Light at the end of the panel

Who doesn’t know that funny little detail about solar panels; It’s said that the energy it takes to manufacture one would likely never be recuperated in its lifetime. A tragic irony indeed. Sod’s law actually.

I have in the past used the term Digital Follies to describe some of the sites and enterprises embarked on during the dot com era, but it was easy to understand the excitement facing the new undiscovered country of tech and people just wanting to try everything.

The adventurous spirit is a good thing… providing you do it on your own money. Either way, it’s important to appreciate the cost and worth of any endeavour and the likelihood of return.

I’m quite disappointed that Augmented Reality hasn’t taken off or been used the way I think it should have. There are so many interesting applications… Imagine having an x-ray scan at a hospital and then holding a tablet device to your leg as you view and examine a fracture or cyst yourself, giving the surgeon a solution for the very real problem of explaining the issues and procedures. Perhaps a full 3D augmented run-through of the procedure itself. Or something similar at a car show-room pitching the latest engine or suspension. I can imagine people getting reconstructive surgery on their noses with interactive mirror-like experiences. Or construction engineers inspecting the progression of a suspension bridge (or tunnel) in development.

All wonderful solutions. But with the exception of the plastic surgeon I can’t see how the cost would be justified or returned. Technology hardware aside, the (rightful) cost of the development for the very clever people who can make this work is currently very high… This isn’t the old days of HTML we’re talking about. Even if there were a very tight business model in-place, how do GP’s quantify patient peace of mind?

The thing about solar panels is that we still see them, and they are yet being introduced into homes etc. People simply don’t want to believe that they might not be worth while. And good for them – it’s a good optimism to have. And the fact is that much of the jury is out on the the whole claim… suggesting that there is an industry tipping point that would change the math should the take-up improve.

I’m sure the same can be said for the development of many interactive technologies. It’s just a matter of consistent, usable middleware coming to the rescue.

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