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Soft Robots Picking Up Delicate Droplets That Humans Can’t

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Soft Robots Picking Up Delicate Droplets That Humans Can’t

A team in the US developed soft robots that can pick up delicate droplets individually

A group of American scientists has created a soft robotic gripper that can pick up individual liquid droplets as though they were solids. Soft robots can gently manipulate objects because they are made of malleable materials, which allows them to perform tasks that people and even hard robots find difficult.

These little robotic grippers detailed in a research published in Materials Horizons, are equipped with an artificial electronic muscle that gives them 100 times the strength of human muscle and enables them to perform delicate operations. “A single gripper the size of my finger weighs one to two grams with the implanted artificial muscle. And it’s cheap—just one or two dollars,” adds Dr. Jiefeng Sun, co-first author and a postdoctoral scholar in the mechanical engineering department at Colorado State University in the US. Soft robots picking up delicate droplets are the first of their kind in the robots industry.

A “superomnicphobia” substance—one that deters practically all other substances—is applied to the grippers.

The grippers interact with practically any liquid as if it were a flexible solid since it is very difficult to get them wet. Droplets won’t fragment and scatter over the surface of the grippers.

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These grippers might be used to mop up spillage of dangerous liquid, claim the researchers. Additionally, they could be helpful when handling potentially contagious materials like those found in hospitals.

The researchers show in their work that the grippers could control liquids, including blood. The researchers propose that the grippers might be discarded once they have collected the desired droplets because they are so tiny and inexpensive.

According to co-author Dr. Jianguo Zhao, associate professor of mechanical engineering and head of the Adaptive Robotics Laboratory at Colorado State University, “It’s a first, but it’s also a very uncommon example of a high-tech product that is not tremendously expensive.”

The post Soft Robots Picking Up Delicate Droplets that Humans Can’t appeared first on Analytics Insight.

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“Metaverse & NFTs Will Change How Employees Experience Rewards And Recognition” Says Sourabh Deorah

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“Metaverse & NFTs Will Change How Employees Experience Rewards And Recognition” Says Sourabh Deorah

Employee engagement doesn’t come with a cookie-cutter approach often putting HR managers in difficult situations. Being the most critical factor in ensuring optimum productivity all while keeping their morale high, it becomes more than necessary to look beyond traditional approaches in staff management. Now that software tools are available to ease them out of this difficult job, it becomes all-important that they adapt to a comprehensive employee management platform providing end-to-end services. Advantage Club is a global employee engagement SaaS platform that makes employee engagement and recognition an effortless job. Analytics Insight has engaged in an exclusive interview with Sourabh Deorah, Co-Founder & CEO at Advantage Club.

1. Kindly brief us about the company, its specialization, and the services that your company offers. 

Advantage Club is a global employee engagement platform driving workplace experience and well-being with features like rewards, recognition, perks, flexible benefits, and community building on a unified platform.

  • We are an end-to-end digital Reward & Recognition platform that allows managers and organizations to acknowledge employees for their efforts, all with the click of a button. Through the platform, employees can give high-fives, likes, comments, and more to show their appreciation for their colleagues. Our R&R platform is also matched with a global reward redemption marketplace that lets employees choose from over 10,000+ global brands.
  • Our Perks & Privileges solution allows organizations to add something special to employees’ earnings by offering unique and exclusive corporate offers and deals across the country. Through our Flexible Benefits offering, companies can create multiple types of employee wallets curated to specific marketplaces, eg, wellness, work from home, L&D wallets, and more.
  • Our Community and Fun Zone solution brings multiple employee engagement programs under one platform. With programs like intra-corporate games with live leaderboards, peer-to-peer marketplaces, and hobby clubs, our solution offers something unique for bringing employees of every type of organization together.
  • Our Financial Wellness solution helps employees become financially savvy by offering facilities to save, and get loans and salary advances at affordable prices and zero interest rates.

2. With what mission and objectives, the company was set up? In short, tell us about your journey since the inception of the company.

We envision a world where employees are highly engaged and happy, and every workplace, big or small, has a positive culture of appreciation and recognition. We help organizations build and run employee experience and engagement programs that resonate with their culture and values. 

We started with an end-to-end reward, recognition, and perks solution to facilitate meaningful employee engagement through exclusive privileges and rewards from our brand partners. The platform allows organizations to grant rewards and recognition to employees for hard work, and major milestones, and manage budgets, nominations, approvals, and social feeds. Over the next few months, we expanded our platform to include other employee engagement offerings such as communities, online game zones, hobby clubs, and classifieds. 

We also believe employee benefits should be beyond provident funds, time-offs, and free lunch or game rooms. Benefits must be more meaningful, valuable, and holistic to employees’ unique needs. With this view in mind, we launched several holistic employee wellbeing offerings, such as the Flexible Benefits solution that allows employees to choose what they want category-wise. We have also launched financial wellness solutions such as Early Wage Access and the Advantage Card for Tax Saving, which help employees with their financial needs.

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We are today one of the most comprehensive platforms offering solutions for all employee engagement & welfare initiatives.

3. What does your technology and business roadmap look like for the rest of the year?

As a tech-driven organization, we have bold plans to revolutionize the employee experience and engagement space. We are planning a big move on the metaverse & NFTs that will change how employees experience rewards and recognition initiatives. We are building solutions that allow for an efficient solution to bring the best of both physical and virtual approaches together. We have found a product market fit and some early success. We will continue to expand our offering with the ultimate goal of catering to the entire employee lifecycle management.

4. What is the edge your company has over other players in the industry?

Our biggest differentiator is that we have an all-encompassing solution in the reward, recognition, perks, and benefits space. Our clients can launch several programs across the employee lifecycle on a single platform, giving them the flexibility to run programs with the least implementation effort. We have a highly modular offering relevant to organisations of varied employee sizes and highly customizable to needs. The other clear edge is that our app and platform experience is the best in the industry, which helps drive employee engagement for our clients. On an average, our clients have seen a 45% drop in attrition among employee cohorts where our solutions have been launched as against the other non-user cohorts.

5. What’s your growth plan for the next 12 months?

On the business side, we are looking to expand aggressively in international markets, specifically in North America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. We will also double down our effort in penetrating deeper into our current market and client base and winning the mandate for all employee lifecycle management needs.

6. What is the reason that organizations are using IoT/analytics/big data/AI/ML/Big Data Analytics?

As a tech-driven platform, we are constantly on the go to help organisations customise the platform and find opportunities to make the offering more relevant. We are using analytics to find early indicators of employee disengagement and help organisations tweak their R&R program or spruce their employee benefits program to cater to unique needs. We are extensively using ML to map user behavior patterns on the platform to offer a unique experience basis their past interactions. From a reporting perspective, we give access to dashboards and numerous analytics to HR managers to help them understand the level of employee engagement and where there might be potential for attrition. 

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7. Where do you see growth coming in for the sector?

In a world where your location has become irrelevant, the talent market will get fiercer. And this will create intense competition to engage employees in different ways, and consequently, the idea of the benefits will become more prominent. The future is about creating a great employee experience. All the tenets that have been applied around customer experience over the last decade will come into force for employee experience in the next three to four years.

8. Mention some of the awards, achievements, recognitions, and clients’ feedback that you feel are notable and valuable for the company.

Our biggest achievement by far is the steady increase in employee retention rate amongst all our clients that have launched our programs. Many associations and industry bodies have recognised us including NHRD, World HRD Congress, ET HR, and BW BusinessWorld. Still, the most significant award for me has been the fact that we have never lost a client to date, which speaks volumes about the value we add to our customers.

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Sketch Your Way Into Coding! Notate Will Sure It’s Accurate

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Sketch Your Way Into Coding! Notate Will Sure It’s Accurate

The pen-based interface, called Notate, lets users sketch in computational, digital notebooks

Cornell University researchers have created an interface that allows users to handwrite and sketch within computer code—a challenge to conventional coding, which typically relies on typing. The pen-based interface, called Notate, lets users of computational, digital notebooks open drawing canvases and handwrite diagrams within lines of traditional, digitized computer code.

Powered by a deep learning model, the interface bridges handwritten and textual programming contexts: notation in the handwritten diagram can reference textual code and vice versa. For instance, Notate recognizes handwritten programming symbols, like “n”, and then links them up to their typewritten equivalents.

“A system like this would be great for data science, specifically with sketching plots and charts that then inter-operate with textual code,” said Ian Arawjo, lead author of the paper and doctoral student in the field of information science. “Our work shows that the current infrastructure of programming is actually holding us back. People are ready for this type of feature, but developers of interfaces for typing code need to take note of this and support images and graphical interfaces inside code.”

Arawjo also said the work demonstrates a new path forward by introducing artificial intelligence-powered, pen-based coding at a time when drawing tablets are becoming more widely used. “Tools like Notate are important because they open us up to new ways to think about what programming is, and how different tools and representational practices can change that perspective,” said Tapan Parikh, associate professor of information science and paper co-author. Information on the tool was published in the proceedings of The 35th Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology.

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The post Sketch Your Way into Coding! Notate Will Sure it’s Accurate appeared first on Analytics Insight.

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Educational Institutions: How To Ensure Data Security

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Educational Institutions: How To Ensure Data Security

Collecting sensitive data from thousands of students and employees, education is one of the sectors most vulnerable to data breaches. With limited cybersecurity budgets and know-how, schools are an easy target for cybercriminals and are especially prone to employee carelessness. However, increasingly strict regulations are making data protection mandatory in education as well, to protect students’ and employees’ personal information.

Human error is responsible for 26% of all data breaches in education. An email with personal student information accidentally sent to the wrong person or to all the individuals in an email thread already represents a  violation. Hackers can also easily gain access to school networks through university library computers and infect them using malware-riddled USBs.

To ensure data protection compliance and security, educational institutions need to ensure that basic cybersecurity measures such as antivirus solutions and firewalls are adopted. However, to prevent data leaks and address employee carelessness, educational institutions need to go one step further and look at Data Loss Prevention (DLP) solutions.

 

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Control and monitor sensitive data directly

DLP solutions have become a critical component of educational institutions’ data protection efforts. They allow educational institutions to monitor and control the sensitive data they collect through predefined policies for personal information.

Using contextual scanning and content inspection, DLP solutions can identify sensitive data in over a hundred file types, blocking its transfer through insecure channels such as popular messaging apps, file-sharing services, or personal emails. DLP tools can also prevent sensitive data from being copied and pasted or printed. Any attempts to violate DLP policies are logged and reported, helping educational institutions identify bad data protection practices or common unauthorized data exit channels.

 

Control removable devices

As previously mentioned, USBs can be used by cybercriminals as infection tools and as a way to bypass login screens and gain access to a computer. However, the infection can also happen unintentionally when a student connects a USB to a school computer, unaware their device has been infected. When sensitive data is copied onto a USB, it also becomes vulnerable to loss as USBs are notoriously easy to lose or forget.

DLP solutions come with device control policies that help educational institutions limit or block the use of portable devices. The use of USBs can thus be limited to trusted devices such as school-issued USBs, and any sensitive data transfers onto removable devices can be flagged, giving educational institutions a clear insight into who has attempted to transfer sensitive data, when, and with which device.

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Protect sensitive data on all operating systems

Students and employees often use their personal devices to connect to school networks. These devices run on diverse operating systems, not just on Windows, and often include macOS and several Linux distributions. To ensure continuous data protection, educational institutions need to consider cross-platform cybersecurity solutions that can be managed from a single interface.

Such centrally administered solutions offer two major advantages. They reduce costs as a single solution replaces several specialized tools for different operating systems. They also simplify data protection management when IT personnel is limited. Often one person is enough to manage them. However, educational institutions choosing to go the cross-platform route need to ensure that the solutions they choose offer feature parity for all operating systems and don’t have limited applicability to other operating systems apart from the primary one they were initially designed for.

 

Author:

Filip Cotfas, Channel Manager, CoSoSys 

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The post Educational Institutions: How to Ensure Data Security appeared first on Analytics Insight.

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