Rajesh Parishwad in the Week has compiled some new technologies and research and development work going on in India and elsewhere that will impact the life for many people significantly.
Scientists from Hyderabad-based International Advanced Research Centre for Metallurgy and New Materials have developed filter candles coated with silver nano-materials that reduce organic impurities in water. These nano material-based filter candles are an example of how high-end research in technology filters down the benefits to people and provides cost-effective solutions.
Automobile firms and academic institutions are working on a futuristic car parking system that can search for a slot for your car. The car fitted with an intelligent system automatically steers the vehicle to the vacant slot.
Danish scientists have achieved in their labs-moving atoms from one place to another, although through small distances, in a split second.
In wireless communication, the third generation (3G) services provide today net access on mobiles, movie clips and television on our cell phones, and faster download speeds. The 4G technologies will be 300 times faster. With access speeds of 1 gigabyte, one can download a feature film in just a couple of seconds.
The Microsoft Research Lab India has developed a software solution that allows the use of multiple-mice in a computer. Each mouse has a different cursor colour. All of them are displayed on the monitor. With multiple-mice, students are more engaged and easily adapt to the multiple-cursors on screen. Research shows that up to five mice, it is easy to work. It is a right solution in a situation with resource crunch.
Researchers at the HP Labs India have developed a user-friendly keyboard for Indian languages, called Gesture-based keyboard (GKB). It allows users to enter text as they normally do while writing with a pen. The device contains a pad on which letters of the alphabet are arranged orderly in different cells. If you want to put a letter, tap on the corresponding cell with an electronic pen. In case, you enter a letter with maatra, write that maatra on the cell. This innovative keyboard is based on handwriting recognition technology. This makes electronic communication easier for people who speak languages that can’t be typed on a standard keyboard. The keyboard, which is now developed for Hindi and Kannada, can be used not only for other Indian languages but also for Southeast Asian languages.
Movies are being played simultaneously across several theatres using satellite communication. The first such full-length feature movie, Moonamathoral by V.K. Prakash, was released in Kerala recently to mixed success. 80 theatres across the state were to release the movie, but because of the resistance by distributors it could be released in only 10 theatres. This will help fight piracy and save print and transportation cost.
Students need not very soon write down lecture notes. And it will hardly matter even if they miss any lecture. With help of podcasting, they can download the lectures and play it on their mobile phones. Even learning from books could also become obsolete. It is time for interactive learning through three-dimensional computerised simulation. With this, people can choose a situation, for instance, a historic battle or corporate management, and test their ideas. The simulation can be re-run to see how different strategies affect the outcome. People can make decisions, see the consequences immediately and also see how other decisions alter the end-result. 3-D simulation will become a training tool.
US-based Cyber School Technology Solution is one company that develops lessons on different subjects for school students based on 3-D visuals and interactive simulations.
How would your kids take it if superstar Shah Rukh Khan were to read them children’s book, say, the Panchatantra tales every night? Sony has come up with a design for a device that allows your favourite book read by your favourite star or the author himself.
There may be many more things coming soon. The most interesting part is the concern of even the big companies to reach the bottom of the pyramid. Technology can help in attaining equity in significant manner. Perhaps, we can see this in the developed countries where the technologies have provided the bare minimum conveniences to all.