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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

April - 2007 - issue > Inventor’s Corner

Seeing the same, but different…

Ash Tankha
Saturday, March 31, 2007
Ash Tankha
Vincent Lombardi, the great American football coach, once said: “Winning is a habit.” Inventing, too, can be made into a habit. Thomas Edison, for example, filed hundreds of patents and during one phase of his life was filing a patent application every week.
Once a Zen master placed a stone on a table and asked his disciples: “What do you see on the table?” The disciples replied that they saw a stone. But, one amongst them replied: “Master, I see a paper weight…” Some of us seem to have the ability to recognize dissimilarity in similarity, contrast in analogies, and novelty in familiarity.

People are familiar with products and processes in their existing form, whereas, inventors see them in a different light. They are geared with an attitude, as Tom Kelley says, of “experimentation through implementation.” They can bring about transformations that provide people with new experiences to benefit from, a new environment to live with. In totality, they open the doors of the future with newer dimensions. An inventor tends to thrive on possibilities.

Here is an inventive teaser. On a cold snowy evening, a woman in a bus-stop is clasping at her mobile phone with both hands. A bystander, curious at the way she is handling her phone, engages her in small talk. Can you guess what he found? The mobile phone can also work as a hand-warmer!

In its early form, the cell-phone had the basic feature of making and receiving a call with the freedom of mobility. Later additional features like text messaging, voice-recording, image capturing, gaming, downloading music, and web browsing were introduced. However, the way one interacted with these devices was still through the keypads. The click-click and triple tapping interface was the only choice available.

Thanks to the inventive efforts of a few people, a new form of human-machine interface has been introduced. In this technology, speech is made a seamless, dynamic part of the present state of human-machine interaction. It allows for the most appropriate mixture of spoken, visual and tactile interaction. There has been an ongoing effort to introduce multimodality into hand-held communication devices.

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