Nano satellite designed by Chennai students, to be launched April


A group of 54 engineering students from the city has designed a 10-kg nano satellite to monitor greenhouse gases (GHG) that the Indian space agency is planning to launch in April.

The students from the SRM University, some 40 km from the capital city, have been working on the project 'SRMSAT' since 2008. The satellite weighing just 10 kg is being developed under the guidance of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) at a cost of 1 crore.

With climate change becoming a cause of serious concern globally, the satellite will monitor GHG - mainly carbon dioxide - in the atmosphere. A grating spectrometer is employed for monitoring earth-based sources and sinks of anthropogenic and natural sources of GHG.

The students from 12 disciplines of engineering in the university have been working closely with the ISRO to develop the nano satellite.

A nano satellite is one that weighs less than, or equal to, 10 kg.

"The satellite is scheduled for launch in April this year with ISRO's Megatropics G satellite. We have signed a memorandum of understanding with the national space agency for the project," M. Loganathan, former ISRO scientist who is heading the team, told IANS on the sidelines of the ongoing Indian Science Congress at the SRM University campus here.

According to Loganathan, the students are very passionate about the project and would work on it after their classes.

"Their classes get over by 4 p.m. and after that all of them hang on in the research laboratory for say till midnight to work on the nano satellite. It's their baby and an outcome of their hard work," he said.

The ISRO said the satellite has to be tested before it can be included as a payload.

The students have been wholly involved in the project, right from procuring components to assembling and testing the satellite.

Explaining the initial problems they faced, Sarwesh Narayaan, a mechanical engineering student, told IANS: "It was difficult to communicate technically as we all come from different disciplines of engineering, but we did overcome it as each of us had to understand the concepts of all the other disciplines before designing the project."

"All of us are multi-tasking, and an electrical engineer student in the group is also conversant with the concepts of mechanical, aerospace, electrical communication and information engineering. We have been solving each others' problem," Guruditya Singh, a final year student, told IANS.

It's the team spirit that keeps this group of 51 men and 3 women students going.

"Whenever we get some time, maybe over lunch or dinner or during weekends, our point of discussion is only SRMSAT. Each one of us enjoys talking about it and our sessions go on for hours. There is nobody junior or senior but a team, and our mantra is value for thought. A first year student can also give a good piece of advice to the group," said Anushree Mahapatra, a student of electronic and information engineering.

The conception of SRMSAT dates back to August 2008 when the vision of launching a student satellite was put forward at a seminar taken by eminent space scientist D. Raghavamurty.

"It is planned to make our first nano satellite as a SRMSAT bus so that further missions can be continued with different payloads that can be supported with this design," said Loganathan.

More and more students are showing interest in the space science.

In 2010, ISRO launched Studsat -- a tiny satellite built by 35 students from four engineering colleges in Bangalore and three in Hyderabad -- which can take pictures of the earth from space, helping in weather forecasting.

During the golden jubilee celebrations of IIT-Kanpur last year, President Pratibha Patil handed over to the ISRO a nano satellite 'Jugnu' developed by students of the country's premier institution.

Other institutes have got in the act as well. A 3.5-kg satellite 'Pradhan' is being built by students of IIT-Mumbai. Students of Sathyabhama University, Chennai, are also working on a nano satellite.

In Vellore Institute of Technology University (VITU), Vellore, the students have designed the TubeSat, which is a pico-satellite, weighing less than 1 kg.

Top 10 Piano Songs

Songs with piano accompaniment leave us with a mix of emotions -- feeling melancholy, inspired, playful or even loved. Piano songs fused with rock are no different, especially when the talent behind the melodic chord progressions derives from iconic artists such as Paul McCartney, Billy Joel and Elton John.

10 'Werewolves of London'
Co-written by LeRoy Marinell, Waddy Wachtel (who has worked with Keith Richards, James Taylor and Stevie Nicks) and Warren Zevon, the 1978 single features Fleetwood Mac's bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood. The notable playful piano melody fits well with chorus refrain ("Ah-ooo!") and the bizarre lyrics: "I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic's / His hair was perfect." Grateful Dead, Jimmy Buffett and even Adam Sandler have all covered the tune, which was Warren Zevon's only successful single.
Warren Zevon Warewolves Of London
09 'The Way It Is'
Written by Hornsby, The beautifully composed piano-driven song references the civil rights movement: "Well they passed a law in '64 / To give those who ain't got a little more / But it only goes so far / Because the law don't change another's mind." Generation Y may recognize the piano medley, which was heavily sampled in Tupac's 1998 single 'Changes.'
Bruce Hornsby and the Range The Way It Is
08 'Maybe I'm Amazed'
Initially featured on McCartney's eponymous 1970 album, the piano song was never released as a single. The live track from the Wings' 1976 Tour of America however, became insanely popular -- reaching No. 10 on the Billboard Pop charts. The romantic song is dedicated to McCartney's late wife Linda.
Paul Mccartney Maybe Im Amazed
07 'Walking in Memphis'
Singer/Songwriter Marc Cohn wrote this after seeing an Al Green sermon in Memphis. The lyrics emphasize a "spiritual awakening" in the world of blues and soul rock. The piano driven song -- with elements of Billy Joel melodies and Bruce Springsteen vocals -- grew in popularity on both the US and UK charts, resulting in a Best New Artist Grammy win for Cohn in 1991. A 2008 live performance of the song proves that Cohn's still got it.
Marc Cohn Walking in Memphis
I don't even need to dwell on this favorite. Written in 1971 on a white grand piano (alongside Yoko) while at his estate in Tittenhurst, England, the song's piano melody is so simplistic, chills linger as Lennon sings about world peace and love: "Imagine there's no countries / It isn't hard to do / Nothing to kill or die for / And no religion too / Imagine all the people / Living life in peace." Almost 40 years later and this prolific song is still classic. 'Rolling Stone' agrees: They ranked the song No. 3 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
John Lennon and The Plastic Ono Band Imagine
05 'Clocks'
According to frontman Chris Martin, the song's repeating, pulsing piano riff was inspired by the band Muse. 'Clocks' was not even supposed to be featured on 'A Rush of Blood to the Head,' but once Martin played the haunting tune on a keyboard for lead guitarist Johnny Buckland, Buckland had worked out a chord progression. Lyrics soon followed, and the album was delayed two months to include the song. 'Clocks' won Record of the Year at the 2004 Grammy Awards and is considered their biggest hit to date.
Coldplay Clocks
04 'Let It Be'
Inspired by a dream McCartney had of his mother, the song's lyrics evoke subtle religious imagery. The piano melody -- written in the key of C Major -- features a series of cadences and inversions, which set the mood of the song. There are three versions in existence: two are official releases (the single, and the 'Let It Be' album track) and the third (an unofficial track from the aborted 'Get Back' album) is the least tampered with, and only available illegally. The other two had much work -- overdubbed with string orchestration and guitar.
The Beatles Let it Be
03 'Lean on Me'
The lyrics stem from Withers' childhood memories growing up in the coal-mining town of Slab Fork, WV. The fond memories of community were vapid once he moved to Los Angeles, which inspired him to write this song. The piano intro grabs you immediately, followed by Withers soulful, R&B vocals. The song reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972.
Bill Withers Lean on Me
02 'Tiny Dancer'
Penned by Bernie Taupin, the lyrics are about Taupin's first wife Maxine Feibelman, a seamstress for John's band. Taupin's romantic lyrics paired with Paul Buckmaster on strings and Rick Wakeman on the organ help the song, but the backbone is John's breathtaking piano melody. This piano song -- featured on John's 1972 'Madman Across the Water' -- only reached No. 41 on the US Pop chart, but was revived after it's inclusion in the Cameron Crowe flick 'Almost Famous.' Ben Folds, Tim McGraw, and even Dave Grohl have covered this tune. Check out Grohl's acoustic cover on Kilborn.
Elton John Tiny Dancer
01'Piano Man'
Sometimes the best songs have the simplest melodies. If you take out the lyrics, which reference people's unfulfilled dreams and disappointing lives, this 1973 tune is quite repetitive. But Joel's intentions of the song -- to be a distraction to those who feel miserable -- turned out to be quite effective. The piano riff and spliced harmonica sound are so beautiful, jovial, and almost romantic, you "forget about life for a while," and start singing. Go on: "La la la, de de da / La la, de de da da da."

Tracking of lost laptops made easier


Quick Heal, an Internet security tools provider, has introduced a new technology called Laptop Tracker that helps to track and recover lost laptops. The technology works on the premise that every laptop or PC has a Media Access Control ID (MAC ID) - the physical address of the device. When the stolen devices are connected to the Internet, its IP location can be found using the physical address number.

To use the services of the Laptop Tracker technology, one needs to register into its website known as All one needs to do there is key in the physical address number of the laptop or PC.

The solution from the Pune-based company is open for everyone. However those of who are using its anti-virus solution do not have to fill the MAC IDs. The technology would help the cyber crime departments and law enforcement departments of the country and the company is in talks with them to deploy the technology.

At 12, he is newspaper editor, reporter and publisher


He is all of 12 years but Utkarsh Tripathi painstakingly brings out a handwritten newspaper every week to spread awareness among his peers on issues like the environment and female foeticide. And all this to satisfy his urge to "serve the country".
A Class 8 student of the Brij Bihari Sahai (BBS) Inter College in Allahabad, Utkarsh has been bringing out the newspaper Jagriti for the last one year.
And for the four-page, black-and-white newspaper, Utkarsh not only dons the role of a reporter, editor and publisher, but also turns hawker for circulating the weekly.
Unlike other papers, readers of Jagriti don't have to spend a single penny -- Utkarsh distributes it free of cost.
"Yes, I manage it all alone. Right from gathering the content, its editing, publishing and ultimately distributing the copies to readers," Utkarsh, a resident of Khatju colony in Allahabad, told IANS.

"I know, you would like to know how I publish the newspaper. First I prepare a handwritten copy of Jagriti and later take out copies at a photocopy shop in my locality. It's simple," he explained.

Jagriti has about 150 readers belonging to varied age groups in Allahabad, some 200 km from the state capital Lucknow.

"Children comprise the major chunk of Jagriti readers - my school friends, my seniors in school, teachers and also my neighbours," he said.

According to Utkarsh's father Hari Prasad, who runs a coaching institute, his son has a flair for writing and wanted to serve the country in some way.

"More than a year ago, he read an article on Indo-China relations in a Hindi daily. I don't know what came into his mind... After reading the article, he came to me and asked me to suggest a way he could serve the country," Prasad said.

"At that time I wasn't sure how serious he was about the question... I said that joining the defence services was one of the best options to serve the country... To this, he said that he wanted to start serving the society from his school life itself. I then suggested why not work like a journalist and make people aware of their rights," he added.

Utkarsh took the suggestion seriously and came up with Jagriti.

"I named the newspaper Jagriti, as my mission was to make people aware of various issues affecting them," the 12-year-old said.

"I try to cover social issues pertaining to environment, female foeticide and others in the editorial section, and also information about public welfare schemes and important government policies for the betterment of the poor or children," Utkarsh added.

Jagriti also has success stories of scientists, political leaders and other prominent personalities.

But how does he get time from his studies to bring out a weekly newspaper.

"I believe if anyone is passionate about something, he or she can take out some time to purse his passion, irrespective of the hectic schedule," Utkarsh replied.

"I spend some time daily on researching topics and gathering public utility information from sources like magazines, news dailies and the internet. On Sunday I get more time to work on my project and make pictorial representations that could go along with the articles," he said.

Utkarsh's efforts are much appreciated by people in Allahabad.

"He has shown all of us that an ordinary person can contribute to the society in one way or other...You just need to have an urge for that," Kashi Kesarwani, a resident of Chandpur area, told IANS.

Nutan Devi, a local journalist and the boy's neighbour, said; "For me it's real journalism... It has revived the decades-old objective of journalism that seems to have now have got lost somewhere..."