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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Changing Dynamics of Agriculture with Technological Advancement

Agriculture: A source of living, science and art of cultivating plants and livestock. And well when I say science it means usage of modern technology in order to increase the yield of per hectare land. Technology and agriculture go hand in hand. As and when we are progressing, more and more expenditure is being done on research and development of new tools and techniques in order to increase the productivity of land along with the quality of crops produced. While in the 1900s in the USA 11 million agriculturists worked in order to feed 76 million people, these figures have drastically changed to 6.5 million agriculturists working to feed 321.4 million people in 2017 which has happened only because of increased utilization of new and better ways of cultivating.
Image Source: Analytics India Magazine
Day by Day the new inventions in agriculture sector in form of tools and implements or in form of software development which enables the farmers to have a real-time experience of their farms on their mobile have led to a wide change in the working pattern of farmers as well as also resulted in the ease of their working conditions. Technology is said to be a helping hand for humans and for human welfare. And, when it comes to agricultural sector various concepts like machine learning, Data science has come into the picture. Various kind of technological advancements that are used are discussed below:
1)  The machine known as Autonomous picker has been invented, which picks up strawberries after they grow fully, 2 times faster than any human who saves both time and energy of human agriculturist.
2)  Another technological advancement has been done by the invention of Drones. These drones weighing 4.7 pounds can fly for 1 hour covering a vast area of 800 acres helping the farmers to capture images of the farmlands row by row in order to find out various areas of the farm which need the attention of the farmer. The farmers know exactly which area in the farm needs attention and so that they can use insecticides only for those regions resulting in reducing the usage of pesticides and water and also by giving information about the weeds affecting the crop and how can they be cured. A company named Agrobotix has commercialised a software which helps in analyzing these drone captured infrared images and machine learning is regularly improving these system’s abilities to differentiate between various types of crops and weeds that affect them. Various other companies are also working on developing software to help farmers in practicing Big Data Analytics of all the images captured through space in order to benefit farmers at large scale.
3)  According to a UN report, 20%-40% of crops get destroyed due to pests and weeds. So, in order to protect the crops:

  • Robotic weed/pest Killers have been invented to perform the activity of insecticide spraying by judging the need for doing so in the infected area.
  • Organic farmers have started to use laser weed killing technology where the weeds/pests are killed using a laser in order to maintain the quality of the crop and to provide healthy crop to the consumers.

4)  Another invention that has been introduced is of Micro Sensors which enables the farmers to get a real-time data of the growth of the crop on their smart phones, helping them to know the exact time for harvesting and finding out any problem in the crops, if any.
5)  Robotic Soil Sampler is another invention which takes a sample of the soil, liquidizes it and analyses its pH and phosphorus levels in real time helping the farmers in crop growing process.

These are some inventions which I have mentioned but there are hundreds of such inventions enabling the farmers to improve their methods of production and increasing the land productivity. All these techniques not only help in easing the work of farmers but also have a huge impact in providing good quality crops with least impact of insecticides and pesticides on the crops which enables its consumers to live a healthy and chemical free diet.

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the author's and not necessarily represent or reflect the views of DoT Club as a whole.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Redefining Healthcare with Tech Innovation

We are living in an era of technology that has been radically transformed the way we conduct our lives in every sphere; be it transportation, digital communication or any other field. When we excavate some of the biggest contributions of science & technology in the last few centuries, then the metamorphosis of the improvement in health care becomes magnified. Continuous technological developments in healthcare have saved countless lives and improved the quality of life. Early identification of diseases, advanced treatment and increasing average life expectancy prominently indicate the quantum of growth in health care. Technology-induced healthcare processes are offering considerable promise for enabling new healthcare models to widen the opportunity of public healthcare.

the Impact of technology on healthcare

Experts in healthcare believe that by the end of this decade, more than 80 per cent of healthcare organizations would invest in consumer-facing mobile apps, wearable health gadgets, remote health monitoring tools and virtual care. By 2020, health data will travel through the cloud, the mobility solutions to touch $83 million.

Mobile technology is helping healthcare by enabling virtual connection between doctor and patient beyond the time & place barrier. It helps in reducing the costs of commuting and decreases the risk of sick patients spreading contagious diseases in waiting rooms. Telemedicine and over the phone consultancy are becoming potentially life-saving, extremely convenient, for patients who live hours away from the nearest hospital and require immediate help. Quick response and superior mobility are shaping the modern ways of providing healthcare services. Also, the improved mobile connectivity helped both the patients and doctors fraternity to refer health & medicine related information via internet. All these are possible because of the advancement in the Information and Communication Technology. These days lot many mobile apps are introduced such as mFine, Practo, PharmEasy etc with innovative features to smoothen the healthcare process. Not only that with latest trade regulation eCommerce businesses for healthcare are booming such as 1mg, NetMeds and many more.

Digitalization of Health Records replacing paper records and has been a game changer for many allied healthcare service providers. Healthcare professionals are now responsible for inputting patient data such as vital signs, weight, test results, etc. into a central, digitized system. These Electronic Health Records are helping for scheduling appointments, updating patient records with diagnostic codes, and submitting medical claims. Accurate & Convenient storage of electronic helps in providing better healthcare services along with effective administration of hospitals. Within all these initiatives the wastage generated from healthcare industry has been reduced significantly. 

Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and the Cloud  
health startups with technology
The wider range applications of AI, ML & Big Data are engulfing the healthcare sphere. The amount of Data that are gathered on a daily basis from the healthcare system is tremendous and to understand such data with high veracity the role of big data and analytics becomes prominent. Big data technologies have already made headway into the field of healthcare and have made a considerable impact too. Millions of doctors rely on imaging data for medical diagnosis, and moreover, technology has made these data quantifiable to improve the deliverables.  

The involvement of AI in Digital healthcare can be visualized from the example of mFine. It uses AI system to do the conventional & repetitive tasks in a fast & Hassel free manner. The systems use data collection and analysis to assist the doctors during the course of the consultation and beyond. With the help of AI, they are able to replicate human cognition and derive meaningful medical outcomes in delivering the services. 

Within all these tech innovations the search engine giant “Google” has taken a lot many initiatives. The research & development team of Google has discovered high-end applications of Machine Learning in improving the healthcare system.

Google puts intensive efforts in developing healthcare through tech innovation and firmly believes that,
AI is poised to transform medicine, delivering new, assistive technologies that will empower doctors to better serve their patients
Diagnosing Diabetic Eye Disease, Assisting Pathologists in Detecting Cancer, Assessing Cardio Vascular disorders are some of the greatest contributions. Application of Deep learning in understanding the Electronic Health Records has opened up new possibilities of research. The contribution of Google inspires the tech enthusiasts in understanding the wider range of applications & possibilities through the implications of AI, ML & deep learning.

Smart bands, fitness apps are also becoming a trend in modern lifestyle and helping immensely in generating awareness & promoting a healthy lifestyle. Nevertheless, there are few limitations of these tech innovations in terms of their usability and managing the data generated from digital healthcare. These limitations should be taken care to yield more benefits out of these tech innovations.  

Enhanced patient care, Improved Public health, Cost & time effective treatment all of these are possible because of the tech innovations. With intensive research and sensible use of technology, we can carry forward these tech innovations to serve the greater good.

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the author's and not necessarily represent or reflect the views of DoT Club as a whole.