VELLORE: Imagine travelling in a long-distance train with no idea about the current location, no internet connectivity to identify the spot through GPRS and not knowing when to alight.
What if there’s a gadget inside the compartment that has its own communication network and provides value-added services such as details of the location, the approaching station, food items available in the pantry, social networking with co-passengers and alerts about one’s destination without disturbing others? This is exactly what two students of MS Software Engineering attached to the VIT University have developed in the form of an in-vehicle network based mobile solution, that has received US patent now, for the very first time in the university.
“I am so delighted that we have been able to get the US patent for the very good work done by two of our students - Srisudha Garimalla and Srilavanya Paleti and their guide Dr K Ganesan of TIFAC-CORE at the University,” said VIT Chancellor G Viswanthan, briefing about the patent on Wednesday. He said an application had also been filed for an Indian patent.
He said the application for the US patent was filed in 2011, the details of which were published on the Internet for objection, if any, to the concept and ownership . “We got the approval for the patent on August 5, 2014,” he said, adding: “The patent has been obtained in the shortest period.”
Srilavanya, who is employed at Schneider Electrics at Bengaluru, recalled that it took two years for them to work on the application, which provided a cost-effective, value-added service to passengers, who are travelling in trains, ship or buses where access to internet was problem. “I have experienced the problem while travelling from Vellore to my home town in Vijayawada by train, which made us work on a solution,” she said. Her classmate Srisudha, while explaining about the application said, the hardware built by them comprised GPS, Wi-Fi and bluetooth modules with necessary software. This unit, which provides its own communication network without internet support, can be fixed on the roof of the train compartment.
When a passenger enters the train, he/she has to switch on the bluetooth module on the mobile phone, upon which the software developed by the girls would be downloaded to the mobile phone. The user has to enter certain details such as his destination.
The hardware unit will save this information and remind the passenger with an SMS when the destination arrives. A passenger who is asleep will get the alert with a vibration on his mobile. If the train is running late, the passenger need not wake up early.
Another in-built feature of the system is information about food items available on the train. The passengers can place orders through mobile phone, said Srisudha, presently a senior developer with Sapient Private Limited, a leading multinational company in Bengaluru.
Passengers can get to know about the medical help available onboard during an emergency and can publish request for sharing hotel accommodation and transportation like taxi/auto.
Ganesan said 16 patents had been filed by VIT so far. The US patent received now could be used anywhere in the world, he added.