Originally posted by Kewpie
The first computers were room-sized. If they'd decided it was pointless then, life might be much different now.
My problem with arguments like that is that sometimes [often] there are physical/economic
factors that can be foreseen ahead of time which mean that a technology will never get of
the ground commercially.
I was reading an article recently about all the whacky 'futuristic' transport systems people
dreamed up for 'the future' in the 50's and 60's. Most of which have never been adopted,
despite actually working, because they either can't be practically mass produced or they
just are not economic.
Some technologies will follow a similar path to computers, and some will follow a path like
the jet pack.
Both had people claiming that they were the future, and both had detractors saying they
were impractical and would never be anything but a niche product.
I don't know the details of this project and have not yet read the article/s, so can't currently
comment on which side this technology comes down on...
But I do know that there are a number of projects working on making surfaces hydro- and oleo-
Phobic... Some of which involve spray depositing a special coating on the surface.
A process which is a quick, low energy use, reliable technology.
Now that coating might well not be as hard wearing as this technology, but then many/most
applications might not need to be so hard wearing.
If these methods are 10th the price [which given we are comparing sprays with lasers is not
an unreasonable assumption] and last 5 years before needing to be re-applied, then you are
looking at the surface needing to last more than 50 years to recoup the difference...
assuming that even nano-etchings in titanium last that long.
There may well be niche uses in industrial machines with high wear and tear that this would
be better for, but for [say] making hydrophobic cars and windows a 5 year coating for 1/10th
the price/energy cost spray looks like a much more practical solution.
Now of course I might wildly off on my numbers I pulled out of thin air... But my point is simply
that it is actually often possible to look at a new technology and reliably predict [if using
proper rational objective methods and accurate data] if that technology will actually be
scalable and economic against competitors.
Yes, sometimes those predictions can be wrong.
But while we all know the success stories of technologies people didn't think would be big but were.
We don't [often] hear the thousands of other stories of technologies that didn't work out where
people were right.