ANCIENT INDIAN TECHNOLOGY

“THE ONLY THING CONSTANT IS CHANGE”

In accordance with this basic rule that the nature works on, it can be stated that all the things then-now and after are bound to undergo a process of continuous change. What is born must die, what is created must perish and all that appears must fade! But there are some gifts bestowed upon us by the past that we need to carry all way along. This will refine the present and enhance the future. What is it that makes it so worthwhile to take the pain to solicit to reach the roots? The Indian Civilization is one of the oldest in the world and has been known to be the abode of many sages and seers; scholars and scientists. Many techniques and theories given by the ancient Indians have strengthened the building blocks of science and technology. Some of these trail-blazing contributions have been acknowledged but a major part of it has simply evanesced.

Ancient India’s contribution to science and technology includes:

  • Mathematics: Ancient literature is replete with concepts of zero, techniques of algebra and algorithm, square root and cube root, decimal system, Fibonacci numbers and the list seems to go on and on. Arguably the origins of calculus lie in India 500 years before Newton and Leibnitz. Not to forget the Shulba-Sutras and Pingala’s Chandra Sutra which throw a light on various interesting facets of the subject.

“We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.”

-Albert Einstein

  • Mechanics: Force imparts motion as per sutras of Vaisheshik (500 BCE). It describes the action of forces called as ‘Veg Sanskar’. Change in motion occurs due to change in force. Change in motion is directly proportional to applied force and exists in the direction of the applied force. Action and reaction are equal and opposite in direction. There can be no effect without cause.
  • Elasticity: Elasticity is the property of body. It can be sheared by deforming processes and get back to its original shape. It has been stated in Nayakandali by Shridaracharya long back in 991 CE.
  • Magnetism: There are 5 types of magnets Bhramakam(single faced), Chumbakam(double faced), Karshakam(triple faced), Dravakam(four faced),Romokantam(five faced) Each is again 3 colors: yellow, black and red. References found in: Rasarnavam Patalah 6(12th century AD)
  • Optics: That which cannot be perceived by naked eye can be perceived with glass/mica/crystal. The multi-colored rays of the sun being dispersed by wind in a cloudy sky are seen in the form of rainbow. References found in: Nayadarsham Adhyayah 3(800 BCE) and Brihat Samhita( 6th Century CE)
  • Earth’s Rotation and Gravity: Aryabhatta 1 believed that the Earth rotates about its axis and that the stars are fixed in place. In Aryabhatiya, it has been written that the period of 1 sidereal rotation of earth is 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.1 seconds which quite closer to the modern values of 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.091 seconds. Ever wondered what means where used to estimate the duration upto such perfection?

Earth was regarded as a diety who was capable of attracting, controlling and pulling down objects. The work done by ancient Indians in the field of astronomy has attained worldwide recognition.

  • Chemistry: Principles of chemistry did not remain abstract but found an early expression in distillation of perfumes, aromatic liquids, manufacturing of dyes and pigments, extraction of sugar and a lot more.
  • Ayurveda: Ayur stands for life and Veda stands for knowledge. It is regarded the oldest known medical system in the world and goes back to 5000 B.C. The most revered source of knowledge then was Sushruta Samhita where-in ideas about the diseases and ailments alongwith symptoms and methods to cure them are given. India was the first country to have hospitals for both men and animals. The record of conducting the first surgery in the history of time rests with India.
  • Civil engineering and architecture: Discoveries of urban settlements of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa indicate the existence of techniques which blossomed to a highly precise science of civil engineering and architecture. This has found expression in innumerable monuments of India.
  • Fine arts: Vedas were recited and stress was given on the right pronunciation which gave rise to a finer study of sound and phonetics. The natural corollary was emergence of music and other forms of performing arts.
  • Mechanical and production applications: Greek historians have testified smelting of certain metals like zinc in India in the 4th century B.C. Zawar in the Tiri valley of Rajasthan is the world’s first known ancient zinc smelting site.

The dwindled scientific attributes may be restored if we set out to rediscover the treasure. Once found there are numerous ways of utilising its gems in order to restore the glorious past. The deeper one dives into the depths of ancient knowledge caressed by the Indians scholars the more we become enlightened about the rich culture and heritage. It aspires to provide an insight to battle the problems that we are facing right now. Be it issues related to environment, energy crisis or degradation in value system.

“LOOK AT THE PAST WITH A NEW OUTLOOK”

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NANOROBOTS: A SQUAD AGAINST HIV-AIDS -By Aditi Pote

“YOU ARE HIV POSITIVE,” The one sentence that makes the patient sink in the depths of despair and maims the morale of his/her family members. The trouble is the absence of full proof treatment for the deadly disease. Let alone the fight to destroy it, the available anti-HIV drugs aim at extending the patients’ life span by just few more years. A way of combating and eradicating AIDS has finally come into view by the grace of nanotechnology.

Introduction:

  • HIV-AIDS:

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).  Following initial infection, a person may not notice any symptoms or at the most may experience a brief period of influenza-like illness.  As the infection progresses, it interferes more with the immune system, increasing the risk of common infections like tuberculosis, as well as other opportunistic infections, and tumors that rarely affect people who have working immune systems.

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Image credits: http://www.basuah.org/

  • Nano robotics:

It is the technology of creating machines or robots at or close to the microscopic scale of nanometers (10-9 meters).  Nanorobots would be devices ranging in size from 0.1-10 micrometers. Their size enables them to work at atomic, molecular and cellular level. Nanorobots are constructed of carbon atoms, generally in diamond structure because of inert properties and strength. Nanorobots are envisioned to respond to acoustic signals.

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Image credits: https://www.outerplaces.com/science/item/8975-nanobots-could-be-the-future-of-the-medical-industry

What acts anti-HIV in the present scenario:

           Zidovudine is the latest known drug that is used for treatment of AIDS. However its side-effects include nausea, vomiting, acid reflux (heartburn), headache, cosmetic reduction in abdominal body fat, light sleeping, and loss of appetite. As the treatment is lengthy and expensive, it has been deemed unfeasible in the global south and a number of studies are initiated that sought to test the efficacy of a shorter, simpler yet effective regimen.

This is the way the squad fights it:

          Zidovudine can be used to resist the HIV but the virus cannot be destroyed. Destruction of viral genome is possible by using nanorobots. This type of nanorobots will consists of:

  1. Nano-biosensor: To detect the presence of an infected cell.
  2. Nano-chip: A chip which will receive the signal from Nano-biosensor and will perform its job.
  3. Nano-tube: A tube in nanoscale. On receiving +ve signal, the nanotube will be injected into the nucleus of the cell.
  4. A container containing high concentration (say 20 u/microlitre) of DNase and RNase enzyme: This will be delivered into the infected cell and start treating it.

 Most animal cells are 10,000 to 20,000 nanometers in diameter. This means that nanoscale devices can enter cells and the organelles inside them can interact with DNA and proteins. Tools developed through nanotechnology may be able to detect disease in a very small amount of cells or tissue. They may also be able to enter and monitor cells within a living body.  Nanotechnology could make it possible to run many diagnostic tests simultaneously as well as with more sensitivity. In general, nanotechnology may offer a faster and more efficient means for us to do much of what we do now.

What makes it a potential option:

  • More than million people in this world are affected by this dreaded disease. Currently no permanent vaccine or medicine is available to cure the disease.
  • The nanorobot does not generate any harmful side effect. It operates at specific site only.

 

Factors to be re-considered:

  • The nanorobot should be very accurate, otherwise harmful effects may occur.
  • The initial design cost is very high.
  • The design of this nanorobot is a very complicated one.

 

 The final word:

The recent advancement in the field of Nanotechnology gives us the hope of application of this technology in medical field. This is the beginning of the Nano era and we could expect further improvements such as a medicine against various other fatal diseases using nanotechnology. Lastly it may be said, “Small is the size; Bigger is the impact”