Total Pageviews

Friday, March 28, 2014

DIPP discussion paper: Towards strong and meaningful university-industry collaboration and creation of sustainable competitive advantage in manufacturing - Missing links and way forward

The paper can downloaded from here.
Suggestions and recommendations made in this discussion paper are:
4.1.1 Targeted investments by Government in R&D projects of national importance over a reasonable horizon, say 5 years: 
4.1.2. Enactment of the Indian version of a law such as the one passed in Japan in 1998 for promoting the establishment of  technology licensing/ transfer organisations (TLOs) with authority to license some university inventions and to channel royalties back to the inventors, their laboratories and their universities.
4.1.3.Enabling stronger University-Industry collaboration through joint research and contract research in select universities.
4.1.4.Enactment of the Indian version of the Bayh Dole Act (passed in US in December, 1980) with a distinct Indian footprint which addresses the country’s concerns.
4.1.5.Introduction of utility model for promotion of incremental innovation, particularly in the SME sector.
4.1.6.Human resource development for strengthening the innovation eco-system.
4.1.7.Facilitating access of industry to environment friendly patents and other technology patents, particularly in manufacturing.

One wonders what is new in this. There is no shortage of reports in the country , the problem is not in diagnosis but in treatment. Some impulsive thoughts on these recommendations.

4.1.1. Targeted investment - who will do the targeting- Government departments , government funded labs? And industry role is limited to participation in high powered committees. One does not need committees to identify thrust areas, read Gartner reports or MIT reports or any other think tank. The question is what can government do thereafter. Government committees identifying thrust areas and government funded research institutes developing technologies in those thrust areas for transfer to commercial firms in old hat. The five year time frame is important but department approving a 5 year project would freeze all mile stones and output  prior to approval. The GFR and CAG would not be kind to mid term rethinking.
4.1.2. Incentives to Innovators. Technology Transfer Offices and incentives to innovators do exist in CSIR, IITs etc. NRDC  was started decades back, Intellectual Ventures is active in India and Government approved scientists/ researchers promoting technology ventures with their knowledge as sweat capital. The royalty earning of research institutes is so meager, forget about sharing windfall profits with inventors they cannot attend a meeting of AUTM without government support. 
4.1.3. industry-institute collaborative research: There are fiscal incentives and research grants made available to both institutes and industry. There is a ocean of literature on this- why incentives do not forge research links.
4.1.4. Indian version of Bayh Dole Act.- no recommendation on changes to be made to the proposed legislation other than a wish that it should be passed.
4.1.5, 4.1.6 and 4.1.6- Like 4.1.4 these are part of wish list.

conclusion: this paper has no substance of value, totally devoid of actionable recommendations.
Do you agree?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Long Coastline of Andhra : a discovery by policy makers

Once arrival of new state of Andhra is announced, politicians are busy searching for clothes to dress the baby. Andhra politicians discovered long coast line and daily assure the public that this strategic advantage would transform economy of new state. It may be possible to build ports, power plants, economic corridors provided the coastal land is not eaten away by cyclones. 
The long coast needs natural or manmade sources, which can dissipate or deflect the potential wind and wave energy and protect the coastal life and properties from the calamities,  called as coastal shelterbelt. These can be hard defenses like static shoreline structures such as those constructed from timber, steel, concrete, asphalt and rubble. Soft defenses include mobile/ responsive defense measures, seek to work with nature rather than control it. Such structures may consist of sand or shingle beaches and dunes or banks, which may be natural or constructed, and may include control structures. These can include soft solutions of beach nourishment, cliff/dune stabilization, bypassing and managed retreat. A 'bio-shield' is formed by planting a vegetation belt along coastlines would protect India against future coastal storms, cyclones and tsunamis.
Antonio Mascarenhas in his paper in current science highlighted:

  • failure of hard structures indicate the unsuitability of extensive coastal protection works.
  • wide beaches and high dunes act as efficient dissipators of wave energy. However, dense population crushed this option.
  • coastal forests, green shelter belt is a better option but they need to be repaired after every cyclone and merged with economic activity of share based population.
  • network of canals , drains, tidal creeks are essential to drain storm water. 
Will the new govt accord priority to coastal protection?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

CDAC Mohali Designed Digital Stethoscope

CDAC Mohali has developed a wireless Digital Stethoscope The device works with a wired headset as well as with a Bluetooth enables wireless headset. The heartbeat analysed through the device can be displayed on a mobile handset and the data can be stored on a laptop. 
Compared to a commercially available digital stethoscope, that costs about `60,000/-, CDAC developed Digital Stethoscope will cost around `6,000/- (prototype) plus `2,000/- for the Bluetooth Headset. 

The key features of the Wireless Digital Stethoscope: 

• Picks up sounds directly from the body surface 
• Improves low frequency sounds characteristics through the use of Advance filtering technique 
• Audio frequency band for heart and lung sounds:20 Hz to 320 Hz 
• Op Amp Gain: 40dB 
• Sampling rate: 4KHz with Sample Averaging 
• Wireless transmission over Bluetooth 
• Power supply: 3.6 V Chargeable Battery with on board charging 
• MCU based volume control 
• Analog output port for headphone 
• Battery life: 100 hours of continuous power operation 
• Handheld portable device 
• Supported by Mobile application to capture wireless data and plot the graph of acoustic signal from heart and lungs 

The trials of the device are presently underway. Technology transfer process is also likely to start shortly. Interested parties may contact Shri D.K. Jain (Executive Director), Telemedicine LAB & Bio-Medical, CDAC, Mohali (

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Survey on Foreign Collaboration in Indian Industry: 2007-2010

The RBI survey captures comprehensive information relating to the nature, pattern, and operations of Indian companies having technical collaboration with foreign companies valid during the period April 2007 to March 2010.Highlights of the survey:

Drop in pure technical collaboration.
  • Out of the 158 companies which had entered into foreign technical collaboration agreements during the period 2007-08 to 2009-10, 129 were subsidiaries, 19 were associates having equity participation and 10 had pure technical collaboration (PTCC).
  • Out of 678 companies which has entered into foreign non-technical collaboration (equity only) , 543 were subsidies and 92 associates. 
  • Patents transferred as part of agreement stood at 5 in 8th survey compared to 3 in seventh survey.

This was on expected lines as with liberalization, Indian partner is not a condition for operating in India. MNCs discovered that doing business in India is easier with professional managers than rent seeking Indian business partner.

Impact on Economy
  • The total value of production reported by the foreign collaboration companies covered in the present survey increased from `604.8 billion in 2007-08 to `822.4 billion in 2009-10. As a percentage of GDP these companies contributed 1.3% of GDP. 
  • The number of employees in the responding foreign collaboration companies increased from 62,166 in 2007-08 to 71,268 in 2010.
  • Total exports of the foreign collaboration companies covered in the present survey increased from `120.7 billion in 2007-08 to `156.7 billion in 2009-10.Total imports made by the foreign collaboration companies covered in the present survey increased from `275.0 billion in 2007-08 to `342.3 billion in 2008-09 but declined to `299.0 billion in 2009-10.
  • R&D intensity measured as the ratio of R&D expenditure to the value of production declined for both manufacturing as well as service sector from 1.55 in 2007-08 to 0.83 in 2009-10.

  • Foreign Collaboration has negligible impact on GDP, employment, exports or R&D. Strange, considering the fact that India needs better technology in all sectors. 
  • Direct import of technology goods seem more attractive than even local assembly with FC.
  • Unlike China, Indian govt had no strategic vision of technology acquisition. While China made heavy payments for patents & technology and became global leader in  areas like High Speed Rail transport, Batteries etc, India every year routinely transfers large payments to Suzuki, Unilever etc as royalty(!).

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

civil engineering in China

The Challenge: How to construct overpass over a busy high speed rail track in Wuhan city. Traffic cannot be halted and overpass has to be 256m long weighing 17,000 tonnes spanning 11 rail lines. Engineers in China built the overpass outside the rail lines and rotated it 106 degrees on a 15 metre axis to position it above running trains and it took just 90 minutes.

 source:Saindranath Jonna


Friday, March 14, 2014

InTech50 Most Innovative Products from India: Bangalore from April 9 -10, 2014

InTech50, a joint initiative by iSPIRT and Terrene Global Leadership Network, that recognizes most promising software products by India’s entrepreneurs,  confirmed the first set of 10 selected products from over 200 nominations.The first 10 finalists for InTech50 2014 Most Innovative Products (in alphabetical order) are:
  •  99tests is a Crowd sourced Testing Marketplace with over 6500 testers from over 20 countries. Software product owners can get their applications tested on different versions of web browsers and various mobile devices to find critical bugs.
  • Cerebra (patent pending), a product from Flutura Solutions is a Machine-to-Machine Big Data Analytics platform that has the capability to unlock signals embedded within cryptic machine logs.
  • CoCubes is India’s largest assessment and campus hiring platform. The company works with 450+ corporate for hiring that provide greater control and transparency, while assisting institutional clients measure and improve employability and helping students move ahead on their career path.
  • Datonis (TM) is a platform from Altizon which helps get any device connected to the internet, manage these connected devices and drive data related to their performance and usage to a cloud based data aggregation and analytical engine to glean operational and consumer insight.
  • Freshdesk is a leading SaaS based customer support software that has more than 16,000 Support Teams across the world using it to deliver exceptional customer service. Freshdesk allows businesses to support customers through email, Twitter, Facebook, chat, phone, forums and other channels.
  • Bizosys’ HSearch is an award winning Hadoop based search and analytics engine to handle several terabytes of data. HSearch has been deployed by clients in Telecom infrastructure, Pharmaceutical R&D, Energy management, online retail, financial analytics industries with the core search engine available as open source.
  • Uniken has developed a path breaking Secure Digital Platform, REL-IDTM – which delivers ubiquitous, rich multi-channel digital experience with military grade security to the customers, employees and partners of an enterprise. Through REL-ID, the end users enjoy a rich and secure digital experience across devices and platforms.
  • Whatfix is a solution for creating interactive support faqs, training and product tours. With Whatfix anyone can create such interactive guides with just a few clicks and integrate them with products, applications & websites.
  • WhistleTalk is a SaaS based referral hiring solution that allows companies to leverage the social network of all their current employees, reach out to their friends and hire them. This unique approach helps organisations to supercharge their referral hiring.
  • ZipDial is a pioneering Mobile Marketing & Analytics platform for emerging markets. Marketers and advertisers utilize ZipDial to transform their brand campaigns into highly interactive and viral user experiences, while building a loyal customer base.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Crowd sourcing Prior-art search

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) encourages subject-matter experts to take advantage of a new rule implemented under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) that allows third parties to submit relevant materials to patent examiners in any given examination. Submission of proposed prior art helps examiners determine whether the innovation in the application is patentable. 
To give effect to this provision, on Sept. 20, 2012, the USPTO partnered with Stack Exchange (a popular question/answer tech website) and Google to create Like other Stack Exchange websites, is formatted in a question/answer style in which citizen volunteers and other interested parties ask about patent applications (and patents) they think are suspicious. In turn, the community reviews the questions, proposes prior art solutions and votes up/down posted prior art to rate examples people find. The USPTO provides a system for submission of the prior art, while Google provides an algorithmic search utility to help uncover references.
Case: Scaling based on pixel density (Microsoft)- rejected by USPTO based on prior art by Ask patent community.
TITLE: Scale factors for visual presentations
  • Publication NumberUS 20130063492 A1
  • App Number13/230445
  • Assignee: Microsoft Corporation
  • Prior Art Cutoff Date: Prior Art predating Sept 12, 2011
  • Availability for Challenge: Open Until at least Sept 14, 2013
Summary: This application generates and display graphical elements based on pixel density. The invention selects a scale factor from a scale factor set that is within the range of the pixel density.
Claim 1 requires, among other things:
A method of generating, using a device having a processor, a presentation comprising elements to be displayed on a display component, the method comprising:
  • executing on the processor instructions configured to:
    • identify a pixel density of the display component;
    • for respective elements of the presentation:
      • from a scale factor set, select a scale factor having a pixel density range including the pixel density of the display component; and
      • request the element to generate a scaled representation using the scale factor; and
    • generate the presentation comprising the scaled representations of the elements.
QUESTION - Have you seen anything that was published before 09/12/2011 that discusses (1) scale factor; (2) scale factor set; and (3) pixel density range in the manner described in claim 1?
Best Answer: "Writing DPI-Aware Win32 Applications", an article by Ryan Haveson and Ken Sykes, published by Microsoft and dated September 2008.

Technology offer: Pre-treatment of lignocellulosic biomass for the production of second-generation bioethanol

A procedure for making soluble the lignin and other polymers responsible for the low digestibility of lignocellulosic materials, in particular rice husks, has been developed by the University of Cadiz research group on "Food Engineering and Technology” (AGR-203). This new procedure utilizes hydrogen peroxide in conditions of high pressure for digesting the material. This pre-hydrolysis stage is essential for extracting maximum amounts of the sugars that are subsequently fermented to produce second-generation bioethanol.Details: Innoget 

Electrolux 2014 competition for students

The topic for 2014 is -Creating Healthy Homes in 3 focus areas:
  • Focus 1 – Culinary Enjoyment
    Design challenge: Which inspiring and motivating solutions within culinary enjoyment can be designed to support the desire for healthier lifestyles in future homes?
    Focus 2 – Fabric Care
    Design challenge: How can design solutions within fabric care offer support to the desire for sustainable, stylish and well managed homes?
    Focus 3 – Air Purification
    Design challenge: How can air purification be designed in a way that enhances the quality of the different activities in our living environments and addresses specific needs?

Has India benefited from the enactment of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002?

From Darryn Smyth post in IP Kat:
 India’s accession to the CBD and the subsequent enactment of the BD Act has been based on a post-colonial narrative where it was presumed that the West was exploiting India’s rich biodiversity and that India was only losing through a regime of free trade in biological resources. This assumption is possibly flawed since India has also gained through free trade of biological resources. There is perhaps no better example than the Green Revolution of the sixties and seventies which made India self-sufficient in basic food crops. This was possible due to Norman Borlaug’s high yielding wheat varieties from Mexico. There are several other examples of crops like potato, peas and tomato entering India from other countries and becoming a staple in the Indian diet.
Our primary concern with the massive bureaucratic apparatus created by India to execute its obligations under the CBD is the fact that it is creating a massive opportunity for rent-seeking and delaying and bureaucratizing scientific collaboration and research projects within and outside India. The fact that the Indian legislation has a penal provision greatly adds to the climate of fear surrounding research involving biological resources in India. It doesn't help that these provisions have actually been invoked in one case, where Indian academics of a government university are facing the possibility of jail time for an alleged violation of the BD Act while working on a government funded project. More recently there has been news of Hershey’s top brass being prosecuted for allegedly violating the BD Act. 
We agree that biodiversity must be protected but clearly India is on the wrong path.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Hygeia Bioresearch- New Medical Device venture

Hygeia Bioresearch Private Limited (HBPL) is a medical device venture based in India that focuses on the development of portable bio-diagnostic technologies for real time haematology. Their IP-protected novel electronic integration technology supports the convergence of microfluidics with conventional electronic systems in a miniaturised form. HBPL is an incubatee of TREC-STEP (Technology Business Incubator, Government of India).

Founder Mukesh Kumar, is a first generation entrepreneur with extensive research experience. Mr. Mukesh was nominated for SET (Science, Engineering and Technology Student of the Year) awards from Lancaster University in 2008  and also received prestigious awards such as Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS, London) research grant, Higher Education Innovation Fund (UK research council), Leverhulme PhD studentship (Leverhulme Trust, UK), Peel Studentship (Peel Studentship Trust, UK), and Education grant awarded by the American Services to India (USA).

India's first Intellectual Property Rights Helpline‏

India’s first IPR helpline is offered by Inolyst. You can clear all your doubts on Patents, Trademarks and Copyrights with our experts, free of cost!  Call 080 - 3927 5503 - 

India's Innovation Performance w.r.t to EU

European Commission published Innovation Score Board 2014 comparing states within EU and EU with USA, Japan, China,India etc. Excerpts from the report on India:

USA and South Korea have a performance lead over EU at  17% and Japan had a lead of  13%. China is at 44% of EU level. India performs relatively better in `Knowledge Intensive Service exports' and lead in this one parameter is also shrinking.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Indian Research Output 2008-2012-Elsevier

  • A recent study prepared by Elsevier shows that India has achieved substantial growth in research articles output, increasing from 54 thousand in 2008 to 93 thousand in 2012 at an annualized growth rate of 14.4%. 
  • Over the same period from 2008 to 2012, India’s share of the top 10% of the most cited articles – a proxy for high quality research articles – rose from 2.0% to 3.1%.
  • proportion of Indian research cited in patents is relatively low. The relative share of India’s patent citations to articles published from 2007 to 2011 is for  India (0.65).

Monday, March 03, 2014

Stable Spoon- innovation from Anupam Pathak

Ten years ago, Anupam Pathak was a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, working on a university lab project to help stabilize stressed soldiers’ rifle barrels. Soldiers shaking with fear, dread, or stress cannot fire accurately, but canceling the shaking stabilizes the aim. Today,, Pathak has used what he learned about canceling human tremor to help the more than 5 percent of the United States population suffering with essential tremor and to help others with neurological diseases like Parkinson’s that can cause trembling. A three-person startup company he founded, Lynx Design, of San Francisco,  released the LiftWare tremor-cancelling spoon under the company’s Lift Labs name. 

Active Cancellation
The technique uses active cancellation hardware, which is currently used in noise-cancelling headphones. As part of his Ph.D. work, Pathak figured out how to make active cancellation hardware small enough to fit within the tremor-cancelling spoon. The utensil stops the bowl of the spoon from moving even while the handle itself may be trembling, which lets users can eat without spilling. 

Pathak did his research before creating the LiftWare spoon. He discovered that today’s tremor-assistive devices usually attempt to cancel movement and for that reason are big, bulky, and inconvenient. “You don’t want to use things like that in public and they don’t even work that well at home,” Pathak said. “Our idea was not to stop the hand from shaking but to cancel its movement. That way, we can make our device really small, the size of an electric toothbrush, and you can use it every day.”

Source:Jean Thilmany

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Business Accelerator in a Stock Exchange

I was intrigued with the news of a Canadian University launching a business accelerator in a stock exchange. Then I dig on to find more. The university is Ryerson University, Toronto incubating over 70 start ups in their Digital Media Zone (DMZ). Their model called DMZ Model has certain unique elements.

Linking Education to Ideation is the novelty. 
BSE Institute is subsidiary of BSE offering several specialized programs. See details.
A rare mix of skills and one that promises to uncover new pathways to groom global talent.