The Flying Train

Maglev (derived from magnetic levitation) is a transport method that uses magnetic levitation to move vehicles without touching the ground. With maglev, a vehicle travels along a guideway using magnets to create both lift and propulsion, thereby reducing friction by a great extent and allowing very high speeds.
The Shanghai Maglev Train, also known as the Transrapid, is the fastest commercial train currently in operation and has a top speed of 430 km/h (270 mph). The line was designed to connect Shanghai Pudong International Airport and the outskirts of central Pudong, Shanghai. It covers a distance of 30.5 kilometers (19.0 mi) in 8 minutes.
Maglev trains move more smoothly and more quietly than wheeled mass transit systems. They are relatively unaffected by weather. The power needed for levitation is typically not a large percentage of its overall energy consumption; most goes to overcome drag, as with other high-speed transport. Maglev trains hold the speed record for trains.
Compared to conventional trains, differences in construction affect the economics of maglev trains, making them much more efficient. For high-speed trains with wheels, wear and tear from friction along with dynamic augment from wheels on rails accelerates equipment wear and prevents high speeds. Conversely, maglev systems have been much more expensive to construct, offsetting lower maintenance costs.
Despite decades of research and development, only three commercial maglev transport systems are in operation, while one more is under construction. In April 2004, Shanghai’s Transrapid system began commercial operations. In March 2005, Japan began operation of its relatively low-speed HSST “Linimo” line in time for the 2005 World Expo. In its first three months, the Linimo line carried over 10 million passengers. South Korea became the world’s fourth country to succeed in commercializing maglev technology with the Incheon Airport Maglev beginning commercial operation on February 3, 2016.
The two notable types of maglev technology are:
Electromagnetic Suspension System:
In electromagnetic suspension (EMS) systems, the train levitates above a steel rail while electromagnets, attached to the train, are oriented toward the rail from below. The system is typically arranged on a series of C-shaped arms, with the upper portion of the arm attached to the vehicle, and the lower inside edge containing the magnets. The rail is situated inside the C, between the upper and lower edges.
Magnetic attraction varies inversely with the cube of distance, so minor changes in distance between the magnets and the rail produce greatly varying forces. These changes in force are dynamically unstable – a slight divergence from the optimum position tends to grow, requiring sophisticated feedback systems to maintain a constant distance from the track, (approximately 15 millimetres (0.59 in)).

Electrodynamic Suspension:
In electrodynamic suspension (EDS), both the guideway and the train exert a magnetic field, and the train is levitated by the repulsive and attractive force between these magnetic fields. In some configurations, the train can be levitated only by repulsive force. In the early stages of maglev development at the Miyazaki test track, a purely repulsive system was used instead of the later repulsive and attractive EDS system. The magnetic field is produced either by superconducting magnets (as in JR–Maglev) or by an array of permanent magnets (as in Inductrack). The repulsive and attractive force in the track is created by an induced magnetic field in wires or other conducting strips in the track. A major advantage of EDS maglev systems is that they are dynamically stable – changes in distance between the track and the magnets creates strong forces to return the system to its original position. In addition, the attractive force varies in the opposite manner, providing the same adjustment effects. No active feedback control is needed.

The highest recorded maglev speed is 603 km/h (375 mph), achieved in Japan by JR Central’s L0 superconducting Maglev on 21 April 2015, 28 km/h (17 mph) faster than the conventional TGV wheel-rail speed record. However, the operational and performance differences between these two very different technologies is far greater. The TGV record was achieved accelerating down a 72.4 km (45.0 mi) slight decline, requiring 13 minutes. It then took another 77.25 km (48.00 mi) for the TGV to stop, requiring a total distance of 149.65 km (92.99 mi) for the test. The MLX01 record, however, was achieved on the 18.4 km (11.4 mi) Yamanashi test track – 1/8 the distance. No maglev or wheel-rail commercial operation has actually been attempted at speeds over 500 km/h.
Reference: — edited by An-Nuur Press Agency

Print in 3D

What is a 3D printer?
3D printers are a new generation of machines that can make everyday things. They’re remarkable because they can produce different kinds of objects, in different materials, all from the same machine.
A 3D printer can make pretty much anything from ceramic cups to plastic toys, metal machine parts, stoneware vases, fancy chocolate cakes or even (one day soon) human body parts.
They replace traditional factory production lines with a single machine, just like home inkjet printers replaced bottles of ink, a printing press, hot metal type and a drying rack.
Why is it called printing?
If you look closely (with a microscope) at a page of text from your home printer, you’ll see the letters don’t just stain the paper, they’re actually sitting slightly on top of the surface of the page.
In theory, if you printed over that same page a few thousand times, eventually the ink would build up enough layers on top of each other to create a solid 3D model of each letter. That idea of building a physical form out of tiny layers is how the first 3D printers worked.
How do 3D printers work?
You start by designing a 3D object on an ordinary home PC, connect it to a 3D printer, press ‘print’ and then sit back and watch. The process is a bit like making a loaf of sliced bread, but in reverse. Imagine baking each individual slice of bread and then gluing them together into a whole loaf (as opposed to making a whole loaf and then slicing it, like a baker does). That’s basically what a 3D printer does.
The 3D printing process turns a whole object into thousands of tiny little slices, then makes it from the bottom-up, slice by slice. Those tiny layers stick together to form a solid object. Each layer can be very complex, meaning 3D printers can create moving parts like hinges and wheels as part of the same object. You could print a whole bike – handlebars, saddle, frame, wheels, brakes, pedals and chain – ready assembled, without using any tools. It’s just a question of leaving gaps in the right places.
What are the opportunities?
Have you ever broken something, only to find it’s no longer sold and you can’t replace it? 3D printing means you can simply print a new one. That world, where you can make almost anything at home, is very different from the one we live in today. It’s a world that doesn’t need lorries to deliver goods or warehouses to store them in, where nothing is ever out of stock and where there is less waste, packaging and pollution.
It’s also a world where everyday items are made to measure, to your requirements. That means furniture made to fit your home, shoes made to fit your feet, door handles made to fit your hand, meals printed to your tastes at the touch of a button. Even medicines, bones, organs and skin made to treat your injuries.
You can get some of those things now if you’re wealthy, but 3D printing brings affordable, bespoke manufacturing to the masses. If that sounds like pure fantasy, try googling “personalised 3D printed products” and see for yourself. After all, the notion of doing your supermarket shopping on an iPad was like something out of Star Trek 20 years ago.
What are the limitations?
Although buying a 3D printer is much cheaper than setting up a factory, the cost per item you produce is higher, so the economics of 3D printing don’t stack-up against traditional mass production yet. It also can’t match the smooth finish of industrial machines, nor offer the variety of materials or range of sizes available through industrial processes. But, like so many household technologies, the prices will come down and 3D printer capabilities will improve over time.
Is it the next big thing?
Yes, if you’re a product designer or engineer, but for most people, no.
Like all new technologies, the industry hype is a few years ahead of the consumer reality. It’s an emerging technology which means, like home computers or mobile phones, most people will remain sceptical about needing one until everyone has got one… and then we’ll all wonder how we ever managed without them.
Reference: — edited by An-Nuur Press Agency

Radio Phone or Cell Phone?   How your cell phone works

A big secret that the cell phone companies have been keeping from the world is that a cell phone is nothing more than a radio. It is a complex radio, but still a radio. In order to really understand the way a cell phone works, we must discuss some of the cell phones history for just a moment.

Back around the early 1950s’, cell phones were really only used in automobiles. But these mobile-radio-phones were about as common as cruise control in post-World War II cars. They were literally like driving around with an entire telephone company in one’s car. And to make things worse, they only worked in cities.

In select urban areas, there were large, central antennas that were specifically allocated for these radio-phones. Each car that had a radio-phone required a big antenna that could transmit at least 40 or 50 miles. Since radio technology itself was only in the building phase, only about 25 channels were available for private use. So basically only 25 people could be talking on their radio-phones at the same time.

And in cities like New York and San Francisco, this was a problem. For there were more than just 25 people who had radio-phones in their cars.

The Cell Approach

The solution to this problem was to divide each city up into small divisions, or “cells”. The technology behind cells have changed dramatically over the years, just as cell phones have, but now most standard cells are about 10 square miles large. They are usually in the shape of a hexagon. Nowadays, every individual cell has its own base station, rather than only one for an entire city.

And now cell phones are made to be low-power transmitters (either 0.3 watts or 6 watts), which is much lower wattage than in past decades. This means that the same frequency can be used in the same city, at the same time, but in different cells.

Think of it like an ice cube tray. The cell phone transmitting towers don’t spill their transmissions that far out of their own cells. They may spill slightly into the most adjacent cells, but not into cells more than one cell away. Usually each separate carrier, (Airtel, MTN, Etisalat, etc.) have their own control office in each major urban area called the Mobile Telephone Switching Office (MTSO). This is where they control their respective towers. This office also connects all of the cell-phone calls to the land-line phones.

But what happens when one moves from cell to cell?

Relax; this was all taken into consideration. Each modern cell phone (meaning it was created in the last 20 years or so) has special codes programmed into them.

The most important code is the system identification code or the (SID). It’s a five digit code that the NCC gives to each different cell phone carrier. When a cell phone is turned on, whether it’s making a call or not, it’s picking up the SID that is being transmitted from the closest cell phone tower. The phone’s personal carrier is also transmitting its SID to the phone on specific channels that the phone programmed to listen for.

But if it can’t pick any of them up, the dreaded “NO SERVICE” message appears on the display. However, when the carrier can pick up the phone, you’re in luck. It’s connected!

Once You’re Connected

Now that the phone is connected, calls can be sent and received. In addition to the SID being sent back and forth between phones and towers, there is a registration signal that is also being sent. This is so the carrier’s MTSO always knows where its customers are, should someone dial their phone. When someone calls a cell phone, the MTSO finds where the phone is at and connects to it by finding a common frequency, in the cell, that the phone is in. It verifies the SID number and then, your friend can finally ask you “Where are you?”

When in Roaming

When a cell phone is not found on its carrier’s MTSO, it may still be close enough to a different carrier’s tower that can use the same channels (most of them can). The cell phone realizes that it is connecting to a different SID (meaning its carrier has no towers in the area or that none of them are on local network) that means the phone is, gulp, and roaming. But this is most important when you are moving from cell to cell, such as when you are riding in car. The tower notices that your signal is dying as you move to the boarder of its cell. In the same instance the tower in the cell you are traveling to realize that the signal is getting stronger. With a little help from the MTSO, the two towers switch call to a different frequency in just milliseconds. And VOLIA, you can keep talking! In the Cell phone business this is called a hand-off.

By Robert D. Keith — edited by An-Nuur


A smart TV device is either a television set with integrated Internet capabilities or a set-top box for television that offers more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a contemporary basic television set. Smart TVs may be thought of as an information appliance or the computer system from a handheld computer integrated within a television set unit, as such smart TV often allows the user to install and run more advanced applications or plugins/addons based on a specific platform.

Smart TVs deliver content (such as photos, movies and music) from other computers or network attached storage devices on a network using either a Digital Living Network Alliance / Universal Plug and Play media server or similar service program like Windows Media Player or Network-attached storage (NAS), or via iTunes.

It also provides access to Internet-based services including traditional broadcast TV channels, catch-up services, video-on-demand (VOD), electronic program guide, interactive advertising, personalisation, voting, games, social networking, and other multimedia applications.

Its functions

Smart TV devices also provide access to user-generated content (either stored on an external hard drive or in cloud storage) and to interactive services and Internet applications, such as YouTube, many using HTTP Live Streaming (also known as HLS) adaptive streaming.

Smart TV devices facilitate the curation of traditional content by combining information from the Internet with content from TV Providers. Services offer users a means to track and receive reminders about shows or sporting events, as well as the ability to change channels for immediate viewing.

Some devices feature additional interactive organic user interface / natural user interface technologies for navigation controls and other human interaction with a Smart TV, with such as second screen companion devices, spatial gestures input like with Xbox Kinect and even for speech recognition for natural language user interface.

Its technology

Smart TV technology and software is still evolving, with both proprietary and open source software frameworks already available. These can run applications (sometimes available via an ‘app store’ digital distribution platform), interactive on-demand media, personalized communications, and have social networking features.


Adverts are automatic but…

Some smart TV platforms also support interactive advertising, addressable advertising with local advertising insertion and targeted advertising, and other advanced advertising features such as ad telescoping using VOD and DVR, enhanced TV for consumer call-to-action and audience measurement solutions for ad campaign eff ectiveness. Taken together, this bidirectional data flow means that smart TVs can be and are used for clandestine observation of the owners. Even in sets that are not configured off-the-shelf to do so, default security measures are often weak and will allow hackers to easily break into the TV.

They can be hacked

There is evidence that a smart TV is vulnerable to attacks. Some serious security bugs have been discovered, and some successful attempts to run malicious code to get unauthorized access were documented on video. There is evidence that it is possible to gain root access to the device, install malicious software, access and modify configuration information for a remote control, remotely access and modify files on TV and attached USB drives, access camera and microphone. Anticipating growing demand for an antivirus for a smart TV, some security software companies are already working with partners in digital TV field on the solution. At this moment it seems like there is only one antivirus for smart TVs available. Ocean Blue Software partnered with Sophos and developed first cloud based antimalware system “Neptune”. Also antivirus company Avira has joined forces with digital TV testing company Labwise to work on the software that would protect against poten tial attacks.

And you can be blocked

Internet websites can block smart TV access to content at will, or tailor the content that will be received by each platform.

Google TV-enabled devices were blocked by NBC, ABC, CBS, and Hulu from accessing their Web content since the launch of Google TV in October 2010.Google TV devices were also blocked from accessing any programs offered by Viacom’s subsidiaries.





One night during the break, the brothers in charge of the generating set were taking longer than usual to power up the set while Solatul Maghrib and darkness is fast approaching. One of the mosque imams, partly in jest and partly in banter (with those brothers (may Allah reward them)) exclaimed ““Ę sáná sí generator!”

“Ę sáná sí generator” is what anybody can ordinarily say. But the sentence means more to me, and I wasted no time in telling the speaker so. “Sáná sí” in that sentence implies that the generator should be lit – like a candle. It conjures in my mind the image of matches, the strike of matches and the application of a burning match to a steel generating set. Of course, nobody would apply a burning match to an electricity generating set to get it started. However, as absurd as it may sounds, that is exactly the principle behind how a petrol engine works.

The objective behind using combustible fuel (petrol, diesel etc) in fossil-fuel consuming engines we all know is to burn those fuels. And the fuels indeed burned inside these engine (Yes, burn. As in FIRE. And that is why there is always smoke from engines). It is how these fuels are burned we are concerned with in this article and how the Awo hall mosque generator will convert our fuel to power.

The reader may ask…

If the fuel really burns, then why don’t we see the fire?

First of all, like every other familiar engines. The Awo hall mosque generator is an Internal Combustion Engine, which means it burns its fuel internally, and that is why you can’t see the fire. It has a combustion chamber called a cylinder. It is inside this cylinder that the fuel catches fire and burns. There is real burning occuring inside every cylinder.

So how do the fuel catch fire in the first place?

By means of a spark plug. A spark plug is an electrical device designed to produce a spark when electricity is passed through it. The electric power needed to produce the spark comes from a battery, which comes with all cars and some generators. A spark is fire and it can burn like every other fire (By the way, we were told our forebears used to start their fires by rubbing two flint stones together and thus creating a spark)

And how will the fuel meets the spark?

By means of a fuel-air intake system. This consist of a part called a valve and ducts to air inlets. A valve is a device that enabled the controlled flow of a substance in one direction only (in this case liquid fuel). This fuel will be mixed with outside air containing oxygen by the fuel-air intake system and introduced into the cylinder at the same time as the spark. BOOM! Petrol meets fire and the engine starts.

And what next?

The amount of fuel released at that time is rapidly combusted. The fuel combusts and turned to hot expanding gas. This expanding gas is used to move the piston, which moves the crankshaft. The burnt gas produces exhaust (smoke) which is released by another valve into the smoke pipe (“silencer” in cars). A same amount of fuel is released into the cylinder again and the process repeats itself.

The whole process described (called a stroke) usually takes less than half a second. Hundreds of strokes occurs in a minute, that is why you see wheels on engines turning very fast ( e.g the engine fan in our cars).

Pistons and Crankshafts? What’s that?

A piston is a moving part in a cylinder. It is usually circular in shape and made of hard heat-resistant metal. In this case, the piston is moved by the expanding gases of a combusting fuel inside an Internal Combustion Engine. A piston is designed so that it can move up and down or forward and backward.

A crankshaft is connected to the piston. It is the engine’s link to where the power (mechanical) is needed. A crankshaft convert the piston’s lateral motion to angular motion which is required to turn a wheel ( e.g. the engine fan in our cars).

How the Awo hall mosque generator will convert our fuel to power

The wheel the Internal Combustion Engine part of the Awo hall mosque generator is required to turn is the wheel of an electricity generating device called an electromagnetic induction coil.

An electromagnetic induction coil? Ah, Whats that?

Beyond the scope of this article. Maybe next time insha-Allah, we’ll explain that.