Science and Technology Current Affairs

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World’s first Braille Atlas for visually impaired persons released in New Delhi  

The Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Harsh Vardhan released the Special Edition of “Atlas for Visually Impaired (India)” in English Braille in New Delhi.

This Braille Atlas has been prepared by National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) under Department of S&T. It is world’s first braille atlas for the visually impaired

Key Facts 
  • In the Braille Atlas, maps are raised and embossed with simple point and lines symbols to facilitate users to realize the location and area coverage easily in terms of distinguishable shapes and textures.
  • It is made using indigenously developed silk-screen painting technology. The legend and reference is also placed on map in Braille script to navigate map.
  • About 20 maps on different themes of physical, socio-economic and cultural aspects of the country have been incorporated in it.
  • The Atlas will be distributed free of cost to various schools across the country for educating the students with visual challenges.
  • It was awarded National award for S&T intervention in empowering the physically challenged by the Prime Minister in January, 2017 at the Indian Science Congress held in Tirupati.

About National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO)

  • NATMO is the premier agency of applied Geo-Spatial technology and pioneer in Thematic Mapping and Atlas Cartography under Department of S&T, Union Ministry of Science & Technology.
  • It is engaged in preparing different atlases, thematic maps and other documents on block level, district, state, national and many other monograms.
  • Its thematic maps and data are used by the decision makers at districts and sub-divisions levels for implementing the developmental schemes as well as by the researchers, students and common people.


ISRO develops Telemetry and Telecommand Processor

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has indigenously developed Telemetry & Telecommand Processor (TTCP) and its productionisation will be initiated with the help of Indian industry.

The processor development was undertaken up by ISRO as part of ‘Make in India’ campaign to replace the expensive imported equipment necessary for uplinking and downlinking to satellites. 

Key Facts
  • TTCP has been developed by Bengaluru based of ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC). Besides, Spacecraft Checkout Group of ISAC is responsible for testing it.
  • It will be used by ISRO in Integrated Spacecraft Testing of Low Earth Orbit, Geostationary Orbit and Interplanetary Spacecraft.
  • It is configurable to meet uplink and downlink requirements of both CCSDS (Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems) and ISRO standards and multiple clients to remotely access for data and monitoring.
  • The system was developed on Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) platform. The softcore processor on board the FPGA allows programming all features of TCCP remotely.
  • It is being tested on the ground using the same communication protocols that will be used in space. During test, ground systems will communicate to spacecraft via the same uplink and downlink signals, as in space.
  • This indigenously developed Processor has been successfully deployed for the first time in checkout of GSAT-19, which is scheduled to be launched shortly onboard of GSLV-Mk III-D1.


Union Cabinet apprised of MoU between India and France in S&T and Innovation  

The Union Cabinet has been apprised of the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of Cooperation in the field of Science and Technology and innovation.

The MoU was signed between India’s Technology Development Board (TDB), Department of Science & Technology and France’s public Investment Bank Bpifrance. 

Key Facts
  • The agreement will ensure exchange of best practices and setting up of coordinated measures to foster technological exchanges.
  • The exchanges under it will be through collaboration between companies, organizations and institutions of France and India.
  • The agreement also aims to carry out activities related to exchange of best practices in the field of Science & Technology through the India’s Technology Development Board and Bpifrance.

About Technology Development Board (TDB)

  • TDB is a statutory body established under Technology Development Board Act, 1995.
  • Its mandate is to promote development and commercialisation of indigenous technology and adaptation of imported technology for wider application.
  • It consists of 11 Board members. The board plays a pro-active role by encouraging enterprises to take up technology oriented products. The Union Government had reconstituted the board in March 2000.
  • It is the first organization of its kind within the government framework with the sole objective of commercializing the fruit of indigenous research.
  • It provides financial assistance to research and development institutions and equity capital or loans to industrial concerns. The loan carries a simple interest rate of 5% per annum.