      traffic rules as well as provide a cost         offense.

50      TRI Grand Challenges                                             technology review | India Edition | A Cybermedia Publication   January 2011
                                                                                                                                 THE GRAND


                                                                                                                                   IN INDIA

                          WATE R

                          Low Cost Water Purifiers
New cost-effective water purification technologies remove microbiological,
arsenic, and fluoride contamination from drinking water without being
dependent on electricity.

    ndia faces an enormous challenge
    in providing its citizens with clean
    potable water free from patho-

                                                                                                                                          S O LU T I O N S
genic bacteria, viruses, and cysts which    Solution Architects: Chetan Malhotra, Dilshad Ahmad, and Shankar Kausley
cause diseases such as diarrhea, chol-      Company: Tata Consultancy Services
era, typhoid, and amoebiasis. It is esti-   Challenge Summary: India like many other nations will face a dire water cri-
                                            sis in the coming years. According to some experts, in India, we treat only 33
mated that about 10 million illnesses and
                                            percent of the wastewater that is produced. Another challenge is achievement
700,000 deaths in India could be attrib-    of zero discharge in industries especially in terms of liquid wastes. How to treat
uted to diarrhea of which 400,000 are       100% of the wastewater that is produced? How to achieve zero-discharge of
children under the age of five. Moreover,    liquid wastes from the industries into water bodies? Simple water purification
                                            technologies which have least dependency on electricity?
due to over exploitation of ground water,
the levels of mineral contaminants such
as arsenic and fluoride in water drawn
from wells have increased dramatically.
High levels of arsenic in drinking water    crippling bone disease causing severe              est mass poisoning in human history. In
causes serious and sometimes fatal          deformities in adults as well as children.         addition, about 60 million people across
health problems such as nervous dys-           About 50 million people in West Ben-            India, mainly in Rajasthan, Gujarat, and
function, cancers of the bladder, skin,     gal are presently affected by arsenic poi-         Andhra Pradesh consume water with
kidney, liver and hyperkeratosis of the     soning while an additional 70 million              high fluoride content. Given the gravity
palms and feet. Consumption of water        people are affected in neighboring Ban-            of the situation, there is an urgent need
containing high levels of fluoride causes    gladesh which according to the World               for deploying technologies for remov-
dental as well as skeletal fluorosis —a      Health Organization (WHO) is the larg-             ing microbiological, arsenic, and fluo-                                                                                                      TRI Grand Challenges            51



        ride contamination from drinking water           RURAL WATER FILTER                             and gets captured in a floc collector at the
        before it is consumed. Researchers at                                                           bottom of the unit. Water subsequently
        Tata Consultancy Services Innovation                                           Top cover        flows upward through the adsorption
        Labs are developing water purification                                                           media which removes the remaining flu-
        technologies appropriate for India. The                                        Top container    oride ions and fluoride-free water flows
        team believes the most appropriate tech-                                                        out of the outlet of the unit. Each unit
        nologies for water treatment in India are                                                       is capable of treating 500 liters of water
        those which do not require electricity or                                      Rubber Gasket    and four such units are combined to form
                                                                                       Filter bed
        regular user intervention. TCS has devel-                                                       a 2,000 liter capacity household filter.
        oped counter-top filters, such as Sujal, a                                      Middle plate         The arsenic and fluoride filters are
        rural water filter, and Tata Swach, one                                                          currently undergoing extensive in-
        of the world’s most economic household                                         Bottom
                                                                                                        lab testing. A prototype of the arsenic
        water purifiers, for removal of contami-                                        container        removal filter was tested over 3,000
        nation from water before it is consumed.                                                        liters while multiple 500 liter capac-
                                                                                                        ity fluoride removal units were tested
        PRODUCT INNOVATION                                                                              against challenge levels of 10 parts per
        The key ingredient of Sujal filter was a                                                         million of fluoride. The output levels of
        matrix of pebbles, cement, and rice husk                                                        arsenic throughout the life of the filter
        ash, a byproduct of the paddy industry        coagulation, flocculation, and separa-            are within the 10 parts per billion limit
        which, while had little or no value to the    tion. These steps are commonly employed           set by the World Health Organization
        rice growers, was a highly effective filtra-   worldwide in municipal water treatment            (WHO) and Indian standards while the
        tion medium. The adsorbent capacity of        plants by employing large-scale batch             fluoride removal unit is capable of reduc-
        rice husk ash emanates from its micro-        processing equipment. TCS’ household              ing the levels of fluoride ions present in
        structure which consists of porous silica     arsenic filter prototype is capable of con-        the input water to below the WHO and
        and carbon, forming an intricate net-         densing the same steps to fit in a coun-           Indian standard limit of 1.5 parts per mil-
        work of microscopic holes and channels.       ter-top package. A compact float and              lion over its prescribed life.
        A complete unit cost only `200 with a         siphon based metering system adds fixed
        replacement cost of `25 for the filter bed     amounts of coagulant to water. This coag-         BENEFITS
        and could remove 95 percent of the tur-       ulant then forms a dense floc or precipi-          Sujal has been deployed across 30,000
        bidity and bacteria present in the input      tate which reacts with the arsenic present        rural households in India while Tata
        water.                                        in the water thus trapping it in a stable         Swach is now available in shops and
           In 2006, the team developed a novel        complex. The arsenic laden floc is then            stores across Maharashtra, Karnataka,
        method for modifying the surface of rice      captured in a floc collection and adsorp-          West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, and
        husk ash to incorporate millions of sil-      tion system while clean, arsenic-free water       Uttar Pradesh with subsequent launches
        ver nanoparticles into its pores resulting    flows down to a collection chamber. The            planned across the country. By enabling
        in a material that had greatly enhanced       fluoride removal solution incorporates a           their users to consume bacteria and virus
        bacteria-killing performance. This mate-      novel coating on rice husk ash to generate        free water, both Sujal and Swach are
        rial was then incorporated into a com-        a high capacity adsorption medium which           playing an important part in reducing
        pact cartridge which forms the heart of       is selective to fluoride at specific acidic val-    morbidity, illness, and fatalities due to
        Tata Swach Nanotech Water Purifier. The        ues. The system also incorporates a pre-          waterborne disease.
        Tata Swach Bulb is capable of purifying       defluoridation step to further increase               While Sujal is the first “make it your-
        3,000 liters of water without clogging or     the capacity of adsorption media while            self ” rural water purifier, Tata Swach
        losing effectiveness and incorporates a       simultaneously controlling the alkalinity         broke the price barrier in India for
        Tata Swach Fuse to shut the flow of water      of the water. Water first enters the pre-          affordable household water purifica-
        when the bulb reaches the end of its use-     defluoridation section wherein a small             tion (priced at `999). Subsequently, two
        ful life.                                     amount of coagulant is added to it by a           more variants costing `749 and `499
           One of the most effective and eco-         solid candle. As with the arsenic removal         have been launched thus starting a rev-
        nomical methods for removing arse-            filter, this coagulant forms a floc which           olution in low-cost water purification in
        nic contamination from water involves         attracts the fluoride ions from the water          the country.

52      TRI Grand Challenges                                              technology review | India Edition | A Cybermedia Publication   January 2011

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