CHENNAI: The Union Department of Science and Technology (DST) has embarked on several projects that are meant to go beyond social relevance.
These innovative projects relate to water, bio-medical devices, homeland security and solar energy but the focus is on having enterprising solutions so that the discovery and utility quadrants are used gainfully, according to DST secretary T Ramasami.
As per the Supreme Court directive, the department has started working on tackling the water problem. To apply the principles beyond science, 26 different types of water challenges including contamination, flurosis, excessive use of water in agriculture or industry, across the country have been mapped.
Twenty river basins have been looked at and 61 sites have been recognised. A spot study on the economic viability was done. The number would be reduced to 40 and global solution providers would be invited to actually implement and serve a community size of 10,000 people, he told reporters after launching ‘Diastep,’ a footwear designed by Central Leather Research Institute, MV Hospital for Diabetes and Diabetes Research Centre (DRC) and Novo Nordisk Education Foundation here on Monday.
The ongoing study would be scaled up to cover a population of one lakh. The initial focus would be on enterprise solution, Mr Ramasami said, adding an assessment of policy interface would be done for a macro-level implementation. Eight ministries, including water resources, agriculture, industry, urban development, environment and earth science have been linked in this exercise.
In two years, the research solution would be piloted. Post-site allocation and mapping, the second report was submitted on October 20. By August
2011, a solution to the water challenge would be available, he said. Dwelling on solar energy, he said a pan-IIT group had been formed to kick-start research initiative in this area. The project report to use solar energy on a global platform is expected to be ready by December 31. As many as 37 scientists drawn from six IITs are involved in this project, which includes setting up a 1 MW power system.
On homeland security, the emphasis would be to reduce front-end terror devices and integrate embedded systems. IISc of Bangalore is the co-ordinating agency for this project. Launching Diastep, Mr Ramasami said “very few global products of this nature exist in the marketplace. A product to prevent a consequence which is not light” is the culmination of intensive research.
The specially-designed footwear is the outcome of two-year collaborative research. Priced at Rs 1,350 the unisex black-colour footwear has features like adjustable velcro fasteners, specially-designed upper with leather lining for comfort and rigid counter to ensure limited joint mobility.
Highlighting the need for such a product, M V Hospital for Diabetes and DRC MD Dr Vijay Viswanathan said 20% of diabetics underwent some form of amputation. This has socio-economic ramifications and given the WHO estimates, at least 100 million people are at risk of being amputated.
World-wide, over 200 million people have diabetes and most don’t get the care they need, he added.
Source : Economic Times. 04/11/09