Monday, October 22, 2001
Innovations are creative solutions and improvements to a given product or system. Some are improvements to functionality, reliability, or usability; while others others result in improved capabilities.
I have always been an inventive person, with a keen ability to examine a problem and intuitively see solutions and improvements. I have a deep understanding of how most things work, vast experience in what things don't, and have solved technology problems for tens of thousands of clients. Using the knowledge I have acquired, I can offer you a service that is just plain unavailable from any other source. The result is almost certain to solve your problem or improve your product.
Far more prevalent than it was in the past is the problem of usability. What can be done with modern technology is amazing, but far too much of it is being underutilized, or even abandoned, because people can't figure it out.
Digital photography is a great example of this phenomenon. The technology is fabulous, with uses that could revolutionize hundreds of markets; but it has not come close to reaching it's potential. Taking the pictures is easy, getting them onto the computer has gotten much easier; but, organizing, managing, and using digital pictures is beyond the skill level of most users.
Computer telephony, security systems, GIS mapping, video editing, and website development are additional examples of technologies that are not reaching their potential, solely because they require too much skill to use effectively.
Here is a recent example of a "Davis McCarn original" innovation, a thought that occured to me while I was pondering ways to actually improve:airpline security:
A plan to make airliners virtually hijack proof using a laptop
September 30, 2001
Using nothing but standard, mail order computer items and off the shelf software, I can integrate a laptop so that it uses facial and voice recognition capabilities that would automatically transmit an alarm, video, and audio to the ground within seconds of a stranger entering the cockpit. The facial recognition, in particular, cannot be fooled by a picture and is extremely reliable.
Loud sounds, gunshots, decompression noises, authorized crewmember's saying a key phrase or pushing a button on a wireless remote are other possibilities that could easily be added.
Til this point, I don't even need a programmer's help to build the system and the hardest part is securing it in the airplane. A camera the size of a matchbox is pretty easy to secure and it's tiny wire can be protected; but finding a sturdy place big enough for a laptop is something I don't know about.
With but a few more resources and a little help from the plane's manufacturers, this system could also defeat the hijacker's ability to cut off the autopilot, leaving the plane stuck on cruise control at 30,000 feet and the authorities with lots of time.
Each plane's crew would have to go through a one minute recognition routine whenever the crew changed and somebody on the ground would need to be listening.
So, in a nutshell, if a stranger so much as sticks his head in the cockpit, alarms the crew, or makes the wrong loud noises, the plane starts sending audio, video, and whatever else we want it to to whomever is supposed to be listening. With a simple connection to the flight systems, it would also put the plane on cruise control and I think it would be fairly easy to tell the plane to fly to the nearest military base.
After an Email from the British Airline Pilots Association expressed desire for prevention while the plane was still on the ground, I realized that a second camera could also identify every passenger as they were boarding. The confines of the entryway offered a perfect opportunity for checking the passengers faces against a database of most wanted fugitives and/or known terrorists.
All that is necessary to create this system is a very small investment in a few months of my time, a few thousand dollars for hardware and software, and a decent visual basic programmer to make it easy to use. It isn't rocket science or "bleeding edge technology" and most of the work necessary is the software to make it user friendly; something a flight attendant can use flawlessly.
I can see how some might discount my idea as possibly hairbrained, or unreliable. To those who would, I will counter with theand the statement that I have never claimed to be able to something that I couldn't. Unless I know what the project requires for successful completion, I won't promote it.
This idea needs about quarter of a million to develop and two to four months to complete. Once that is done, systems ought to cost about five thousand dollars each, or less. They would be cheap to the airlines at ten thousand apiece and I think there are about three thousand jets in service. Is
A few years ago I tossed out another idea while discussing spy gear with a friend. I thought the itelligence people could use a seemingly normal, printer cable that held storage media and would capture whatever was printed. Today that could be a gigabyte of IBM Microdrive.
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