Published: Tuesday 31 January 1995

British trade unions are now considering launching "hi-tech" campaigns. Unison, Britain's biggest trade union, spent US $480,000 last year developing a software system called "Local Negotiator" to help negotiators to do longer campaigns. It deals with decentralised bargaining across the public services networks. By using electronic communications and database, the union leaders can now receive support and data wherever they may be working. "Negotiators in the field, activists or staff can prepare claims, assess management offers and send information back to their head office within seconds," says Alan Jinkinson, general secretary, Unison.

International Business Machines Corp (IBM) and Apple Computer Inc have decided to discipline the chaotic world of CD-ROM publishing. CD-ROM programmes are a hit with the public, but the lack of uniformity of communication standards among CD-ROM players has thrown the industry off gear. IBM and Apple have now launched a joint venture to establish a single communication standard. They have come up with 2 products: a computer language software called Script X to enable writing a common programme that can run on either IBM computers and Apple machines without alteration; the other is the Kaleida Media Player, which lets ScriptX through a computer's cyber fortress.

Toshiba, the Japanese electronics company, has developed an imaging technique which will help doctors to simplify the examination of the human brain's abnormalities. A form of magnetic resonance imaging, it monitors the electromagnetic radiation in a magnetic field. Separate images are formed of the neurons and adjacent blood flows, relying on the characteristic differences of their wave signals.

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