13000 Kilometres dash to China in a Driverless Car

When Karl Benz, Henry Ford and John W Lambert were making headlines in the previous century in the field of newly born auto industry, they would have never even in their wildest dreams would have imagined that one day the vehicles will be running without fuel and their drivers. Today, the driverless cars are making the same headlines as was done more than a hundred years ago. 

The 13000 kilometers long accident free journey of four solar powered driverless vehicles from Italy to China is a landmark in the auto industry. This reminds of the flying cars in the film “Back to the Future” and also makes it possible someday when we would be flying and “piloting” cars instead of driving.

Read Full Article at: Driverless Cars – An innovative direction for Auto Industry

Oct 21, 1879 – the day light came to the world

The world lived in utter darkness since time immemorial and perhaps would have continued to do so for many more years till on this day, the 21st October, Thomas Alva Edison invented the first incandescent light bulb in 1879. Although, he was neither the first nor the only person trying to invent an incandescent light bulb, as there have been others trying to do what Edison did and took the lead.

The very bulb today lightens up our dark nights and one doesn’t feel whether it is day or night. An incandescent lamp is glass tube in which a filament is heated to incandescence by an electric current. Today’s incandescent light bulbs use filaments made of tungsten rather than carbon of the 1880’s. To these bulbs, now another revolutionary invention of energy saver bulbs has been added, which produce more energy and light with lesser electrical input as compared to an ordinary an incandescent bulb.

Edison lived with 1,093 patents issued to him than any other inventor till date. Besides this revolutionary invention, Edison is also credited with inventing the phonograph and the motion-picture camera, besides making contributions in the fields of telegraphy, telephone communications, and several business procedures. He even predicted the idea of an aero plane as far back as 1871, when he said on New Year’s Day, 1871, “A Paines engine can be so constructed of steel & with hollow magnets . . . and combined with suitable air propelling apparatus wings . . . as to produce a flying machine of extreme lightness and tremendous power.”

I could go on and on but it would better to read the following link on the man who brought light to the world on this day October.

Read more about The Undiscovered World of Thomas Edison

Keeping pace with technology

Some time back, while driving with my son to the market, I asked him that what was latest in technology these days. He said, “40 Core Processor”. While it did surprise me since it was a quantum jump from the Quad Core technology I knew, it also made me smile for I am witness to a complete change over of the technology since my childhood. And when I see the developments taking place so fast, I am reminded of those days when the present day technology was just in its infancy, readying itself to take off. Let me elaborate for those who were born after the 80s when with their birth, computers had started seeing their way into our country.

While I was a child, we had a radio that would take 2-3 minutes to warm up and then start talking. I still recall a green light contracting and expanding till finally expanded indicating the talking time of the radio is to start. An uncle of mine who had then recently returned from England had brought a tape recorder that could record voices and music. A magic machine for us, with two spools running side by side, one releasing tape and the other winding it.  As for listening to records, my father had a “HMV (His Master’s Voice” gramophone, that played 78 RPM records. So this was my first exposure to the technology of my childhood.

Time changed and we heard transistors are on their way that would reduce sizes of electronic devices. And surely the sizes reduced. We had transistors replacing the big diode tubes inside the electronic gadgets and now every body could a radio of much smaller size that was battery operated and did not require wired power. The gramophones were replaced by record players and now we had LPs (Long Playing ) records, made of plastic, light weight which could have 12 songs on each side. Likewise the huge tape recorders were replaced by cassette recorders and players. And later we had VCRs as well.

I also watched as a 9 year old boy in Lahore when TV age came to Pakistan. TVs were placed in all markets and people would flock to watch TV. Soon th B&W TV was replaced with coloured one.

Then came the digital technology with the advent of  ICs (Integrated Circuits), Chip and Micro Chip technology. Though computers had been invented, but I came across my first XT computer in late 80s which did not have a hard disk and we had boot the system with a 5.5” floppy diskette. Then hard disks came in starting from 1 MB. Soon XT computers with monochrome monitors were replaced by AT computers and we had a first glimpse of 286 machine with a coloured monitor. In 1993, I bought my fisrt PC (386-DX) with a 20 MB (don’t be shocked to know – since today even a 300 GB HDD is considered to be insufficient by many ) hard drive with Windows 3.1. In those days 20 MB looked like an elephant. And then there was no stopping. The 386 to 486 jump was very soon and then we had P1s…… till we reached the Quad Core processors. 

In the meantime, CDs (Compact Diskettes) came in (2x speed) and by and by they replaced the LPs and now everyone can play hundreds of songs from one single CD. Oh I missed the USBs – these tiny things that can swallow 16 GBs of data in a jiffy.

Another affiliated development is in the connecting speed on internet. We started off with a dial up connection moving at snail pace to the high speed DSLs and WiFi / WiMax. The 3G technology in USBs for internet connection may get older in a few days more. From the data transfer of 1G to voice data of 2G, the 3G technology makes it possible the video conferencing as if sitting in a big hall talking face to face.  

So for now we have a 40 Core Processor. What follows next can anybody’s wild imagination.