TREMOR SENSORS: Last year's earthquake in Kobe, Japan, has triggered off a spate of earthquake-related lighting equipments. An emergency fight by Matsushita Electric Works Ltd. Japan's largest lighting-equipment maker, comes with a vibration sensor which turns on the light if a medium intensity earthquake occurs. It sells for US $524. The company has also come up with shatter-proof teflon-coated glass globes. A flashlight by Sanyo Electric Co, which costs US, $33, automatically switches on when its built-in sensor detects a violent tremor and lasts for about 40 minutes.

breezing in: The Madras-based NEPC Micon, a pioneer in wind energy, will help Maharashtra catch up with other states in setting up wind farms assisted by the State Industrial and Investment Corporation of Maharashtra. The company is going to tap the 500 MW power potential of the state. It has identified wind-prone sites in the districts of Sindhugarh, Ratnagiri, Satara, and Sangli. The company plans to invest Rs 300 crore over a span of two years in wind farm projects which will facilitate rural electrification.

BUDDING FORTH: The horticulture industry of India will get a fillip with Maxworth Orchards (India) Ltd establishing a Rs 7.5 crore research and development centre near Madras. Camtec Ag East of Israel, Cross Singapore and UK-based High Value Horticulture will provide technical collaboration. The centre aims to introduce international horticultural practices after adapting them to Indian conditions. The Israeli company will help Maxworth grow plants in greenhouses, high and low tunnels and in open fields while the UK firm will chip in post-harvest technologies and Cross Singapore will help cultivate orchids.

STRAIT DEAL: US oil giant Conoco Inc is making inroads in the high-risk Taiwan Strait off the Chinese coast. The company has struck a deal with Taiwan's Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPQ to explore oil and gas in the strait. Conoco would hold 75 per cent of the stakes and invest about US $65 million in the venture. The company will fully finance the search for oil and gas in the north, centre and south of the strait on Taiwan's side and the CPC would buy all the production to supply in Taiwan's market.

BYTES AT A BARGAIN: After making its mark in Latin and Central America, Asia-Pacific, Africa and West Asia, the Singapore-based Acer Computer International (ACI), a regional marketing unit of Taiwan's Acer Inc, will launch a low-cost personal computer (PC) in the second half of this year. The PC will be sold in developing countries like Indonesia, India and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The basic PC will cost about US $1,000. It can he used as an educational medium or as an Internet terminal, said ACI president William Lu.

GROWING NATURALLY: To meet the global demand for natural products, NOVA Agritech Ltd, Hyderabad, is setting up a super critical fluid extraction plant to process and extract natural oils and oleoresins from spices, herbs and other plants. The plant would manufacture high purity products that are likely to substitute synthetic products used in food processing, beverages and pharmaceutical industries. Natex Process Technology of Australia will provide the technical knowhow for the Rs 13.8 crore project.

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