Emerging Technologies

Information and communications technology (ICT)

ICT Stands for “Information and Communication Technologies.” ICT refers to technologies that provide access to information through telecommunications. It is similar toInformation Technology (IT), but focuses primarily on communication technologies. This includes the Internet, wireless networks, cell phones, and other communication mediums.

In the past few decades, information and communication technologies have provided society with a vast array of new communication capabilities. For example, people can communicate in real-time with others in different countries using technologies such asinstant messaging, voice over IP (VoIP), and video-conferencing. Social networkingwebsites like Facebook allow users from all over the world to remain in contact and communicate on a regular basis.

Modern information and communication technologies have created a “global village,” in which people can communicate with others across the world as if they were living next door. For this reason, ICT is often studied in the context of how modern communication technologies affect society.

Application of ICT in Agriculture

ICT tools can help in meeting the challenges in agricultural development in the following ways:

  • Agriculture Information, Awareness and Education using ICT.
  • Advanced information about adverse weather condition, so that farmers can take precautionary measures.
  • Real time and near real times pricing and market information.
  • Information dissemination about various government schemes. Information regarding agrifinance, agriclinicls and agribusiness.
  • Online Farmer Communities

Government Initiatives on ICT in agriculture

  • National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture (NeGP-A),
  • Various Touch Screen Kiosks,
  • Krishi Vigyan Kendras,
  • Kisan Call Centres,
  • Agri-Clinics,
  • Common Service Centers,
  • mKisan, Kisan TV and various other applications.

GPS, GIS and Remote Sensing

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. GPS uses satellites that orbit Earth to send information to GPS receivers that are on the ground. The information helps people determine their location.

GIS stands for Geographical Information System. GIS is a software program that helps people use the information that is collected from the GPS satellites.

GPS

  • The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system. Several countries have their satellite-based navigation system known by different names.

How it works?

  • GPS satellites circle the earth twice a day in a very precise orbit and transmit signal information to earth. GPS receivers take this information and use trilateration to calculate the user’s exact location. Essentially, the GPS receiver compares the time a signal was transmitted by a satellite with the time it was received. The time difference tells the GPS receiver how far away the satellite is. Now, with distance measurements from a few more satellites, the receiver can determine the user’s position and display it on the unit’s electronic map.
  • A GPS receiver must be locked on to the signal of at least 3 satellites to calculate a 2-D position (latitude and longitude) and track movement. With four or more satellites in view, the receiver can determine the user’s 3-D position (latitude, longitude and altitude). Once the user’s position has been determined, the GPS unit can calculate other information, such as speed, bearing, track, trip distance, distance to destination, sunrise and sunset time and more.

GIS

  • A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer-based tool for mapping and analyzing feature events on earth.
  • GIS technology integrates common database operations, such as query and statistical analysis, with maps.
  • GIS manages location-based information and provides tools for display and analysis of various statistics, including population characteristics, economic development opportunities, and vegetation types.
  • GIS allows you to link databases and maps to create dynamic displays. Additionally, it provides tools to visualize, query, and overlay those databases in ways not possible with traditional spreadsheets.
  • These abilities distinguish GIS from other information systems, and make it valuable to a wide range of public and private enterprises for explaining events, predicting outcomes, and planning strategies..

Remote sensing

  • Remote sensing is the art and science of making measurements of the earth using sensors on airplanes or satellites.
  • These sensors collect data in the form of images and provide specialized capabilities for manipulating, analyzing, and visualizing those images.
  • Remote sensed imagery is integrated within a GIS.

Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS)

IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system being developed by India. It is designed to provide accurate position information service to users in India as well as the region extending up to 1500 km from its boundary, which is its primary service area. An Extended Service Area lies between primary service area and area enclosed by the rectangle from Latitude 30 deg South to 50 deg North, Longitude 30 deg East to 130 deg East.

IRNSS will provide two types of services, namely, Standard Positioning Service (SPS) which is provided to all the users and Restricted Service (RS), which is an encrypted service provided only to the authorised users. The IRNSS System is expected to provide a position accuracy of better than 20 m in the primary service area.

Some applications of IRNSS are:

  • Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation
  • Disaster Management
  • Vehicle tracking and fleet management
  • Integration with mobile phones
  • Precise Timing
  • Mapping and Geodetic data capture
  • Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers
  • Visual and voice navigation for drivers

Applications in Agriculture

  • The development and implementation of precision agriculture or site-specific farming has been made possible by combining the Global Positioning System (GPS) and geographic information systems (GIS).
  • GPS-based applications in precision farming are being used for farm planning, field mapping, soil sampling, tractor guidance, crop scouting, variable rate applications, and yield mapping.
  • GPS allows farmers to work during low visibility field conditions such as rain, dust, fog, and darkness.
  • Precision agriculture is now changing the way farmers and agri-businesses view the land from which they reap their profits.
  • Precision agriculture is about collecting timely geospatial information on soil-plant-animal requirements and prescribing and applying site-specific treatments to increase agricultural production and protect the environment.
  • Through the use of GPS, GIS, and remote sensing, information needed for improving land and water use can be collected.
  • Crop dusters equipped with GPS are able to fly accurate swaths over the field, applying chemicals only where needed, minimizing chemical drift, reducing the amount of chemicals needed, thereby benefiting the environment.
  • GPS also allows pilots to provide farmers with accurate maps.

Biotechnology

  • Biotechnology is defined as the industrial application of living organisms and their biological processes such as biochemistry, microbiology, genetic engineering, etc. in order to make best use of the microorganisms for the benefit of mankind.
  • Biotechnology is applied in many areas to produce foods and medicines, in the development of new diagnostic tools, gene therapy, DNA finger-printing for forensic purposes etc.

Read More (NIOS pdf)

Applications of Biotechnology in Agriculture

  • Biofertilizers : Example-. Anabaena azolla, Blue green algae , Rhizobacter. These biofertilizers are very helpful in enhancing crop productivity by helping plants to absorb nitrogen and by solubilising phosphates.
  • Biofortification : Example- Golden rice for providing Vitamin A and Biofortified Sorghum for Zinc delivery.In this nutritious value is increased by adding vitamins , minerals in  crop plants by biotech applications.
  • Biopesticides : Example- Bt cotton which has genes from soil bacterium that prevents diseases of cotton naturally and hence prevents indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides and associated side effects.
  • Biological markers : Which are used to mark genes of interest in crops and animals for further improvement and to create herbicide resistance , drought resistance . Example- of markers are RAPD, RFLP. . Many varieties of maize and wheat improved this way which gives more productivity.
  • Interspecific hybridization : Example- Triticale( Between rye and wheat) , Raphanobrassica ( Betweenraddish and mustard). Which are produced by interspecific crosses to increase yield and nutrition and to make disease free.
  • Polymerase chain reaction : Used to detect diseases of bacterial and viral origin .By amplifying DNA it becomes easy to diagnose diseases. Example- Late blight of paddy, a bacterial diseases, also improves genetic makeup of plants and animals like shrimp quality increases in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Micropropagation : which helps in cloning superior quality plants. Seeds are first grown in lab conditions and then transplanted in fields gives early protection leads to good growth and quality.
  • Artificial insemination and germ plasm storage : Helps in increasing vigor , yield and growth in plants and animals. Animals created by this are cows , bulls Ex . Jersey , Holstein which gives more milk and are health and strong and adds income to farmers.

Nanotechnology

  • Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter at a molecular or atomic level in order to produce novel materials and devices with new extraordinary properties.
  • Nanoscale is approximately in the range of 1-100 nanometers (10-9 m).
  • Nanotechnology is closely related to Nanoscience, the basic theoretical and experimental study of matter at the nanoscale before applying the acquired knowledge for device manufacturing.

Why is Nanotechnology so innovative and revolutionary?

  • The answer lies in quantum mechanics.
  • The behavior of matter changes significantly when the surface area to volume ratio increases so dramatically.
  • Classical physics no longer control the behavior of the material which is now under the control of quantum laws.
  • This fact gives the nano-structured material new abilities and properties that may be more favorable than the ones of the bulk material version.
  • A good example is that some polymers, although being insulators in the bulk form, they become semiconductors at the nanoscale.

Application Areas of Nanotech

  • Nano-structures: Nanotechnology’s current state enables the manufacturing of nano-structured materials and the tailoring of their properties. The development of more complex nanomechanic devices (nanorobots, nanocircuits, etc.) is still in an infant stage.
  • Energy: Nanotechnology can improve the existing technology of fuel cells in order to increase their life cycle and reduce the cost of catalysts. Solar cells will also increase their energy conversion efficiency by reducing cost. The production of fuel could also become more effective by making extraction and processing more economical.
  • Medicine: Nanoparticles can be developed in order to deliver drugs to diseased cells. New bio-compatible materials are produced that can be used to make medical implants. Stents are also developed to prevent artery blockage.
  • Industry: Vehicle manufacturers can use the new light and extremely strong materials (eg. carbon nanotubes) to build faster and safer cars. The same technology applies in aerospace as well. The textile industry can benefit from the development of nanofibers. Clothing made of nanofibers is stain-repellent and can be washed at very low temperature. Another great application has to do with the embedded wearable electronics. Nanotechnology could also revolutionize the food industry by improving the conservation, processing, and packaging procedures. Other applications include bacteria identification and nanoencapsulation of bioactive food compounds in order to keep them in a safe anti-microbial environment.
  • Communication and Electronics: The advances in nanotechnology will reduce the weight and power consumption of electronic devices. Data processing speed will increase, and new portable devices will be available soon. This will revolutionize the world of communication and data transfer.
  • Consumer Goods: Other goods of every-day use that could be developed include anti-reflective sunglasses, new generation cosmetics, easy-to-use ceramics and glasses, etc.

The Future and Risks of Nanotechnology

  • Nanotechnology has been in the spotlight of development during the last years. The enormous potential of this new technology has been recognized immediately by both academia and industry. The ability to affect so many areas of modern life can actually be a means to revolutionize the way of doing things.
  • Many claim that nanotechnology may entail many risks and dangers for the future. This could originate from an abusive use of the new technology (e.g. development of new powerful weapon systems, detecting systems that threaten all levels of privacy, etc.), a fact that gives rise to social, ethical and safety concerns. Nanotechnology is very promising, but it would be unwise to ignore the negative aspects and not deal with them.
  • Since it has already entered our lives, it is rather safe to say that it will definitely change the way we live.

 

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