Flying high

Orville Wright demonstrated on December 17th 1903 that it was possible for a ‘manned heavier than air machine to fly’. But, in 1895, eight years earlier, the Sanskrit scholar Shivkar Bapuji Talpade had designed a basic aircraft called Marutsakthi (meaning Power of Air) based on Vedic technology and had it take off unmanned before a large audience in the Chowpathy beach of Bombay. The importance of the Wright brothers lies in the fact, that it was a manned flight for a distance of 120 feet and Orville Wright became the first man to fly. But Talpade’s unmanned aircraft flew to a height of 1500 feet before crashing down and the historian Evan Koshtka, has described Talpade as the ‘first creator of an aircraft’.

As the world observes the one hundredth anniversary of the first manned flight, it is interesting to consider the saga of India’s 19th century first aircraft inventor for his design was entirely based on the rich treasury of India’s Vedas. Shivkar Bapuji Talpade was born in 1864 in the locality of Chirabazar at Dukkarwadi in Bombay.

He was a scholar of Sanskrit and from his young age was attracted by the Vaimanika Sastra (Aeronautical Science) expounded by the great Indian sage Maharishi Bhardwaja. One western scholar of Indology Stephen-Knapp has put in simple words or rather has tried to explain what Talpade did and succeeded!

According to Knapp, the Vaimanika Shastra describes in detail, the construction of what is called, the mercury vortex engine the forerunner of the ion engines being made today by NASA. Knapp adds that additional information on the mercury engines can be found in the ancient Vedic text called Samaranga Sutradhara. This text also devotes 230 verses, to the use of these machines in peace and war. The Indologist William Clarendon, who has written down a detailed description of the mercury vortex engine in his translation of Samaranga Sutradhara quotes thus ‘Inside the circular air frame, place the mercury-engine with its solar mercury boiler at the aircraft center. By means of the power latent in the heated mercury which sets the driving whirlwind in motion a man sitting inside may travel a great distance in a most marvellous manner. Four strong mercury containers must be built into the interior structure. When these have been heated by fire through solar or other sources the vimana (aircraft) develops thunder-power through the mercury.

NASA (National Aeronau-tical and Space Administra-tion) world’s richest/ most powerful scientific organisation is trying to create an ion engine that is a device that uses a stream of high velocity electrified particles instead of a blast of hot gases like in present day modern jet engines. Surprisingly according to the bi-monthly Ancient Skies published in USA, the aircraft engines being developed for future use by NASA by some strange coincidence also uses mercury bombardment units powered by Solar cells! Interestingly, the impulse is generated in seven stages. The mercury propellant is first vapourised fed into the thruster discharge chamber ionised converted into plasma by a combination with electrons broke down electrically and then accelerated through small openings in a screen to pass out of the engine at velocities between 1200 to 3000 kilometres per minute! But so far NASA has been able to produce an experimental basis only a one pound of thrust by its scientists a power derivation virtually useless. But 108 years ago Talpade was able to use his knowledge of Vaimanika Shastra to produce sufficient thrust to lift his aircraft 1500 feet into the air!

According to Indian scholar Acharya, ‘Vaimanika Shastra deals about aeronautics including the design of aircraft the way they can be used for transportation and other applications in detail. The knowledge of aeronautics is described in Sanskrit in 100 sections, eight chapters, 500 principles and 3000 slokas including 32 techniques to fly an aircraft. In fact, depending on the classifications of eras or Yugas in modern Kaliyuga aircraft used are called Krithakavimana flown by the power of engines by absorbing solar energies!’ It is feared that only portions of Bharadwaja’s masterpiece Vaimanika Shas-tra survive today.

The question that comes to one’s mind is, what happened to this wonderful encyclopaedia of aeronautical knowledge accumulated by the Indian savants of yore, and why was it not used? But in those days, such knowledge was the preserve of sages, who would not allow it to be misused, just like the knowledge of atomic bombs is being used by terrorists today!

According to scholar Ratnakar Mahajan who wrote a brochure on Talpade. ‘Being a Sanskrit scholar interested in aeronautics, Talpade studied and consulted a number of Vedic treatises like Brihad Vaimanika Shastra of Maharishi Bharadwaja Vimanachandrika of Acharya Narayan Muni Viman yantra of Maharish Shownik Yantra Kalp by Maharishi Garg Muni Viman Bindu of Acharya Vachaspati and Vimana Gyanarka Prakashika of Maharishi Dhundiraj’. This gave him confidence that he can build an aircraft with mercury engines. One essential factor in the creation of these Vedic aircraft was the timing of the Suns Rays or Solar energy (as being now utilised by NASA) when they were most effective to activate the mercury ions of the engine. Happily for Talpade Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad of Baroda a great supporter of the Sciences in India, was willing to help him and Talpade went ahead with his aircraft construction with mercury engines. One day in 1895 (unfortunately the actual date is not mentioned in the Kesari newspaper of Pune which covered the event) before an curious scholarly audience headed by the famous Indian judge/ nationalist/ Mahadeva Govin-da Ranade and H H Sayaji Rao Gaekwad Talpade had the good fortune to see his un manned aircraft named as ‘Marutsakthi’ take off, fly to a height of 1500 feet and then fall down to earth.

But this success of an Indian scientist was not liked by the Imperial rulers. Warned by the British Government the Maharaja of Baroda stopped helping Talpade. It is said that the remains of the Marutsakthi were sold to ‘foreign parties’ by the relatives of Talpade in order to salvage whatever they can out of their loans to him. Talpade’s wife died at this critical juncture and he was not in a mental frame to continue with his researches. But his efforts to make known the greatness of Vedic Shastras was recognised by Indian scholars, who gave him the title of Vidya Prakash Pra-deep.

Talpade passed away in 1916 un-honoured, in his own country.

As the world rightly honours the Wright Brothers for their achievements, we should think of Talpade, who utilised the ancient knowledge of Sanskrit texts, to fly an aircraft, eight years before his foreign counterparts.



as Posted on

What is Google TalkBack?


Google’s TalkBack service is a great way for the vision-impaired to use all of Android’s features

Most of us take being able to see everything on our high-resolution Androids for granted. We peep at pixels, discuss the merits of display technology to death, and even tend to turn our nose up at devices that don’t have the ultra-high-res “true” HD screens some of today’s flagships offer. But that’s not the case for the large segment of us who have impaired vision.

Folks who have a hard time seeing the overload of information that a modern smartphone has to offer will need some assistance, and Google provides a really comprehensive set of tools in TalkBack. TalkBack is an Accessibility Service that helps vision-impaired users interact with, and enjoy, their devices. It uses spoken word, vibration and other audible feedback to let you know what’s on your screen, what you’re touching, and what you can do with it.


TalkBack was installed on your device when you bought it as part of Google’s Android application suite, and it is routinely updated with improvements and new features through Google Play. If you don’t need assistance because you’re not able to see everything on the screen clearly, you’ve probably never looked at it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it wasn’t designed for those of us who can see everything and the setup and options can be confusing when you see what you want to do and hear how it all works at the same time.

How it works is that you use your finger to “explore” what is on the screen, and when you come across any element that can be acted on, or any block of text that can be read back to you, TalkBack kicks in. For text (including things like the time and notifications) the screen reader service tells you exactly what it written — including things like “colon p” for emoticons, and all the characters in a web address for example. For elements that you act on, TalkBack tells you what you’ve touched, and lets you act with a double tap or move to the next element without triggering anything. It’s pretty well thought out, and if you can follow the audible prompts you can do anything on an Android — even if you can’t see the screen. All you need to do is set it up.

Having said that, the whole setup routine and setting the various options is covered very well in the tutorial the first time you initiate the service. You’ll find it under “Accessibility” in your device settings, and on recent versions of Android all you need to do to enable it is slide a toggle to the on position. You’re then walked through all the ways TalkBack can help, as well as how to use gestures and dive into the settings of the service itself.

TalkBack Settings

And there are settings galore. The settings for spoken feedback — reading what you see on your screen — include options you would expect like speech volume and reading out caller ID information, as well as settings for using a different pitch when telling you what you’re typing, and a setting to allow shaking the phone start and stop screen reading. Google has really done a fine job figuring out what we might need here, and has thrown it all in. When something is this important — some of us couldn’t use a phone or tablet without some assistive technology — we’re glad to see all the options.

When it comes to other feedback, you can turn vibration on and off, set things so you’re given an audible tone when you’ve highlighted a selectable item, and control the volume of other audio — like a call or music — so you’re better able to hear TalkBack when it needs to tell you something.

You’re also able to completely customize the exploration by touch features. You can enable custom labels (which are read aloud) and gestures, change from the default double tap to activate and double finger scroll for lists and other screen items, and most importantly, activate the tutorial at any time.


TalkBack isn’t something you’ll want to use unless you need it. Frankly, it’s darn near impossible to use when you can see what it is telling you you’re seeing, and you can’t help but tap and try to do things before it is ready. But folks who need to rely on this sort of tech will be more attuned to following audible cues, and this is a great way to help those of us who need some help to get that help. If you have the need, or know someone who does, be sure to give Talk Back a look and see if it can make someone’s Android experience a little better.


As Posted on by Jerry Hildenbrand

Best JavaScript Libraries of 2014 One Must Have

A JavaScript library is a pre-written JavaScript which permits to develop JavaScript-based applications easily, particularly applied for web browsers that allows to cooperate with the users and control the browser. The main use of JavaScript is to write functions that built-in HTML pages and interact with the Document Object Model (DOM) of the page. The language can be used as server side programming language for the game development and the design of desktop / mobile applications. In short, JS libraries is solution of problem as it is built to resolve the issues.

These libraries will help you to make things easier for your website related tasks. We hope these JavaScript libraries will be helpful to your website linked requirements.


A JavaScript library to add voice commands to your sites, apps or games.


ScrollReveal.js is a simple way to create and maintain how elements fade in, triggered when they enter the viewport. It helps you to build declarative on-scroll reveal animations for your websites.


AngularJS is a toolset for building the framework most suited to your application development. It is fully extensible and works well with other libraries. Every feature can be modified or replaced to suit your unique development workflow and feature needs.


Ace is an embeddable code editor written in JavaScript. It matches the features and performance of native editors such as Sublime, Vim and Text Mate. It can be easily embedded in any web page and JavaScript application. Ace is maintained as the primary editor for Cloud9 IDE and is the successor of the Mozilla Skywriter (Bespin) project.


Hammer is an open-source library that can recognize gestures made by touch, mouse and pointer Events. It doesn’t have any dependencies, and it’s small, only 3.71 kB minified + gzipped!


Math.js is an extensive math library for JavaScript and Node.js. It features a flexible expression parser and offers an integrated solution to work with numbers, big numbers, complex numbers, units, and matrices. Powerful and easy to use.

Type Rendering Mix

Type Rendering Mix is useful in many situations. Let’s say you are using Proxima Nova on your website. Below you can see how the “thin” weight will look in OS X and Windows 7. Due to the way the Core Text rasterizer works, fonts will look heavier on OS X and iOS than on other platforms.


Switchery is a simple component that helps you turn your default HTML checkbox inputs into beautiful iOS 7 style switches in just few simple steps. You can easily customize switches, so that they match your design perfectly.


Unison.js is a small plugin (1.2kb minified) that allows you to declare named breakpoints in one place and automatically sync them across your JavaScript and markup. When all of your front-end technologies share break point information, complex responsive tasks such as conditional loading and image swapping become much simpler and straight-forward.

Ember Charts

A charting library built with the Ember.js and d3.js frameworks. It includes time series, bar, pie, and scatter charts which are easy to extend and modify. The out-of-the-box behavior these chart components represents our thoughts on best practices in chart interactivity and presentation.


Offline.js is a library to automatically alert your users when they’ve lost internet connectivity, like Gmail.

It captures AJAX requests which were made while the connection was down, and remakes them when it’s back up, so your app reacts perfectly.

It has a number of beautiful themes and requires no configuration.


via Best JavaScript Libraries of 2014 One Must Have | Downgraf.