I’m back! It’s been a while, end-of-year activities and then, well, vacations, just added up.
I’ve done a lot of thinking recently. Mainly about the direction the world in general is taking. We’re barely starting to get out of an international economic crisis and already CES was bursting with excitement this year, already consumers are expecting new devices, marketers are finding new stuff to hype about. I wonder, didn’t they notice that the economic crisis was nothing but a reflection on over consumption? I know, the cure to a reduced rate of consumption is to start buying again, to feed the economy. But isn’t it a trap? The resources that support our economy are not infinite, but our economy is, it has the “more” keyword written all over.
Just last month leaders from all over the world gathered to talk about the impending problem that is climatic change, I wonder, shouldn’t our economy start transitioning to more sustainable models? Shouldn’t electronics focus on newer paradigms? The new marketing hype should be all about energy-saving devices, intelligent homes, growing your own food, there’s so much that embedded systems can do in those fields.
An example of what I’m talking about, the Copenhagen Wheel. An embedded system, inside a bicycle wheel which integrates intelligent energy harvesting (from pedaling and braking your bike) to help you out with an integrated hub motor when you go uphill. It has all sorts of sensors inside and the “cool” factor: it communicates to your iPhone. The iPhone application gives you data from the sensors and traffic and controls how much the motor helps you, it’s just really cool, and what is it for? To ride long distances on your bike, leave the car for when you ACTUALLY need it. Interested? It’s still a prototype (though I hope it’ll become a product soon, I might just get an iPhone). Here is the project page for more info:
So for me, 2010 shouldn’t be about new consumer products that won’t do too much for us, it should be about redefining the industry, redefining the economy.
Note: I do know what I am saying is almost absurdly idealistic. I know this isn’t the year the economy will actually change. I just want to have that mentality. In my mind change is not only needed, it is an inevitability towards which a lot of indicators are pointing, not this year, it will be a slow process, throughout the coming 20 or 30 years, but for me, change starts this year. We who have the pleasure of working in the electronics field at this point in history are seeing and shaping new paradigms, it is our responsibility to come up with new paradigms that will enable our industry to become sustainable, just coming up with new products is not enough.
Have a great 2010 everyone!