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Remembering India’s ‘Rocket Man’ K Sivan On His Last Day As ISRO Chief

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India’s ‘rocket man’ Kailasavadivoo Sivan, popularly known as K Sivan, has been an inspiration for many aspiring youngsters to build their career in space technology. From being a farmer’s son studying in a Tamil-medium school to building himself to become the chief of The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Sivan has made youngsters believe that all dreams can be achieved through pure hard work.

Sivan joined ISRO in 1982 and after almost 36 years, he became the chairman of ISRO taking over the reins from AS Kiran Kumar on January 15, 2018. After four years, it is now time for him to move aside and hand over the chairmanship to S Somanath. January 14, 2022 is Sivan’s last day as ISRO chief.

During his tenure, ISRO saw an accelerated growth making headlines globally and during this period of time, India’s name was further etched in the world of space technology. Sivan had a huge role to play in shaping the world’s outlook towards India as to what our country can do in space.

Not to forget, perhaps for the first time, India as a country could feel the excitement and emotions attached with an ill-fated moon mission when PM Narendra Modi himself hugged a teary Sivan to console him for the Chandrayaan 2 setback.

ALSO READ: S Somanath Takes Charge As ISRO Chief With K Sivan Stepping Down

PM Modi Hug ISRO Chief After Chandrayaan 2 Failure.

India Gets Its Own Desi GPS With the Launch of NavIC

Under Sivan leadership, India also got to witness the future of its very own navigation system-NavIC, similar to the American GPS system. ISRO introduced Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) to smartphones.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016 had launched NavIC, it was only in 2020 we got to see NavIC in use after Qualcomm launched three mobile chipsets with support for NavIC. Your smartphone always had support for GLONASS, GPS, BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) and Galileo navigation systems. But for the first time we got to see an Indian navigation system being introduced on smartphones launched after 2020.

This simply makes the vision to have a desi Google Maps alternative more possible in the near future that will even work better than Google Maps.

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K Sivan’s contribution to India’s space mission

*There’s no denying that Sivan’s contribution to India’s space mission has been huge and it would be a difficult task to officially list them out but according to ISRO, these are some key contributions that he made.

*Project Director, GSLV, Leader of team for end to end design revisit in the post-failure scenario. Resolution of design issues and making GSLV operational, including the flight testing of indigenous cryogenic engine and stage. 4 successful GSLV Mk II launches were done including the launch of South Asia Satellite recently.

Also Read: Rocket Scientist S Somanath Replaces K Sivan As New ISRO Chief: Things To Know

*Instrumental in successful accomplishment of the first development flight of GSLV Mk-III that launched India’s heaviest satellite from our own soil. He is the Chief architect of ISRO’s Space Transportation and also for drawing technology roadmap for meeting the future requirements as well as augmenting the existing capabilities.

*He led the flight testing of SCRAMJET engine, as well as technology demonstration of the reusable launch vehicle (RLV-TD). As Project Director of RLV-TD, he has made significant contributions in vehicle design, control & guidance, mission management strategies and flight demonstration.

*He developed a cost effective strategy for Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) launch using PSLV. In addition, he was primarily responsible for the design and planning of ISRO launch vehicle missions. He is also the primary developer of Day of launch – wind biasing strategy for launch vehicles which has enabled all weather launch. He has implemented the strategy for upper stage (PS4) restart capability for PSLV which improves mission versatility by injecting multiple payloads in different orbits in a single launch mission. He has significantly contributed in performance and reliability enhancement of all ISRO launch vehicles. He was the chief mission architect for 104 satellites launched in a single mission of PSLV.

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S Somanath Takes Charge As ISRO Chief With K Sivan Stepping Down.

*He has established the Mission Synthesis and Simulation Facility, Parallel Computing Facility and Hypersonic Wind Tunnel Facility for ISRO’s launch vehicle program. In addition, he has provided thrust to many technology development initiatives for both launch vehicles as well as societal applications.

*He initiated technology development programs for Li-Ion cells, electric propulsion as well as advanced avionics for ISRO’s launch vehicle program. Li-Ion cell and electric propulsion is inducted into Launch Vehicles as well as Satellites.

*He has initiated development of medical devices in key areas with the medical fraternity, such as, development of advanced microprocessor controlled artificial limb and artificial heart pump called Left Ventricle Assist Device.

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K Sivan’s education and achievements

Born on April 14, 1957, he did BSc, Mathematics from Madurai University in 1977 and went on to do B.Tech, Aeronautics from Madras Institute of Technology, Chennai in 1980. He did his ME in Aerospace from IISc, Bangalore in 1982 and then completed his PhD in Aerospace, IIT, Bombay, 2007 after being a part of ISRO.

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Dr K. Sivan, chairman, ISRO has been awarded with an Honorary Degree of ‘Doctor of Science’.

As ISRO he held senior positions like Project Director, GSLV between 2011 and 2013′ Director, LPSC (2014-2015), Director, VSSC (2015-2017), Member of Space Commission (2016-2017) and Vice-Chairman, ISRO Council (2016-2017) before finally becoming ISRO chairman.

He won several awards like “Shri Hari Om Ashram Prerit Dr.Vikram Sarabhai Research Award”, 1999; ISRO Merit Award, 2007; “Dr Biren Roy Space Science and/or Design Award”, 2011; Distinguished Alumnus Award from MIT Alumni Association, 2013; ISRO award for outstanding achievement in 2016; Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT-Bombay, 2017 and Doctor of Science (Honoris Causa), Sathyabama University & Dr MGR University, Chennai.

He also won the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Award in 2019 and IEEE Simon Ramo Medal, shared with Byrana N. Suresh in 2020.

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PUBG’s Crafton sues ‘Free Fire’ maker Garena and Apple-Google

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Krafton, the developer of the PUBG game, has filed a lawsuit against Garena, Apple and Google. Crafton has alleged that Garena imitated PUBG: Battlegrounds in the battle royale games ‘Free Fire’ and ‘Free Fire Max’. Crafton has also accused Google of hosting videos on YouTube that show the gameplay of Garena’s Free Fire and Free Fire Max. According to a complaint shared by The Verge, Crafton has filed a lawsuit against Garena, the developer of the Free Fire and Free Fire Max games.

Crafton has accused Garena of copying his popular battle royale title. Crafton has said that Garena has made “hundreds of millions of dollars” from sales from two games. Apple and Google have also made good money by distributing these games. Both the apps are still listed on Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store.

Crafton claims that it took action against Free Fire and Free Fire Max on December 21. First, Garena was told to stop Free Fire and Free Fire Max. Garena refused to do so. Crafton also asked Apple and Google not to distribute both games on their platforms. But both these games are still listed on the App Store.

YouTube was also asked to remove several videos from its platform. These videos are also currently available on YouTube.

The lawsuit also mentions that Garena sold a game in Singapore in 2017. It is said to have copied PUBG: Battlegrounds. Crafton noted that there was no licensing agreement between the two gaming developers while the claims were settled.

According to data from Sensor Tower shared with The Verge, Free Fire earned $1.1 billion (about Rs 8,153 crore) from player spending in 2021, a 48% year-on-year increase. Crafton earned $2.98 billion (about Rs 22,087 crore) during the same period, a year-on-year increase of just 7 percent. It was told in this data that the Free Fire game was approaching PUBG in terms of popularity and earnings.


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OnePlus 9RT 5G with Snapdragon 888 in India: Price, Features, Specs | Technology News

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New Delhi: OnePlus, on Friday (January 14), launched the OnePlus 9RT 5G smartphone and Buds Z2 earphones. The smartphone is an upgrade to the OnePlus’ performance-oriented R series.

“Designed solely with speed in mind, the 9RT 5G offers uncompromising features such as the powerful Snapdragon 888 processor, up to 600Hz of Touch Response Rate, and OnePlus` finest VC cooling system to date, redefining how we look at performance flagships,” said Pete Lau, Chief Product Officer of OPPO and Founder of OnePlus.

OnePlus 9RT 5G Availability

OnePlus 9RT 5G is launched in two colors: Hacker Black and Nano Silver. The smartphone is launched in two configurations 8GB+128GB and 12GB+256GB, and will retail starting from January 16 for Amazon Prime members as part of early access on amazon.in.

OnePlus 9RT 5G Price

OnePlus 9RT 5G price starts at Rs 42,999 for the 8GB+128GB variant while the 12GB+256GB model will retail at Rs 46,999.

OnePlus 9RT 5G Performance

OnePlus 9RT 5G is powered by Qualcomm’s powerful Snapdragon 888 processor. The smartphone will sport a 120Hz E4 OLED flat display and the 9 series flagship IMX766 sensor on the main camera.

OnePlus 9RT 5G smartphone also gets Warp Charger 65T, a large 4500mAh battery for all-day use and runs on the OxygenOS. The smartphone takes 15 minutes to charge from 1 per cent to 65 per cent, and 100 per cent in just 29 minutes, the company claims. Also Read: HCL Tech acquires Hungary-based IT firm Starschema for Rs 315 crore

For gaming, the OnePlus 9RT 5G comes with Tri-eSport Wi-Fi Antennas with an Adaptive Switch that reportedly provides an uninterrupted Wi-Fi experience. Moreover, the OnePlus 9RT 5G is powered by the Sony IMX766 Image Sensor. Also Read: 7th Pay Commission: Center govt employees may get bumper salary hike ahead of Republic Day

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Haptic gloves for Quest 2 are a small step toward VR you can touch

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The Senseglove Nova haptic gloves are developer-focused, but they show the very beginnings of what future VR accessories could be.

Scott Stein/CNET

My very first attempt at trying home VR haptic gloves was awkward. I stretched a pair of knitted gloves over my hands, adjusting little plastic tips, delicately screwing in holsters on the backs of large, plastic battery packs. I slotted Oculus Quest 2 controllers into slots over my gloves. Then, for a few minutes I was picking up robotic parts, pushing buttons and pulling levers in VR — and in a weird way, I felt little cables pulling back on my fingers, almost like puppet strings. I felt a clicking sort of resistance, as my fingers brushed a virtual soda can and crushed it. I could feel a semblance of what I was doing with my fingers.

The Senseglove Nova haptic gloves I wore are absolutely not for everyday Quest 2 owners. First of all, the gloves cost about $5,000. And second, they don’t work with any of the Quest’s ordinary apps and games. I had to sideload a demo app made to work with the gloves, which could be Bluetooth paired to the Quest 2 after I put it in developer mode. The gloves are primarily designed for Windows VR and AR headset users, but can also work with Quest headsets.

But the gloves bring up one of the weirdest challenges in VR right now: How do new controls evolve to become something everyone can find useful and actually get work done with?

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You can see how the little cables cause resistance and haptic feedback, along the backs of my fingers.

Scott Stein/CNET

VR extensions for your hands

The current VR landscape is filled with fun gaming headsets that can’t be worn for very long, equipped with controllers that look like game console gamepads for your wrists. The Quest 2 controllers are what most VR controllers look like and — while they have analog sticks, buttons, and even track a bit of finger motion — they’re made for games and maybe fitness, not work. Hand tracking without controllers already works with the Quest 2 and some other VR and AR headsets, but without any physical inputs, precise controls are still hard to pull off. Microsoft’s Hololens 2, years old already, only uses hand tracking. Its designer, Alex Kipman, sees physical feedback like vibration as a necessary next step,

Facebook parent company Meta feels the same way and has already detailed future research efforts to make wrist-worn haptic feedback wristbands that can sense neural inputs, as well as larger-scale haptic gloves that use air bladders to create a sense of touch. Companies like HaptX already make advanced haptic gloves that create a variety of pressure sensations, but the gloves cost tens of thousands of dollars. I’ve never tried HaptX gloves (I hope to). The Senseglove Nova is the closest I’ve gotten so far.

senseglove-nova-packaging

Unpacking the Senseglove Nova gloves at home.

Scott Stein/CNET

The Senseglove Nova brings the cost down (relatively) and they’re wireless, something that other larger-scale haptic gloves aren’t. They use a combination of little cords that pull back on my fingers as I move them, simulating resistance and vibrations that feel like the buzzes on any smartwatch, phone, or game controller. The gloves arrived in a little briefcase, delivered to my house. They’re weird, a little bulky, with a few hand-fastening clips. They feel like ski gloves with battery packs and hardware knitted in.

The gloves still require VR controllers to add proper motion sensing: The Quest 2 controller brackets I added are like little plastic loops that the Touch controllers slide onto. The gloves feel a little heavy and weird with the controllers on. Also, setting things up properly and launching the app means taking the gloves off and on, or asking someone for help.

senseglove-nova-hand-vr-haptic-gloves

Controller adapters are needed for tracking on Oculus and Steam VR, which bulks the handwear up a bit.

Scott Stein/CNET

Does it feel like touching things? Sort of, not really, sometimes

As I reach out to grab objects in the app, it’s a familiar feeling based on my previous Oculus experience — after all, plain hand tracking does similar stuff. The difference happens when I make contact with virtual things. I feel a pulling on my fingers, like a puppeteer pulling my finger’s marionette strings back. Plus, a clicky sort of vibration. It can either feel glitchy, or like making contact. The synchronization with in-world objects isnt always perfect in my brief demo.

It doesn’t feel like I can “feel” the edges of things, or the nuance of an object. If I were blindfolded, I’d have no idea what any of these sensations even meant. It’s designed now to be more of a helpful feedback system for the otherwise sensation-free world of hand tracking. Using the Quest controllers for tracking also improves the tracking accuracy over using in-headset cameras to look for your fingers and hands.

senseglove-nova-vr-haptic-gloves-2

The gloves next to a Quest 2 plus Quest controllers: a bunch of gear!

Scott Stein/CNET

How will anything get better soon?

In VR, my biggest concern for things like “work” or using headsets as a type of monitor-extension for my computer is… can things get better than those clunky controllers? Putting them down and swapping to hand tracking works, but isnt ideal.

Companies like HTC have wrist-worn Vive Wrist Trackers coming this year that will work to enhance hand tracking in VR, but they’re designed for business use and don’t have any vibrating haptics. Facebook/Meta’s wrist trackers for AR/VR may still be years away. Using experimental work apps like Horizon Workrooms, which admirably tried to map my laptop keyboard and display into VR, can work… sometimes.

Haptic gloves are a VR dream as old as the 90s cyberpunk books I read as a kid, or every Ready Player One-alike VR future utopia/dystopia. That said, I was fine with taking the gloves off again after a few minutes of demoing, gently wiggling my fingers out of the knitwear, careful of the spaces between the plastic and cables. We’re not there yet. But devices like the Senseglove Nova are showing the struggles still ahead in finding the right way to figure it all out.


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