Mobile phones ring in a time of change, or do paper wristbands torontothey?
The potential uses of mobile phones in China never ceases to amaze. I was in Dalian, Liaoning province, earlier this month and happened to interview Feng Liang, head of a team of 10 research scientists at the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, one of 104 China Academy of Sciences national-level research institutes across the country.
He is about to bring to market a mobile phone app which will allow consumers to test whether there is pesticide residue on their fruit and vegetables.
You just view the item as if taking a photo and the app, using chemical sensor technology, tells you how clean or otherwise it is.
Feng, 39, who did postdoctoral research at the University of Illinois, said that in trials so far most fruit and vegetable produce, even organic, does have pesticide residue and to make sure yours is clean you have to wash it not once or twice but four times to remove it altogether.
I was actually in the Liaoning port city to gauge China"s latest progress in research and development.
A European Commission report, The 2017 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, that came out in December attracted quite a lot of media attention.
It showed that the research and development expenditure of China"s leading companies increased by 18.8 percent in 2016.
This compared to an average increase of 7 percent for the 27 EU nations, a 7.2 increase in the United States and fall in Japan of 3 percent.
Research and development investment is obviously vital if China is become a global technological leader by 2035, the target set by General Secretary Xi Jinping in his report to the 19th CPC National Congress in October.
It is also necessary for the Made in China 2025 strategy, with China needing to make strides in artificial intelligence and robotics.
I certainly found there was now a real energy in the technology field among officials in Dalian.
It has been driven by Party chief Tan Zuojun, who is behind a series of favorable policies designed to encourage innovation. New mayor Tan Chengxu has also worked on science policy and vice-mayor Jin Guowei is also head of the administrative committee of the Dalian High-Tech Industrial Zone, one of China"s leading high-tech parks.
Cai Rui, the youthful deputy director of the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics, said the municipal government a decade ago used to be slow to respond when the institute asked for support but now they are increasingly proactive.
If you will soon be able to use your mobile phone to check your fruit and vegetables, that is surely sign enough of progress.
Contact the writer at [email protected]
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