Sunday, September 30, 2012

Australia's greatest inventions

The new book "Australia's greatest inventions and innovations" by Christopher Cheng and Linsay Knight (Powerhouse Museum, 2012) is written in language suitable for children but will be of interest to adults as well. In addition to the familiar stories of the Hills Rotary Hoist, there are some less familiar, such:
  1. CSIRO's invention of WiFi: Few Australian realise that the technology in their wireless gadgets was invented in Australia by the Australian Government's research lab.
  2. Integrated Communications Cap Lamp (ICCL): The ICCL is a belt worn battery pack to power the helmet light of miners. By using a compact and lightweight Lithium-Ion battery, the designers made room for extra communications and safety equipment on the same unit, such as an RFID tag, a radio, or a PED Text Pager. The PED Pager uses radio frequencies which penetrate rock and allow emergency messages to be sent to miners.
Unfortunately the book is not without problems. As an example, the entry on the PED pager refers to low frequency sound waves being used, when the device actually uses radio waves.

There is also a useful Wikipedia entry "List of Australian inventions".

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