Scientist Finds Inspiration for His Invention while in Japan

April 27, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. inventor /ɪnˈvɛn tər/ (n.) – a person who creates a new item or process
Example: The inventor is working silently in his laboratory.

2. inspiration /ˌɪn spəˈreɪ ʃən/ (n.) – a good idea that influences someone to create or do something
Example: The scientist’s inspiration is his family.

3. observe /əbˈzɜrv/ (v.) – to look at or see something
Example: He observed how the chemicals react to each other.

4. redirect /ˌri dɪˈrɛkt/ (v.) – to change the direction of something
Example: The pipes are used to redirect the flow of water.

5. prototype /ˈproʊ təˌtaɪp/ (n.) – the first model
Example: John has to create a prototype of a water heater first.


Read the text below.
Matyas Gutai, a Hungarian inventor, found inspiration for his invention called the “water walls” while studying in Japan.

This invention is an inexpensive way to control the indoor temperature of a house. The walls are composed of glass panels with a space filled with water in between. Controlled by a computer, the water inside the panels absorbs heat and cold from outside the house. The heat or cold is then distributed based on the homeowner’s desired indoor temperature. 

In 2003, Gutai was in Japan studying sustainable architecture. Gutai was able to form his idea while he was relaxing in an open-air hot spring. On his way to the pool, he observed that he felt cold because of the area’s low temperature. But when he entered the pool, he was comfortable despite of the cold air. He then realized that the temperature of the air is not as important as the temperature of a heated mass.

Gutai also found inspiration from the Japanese martial art, Aikido. Gutai applied Aikido’s concept of using and redirecting the opponent’s own strength to one’s advantage. This is how he decided to use water in his design as it does not resist but responds when blocked.

The prototype for Gutai’s water walls is showcased in a small home in the backyard of his warehouse. It is located in his native town in Budapest. To build the prototype, financial support was given by the Hungarian government. He also received $57,000 of grant money from the European Union.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think Gutai’s invention can be used in Japan? Why do you say so?
·         If Gutai’s invention would be available in the market, would you buy it for your home? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What inspires you or helps you generate ideas at work/school? Kindly discuss.
·         If you had the resources, what kind of invention would you like to make? Please explain your answer.

April 27, 2015