The Inventor Of The Anti Drowning Pool To Which Mario Conde
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The inventor of the anti-drowning pool to which Mario Conde played it

The former president of Banesto tried to appropriate some visionary patents of the engineer Antonio Ibáñez de Alba.

Antonio Ibáñez de Alba throws himself tied hand and foot to demonstrate his invention.

Diving into the resume Antonio Ibanez de Alba it is an experience that catches and suffocates. On what point should the biographer stop? In 1990, when he seduced Muammar Gaddafi to plant up to 40,000 artificial palm trees to transform the Libyan desert into a garden? OR fast forward to the summer of 2017 in which we could see him jump into the water tied hand and foot to demonstrate the benefits of the project that has obsessed him for two decades, the drowning-proof pool?

This industrial engineer, born in Chiclana of the border and formed in Barcelona, boasts of being the most prolific inventor in Spain. The registry of its 300 patents attests that it is, at least on the drawing board, a Silicon Valley of one man. In the early nineties, his star was at its height. Governments of the Arab countries were knocking at his door for his revolutionary hydrological approaches while the NASA he was required as a consultant on particles in confinement.

Ibáñez de Alba had received the first prize of the EU Eureka Project and the World Intellectual Property Organization gold medal for artificial palm trees designed to condense water from night dew and progressively disperse moisture, reclaiming farmland from the desert for the Great Manmade River What Gaddafi dreamed of But his mind was working in parallel on dozens of inventions in search of a patron. It was the time of the ball, the compadreo and the scam, and that led him to cross paths with the pattern of that era, Mario Count.

The chronicle of how Antonio Ibáñez de Alba ended up becoming the chief inventor of the former president of Banesto was collected by Ernest Ekaizer in The country. Count owned a farm in Ciudad Real, La Salceda, from which he did not part until the beginning of 2017. And the engineer has his residence and base of operations in the town of La Mancha. A third person orchestrated the meeting in 1994 in which Ibáñez de Alba presented a technology that today seems delicious to us nineties: high speed fax.

days of future past

You don’t have to be excessive millenial to remember the time when communications depended on the cumbersome machine and its rolls of paper. Also, like the modems of old, they hogged the phone line. Ibáñez de Alba’s plan was compress the information into a single package that would not be printed until fully downloadedor, saving time and costs. Conde then attended a test of the device, checking how a 20-minute transmission was reduced to one. And he was captivated.

The deal was closed right there with a check for one million pesetas, “in black”, as the inventor acknowledged, to develop the project. Later they would regularize the relationship: Conde appointed him Director of Development in Antillean Values, one of his societies that he kept in torpor. Ibáñez de Alba would charge 300,000 pesetas per month and 10% of the income for the performance of the patents registered for the company. But when he charged, it was still in black, as he would denounce later.

Breaking down the list of his inventions has the retro-futuristic touch of the technology anticipated in movies like Return to the future: Ibáñez de Alba got everything right, but not entirely. Thus, to the high-speed fax were added some “smart sneakers” to collect biometric information, a “citizen guide” system or “street electronic“, a system of fingerprint identification“Oun “intelligent system of assistance for arbitral decisions“.

Antonio Ibáñez de Alba with Mariano Rajoy, whom he advised during the Prestige crisis in 2012.

Antonio Ibáñez de Alba with Mariano Rajoy, whom he advised during the Prestige crisis in 2012.
Antonio Ibanez de Alba

Betrayal in the cellar

Yes, the man from Cádiz anticipated the security problems of our smartphones or our contemporary debate on video arbitration. But other of his visionary predictions, such as the electronic ice cube to cool a can of soda when opened, they have not seen the light. What happened to this promising flourish of Spanish technology? Apparently, the invention Conde had been waiting for: that of “transmission of electrical radiation in space without a conducting wire”.

It was about making it work wireless electricity. It happened in the winery in another farm that, yes, is still in the hands of the financier’s family: The Reeds, In sevilla. Before the gaze of Conde, his partners and his family, Ibáñez de Alba had to turn on a fluorescent tube with his device two meters away without touching it. He got it. Mario Conde was pleased. then fired him. When the inventor wanted to enter his office, he found the key changed. When he was allowed access to take his personal belongings, he was met by his files and floppy disks disappeared, and his hard drive, emptied.

The incident ended in a criminal complaint for appropriation of patents. Mario Conde’s company had had contacts, revealed Ibáñez de Alba, with firms such as Coke The Kelme. Who else could be interested in an electronic ice cube or smart sneakers? “I am sure that this and other patents are being commercialized by those who have been denounced (…) These inventions have taken me ten years of research work” – he lamented then. Today, his environment confirms to El ESPAÑOL, those patents are once again part of his portfolio.

The dream of ending drowning

The disappointment with Mario Conde did not stop the inventiveness of the man from Cádiz. Desalination of seawater, electric motors, clean energy, tunnels under the desert that would solve the problems of the AVE to Mecca, underwater highways… Not all of his patents border on utopian worlds: last February his company, DeAlba Patents, proudly presented the technological canvas cover that will protect the lawn from Pedro Escartin, the Guadalajara stadium.

There are two projects, however, that stands out to everyone. The first is that of the artificial palm trees that still dot the Libyan desert. Gaddafi invested billion dollars, picks up the inventor, but he didn’t get rich: He had to leave “the same night the United States bombed the Gulf of Sirte,” he said this summer. In 2003 he spent his last 60,000 euros to present his second fetish project at the Barcelona Fair: the anti-drowning pool. He had no money for hostesses, so he started his custom of putting on his swimsuit and demonstrating his invention himself. He won Innovation Award.

The 2003 pool had a floor that rose under the pressure of an inert body. The current version develops a long-lain product: floating water without salt. These are powder compounds. which, when mixed, give water a density thirty times greater than normal; like a “Dead Sea”, but without the exaggerated salinity. The formula, like that of Coca-Cola, is secret and intended solely for the knowledge of its buyer, but it contains “natural products” such as those that we would find in “gels and shampoos”.

Has Ibáñez de Alba fulfilled his dream of eradicating drowning? Even if we were upside down in his pool, he says, “theAir pressure from the rib cage rotates the body. But the auction will be presented at the next Barcelona Fair: a screen-printed seal that is placed on the back of the neck and detects when we spend too much time underwater. The inventor has provided his design with his own radio frequency technology derived, as he indicates, from his work at NASA. It was not the only thing that was brought from the space agency: according to his experience declared a few days ago that, likely, the man had not set foot on the Moon.