Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence: Slim, sturdy & sexy: BEL tweaks Queen's baton into a smart tech torch; dream project for 12-member young team; R&D head I.V. Sarma terms it as a priceless & emotional mission

Friday, June 18, 2010

Slim, sturdy & sexy: BEL tweaks Queen's baton into a smart tech torch; dream project for 12-member young team; R&D head I.V. Sarma terms it as a priceless & emotional mission

The 0.6-m-long Queen's baton for CWG.
By Anantha Krishnan M. | Aviation Week
Bangalore, India | June 17, 2010

Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) on Thursday (May 17) for the first time demonstrated to the Media, the complete features of the Commonwealth Games (CWG) Queen’s Baton, which is currently on a globe-trotting mission. India’s capital New Delhi will host this edition of CWG from October 3. The baton is set to enter India on June 25.
The sleek and sturdy baton, weighing 1.9 kgs and 0.6 m length, is a unique defense spin-off technology product, which houses a series of cutting-edge features that goes beyond one’s imagination. A technology consortium led by BEL as the final integrator began the work on the baton in April 2009 with Foley Design getting into its mechanical looks and Titan Industries its mechanical fabrication.
BEL hand-picked a 12-member team from its Central Research Laboratory (CRL) and ensured that the first prototype of the baton beeped within 4 months of a challenging deadline. “The Queen’s Baton for the 2010 Commonwealth Games is a combination of elegance, grandeur and precision engineering. It has historical traditions and futuristic technological advancements embedded into it,” I.V. Sarma, BEL Director (R&D) told AVIATION WEEK.

CRL baked the baton with technologies and subsystems like
signal processor, micro controller, LED array with LED driver, GPS receiver, camera sensor, miniature microphone, wireless transceiver module and lithium ion battery for powering the baton.
“The baton is a combination of hand-crafted excellence and precision engineering — it is a true symbol of India: its ancient roots and present vibrant, modern identity. It mirrors India’s diversity — the baton’s color scheme showcases ‘soils’ from every corner of the country, a rich palette ranging from white sands to yellow clay, deep reds to dark browns of loam,” Sarma said.
The stand-out feature of the baton is the design of intelligent programmable multi-color LED array that generates symbolic flag color patterns of all the 71 Commonwealth nations.  “The baton system is remotely configurable using a mobile computing engine called base station.  This mobile base station is used to non-intrusively operate the baton without affecting the baton relay. It is probably a once in a lifetime opportunity for us and we did it with tones of pride,” Dr A.T. Kalghatgi, Chief Scientist, CRL, told AVIATION WEEK.

Four batons were made of which three are currently on world tour, including two stand-bys, and the remaining one is with BEL for demonstration. The glitch-free, rugged baton has even passed the rain-proof test. “During the current relay it was reported that the baton once fell into water, but continued its functions normal. This is a priceless and emotional project for us,” Sarma said, when asked about the project cost.
Even the Queen would have fallen in love with the smart tech stick made by the BEL boys and what stood out as a winning moment at the press meet was when BEL R&D head Sarma presented the entire team that worked behind the baton for the media. 'We are all delighted to be part of this great mission and we are glad that we executed the job within the deadline," Mr L. Ramakrishnan, a senior member of the reserach staff told AVIATION WEEK. (
The Team: Dr A.T. Kalghatgi, L. Ramakrishnan, Rekhas Ashok, V.K. Mittal, P. Satish Kumar, Subha, Thilakavathy, Sudarshan Hegde, Ceon, Shivakamasundari, Vijay B., Rajan Kumar and Jagadeesh P.)
Definitely an inspiring moment for all the devotees of India's tech might.
A quick glance at the baton's tech teeth (Info courtesy, BEL CorpCom)
  • Programmable multi-colour front LED array which can be configured for symbolic flag colour patterns of all the 71 Common Wealth nations where the relay takes place.
  • White LED based lighting for the golden leaf carrying the Queen’s Message; this lighting acts like a “Halo” (glow) lighting for the baton’s top portion.
    In-built digital camera to capture still images. This camera can be used to take pictures from the view point of baton during the journey of baton catching the live moments.
  • In-built microphone. This can be used to record the voice messages of baton bearers when it travels around the common wealth nations.
  • Wireless connectivity to the Base Station using a rugged protocol based Wireless Transceiver so that the baton system is remotely controlled and configured.
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) for locating the baton during the relay. This can be used to locate and track the baton’s journey using the Commonwealth Games 2010 website.
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery with Power Management Circuitry. This in-built battery keeps the baton working for about 4 hours of continuous usage.
    On/Off switch for switching the baton power supply.
  • Charging and Data Interface through the bottom portion of the baton.
  • External charging station for charging the baton.
  • Remote control and configuration of baton using base station. 

For a trimmed version of the same report,  visit:
www.aviationweek.com/india

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