I just came back from the IRIS instrumentation workshop- A meeting between the users and makers of geophysical instrumentation. I was impressed by two of the presentations. One left a positive impression and one was a negative impression.
The negative one first. It was a presentation of a new MEMS (micro-machined device) device given by HP. When I saw the slide where they plotted the performance of the MEMS device on the low noise model I was impressed and all ears. If this was as good as the chart implied it was a breakthrough! The presenter went on with his story and at the end came the questions: How much was it? When can I get one? Here was the disappointment: He said that it did not have a price, that it was proprietary and not for sale. Any more questions? You have to wonder why he was there.
The positive presentation was from Rick Shultz of the Air Force. He had one slide, that in itself is impressive. He presentation was just as short and elegant. He showed the slide and his message was ‘[The US Air Force] would like to buy a seismometer that has these specs:
As an instrument maker there could be no better request, this is what I want. So often users are reluctant to state what they want. The message we usually get is “go make something and show it to me” or worse they say nothing and so we have to guess what they might want and when you show what you made they go on to tell you all the things that are wrong with it.
So I would like to thank Mr Shultz for his clear message and once I make that particular instrument, I hope he sends me a purchase order!
P.S. here is the URL: IRIS instrumentation workshop presentations for all of the presentations. There were some others that were also very good. I will blog on large N sometime soon.