Last blog I introduced my big idea: ‘The SmartER Board’. Now, it’s one thing to have an idea about a product or device, however it’s another thing to be able to actually see through to the physical development or creation of that idea. So while we’ve examined the benefits, today I’d like to look at some complications with the production of this device.
The concept on a whole, although aiming to improve a particular niche in PE land, is complicated in itself, in that it is essentially the first of its kind. Thus, when it comes to actually developing the device, issues such as materials, weight, and of course cost arise.
Like I mentioned in my last blog, the screen of The SmartER board is not necessarily a new technology, but aims to incorporate two different technologies. As an electronic ink and straight electronic display are yet to be interchangeable (to the best of my knowledge), essentially it’s unknown whether this is even possible. However, I’m sure if you told people back in the 50’s and 60’s that in another 50 years, it’d be possible to control devices with their voice, and that touch could be used to navigate screens instead of buttons, they’d be in disbelief. With this knowledge, I am optimistic that one day this technology could be developed. However until that time, The SmartER Board would simply use an electronic display with adaptation to increase usability (see last blog for elaboration).
Further, as mentioned, the materials on a whole would have to be lightweight. Now, I’m certainly no engineer and have a limited knowledge when it comes to computer materials and those of lightweight devices. However, from planes to cars to houses, lightweight technology is not a new concept. A company which even specialises in the production of lightweight materials for the “commercial and military sectors” is called LIFT (Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow). Evidently there are companies out there which specialise in these sorts of issues.
Which brings me to my next point- cost. While it’s great there is the ability to contract companies to develop materials for a prototype, I would imagine this is not a cheap process. As with any business venture, there are a number of costs associated along the way. For The SmartER board, these would include:
- developing lightweight materials,
- the cost of materials alone such as the electronic screens, and in future, the combining of the electronic ink and electronic display (or the research associated with this),
- the the simple cost of production of the device, and of course,
- the cost to the user to cover those production costs and essentially make a profit from the sale of the device.
As this is a new product, it is difficult to estimate costs. However, if it were to be developed and sold, I would imagine the cost to be a few thousand dollars. This would be approximate to that of a TV of a similar size or a computer device. This of course is not a set price, and could certainly change.
Overall, despite these issues, I do believe the project is feasible. I believe there are enough compelling reasons to develop this device, however in doing so, there are certainly a number of considerations.
Let me know your thoughts, or if there are any other complications you may foresee.