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Sanju actor Manisha Koirala: It is never ‘just another film’ for me

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Her 40s have been eventful and enlightening. Actress Manisha Koirala, a cancer survivor, says contrary to common perception that middle-aged female actors get less work in Bollywood, she feels liberated more than ever.
“I think I am more liberated as an artist in my late 40s. I was having a conversation with Shabana Azmiji where she was saying, ‘As an actress and as a woman, we always want to look good. How did you become so carefree?’ I think the greedy actor in me takes over at times.
“Being a woman, I want to look pretty in every phase of my life… but I also love acting. If I have to sacrifice my vanity for a character that I am excited to play, I am ready,” Manisha, 47, told IANS in an interview.
Having said that, Manisha pointed out that tomorrow if she is offered a role that demands glamour, she will again work on her looks.
“Basically, my priority is the character first. I have done my share of looking glamorous on-screen in many films,” said the actress, who mesmerised audiences with her performance in 1942: A Love Story.
Of late, Manisha has fetched praise for her performance in Rajkumar Hirani’s Sanju — in which she has played the iconic Nargis Dutt — and in the web film Lust Stories.
On Sanju, Manisha said: “I was quite nervous about how people will receive me in the film where I am playing the role of such an icon as Nargis Dutt. I was more worried because I knew how great the rest of the actors were in the film. They were brilliant and the worry was whether people would notice my performance among those great performances.
“I am still one of those actresses who need people’s appreciation to know that I have done the right thing. Even after spending a substantial time in the entertainment business, before the release of a film, I am nervous,” laughed the Khamoshi actress, adding that such nervousness also occurs on the first day of the shoot.
According to her, from her first film till today — a journey that has spanned 27 years — she has treated every film like her first film.
“It is never ‘just another film’ for me. It is a new opportunity to act, tell a story,” said the Bombay actress, who has her roots in Nepal.
In Lust Stories, an anthology of four films, Manisha plays a complex woman in a relationship with her on-screen husband’s best friend. She says it was the first time she has worn a swimsuit for a film.
“That was the idea of director Dibakar Banejee. He came saying this is how he wants the scene to be, and my first reaction was like, ‘Why? I mean in my youth, I never wore a swimsuit in films’.”
She says in real life, she loves swimming and wears a swimsuit.
“But on-screen? Then, Dibakar put his best effort and logic to convince me saying, ‘People have not seen you in a swimsuit on-screen and that is precisely the reason we should do it.’ Well, then I took it up,” she said, breaking into a laugh.
Manisha said she was initially reluctant to play the role as it was difficult for her to comprehend certain aspects of the character. “That is where I had to trust the director,” she said.
Did she judge the character for her difficult relationship with her husband and for having an affair with his best friend?
“Well, I went through the dilemma in my head while playing Reena. It is not easy to be non-judgmental about the character I play,” said Manisha as she recounted a conversation with the actor who played the villain in Clockwork Orange.
“I met him after I finished shooting Lust Stories and I had a conversation with him regarding the same. I agreed with what he said. We, as actors, should be non-judgmental about the characters we play on-screen, otherwise, we are limiting ourselves.”
Will she accept the role of mother that usually middle-aged women get in Bollywood film?
“I will wait for the right role instead of the typical ones. But I think now cinema is changing and filmmakers, audiences and critics have started appreciating all kinds of cinema. Meaty roles are written for middle-aged women. If I am offered something like that, I will surely do it.”


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No worries, go catch your flight, a robot is parking your car

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Many air travelers, whether frequent or infrequent, find that boarding, checking luggage and clearing documents at busy airports are not as stressful as one more experience—trying to find a parking space.

Hopefully, this month’s debut at an airport in France suggests parking at airports will be much less stressful. Congratulate a robot named Stan. Airport Technology quoted the COO of Stanley Robotics, Stéphane Evanno. “It’s a machine that autonomously detects a vehicle, slides under it, lifts it gently by the wheels and moves it to a storage area.”

We are not talking about a biped hero grinning at the blue Mercedes. These Stan robots are what James Vincent in The Verge described as “essentially self-driving forklifts.”

 

Stan robots made their service debut this month at France’s Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport, in an impressive show of robot valet technology at an airport.

How does the robot system work? The Verge: Customers park their cars in special hangars. The cars are scanned for make and model. Stan enters, “slides a platform underneath the vehicle, lifts it up, and carries it away and parks it.”

Romain Dillet in TechCrunch said the Stan robots will make your car accessible shortly before you land.

“For the first time in the world, Stanley Robotics’ outdoor automated robotic valet system, developed in partnership with Aéroports de Lyon, was presented in operation on Thursday, March 14,” the French company said, in a promotional video.

These are completely autonomous robotic valets. They pick up vehicles at a drop off point and park them for passengers in an outdoor car park.

How easy is that? Airport Technology: “For many passengers, finding a parking space at the airport is the cherry atop the towering wedding cake of stress that comes with air travel.” The Stanley Robotics sounds as if it will remove at least that source of stress.

For those who fly frequently, the minutes saved not having to hunt for a parking space are inviting; more minutes are freed to fulfill any other pre-boarding actions. Environmental impact? Stan gets good marks in being a “green” solution; the battery-driven robots, 100 percent electric, are polluting less than other cars moving around in search of a space.

“The setup includes four autonomous robots and 12 cabins for vehicle drop-off and collection. As the vehicles are deposited within a few centimeters of one another, the innovative system will enable more than 500 vehicles to be parked in P5+, a potential space saving of up to 50%,” said Karima Kouidri in Airport Benchmarking.

Stanley Robotics had submitted the Stan system to testing.

Dillet in TechCrunch: “You can’t walk on the parking lot. You just interact with a garage at the gate of the parking. After the door is closed, the startup controls the environment from start to finish.” Stanley Robots is not ignoring the need for human scrutiny, though, should intervention be needed. Airport Technology: The team intends to offer “maintenance personnel that can regularly check the technology on-site and perform fixes.”

They are also talking about “redundancy solutions in case something goes wrong.”

And then there are contingency plans. For the most part, the company has an easy time to predict incoming lows, as passengers need to book ahead for flights and parking, but there always needs to be a proactive “but.” Airport Technology quoted Evanno. “We also plan to have some spare robots just to cope with any unexpected event, [such as] too many planes landing at the same time.”

The robot group can decrease the number of robots that are needed, or the size of the car park could be adjusted for use as for other operations.

On the airport side of the business, one does not have to think very hard as to why there might be a business case for the robot valet parking system. TechCrunch’s Romain Dillet remarked how “many airports don’t have a ton of space. They keep adding new terminals and it is becoming increasingly complicated to build more parking lots.”

The system in operation means the airport can safely park vehicles closer to each other. This in turn could add capacity “in an already full-to-the-rafters car park,” as Airport Technology put it.

The Stanley Robotics site makes a business pitch to airports as a space-creating solution and in “optimizing parking space.” The team said, “An intelligent management software coordinates all of the robots. It also ensures a more pragmatic use of space by arranging more vehicles within a given area.”

What’s next? The service is going live on a large scale for passengers in the coming weeks. This is a strategic partnership with Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport and its owner, Vinci Airports, said Airport Technology.

Reports said the company hopes to expand to more parking spots at the airport soon.

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Self-powered, washable textiles may pay way for smart clothing

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Scientists have developed a textile-based display technology that is washable and does not require an external power source, paving the way for smart clothes.

When we think about clothes, they are usually formed with textiles and have to be both wearable and washable for daily use. However, smart clothing has had a problem with its power sources and moisture permeability, which causes the devices to malfunction.

To ease out the problem of external power sources and enhance the practicability of wearable displays, Professor Kyung Cheol Choi from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) fabricated their wearing display modules on real textiles that integrated polymer solar cells (PSCs) with organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs).

 

PSCs have been one of the most promising candidates for a next-generation power source, especially for wearable and optoelectronic applications because they can provide stable power without an external power source, while OLEDs can be driven with milliwatts.

However, the problem was that they are both very vulnerable to external moisture and oxygen. The encapsulation barrier is essential for their reliability.

The conventional encapsulation barrier is sufficient for normal environments. However, it loses its characteristics in aqueous environments, such as water.

It limits the commercialisation of wearing displays that must operate even on rainy days or after washing.

To tackle this issue, the team employed a washable encapsulation barrier that can protect the device without losing its characteristics after washing through atomic layer deposition (ALD) and spin coating.

With this encapsulation technology, the team confirmed that textile-based wearing display modules including PSCs, OLEDs, and the proposed encapsulation barrier exhibited little change in characteristics even after 20 washings with 10-minute cycles.

Moreover, the encapsulated device operated stably with a low curvature radius of three millimetre and boasted high reliability.

Finally, it exhibited no deterioration in properties over 30 days even after being subjected to both bending stress and washing.

Since it uses a less stressful textile, compared to conventional wearable electronic devices that use traditional plastic substrates, this technology can accelerate the commercialization of wearing electronic devices.

Importantly, this wearable electronic device in daily life can save energy through a self-powered system.

“I could say that this research realised a truly washable wearable electronic module in the sense that it uses daily wearable textiles instead of the plastic used in conventional wearable electronic devices,” said Choi.

“Saving energy with PSCs, it can be self-powered, using nature-friendly solar energy, and washed. I believe that it has paved the way for a ‘true-meaning wearable display’ that can be formed on textile, beyond the attachable form of wearable technology,” he said.

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Xiaomi to launch Mi Notebook Air in China today: Report

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Xiaomi is all set to launch its new Mi Notebook Air in China today. It is expected to be lighter in weight as compared to the MacBook Air, weighing over 1.07 kg, Gizmochina reported.

The smartphone maker had entered the notebook market in 2016 with Mi Notebook Air. After this, it had unveiled various new editions carrying upgraded hardware and features. Likewise, a new Xiaomi Mi Notebook is making its way, the report said citing a new teaser on Xiaomi’s official Weibo Handle.

In the teaser, Xiaomi is highlighting the thinness and lightweight of the new notebook. It is likely to be lighter than Apple MacBook Air weighing 1.25 kg, and Huawei MateBook 12, which weighs 1.3 kg.

 

Xiaomi will also be upgrading its core specifications along with the lightweight and portability features. However, very limited information regarding its specifications, pricing and availability are available. Like always, the mi Notebook Air will be driving its design language from its predecessors and Apple’s MacBook lineup, the report said.

Xiaomi sells different sized notebooks with a different set of features through its official Mi Store in China. Last year, it had introduced 15.6-inch and 13.3-inch notebooks having Intel i3/i5/i7 processors. Xiaomi’s products share many similarities with Apple products.

So far in this year, Xiaomi has launched three smartphones namely, the Redmi Note 7, Redmi Note 7 Pro and Redmi Go.

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