Whenever one talks about dual-use technology, hackles rise. For, it is a touchy subject, and has been so ever since India exploded a nuclear device the second time, say Pradeep S. Mehta
Whenever one talks about dual-use technology, hackles rise. For, it is a touchy subject, and has been so ever since India exploded a nuclear device the second time. Fortunately, the US has now decided to withdraw the ban on exports of items that have dual use — one military and the other industrial.
Coming to less esoteric items that have dual use. For instance, diamonds; though they often times have more than dual use. They are most sought after for jewellery, and their lesser cousins for industrial use, especially in cutting and polishing tools. In the dark world of narcotics and arms running, they also become the legal tender. Blood diamonds have attained considerable notoriety. They were also swallowed to kill oneself; surely some thing other than pecuniary consideration being the trigger to take one’s life.
Speak about suicides, and the farmers of Andhra Pradesh or Maharashtra, who have been ending their lives in large numbers let down by crops or poor prices, cannot be far from thought. Now, it is reported that they have discovered a bottled soft-drink can destroy crop pests. Obviously, unhappy with such dual use, the company making the drink has called it a baloney.
This was probably not the first, though accidental, discovery of a totally un-thought of use of a product. For, not so long ago came reports of discovery by florists that sildenafil citrate, used on patients with erectile dysfunction, can extend the life of stemmed flowers in a vase. The way chemicals work are mysterious and often little understood.
This also brings out the questing nature of man. Washing machine manufacturers were flummoxed by the high sales in rural Punjab. Investigation revealed that it had nothing to do with washing of clothes, but that the machines were used to churn butter out from milk. Perhaps, there is a lesson for aspiring entrepreneurs. Develop simple equipment that can be put to multiple use, without too much trouble. Such gadgets could be best-sellers in a cost-conscious country like India.