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Bringing out the inner-tech inventor for 2019

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Whether you want to solve the world’s problems or pander to your own desires, there’s a solution out there for all of us

Whether you want to solve the world’s problems or pander to your own desires, there’s a solution out there for all of us

2018 had a big boom in science and technology, which ushered in some impressive tech from notable and new names, such as ShelfPack’s suitcase which unpacks itself and Vollebak’s solar-powered jacket. Our technical creativites come out whether we’re watching Rick and Morty and Black Mirror or even looking at a product with which we’re well familiar and mentally elevating its functions.

We spoke to people across different industries and ages for their ultimate tech wishes — plus, we let you know if they already exist, so you can make the most of your 2019.

Manu Nair, Corporate executive chef, Billionsmiles

“A restaurant spends a lot of time every day in deciding kitchen assignments, drawing up duty charts, getting things in place to reduce wastage of resources and so on, I would want a tech tool that can do all these functions, compute the menu lists, assign people to different sections and take steps to ensure that food wastage does not occur, if specific numbers are keyed into the device. It will help the industry a lot.”

What’s out there?

Platforms such as apicbase.com have food management solutions on the cloud that can offer many solutions to these issues. To reduce food wastage, applications like Winnow can help. This UK-based startup uses a touchscreen tablet to identify what the kitchen staff put in the bin.

An electronic scale records the weight and sends a message to the user, giving the cost of the food they’ve put in the bin. The meter is connected to cloud software which records and analyses the day’s waste. This gives owners and managers the information necessary to drive improvements in their system.

Prathyusha Garimella, fashion designer

The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter globally. It is a huge consumer and polluter of water. The young designer adds, “A huge amount of water is used for dyeing fabrics and this contaminated water is in turn released. The vast amounts of water needed can have a devastating effect on the environment and I would love to see some technology where so much water is not required to do the needful. But maily something more affordable for smaller scale designers would be ideal.”

Bringing out the inner-tech inventor for 2019

What’s out there?

There are a lot of solutions currently in the market, but they sure do cost a pretty penny. 6 years ago, Nike announced a strategic partnership with DyeCoo Textile Systems B.V. which will scale down water consumption in the dyeing process. But an affordable version is yet to be developed.

Ricky Kej, Grammy-winning musician

“In this time and age, all of us are on the phones. The ambient sounds of our streets, the music in the clubs we frequent to relax are also very loud and not safe for the ears. As a musician, having an audience that can hear well and make out the nuances of different strands of music is very important. I would want a tech tool encoded in our phones, that allows us to measure the sounds we listen to on a daily basis and can issue warnings if we exceed the permissible limits. This is very important, since there is a good chance that people with hearing loss issues may not realise there is an issue that needs immediate attention.”

What’s out there?

Using a noise-cancelling headphone might be helpful and may offer short-term solutions. Since a sound counter is not yet in the works, it would be a good idea to listen on earphones/headphones with the volume turned down, and moderate the use of these devices.

Pankaj Balachandran, mixologist and beverage consultant

The skilled mixologist and beverage consultant relies on both his innate and honed senses to do his job right, “but if we’re talking industryrelated, my biggest tech wish has to be a rotovap and centrifuge machine.”

What’s out there?

This isn’t quite an ‘out there’ invention, but the rotovap and centrifuge machine aids in the process of clarifying and increasing the yield of juices and in separating out ‘milk-washed’ spirit. Of course, those familiar with a chemistry lab will know a centrifuge is simply used to separate ingredients by their weight. Some of the big names out there in mixology and cuisine have already sold thousands.

Gujula Ravikumar, high-school student

Bringing out the inner-tech inventor for 2019

The student of Government High School in Hyderabad has a keen interest in biology and explains, “I’d love to have a microscope that’s affordable and, more importantly, easy to carry between home and school.”

What’s out there?

Manu Prakash and Jim Cybulski co-invented the Foldscope, a portable microscope which is yours for $1. The Foldscope is an origamibased optical microscope that can be assembled from a flat sheet of paper in under 10 minutes. It can provide over 2,000× magnification with submicron resolution, weighs less than two nickels (8.8 g), is small enough to fit in a pocket (70×20×2 mm3), requires no external power, and can survive being dropped from a 3-storey building or stepped on by a person.

Shekar S, a long-distance commuter in Bengaluru

“In terms of getting stuff delivered from a friend halfway across the city, to getting that chocolate cake delivered in less than 30 minutes, everything in Bengaluru can get done with tech solutions. However, this is lacking in the daily commute space. I stay in Sarjapur road and travel to MG road every day. It is a distance of almost 19 kilometres that takes more than an hour-and-a-half by car.”

Bringing out the inner-tech inventor for 2019

“I now take a share auto till the Carmelaram station, take a train till Bengaluru city and then get on the metro. Though the metro is usually efficient, the other modes of transport are not as much. Trains are constantly delayed and buses never come on time. I want a tech tool that will tell me where a particular bus is and when it will arrive at the bus stop. In terms of improving commutes, I feel technology should come up with something to prevent traffic bottlenecks.”

What is out there?

There are plenty of apps in Bengaluru that can tell you what time your bus will arrive at a particular bus stop, such as Bangalore Buses and the BMTC app. In trains as well, applications and online tools like Find My Train and RailYatri are quite accurate in getting the information on trains. As far as solving logjams goes, it is best to wait and see if Elon Musk’s ambitious project of getting people to travel on tubes underground will work.

Professor Raveesha KH, Head of Department of Physics, CMR Institute of Technology

Professor Raveesha loves to interact with his students to find out what could be the latest inventions in tech. He suggests that mobile phones could be upgraded even more. “My tech wishlist would be a mobile phone with a telescope,” he says. “The common man would be able to take photographs of the moon and see what is on its surface. It would be beneficial for students interested in astronomy and the defence sector. I think Apple would design such a phone in the near future.”

Bringing out the inner-tech inventor for 2019

Addressing the universal problem of charging mobile phones while on-the-go, Professor Raveesha says, “I also wish for long-charging mobile phone batteries that will last for a month. Long-lasting batteries will not only be convenient for the common man, but would also be of use to space engineers.”

What’s out there?

There are laptops that run on solar energy. It needs to become more popular and I am sure it will soon!

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 11:08:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/gadgets/bringing-out-the-inner-tech-inventor-for-2019/article25878350.ece

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