As a consumer, we feel like replacing the old TV with the latest in market. Naturally, LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and Plasma TVs would have been the choice, but for the price. Plasma is costlier. The shop owner, the other day, suggested us to buy plasma, as its performance is better. But then a gentleman there suggested us to wait for a year when the price would come down considerably. And then I read about Toshiba’s surface-conduction electron-emitter display, or SED televisions. SED televisions are similar to traditional tube televisions. Electrons are fired at a screen to create images. However, instead of coming out of a large electron gun, the electrons are fired from several thousand nano particles. One advantage is that SED televisions are much thinner than tube televisions. The performance and picture quality will also be far higher than LCDs or plasmas. The contrast ratio is 50,000 to 1, far higher than LCD or plasma. The response time is a millisecond, thus the image blur or ghosting that can occur with some LCDs doesn’t occur. SED televisions will also last for 30,000 hours, putting them on par with traditional tube TVs. Power consumption of SED televisions is about half that of plasma. I am sure the other manufacturers will soon follow. Should we wait for it? Can we afford to replace our TVs every year to take advantages of the best technology? Perhaps, those who are in good jobs with fat salaries can do that in plastic card era.
And when we returned home undecided, we were looking to some old photographs taken from my first Yasica- a box camera that I bought when I was in UK in 1966. Many cameras came in after Yasica. During my visits to Japan in 80s and 90s, I kept on buying cameras, particularly the auto focus ones. We have seen revolution taking place in camera technology. Films are gone. Development cost has disappeared. Digital cameras, one gifted by Anand, with my PC and laptop have made the life so easy. I was thinking of enhancing the pixels of my camera or replace it with one with higher pixels. And then I read about Single Pixel digital camera. This digital camera records pictures in the infrared and the ultraviolet as well as the visible range could work using just a single-pixel light sensor, as opposed to the million-pixel sensors digital cameras now employ. This single-pixel camera could drain less power and take up less space without sacrificing image detail. And perhaps very soon, I shall be hankering for a single pixel camera.
However, the most alluring will be the researches in solar energy, when I think about our villages and the lethargy of the government in rural electrification. I keep on thinking why can’t our IITs, IISc, CSIR, and DRDO labs give the rural India a very cheap and reliable source of energy. The sun radiates about a kilowatt of energy per square meter on the surface of earth. There are 2.6 million square meters in a square mile. Thus, every square mile gets about 2.6 gigawatts. (A million kilowatts equals a gigawatt.) Can CISG replacing silicon be an answer? With the limited resources of oil and coal, why should not our best brains try to explore ways and means to exploit this never-ending source of energy? Will it also not end the supremacy of some countries and make the mother a peaceful place to live without Iraq?
Why should not our scientists work on those issues that can change the world forever? Unfortunately, perhaps the scientists or technocrats solving this problem will not get the Nobel Prize.