Author: pagluchulkene

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A techhnology education startup launched by two Keralites is making it easier for school students interested in science to tinker with gadgets.
BiBox also known as Brain in a Box, headquartered in Bengaluru , is a programmable electronic platform that helps students from classes V to X to build smart machines, robots, and other real-world gadgets. Founded by Sandeep Senan and Madhusudan Namboodiri in 2012, BiBox has now the presence in Kerala schools too.
BiBox, apart from the hard ware that can be easily assembled, also provides for software. Students have made traffic lights, automatic locking doors, smart room lights, drip irrigation systems and asthma detectors etc. using BiBox.
“The BiBox hardware consists of an electronic brain, programmable wirelessly by a mobile application and multiple inputs and output accessories that can be seamlessly connected to it. This plug and play system are open and scalable, enabling users to ideate and create real-world projects,” said Namboodiri, who hails from Vaikom.
He said more than 10,000 students in Kerala were undergoing BiBox programs in schools.
Namboodiri said there was pronounced need for products like BiBox and other ed-tech applications as learning in the 21st century was no more theory based. “We have stretched this system of education too far for too long. It is a time we evolve and create a system that better prepares students for the real world,” he said.
The firm has received funding from Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) and Department of Science and Technology (DST) Pressography.

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MacBook Price in India Increased by Up to Rs. 10,000While the entire world was focussed on the launch of the new MacBook Pro, Apple India decided to quietly increase the price of the MacBook by as much as Rs. 10,000. The change happened last week, and Apple India’s website has been updated to reflect the new prices.
The 12-inch MacBook now starts at Rs. 112,900, an increase of Rs. 6,000 from last October, when prices across the entire Mac line were revised. The variant with a faster processor and double the SSD storage now retails at Rs. 129,990 139,900, an increase of Rs. 10,000. The US price of the MacBook remains unchanged, as does the India price of other Mac desktops and laptops, so the move is curious, to say the least. As always, these are maximum retail prices, and the products may be available at lower prices online as well as offline.
The MacBook was last updated in April with sixth-generation Intel Skylake processor as well as slightly faster RAM and PCIe-based flash storage. A new Rose Gold color option was also added, to go with the Space Grey, Gold, and Silver variants available at the time.
With the 11-inch MacBook Air discontinued, the MacBook is the smallest portable Mac that Apple currently offers. If the 13-inch MacBook Air is discontinued in the near future as well, it is likely that the MacBook will get a makeover and be repositioned to become the new entry-level portable Mac – when that happens is anyone’s guess.

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LG V20 Price in India at Launch Will be Rs. 49,990The LG V20 is the first smartphone to come with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box and Gadgets 360 understands its India launch is imminent. While the exact date of the launch is yet to be confirmed, we can reveal that LG’s newest flagship is headed to the Indian shores carrying a price tag of Rs. 49,990.
The V20 was unveiled in San Francisco in September and there has been anticipation around its India launch since before the official reveal. The LG V20 comes with a 5.7-inch main IPS Quantum Display and a secondary display, similar to what we’d seen on the LG V10. The secondary display on the LG V20 comes with a font size that’s 50 percent larger compared to the V10, making it easier to view notifications and alerts at a glance.
It packs a dual rear camera setup, a 135-degree 8-megapixel lens accompanied by 16-megapixel 75-degree lens, accompanied by a 5-megapixel 120-degree wide-angle lens on the front. The Auto Shot feature on the LG V20 detects when you are smiling and automatically clicks a selfie. It comes with features like 32-bit Hi-Fi Quad DAC (with support for FLAC, DSD, DIFF, and ALAC file formats), HD Audio Recorder, and B&O PLAY speakers, to keep the audiophile in you happy.
In terms of specifications, the LG V20 comes with 4GB of RAM and is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 820, with two cores clocked at 2.15GHz and the other two running at 1.6GHz. It was launched in 32GB and 64GB storage options globally, with a microSD slot to expand it by another 256GB. The LG V20 is powered by a 3200mAh battery.

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VADODARA/NEW DELHI: UM Motorcycles has opened its eleventh dealership in India – UM Vadodara in Vadodara, Gujarat. Spread over an area of approx. 2100 sq ft, the dealership facility has a showroom integrated with an after-sales service facility to ensure that the customers receive pre-and post-sales ownership experience.
Rajeev Mishra, Director UML, said, “The Vadodara dealership represents UM Motorcycles’ second dealership in the state of Gujarat, with the first being in Surat. It underlines the importance, UM Motorcycle accords to the market of Gujarat. The state has emerged as a very strong market in the Western region for cruiser bikes and the opening of this showroom is a testimony to this fact.”
Mishra further added, “We are confident that this state of art showroom will be able to fulfill the aspirations and needs of our customers with our amazing products and fabulous services. This dealership will house our flagship products like Renegade Commando and Renegade Sports S). The prospective customers of UM Motorcycles in Vadodara will be able to discover our products up close and personal at this new dealership.”
“We welcome UM Motorcycles here in Vadodara, the cultural capital of Gujarat. In this world class facility, the entire range of UM Motorcycles along with UM merchandise will be available for sale. It is our commitment to provide unprecedented sales and service experience to all the customers of UM Motorcycles,” said Mayank Jain Proprietor Viraansh Automobiles.
“Through this new dealership, we will try to meet the demands of the rapidly growing UM Motorcycles enthusiasts in Vadodara. I consider it a privilege to represent UM Motorcycles in Vadodara,” added Jain.

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Gridlocked situation But there’s a way out. K MURALI KUMARGridlock in India’s cities has reached dangerous proportions. The average speed of traffic going through the city center in Bengaluru during peak hours was recently clocked at just 10 km per hour. Commute speeds in Mumbai and Delhi are often worse.
In the big Indian cities, two solutions — metro rail and taxis — are beginning to offer relief. As more people squeeze into metros, road traffic density under metro-elevated structures and on surrounding feeder roads appears to have fallen.
This makes sense. Many metro riders own private vehicles that are now on the roads, decongesting traffic along their entire route.
The problem is that not everyone in the big cities can travel by Metro. The sprawl in India’s cities is so vast that even when all future lines of current metro projects are operational, the majority of a city’s residents will be more than a mile from the nearest metro station. This last mile problem — of how to get to and from a metro station at both ends — is a serious one.
How it works out
Which brings us to cars. Automobiles remain the best solution for all-weather end-to-end transportation but they are getting increasingly more expensive both to buy and maintain.
City driving is no longer pleasurable and driver anxiety is on the rise. Hiring chauffeurs is not a cost-effective option either. Families that hire drivers chafe at under-utilised chauffeurs and sometimes make unnecessary trips causing additional gridlock and burning needless fuel.
The answer may well be for consumers to not use private cars but rely extensively on taxi services, again like in the world’s big cities. A simple cost-benefit exercise can help make such a case.
To test this hypothesis out, I took ten Uber trips in Bengaluru over a two-week period, at different times during the day. Some were individual rides, others were pooled.
My average cost was 12.25 ₹/km. For simplicity, I disregarded the only other cost — internet fees to book and pay for travel.
Now, consider the case of two families both of which commute 2,000 km a month. One family owns two cars and employs a driver for each car; the other family exclusively uses taxis.
Assume the initial costs of the cars to be ₹6 lakh each and that both cars will be sold after 7 years, at zero residual value. Also, rather than calculate finance costs, let us compute the opportunity cost assuming that the family pays cash for both vehicles.
At 7 per cent interest per annum, a ₹12-lakh FD would yield ₹84,000 in interest, an opportunity cost of ₹7,000 per month. At an average operational cost of ₹8/km — fuel, maintenance, taxes and insurance — the 2,000 km of driving each month would cost the family ₹16,000. Factor in the two additional full-time drivers (₹24,000 a month) and the car-owning family will spend ₹47,000 in monthly transportation costs.
The taxi option
For the family that uses taxis, the monthly outlay would be just ₹24,500, a saving of 48 per cent over the car family.
Plus, it never needs to pay for parking. Improvements in app functionality and the deployment of thousands of taxis mean that cabs these days arrive at their pickup point often faster than the time it takes for a parked car to be driven out into the street.
Even if the car family doesn’t hire drivers, throwing the comparison off because taxis come with drivers, the car family spends ₹23,000 a month, only slightly less than the taxi family.
If Indians in the big cities slowly begin to think in this manner, they could begin to buy fewer new cars in the future. Families will continue to have their existing cars parked in garages but will start severely limiting their use, perhaps to pleasurable, long-distance drives or emergencies only.
This, in turn, would have serious consequences for India’s manufacturing and service economy. True, taxi companies will continue to encourage their drivers to buy new cars but this volume pales in comparison to domestic retail buying.
AP reported in early September that John Zimmer, co-founder of the ride-sharing company Lyft wrote in an essay that “personal car ownership in the US will come to an end because autonomous rides (self-driving Lyft cars) will become a cheaper way to travel than owning an automobile”.
With India’s vast labour pool and complex traffic patterns, self-driving cars are unlikely to make an entry on Indian roads anytime soon. But Zimmer’s prediction that personal car ownership will fall may turn out to be true in India as well.

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Aurangabad: A research scholar Pierpaolo Carlone from Salerno University, Italy inaugurated a one-day workshop organized by Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT)
He shared his insights on different developments in the field of polymer composite materials. Adding to the importance of this product, he said that Polymer composite materials were enabling automobile industry to beat the competition with pricing.
While addressing the students, Carlone said that the current research in polymer composite materials may double the efficiency of automobiles.
He said, “Polymer composite material is the latest development in the field of material science. The polymer is used in automobile industries due to its properties like light weight with high strength but low cost at the same time. The excellent combination of desired properties has made polymer one of the most effective raw materials.”
Teenager writes fiction on farmer suicide
A class X student, Ganesh Aithal, has penned down a fiction book, ‘The Drought Within’ on farmer suicide giving a positive message that such unfortunate incidents can be avoided if farmers avail different welfare schemes of the center and the state.
The book describes few positive minded people who can ensure the prosperity of farmers with determined action taken towards different government schemes. The book was published a few days back and it is available for online sale.
Maharashtra Education Minister, Vinod Tawde has also appreciated the book. Ganesh said, “The issue of farmer suicide has stirred me from within and compelled me to write a book.”
He said, “It said it is depressing to hear about such incidents. In an attempt to put myself in the shoes of the people living in adverse condition, I wrote this book. Though the characters are fictional, I have tried imagining them in real life situations. I have noticed an equal number of people trying to solve the situation through honest social work.”

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Domestic sales of automobiles were on the growth path last month (October) with most of the major players in different segments logging growth over the corresponding month of the previous year and experts confident the trend is expected to continue.
However the lower exports dragged down the overall sales of major players in the passenger car segment.
“Passenger cars and two wheelers sales continue to grow. This is backed by positive customer sentiments and better in hand cash flows to support their discretionary spends. Overall we should see good growth this year in all the vehicle categories,” said Abdul Majeed, Partner- Price Waterhouse and an auto expert.
According to him, medium and heavy commercial vehicles will bounce back once demand for freight movement picks up.
India’s largest passenger car maker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd said it closed last month selling 133,793 units (domestic 123,764 units, exports 10,029 units) last month as against 134,209 units (domestic 121,063 units, exports 13,146 units) sold during October 2015.
The company saw sales decline in its mini (Alto, WagonR), compact (Swift, Ritz, Celerio, Baleno, Dzire) super compact (Dzire Tour) and van (Omni, Eeco) segments, but on the other hand, sales of its utility vehicles (Gypsy, Ertiga, S-Cross, Vitara, Brezza) zoomed to 18,008 units last month, up from 9,435 units sold in October 2015.
Similarly Hyundai Motor India Ltd said it sold 64,372 units (domestic 50,016 units, exports 14,356 units) in October, up from 61,701 units (domestic 47,105 units, exports 14,686 units) sold during October 2015.
“Hyundai with a highest-ever domestic volume of 50,016 units registered record cumulative sales of 64,372 units in October 2016.
“Hyundai achieved the highest and fastest domestic sales of 50,000 units mark within 15 months from the earlier milestone of 40,000 units,” MD and CEO Y.K.Koo was quoted as saying in the statement.
Nissan Motor India reported domestic sales of 6,108 vehicles versus 3,246 units sold in October 2015.
On its part, Tata Motors Ltd said it sold 16,311 passenger vehicles up from 12,747 units sold during October 2015.
Tata Motors closed last month with a total sales of 52,813 units as against 43,486 units sold during the corresponding period of the previous year.
Smaller player in the Indian car market Volkswagen Passenger Cars India sold 5,534 units last month as compared to 3,255 units in the corresponding month the previous year.
In the two-wheeler segment, high capacity motorbike maker Eicher Motors Ltd increased its sales volumes by 33 per cent to 59,127 units as compared to 44,522 units sold during October 2015.
Bulk of the sales for Eicher Motors came from two-wheelers with engine capacity up to 350 cc (55,188 units) while vehicles with more than 350cc engine capacity accounted for 3,939 units sold last month.
Commercial vehicles major Ashok Leyland sold 12,533 units, up from 9,803 units sold in October 2015.
The other major commercial vehicles player Tata Motors logged 15 per cent growth selling 30,169 units last month.

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ServicemykarCar purchase and servicing platform BookMyTime has acqui-hired car management startup Servicemykar, according to a press statement.
Servicemykar was founded by Raghavendra Chandrappa. The 10-member team of Servicemykar, as well as CEO Chandrappa, will become a part of BookMyTime.
“With this acquisition, we are ready to expand our operation in terms of service and geography,” said Raghuram Kote, founder of BookMyTime.
The BookMyTime app provides the user with price comparisons of cars, as well as servicing requirements such as providing details of puncture shops and round the clock towing services.
The company, which is currently present in Bangalore, claims to have partnered with more than 182 authorized dealers for servicing as well as 110 dealers for new cars.
In the automobiles space, online classifieds firm Quikr has acquired Step, a platform that connects vehicle owners with service providers nearest to them in September.
Prior to that, Girnar Software Pvt Ltd, which owns CarDekho.com, Gaadi.com, and Zigwheels.com, has acquired roadside assistance (RSA) provider Help On Wheels Pvt Ltd in an all-cash deal in April.
The automobile marketplace and repair segment has seen a lot of investor interest recently. In September, Deepak Nathani, co-founder of technology consulting firm Cybage Software Pvt. Ltd acquired a 20% stake in automotive services startup Demyto for an undisclosed amount.
In May, Bengaluru-based Let’s Service raised angel funding from QuEST Global chief operating officer Ajay Prabhu and Julia Computing Inc. co-founder Deepak Vinchhi. The firm provides servicing for a bike- and scooter-owners at authorized service centers.
The same month also saw Mumbai-based MotoMojo secure angel funding from the founders of startup enabler VentesAvenues. The firm connects owners of two- and four-wheelers with service stations through its mobile app.

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NEW DELHI: The country’s top two carmakers Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai said they sold over 45,000 units on Dhanteras.
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd and Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) reported good sales on Dhanteras, considered auspicious for making new purchases.
“This Dhanteras, the customers have done heightened purchases with deliveries of 15,153 Hyundai cars, a growth of 26 percent over last year,” HMIL Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing Rakesh Srivastava told PTI.
He further said: “We expect to have 50,000-plus deliveries for the full month, making this festival season as the best in the last couple of years.”
Good monsoons, better consumer sentiments, and 7th Pay Commission award have fuelled demand for automobiles.
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NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 2:
While two-wheeler makers saw some growth in sales during the month of October, many car makers did not report a blockbuster performance.

In the two-wheeler segment, Hero MotoCorp continued selling six-lakh-plus units consecutively for the last three months and recorded sales of 6.63 lakh units in October, up four per cent against 6.40 lakh units in the corresponding month last year.

‘Pulsar’-maker Bajaj Auto sold 2.13 lakh motorcycles during the month, a five per cent growth year-on-year as compared to 2.02 lakh units in October 2015.

Tamil Nadu-based TVS Motor recorded double-digit growth by selling around 3.09 lakh units (12 per cent up a year -on-year) in October compared with around 2.75 lakh units in October last year. India Yamaha Motor also recorded 22 per cent growth at 86,428 units during the month, as against 70,812 units in October last year.

Passenger vehicle
In the passenger vehicle segment, while companies such as Renault India, Volkswagen India and Nissan India reported exponential growth (because of the low base), companies such as Ford India, Toyota Kirloskar Motor and Honda Cars India reported the decline in sales year-on-year. Renault India sold 12,409 units during the month, up 68 per cent, as against 7,396 units in October 2015. However, Ford India and Honda Cars India reported more than 20 per cent decline in sales year-on-year. “As we look for the industry momentum to sustain, Ford remains committed to its strategy of product led innovation, a differentiated customer experience, and breaking the myth on our cost of ownership,” Anurag Mehrotra, Executive Director, Marketing, Sales & Service, Ford India, said.

M&M sales
However, home-grown Mahindra & Mahindra’s sales jumped three per cent to 24,737 units last month compared to 24,060 units in October last year. “Some of our power brands such as the Bolero, Scorpio, TUV300 and the Pickups have performed well. We have expanded our electric vehicle portfolio (zero emissions) over the last one month by adding the eSupro range and the e2oPlus. We hope to see the growth momentum continue for the remaining part of the year,” Pravin Shah, President and Chief Executive (Automotive), M&M, said. The commercial vehicle segment also showed mixed trend during the month.

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