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close this bookBlending of New and Traditional Technologies - Case Studies (ILO - WEP, 1984, 312 p.)
close this folderI. Microelectronics/Electronics
View the documentA. Microprocessor/Computer Applications
View the documentB. Other microelectronics/electronics applications

B. Other microelectronics/electronics applications

12. “Microelectronic abacus” (China). It is reported that in March 1979, the Chinese Abacus Association produced a new instrument called “microelectronic abacus”. An electronic calculator is quicker than an abacus for multiplication and division; but an abacus is faster for addition and subtraction. The strong points of both have therefore been incorporated into the new device which “consists of an integrated micro-circuit in the upper part with an abacus below. Either part can be used independently. This combination has dramatically increased the efficiency of this ancient calculating tool.”8 The electronic abacus is being mass-produced in Beijing and Hangzhou.

13. Microelectronics and rural telecommunications (Guyana). In Guyana, a programme is being developed to apply microelectronics for the improvement of rural telecommunications systems, in particular, to improve the efficiency of equipment.

14. Microelectronics applications in irrigation systems (Thailand). Thailand is at present considering the introduction of commercial application of advanced modular technology for low-cost field-level irrigation system to its Northeast region. The conventional grade-level irrigation systems are difficult to instal because of slightly rolling terrain. When field-level distribution canals must be elevated by a metre or so, a considerable area of land is lost to cultivation because of the field requirements. In order to overcome this problem engineers at the Mekong Commission surveyed a variety of prefabricated modular channel technologies, and identified one which has potential for relatively small-scale local production and low installed cost, while greatly reducing the land area diverted from agricultural use.9

15. Rural electronic telephone exchanges (India). The Indian Telephone Industry has stepped up the production of small-scale rural electronic telephone exchanges as a result of the successful performance of the first-batch production. It is reported that about 100 ten-line telephone batches are already in operation in rural areas in Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Two hundred additional exchanges are expected to be operational soon.10

16. Use of electronics in traditional medicine (China). The acupoint pressing method is used to diagnose diseases in China. A recent development has been the replacement of the fingers by an electronic device used for pressing at the acupoints. With the device, time is saved in diagnosis especially in disease surveys. In Machen District in Hubei Province general surveys of carcinoma and esophagus have been carried out. In the traditional finger-method of diagnosis two surveys involving 8,600 and 4,500 people required 15 and eight medical workers respectively, and a period of one year to complete. A similar survey in which the electronic device was used covered 16,536 people and only four medical workers over a period of less than a year.11