Published: Thursday 29 February 1996

REJUVENATING RUBBER: India will soon have access to a new technology which can provide some answers to the environmental problems posed by stockpiles of used rubber tyres. The Bombay-based REPL Engineering Ltd has tied up with Polymers SDN BHD of Malaysia, to introduce the De-Link process to manufacture revulcanised or recycled rubber. STI-K would provide a material called Delink which can be mixed with recycled rubber and treated to produce the revulcanised version. The Malaysian company would invest US $5 million in the Indian venture over the next 18 months.

RINGING IN HEALTH: Cellphones, marketed by Delhi-based Window Shoppe Pvt Ltd, come with round-the-dock 'emergency-alert-service'. The company has edged out its rivals through its innovative scheme of 'hot button service'. On getting a distress ,P call from its subscribers, the company signals one of the enlisted doctors stationed close to the caller to reach the patient. An ambulance and a specialist are also provided when required. Besides, the caller's family members, family doctor and neighbours are also informed, The extra service comes at an annual cost of Rs 1,500.

THROWING A CHALLENGE: Calgene Inc of California, US, an agri-business biotechnology company, is giving coconut growers round the world a run for their money. It is growing genetically engineered rapeseed to produce lauric, the principal fatty acid found in coconut and palm kennel oil. Rapeseed has an edge over other lauric oil sources in that it is not a perennial crop. Hence, rapeseed lauric output may be increased in a relatively short time to meet the demands of the market.

PARADISE, IN CLAY: Four types of ecosystems will soon surface from a discussed clay pit. Promoted as an artificially-sustained paradise, the US $160 million project is aptly named 'Eden'. The project will stretch over nearly two kin near St Austell in Cornwall, UK. Founded by Tim Smit and Jonathan Ball, Eden will be encompassed within steel canopies and win contain the desert, rainforest, Mediterranean and tropical ecosystems. It is to built in 18 months and will sustain whole habitats. Says Smit, "In existing glasshouses, you can only keep one or two trees from a species. Our galleries will be able to provide homes for whole forests."

NOT QUITE DEAD: Dead animals have found more use than just being served as dinner. West Virginia in the US has started a US $10,000 state project to build a No mass composted'. It would be a 60-by- I 5-feet wooden abed with a concrete floor wherein wood chips, chicken waste and animals run over by automobiles will be composted into fertiliser or topsoil. The compost will be used as fertiliser for wild flowers and as covering for eroded spots.

COUNTRY COUSINS: Frequent powercuts and voltage drops need no longer deter computer users in mofussil towns in India. The Pune- based Centre for Development of Advanced Computing has come up with a 'robust' computer that will have a built-in battery back-up and temperature and dust control mechanisms. Interior temperature is controlled by a set of specially made filters which also block dust from entering the computer. The battery backup will keep the machine running for three to four hours after a power breakdown.

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