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Thursday, August 14, 2008

50 Year Old Video Footage of Tirupati Venkateswara Balaji

Indians For McCain holds Independence Day barbeque

Washington: 'Indians For McCain' (IFM), a group of Indo-Indians that campaigns for American presidential candidate John McCain, held a barbeque for its supporters in honor of India's 61st Independence Day. The event was hosted by IFM co-founder Sudhakar Shenoy at his home in Great Falls, VA. "Most of our community is still undecided and we have a great opportunity to win votes and affect the outcome of this election," Shenoy said.

Fiscal-conservative leader Grover Norquist was a special guest of the event. Norquist urged IFM to spread its message and reach nationwide. "Indian voters, largely entrepreneurial in spirit, will respond to this message of fiscal restraint, small business promotion, and lower taxes," he said.

Special Indians For McCain bumper stickers were distributed at the event and sent to IFM's chapters nationwide in advance of Independence Day. Those wishing to obtain a bumper sticker should contact IFM National Director Kishan Putta.

The attendees were also treated to viewing a special video message from John McCain to the Indian-American community on the occasion of Independence Day.

Virtual hand gets under the skin

These new amazingly realistic animations of the human hand go way beyond the demands of Hollywood (see video, right). They are detailed enough to shed light on the mystery of how the tendons and muscles of the human hand interact when we move, and should help surgeons reconstruct damaged hands more effectively.

Computer animators are adept at making characters that move realistically, largely thanks to advances in motion capture technology that records the way people move.

But even the best motion capture only records the movement of the body's surface. That's fine for a movie, but surgeons are less superficial. They are interested in the movement of muscles and tendons beneath the skin.

Now hand animations that go below the surface (see video, right), have been made, by Shinjiro Sueda, Andrew Kaufman and Dinesh Pai at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

Moving muscle

They used anatomical data from medical images to model the 17 bones and 54 tendons and muscles of the hand and forearm.

The team's software can coordinate the contraction and relaxation of muscles, and the way forces are transmitted by tendons to produce any desired hand gesture.

"Motion capture is data driven – you just capture the data and play it back," says Sueda. "Our approach is a simulation in which the starting point is the physics of muscle and tendon movement."

Sueda's team also clothed their virtual muscles and tendons in a layer of skin. Just like real skin its shape depends on the anatomy beneath it.

Helping hand

"The parameters to control the deformation of the skin aren't biomechanical – it's just cosmetic," says Sueda. But because the underlying controlled muscles and tendons are accurately placed, the result is a hand animation that is highly realistic.

When Sueda's team took screen grabs of their animated hands and compared them to photographs of real hands in the same position, the two sets of images match closely.

The model should be a boon to surgeons, says Sueda. "The network of muscles and tendons in the hand is very complicated," he adds. "Even now people don't know how it actually works in detail."

Although the anatomy of the hand was worked out long ago from dissections, the interplay of all the components when in motion has largely remained a mystery. For this reason, the results of hand surgery can be unpredictable.

Adding realism

When a tendon is damaged, the muscle it's attached to no longer functions properly. Surgeons try to restore movement by taking a nearby tendon and re-routing it along the path of the damaged one. But predicting the results of that is difficult.

"Using our technique, you can show what effect rerouting a tendon would have on the hand before you actually do the surgery," says Sueda.

The new technology has also been built as a plug-in for existing graphics software to allow animators to quickly and easily add more realism to their hand animations.

The new hand animation models will be presented at the SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference in Los Angeles on 15 August 2008.

Movie file can be downloaded here:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Event planned to attract IT industry to north Kerala

Calicut IT Initiative (CITI), an organisation formed to promote Kozhikode as a major information technology destination in north Kerala, will hold a meet Aug 30 to showcase the human resource available in the region for the IT industry.

The Information Technology-Human Resource summit is being organised with the help of the IT mission of the Kerala government and Nasscom (National Association of Software and Services Companies).

According to Nityanand Kamath, CITI president, around 2,000 students from colleges in the region are expected to take part.

‘We expect participation of around 25 companies at the summit. The human resource managers and their infrastructure managers are also expected to take part,’ K. Purushothaman, regional director of Nasscom, said at a press conference here Monday.

‘The event will provide human resource managers with an opportunity to assess the manpower available in the region. They will test the software and soft skills of the students here,’ said Saji Gopinath, member faculty at the Indian Institute of Management-Kozhikode and an office bearer of CITI.

The CITI officials pointed out that a large chunk of the around 10,000 students graduating from the region are girls who are not willing to relocate outside the region. ‘This will provide IT companies a loyal workforce with low level of attrition,’ they said.

Manipal Cure and Care Center launch at Sarjapur in Bangalore

Manipal Cure and Care (MCC) has launched their second center in Bangalore at Total Mall in Sarjapur.

The center was inaugurated by Chief Guest, Minister for Medical Education, Ramachandra Gowda along with Dr. Ramdas Pai, Chairman, Manipal Education and Medical Group, Dr.Ranjan R Pai, CEO Manipal Education and Medical Group and Somnath Das, COO, Manipal Cure and Care.

The MCC Sarjapur Center will introduce one new service ‘Back2Fitness’ (B2F) for the first time in India.

B2F is end-to-end musculo-skeletal, sports and exercise medicine clinic offering evidence-based treatment to help patients cope with back, shoulder, knee and other musculo-skeletal problems.

For corporates, B2F will offer the services of professional Ergonomists and a host of services including ‘Evaluate onsite job skills and work environment’, ‘Job skills design advice’, ‘Workstation design advice’, ‘Employee education on body mechanics and injury prevention’, ‘Posture correction exercises’ and ‘Follow-up clinics’

B2F also has specialised analytical and remedial programs for amateur and professional athletes. B2F can help with ‘Performance Enhancement’ program which includes ‘Video gait analysis’, ‘Specific musculo-skeletal assessment’ and ‘Daily conditioning and endurance programs’.

B2F is headed by Dr. Rajat Chauhan, (MBBS, MSc Sports and Exercise Medicine, MLCOM Osteopathic Medicine)

Ramachandra Gowda, Minister for Medical Education, said, “The work being done by the Manipal Education and Medical Group is commendable. They have been at the forefront of providing international level medical education and medical services to the society and that too at affordable rates. I wish them all the very best in all their future endeavours and hope that they continue the good work and more importantly guard the quality of services they provide.”

“I also congratulate Manipal Cure and Care for this revolutionising concept of Preventive Healthcare, Wellness & Beauty, under one roof, which is the need of the hour. This innovative concept will go a long way to keep our citizens healthy and hearty,” Gowda added.

Dr. Ramdas Pai, Chairman, Manipal Education and Medical Group, said, “Prevention is better than Cure, is an old adage we very often repeat but rarely follow. MEMG and MCC are both committed towards strengthening the roots of preventive medicine in India. Our vision is to revolutionize healthcare delivery in India by providing preventive monitoring with a focus on wellness. Through Manipal Cure and Care centres, we will educate people to be proactive towards health issues and strive to make every Indian a healthy citizen.”

Somnath Das, Chief Operating Officer, Manipal Cure and Care said, “We take the business of Preventive Medicine very seriously and will keep introducing newer products and services that will help Indian citizens understand and take advantages of its benefits and that too at affordable costs. Our critical differentiator is that the fact that all our centers offers services and counselling by well-trained doctor and paramedical staff, protocols and processes in line with international best practices and an in-store experience that is highly personalised for each customer.”