TECHNOLOGY


Updated Aug 4 96


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Paint to catch criminals

The Home Office in Britain is now selling a paint which is formulated for each person and when this invisible paint is dabbed on to computer chips or other valuables shows up under fluorescence. There are millions of combinations and items can be traced. At present police often have to return goods to the thieves because the owners cant prove identification !

Very cheap spectacles

Joshua Silver a Professor at Oxford has invented very cheap spectacles consisiting of two transparent polymer membranes filled in between with water. The amount of water can be altered by the person with a syringe until the image is normal. They can correct from -4 to +4 D and cost only $2 to make. Over one billion people in the third world who at present cant afford galsses will be able to benefit.

Revolution in Sanitation in India

After years of research an Indian scientist has developed a brilliant and unique alternative system of sanitation which is being widely adopted in rural India. Millions of these toilets have been built. It consists of a shed with two 30 ft lined holes dug side by side. When one of them fills up , it is covered with soil for three years and the other is used . In this time the material in the first one has dried , all the harmful bugs have died and the earthworms have turned the rest into normal soil . The other is then covered up and the first redug .

Already it has freed millions of poorest people in India from the job of carrying away human waste in baskets. Although the Chinese have used human waste as fertiliser it is not safe to do until it is sterilised. Since it avoids the material getting into the water table the Indian method is not only much more cost effective but perhaps safer even than Western methods of sanitation

South Asian bulk food manufacture.

An immigrant from Pakistan , GK Noon has developed innovative new technologies to manufacture ready to eat Indian food in bulk.Using new huge ovens able to cook 5 tons of chicken a day and bake cook hundreds of kilos of rice at a time he has won contracts from the major supermarket chains and now from his factories in Southall . London supplies 100,000 meals enough to feed a small city everyday .He uses only fresh ingredients and has now diversified to make regional dishes as well . The firm , Noon Industries , is now exporting to Europe and planning to set up new factories. Zee TV had an excellent interview with him and a tour of the factory and could possibly supply tapes or repeat the program on request.
Since Indian food takes a long time to cook and food made in factories is often cheaper than one can make at home if these processes were imported into the South Asian countries it would bring immense amounts of leisure time to hundreds of millions of South Asian women.

Long lasting mobile phone

By providing power to only a very tiny area of the elctronic circuitry in mobile phones -the part which receives the radio signal while the phone is on standby engineers are confident that they can now get more than one week's use out of batteries before they need to be recharged.

Stone Planes

These heavier than water planes are designed to go into service next year. They would just sink to the sea bed but engines and wings would make them fly back up. Since concrete can be made as strong as desired it should open up the ocean floors to human exploartion. Current submarines cannot descend very far as the outside water pressure becomes too high for the structure.

Plastic houses

A British company has found a way to heat ordinary plastic waste and then mix it with talcum powder to construct a material strong enough to build houses. Since it cannot be attacked by fungus and termites , the houses it is now building should last forever. It also solves the problem of what to do with the huge amount of plastic waste our throwaway society is building up.

Digital VHS tape

JVC will soon be selling this new machine at a cost of an extra $400 ( 250) which can record 7 hours of perfect digital video on one tape . Grainy Indian and Pakistani movies on VHS will soon be a bad memory especially in the USA where for some reason they tend to be particulary bad and have a lot of jitter . One tape could carry three full length movies.

Robot Telescope

Anybody with access to the internet can now control a monster 46 cm reflector telescope in Yorkshire England to photograph the heavens , the moon or the planets . With last week's alarming news that an asteroid came close to hitting the earth ( and one asteroid could wipe out life from the only planet in the Universe known to have life on it ) amateurs can do their bit to protect the earth. They can download an image of part of the sky and compare it with the one the next day and if a 'star' has moved and is getting bigger than inform the authorities. It could be an asteroid heading our way. Apparently steel ballls or nuclear weapons fired at them could deflect them although often there is only a few days notice.Details from the front page with the link to the BBC.

24000 sq feet hall without a pillar !

The truly fabulous Swaminarayan Hindu temple in Neasden near the Wembley stadium in London has a prayer hall 24000 sq foot in area without a single supporting pillar ! More details together with a photograph of this temple on ukindia very soon . Its a must see tourist site and all are welcome at this temple.

Cheap phone to USA and other countries

A new company which can be contacted at 08003760800 is offering cheap prepaid phone service to USA and other countries at 10-14 p per minute (for USA) compared to three times as much charged by BT. The phone call is routed through the USA. Mention ukindia if you contact them.

Fast car !

An attempt is going to be made this summer to break the sound barrier of 750mph. The car a British make is powered by two jet engines and reaches 100mph in 4 seconds. It is 54 ft long and has been designed so that it doesnt take off into the air at such high speeds.

7500mpg car

This year a rally will give a chance for cars to take part to break the mileage record , currently standing at 7500 miles per gallon for a car , across the USA and back on a gallon of gas !

Electric bike.

A revolutionary new battery gives bicycles a range of about 20 miles . This would give third world countries a new method of mass transport since the bicycle costs ($1400) many times less than a car .

No more smells

Certain bacteria tend to make hydrogen sulfide at sewage plants. Releasing fungii which eat these bugs can eliminate smells .

Worlds tallest building

Malaysia has just opened the worlds tallest building . A twin tower it is higher than Sears Tower in Chicago. Hong Kong and China are building even taller ones.

Solar plane

A plane shaped like a wing has managed to stay up for over a week at a ten mile height . It is powered by solar panels. It could give third world countries TV and radio transimssion facilities at a very cheap price.

Really fast space plane

Wind tunnel trials in America have succesfully demonstrated the feasibility of a 10,000 mph plane looking like a flying saucer . Microwave or laser energy beamed to it by satellite or ground stations is focused on a point a little ahead of the plane . This superheats the air in front , ionises it and creates a shock wave which the plane can ride through and save immense amounts of fuel . It reduces the cost factor of going into space by a factor of 100 compared to the space shuttle to about $100 per kilogram. More details in the New Scientist.

Superconducting Cable

An Amercian company has succeeded in making a 50 meter superconducting cable made of the newer high temp superconductors which work at the temp of liquid nitrogen . It transmits electric power with less than 1% of losses of current cable . Since liquid nitrogen is cheaper than wine it should usher in a new era of high powered trains etc.

India and Pakistan Super oil powers ?

A new method called liquid solvent extraction ( Int Journal of Energy vol 8 page 74) has been developed which can make oil products as cheaply from coal as crude oil. With their vast coal reserves these countries could turn them into refined oil and become quite wealthy.


Under water plane

A very heavy plane lands on the sea bed and then flies up -just as a plane does in air to fly through the sea at very high speeds. More details in sunday Times innovation -see link on front page. Magnetic oil

This oil clings to the engine and forms a protective coat when the engine starts preventing 80% of engine wear.

Smart Carbon Fibres

A British scientist by designing pure carbon compounds (burning at 1000degrees C) has managed to construct clothes etc which draw a small voltage from a battery when the temp falls so regulating their own temp without the need of a thermostat. It is believed that space heating costs can be cut to a minimum by having carpets made of this and also Scuba suits-more in Sunday Times Innovation section -link from front page.

Space Tourists

For an estimated $10,000 tourists should soon be bale to blast off to 60 miles in space planes and be able to see the curved earth - should be requireed journey for all politicians to see how small is the planet and everything linked to it.

Smart Water traps criminals

This is a an individually formulated clear liquid which is painted on to computer parts or other valuables. Criminals breaking can be automatically sprinkled with microscopic droplets . As it is protein based it bonds with the skin and can not be washed off for months. It glows bright green under ultraviolet light and from the chemical composition the object can be identified. It is so good at detection that many sites no longer feel the need for such tight security.

Pippin

This device should be on sale shortly. It allows CD Roms to played via TV ; invaluable in the third world where not many people can afford computers.


Magnetic train at 200 mph

A new type of magnetic train is going into service in America which has a third rail . Electric power on board the train induces a magnetic field in this and by repulsion the train is propelled forwards . The main benefit is that the third rail can be laid on exisiting track making it cheaper by many a factor . It may provide the ideal means of high speed transport in third world countries. Internet By Radio

On March 26 this year Ionica will launch an internet by radio system in Eastern England to be extended to the rest of the country by the end of the year. It will need very small dishes -less than 1 foot and cost just 5 per household to install compared to 500 for cable . With a bandwidth of 2 megabits per second , one hundred times the fastest modems at 28kbs currently availaible it will enable subscribers to hold live phone and video conferences and get internet articles and web pages at this superspeed.

Subscribers will be offered two phone lines at cheaper than BT rates . This method should be ideal for third wordl countries and propel them into the age of the superhighway at affordable cost.-see link to Sunday times on ukindia front page and go to the innovations page.

Radio by Internet

Millions of radio stations can go live on the internet at low cost. Not only live programs but listeners can click on buttons to download recorded programs . Software such as real audio and true speech are already available . One really needs a fast modem at least 14k to access this service but once cable or radio networks are in place -see above - there is no reason why speech put on computer hard discs should not allow anyone to set up their own radio station.

Better than Hubble!

Professor Baldwin in Cambridge has taken pictures of the star Capella showing it to be made of two stars with a new kind of telescope which has resolving power 5 times better than Hubble !. The telescope costs less than 1m and like radio telescopes gathers light from two or more telescopes placed some distance apart. This makes it equal to one 6m across. Once scaled up it should be equal to a telescope 100m across . More details in Time newspaper of Feb 15 - link on the front page.

Digital Camcorder

JVC are selling a digital camcorder which weighs one pound or less than half the smallest ones at present and which records at 500 lines better than even SVHS or HI8. Using laser drilling which allows double the number of integrated circuits it was able to cut the number of printed circuit boards from 6 to 2. Reproduction of sound and video from these on to other digital tapes is perfect and it can take snapshots.


Solar Power

Serre from Italy have a 3 megawatt solar power plant in operation with silicon cells over 7 hectares. All of India's 60,000 MW power needs could be supplied by cells covering 140,000 hectares of 1400 sq km or less than 40km (20 miles) square. The cost is about 1 a kw hr or 4p per unit and the celss are maintence free and last 30 years .

Cheap way to heat a house

An innovative new technique uses a very low power fan to expel air from the house . This creates a slightly lower pressure in the house and air from the outsides comes in along this pressure gradient through the walls and floors where it is heated by the warm air trying to get out. In Scotland body heat alone was almost enough to keep the house warm through the winter and the houses do not need as high an insulation factor since the air must be allowed to diffuse through the walls and this keeps the air fresh as well.

Phone India for a local call

Using software from www.vocaltel.com and other areas one can download software and use a microphone attched to the computer to phone India and Pakistan at local call rates . The internet provider at the other end can route it through local lines so that the recepient does not need to have a computer.

Cheap TV stations

With the digital satellite channels now in service the cost of renting a transponder is expected to decline from $2 million a year to less than $200k for 24 hour service. Each small town could have its own local channel using small 1 foot dish sizes supported by local ads.

Indians can see a lot

The new IRS satellite can image details smaller than 6m by 6m about twice as good as existing American and French ones - about the size of a bedroom from space -more details in India Today.

Wide area Doordarshan

The new Insat satellite now operational allows DD to broadcast to the Middle East and Hong Kong from India . There are also K band channels for small antenna receivers .

Real Audio

This software allows everybody to set up their own radio station and broadcast over the net.

Car drives itself across USA

A car has driven itself across the USA -over 2500 miles. It needed human help on changing lanes but otherwise coped well. There was no panic in the streets as pedestrians were not aware of the experiment taking place.

Underwater wine

Wine matures much faster if stored underwater at 30 feet .

Sound energy and fusion

Sound energy pumped into liquid causes a sudden build up of pressure-enough some scientists think to cause fusion in hydrogen atoms.

Bright Comet From Feb 96 it is hoped that comet hale boop will become one of the brightest comets seen from Earth


Projection TV

Texas Instruments have invented a new kind of large scale projection TV - to give almost perfect reception . It is based on millions of mirrors on silicon chips and products should be out next year.

Satellite phone

This year a satellite phone as small as a hard back book will go on sale for 3000.

Doordarshan in America

The Indian channel will be relayed by the Pan Am satellite to cabel in the USA.