Innovations via digitalization
Posted on May 6th, 2020

Aloysius Hettiarachchi

Few days ago I was watching an interesting program hosted by ITN between 10pm and 12pm where the National Innovation Council chairman presented six innovations done by Sri Lankans. They were mostly the solutions related to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The chairman stated that about 250 innovation have been brought to the council in recent times for assessment with a view for getting patents as well as funding arrangements. The sudden upsurge in the interest towards innovations is a very good sign that our youths want to catch up with the rest of the world.

The Chairman was even advising the innovators not to divulge their ideas as sometimes one single innovation can not only change the fortunes of that inventor but that of the whole country. I fully agree with him. At the end of this write up I will give clues to two innovations which I believe has great potential.

However the absence of any senior academic at least to explain what they are engaged on was  conspicuous. Does that mean that there is no involvements of our academics from universities in the innovations?. I remember reading a news report in one of the national news papers that some Peardeniya dons got together and repaired a few ventilators that were not working and handed over to the Ministry of Health for use in hospitals to fight Covid-19. It was also mentioned that they could not repair few other ventilators due to the lack of spare parts in the country. If the parts could be identified, then they could easily order them from overseas or else they should be able to make them locally. That is the type of innovations we are looking for from them. If they can understand the functionality of the various parts of the system then they can design and manufacture the relevant parts including the controller to suit. I give below how one guy study the controller of a 3D printer and solve the puzzle.

With only about three months reading of books left behind by my daughter who did an IT course and hands on experience I myself was able to do the logic analysis of a simple devise (a Real Time Clock which I bought for Rs. 300) with a $12 logic analyzer and the results is shown below:

Following video explains the process.

I am sure our dons with PhDs and so on can easily do the replication of ventilator machines (or any other dysfunctional  machine, but they may be too lazy to try it or are involved with trivial matters. For me this all started when I wanted to reset data in the toner control chips of an expensive printing machine few months ago. As they say the necessity is the mother of invention.

In order to overcome the problem of lack of sufficient number of well trained personnel on the field of digital technology, I suggest we start teaching this subject right after the A’Level while they wait for the results for uni admissions. This can be conducted via a series of online classes from a central location. Six months of teaching will be more than sufficient to cover the digital logic and the microarchitecture levels of the computer organization. It can also cover the history of the computer technology.

History of the making of the microprocessor (or the digital technology based on silicon) is interesting. I give below an account of its development.

https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-history/silicon-revolution/the-surprising-story-of-the-first-microprocessors

Now about the two items of innovations where there can be huge potential:

We have sea right round our country. And we have probably hundreds of deep sea fishing boats going out to sea. They scour the sea without much clue as to where the fish shoals might be. It seems sometime they follow debris floating in the deep sea as possible locations where fish can be found. The scanning systems available that can be fixed on board so far can only do so beneath the boat in a small conical prism. So, some scanning by sonar is probably the best to locate fish shoals within several kilometers. There are products from big companies like HP for analyzing the echo using the mathematical Fourier series. In fact these are used in oil explorations. One can easily google and find out about that technology.

Then there is another one that I myself am interested. A clue can be found in the following video:

This video is about how the 5G mobile transmissions affect us all particularly the bees.

One Response to “Innovations via digitalization”

  1. aloy Says:

    I would like to elaborate a bit further on three items mentioned above:

    The resetting of data in the toner chips of the printers was not done with the intention of hacking the EEPROM (Electrically Erasable PROgrammable Memory) in it; there are about a hundred bytes of data in it out of which, one is about the usage.
    It was to get the maximum use of the toner in the cartridge. Usually the manufacturer of the printer has an algorithm in the controller (the Master) to have a check on the toner cartridge (the chip is the slave) to stop its use so that poor quality prints will not come out. However this happens before the toner in the cartridge gets completely used up. To my estimation the printing stops when about 10% of the toner still remains in the unit. These industrial type toners are fairly expensive. One set consisting of three primary colors and a black is about Rs. 250,000.00. So getting the maximum is important for the user. Similarly the black toner cartridges that we normally use in office printers also stop when there is significant amount of toner is left in them. One way of using the remainder is to stick a piece of cellotape on the two rectangular pins on the side of the cartridge. This way the machine can be tricked to continue printing untill the cartidge is fully exhausted.
    A good deal of information on the I2C communication protocol used in these machines can be had by going to the website maintained by Nick Gammon in the link ‘http://www.gammon.com.au/i2c’

    About the development of the fish scanner, the method used in the oil exploration is given in the link given bellow:

    ‘https://dosits.org/people-and-sound/examine-the-earth/how-is-sound-used-to-explore-for-oil-and-gas/’

    A Sri Lankan known to me who lived in the US has made a fortune by adopting the HP’s technology which make use of the Fourier series, as I understand it. He has retired now and when I met him some months ago in SL I mentioned to him that same technology may be used for a fish scanner and for us to discuss about it. I pointed out that the whales use similar low frequency sound waves (~ 50 HZ) to communicate with their species which are about a thousand kilo meters away. May be it is a minor modification that is required. I haven’t heard a response from him yet. This may require a significant investment, I believe.

    As for the disorientation of the flight path of bees due to 5G, robably the issue is more than the high frequency electro magnetic waves that affect the earth magnetic field. It is known that the earth’s magnetic field is about 25-75 teslas (or 0.25 to 0.75 Gaus). But how a bee can ditect tiny variations of the magnetic field is a mystry. It is also known that pigeons can travel hundreds of kilometers and return to the owner. I have heard of an actual story how a cat taken from a house on Kandy road in a car to another house about 50 k close to Mirigame returned spending couple of months on the way. The fish also travel thousands kilometers to return to the exact place they were spawned. This means there can be a master and slave relationship perhaps coupled with the environment in which the creature was born. Bee is the slave to the queen.

    What ever it is, 5G may be having an adverse effect to Corona as well. I have heard that the people in UK put the blame on 5G for fast spread of Corona and they are attacking the 5G towers. Several months ago I too, was able stop one telco erecting a 5G tower right in front of my house after explaining the bad effects on people living nearby which I read in the internet.

    These high frequency EM waves can even light up a bulb without connecting any wires to it as can be seen from the following video:

    ‘https://youtu.be/HAAOpNx-Aa0’

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