Kites: Our New Kismet?
In an age where resources are running out and everyone's eyes are on new sources of energy, there could be a simple solution. Can something that children play with usher in a new destiny in energy? Can kites be the driving force for a lot of our future activities?
Saul Griffith, famous scientist and innovator feels this could well be. Kites have been the inspiration for so many scientists but while they inspired, they still remained playthings. He feels that kites could generate a lot more energy than wind turbines – the kite moves, turbines are fixed. Take a look at what he has to say:
What is different about Saul Griffith? He’s an inventor with a difference. He invents stuff and then shares his ideas with the rest of the world. He has a number of degrees to his name and a Ph.D., he’s won awards, he’s a MacArthur Fellow and he has a whole lot of patents pending. What he also does is to encourage young people to think outside the box and come up with ideas that are revolutionary and low priced. He is the President of Makani Power and is also a co-founder of a number of companies – among them is an open website called Instructables where you’ll find a whole lot of wonderful things to make and a site called How Toons where children learn science through cartoons.
He is part of a group scientists who have come together to form Squid Labs. There are five of them – Colin Bulthaup, Dan Goldwater, Ryan McKinley and Eric Wilhelm and Saul Griffith - all from MIT and they all moved to California with a dream. Today the warehouse they work out of seems to be filled with a chaotic mix of fun stuff and work in progress.
They’ve invented a ‘smart rope’ – a rope that has sensing capability and can be electronically monitored. Imagine that – a rope that tells you how much of a load it is holding up and how much of wear and tear it has been subjected to – so you know how frayed it is! Then there are low cost eyeglasses – they have invented a machine which moulds prescription lenses in a matter of seconds – for a few dollars! Ideal for the many poor all over the world who cannot afford glasses.
So what does all this mean for us? Mainly hope – with fresh new ideas blowing away the cobwebs of the tried and tested and established. Young blood that is audacious enough to overturn and upset what is – and give us a wonderful vision of what can be. In an age when so many problems of recession, depleting energy sources, global warning, pollution and high prices seem to be what one’s world is filled with, here are new dreams to look forward to – dreams that will soon be making the seemingly impossible, possible. All thanks to the young and daring who are not afraid to chart new territory.