Gadgets and innovation, value in joking around

Back in the 80’s many of us pre teens got into metal detecting, it along with skateboards, CB radio and arcade video games were all gadget powered exciting and interesting ways to explore the world. The home computer revolution was in on that wave too.
The metal detecting was an interesting form of gambling or hi-tech fishing. Hours of fruitless wandering, but with a gadget held in hand to sweep the ground. Wearing headphones and listening to static and analogue electronic beeps. We mixed and matched between attempts to treasure hunt (responsibly in fields with permission) and sweeping the beach for left coins. It often led to looking at old maps and trying to figure out where to go.
We were working with commercially available technology, but it was really just adapted from the way metal detecting had always been done. That was of course a military application. The purpose of the metal detector disc on the end of a long handle allowing the user to sweep the ground in front of them was clearly to protect the user from the metal they are looking for, namely mines.
I was reminded of the metal detecting craze and the 80’s kit we used by reading this months Stuff magazine ( it and T3 being a great repository of gadget goodness) with the mention of these treasure seeker sandals.
Treasure Seeker Sandals
It turns out these have been around for a little while (a year of so). Basically you wear the meta detector. Now there may be some usability issues here, but as most social metal detecting does not need to protect you from the thing you are searching for it makes sense to do something like this. It challenges the “this is the way we have always done it”.
Even before these became a product though the idea was muted on the patent busting Half Bakery where people share a half baked idea just to get discussion going. I say patent busting as if you are about to try and write up a patent and something has already been published that is close to that idea in the public domain then you have to work a bit harder to describe why its not this piece of prior art.
It has always seemed important to me to explore those things that seem funny or ludicrous initially, as at those extremes, far from the way we currently to things there is always some middle ground to break.
Using the things we already have and combining them opens up interesting opportunities. So its worth just joking about something, standing back from it and having a non serious discussion. It’s not frivolous, its essential to pushing things forward.
If stuck for inspiration just a random click through Half Bakery might get you going too.

3 thoughts on “Gadgets and innovation, value in joking around

  1. Pingback: Gadgets and innovation, value in joking around « Life at the … | Metal Detecting Exposed

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