Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Compressed Sensing: How could Hardware implementations become disruptive technologies ?

I am still wondering how technology developed with Compressed Sensing could be construed at Disruptive Technology, here is reminder of what disruptive technology is:

"...Disruptive technologies do not destroy existing market leaders overnight. They do not get adopted by the entire market at the same time. They do not initially seem to be "better" products (in fact, in the early going, they are often distinctly "worse.") They are not initially a viable option for mainstream users. They do not win head-to-head feature tests. Initially, they do not even seem to be a threat.

Disruptive technologies take advantage of a new manufacturing/business process or technology to provide a cheaper, more convenient, simpler solution that meets the needs of the low end of the market. Low-end users don't need all the features in the Incumbent's product, so they rapidly adopt the simpler solution. Meanwhile, the Incumbent canvasses its mainstream customers, reassures itself that they want the feature-rich products, and dismisses the Disruptor as a niche player in an undesirable market segment. The Incumbent may dabble with the new technology or process, but only in service of its existing business model.

Then the Disruptor improves its products, adding more features while keeping the convenience and low cost. Now the product appeals to more mainstream users, who adopt it not because it's "better" but because it's simpler and cheaper. Seeing this, the Incumbent continues adding ever more features and functionality to its core product to try to maintain its value proposition for higher end customers. And so on. Eventually, the Incumbent's product overshoots the needs of the mass market, the Disruptor grabs the mainstream customers, and, lo and behold, the technology has been "disrupted."

In a previous entry, I was wondering How could Compressed Sensing be seen as a disruptive technology ?
and used some guidance given by Todd Proebsting when he was giving a talk on innovation in programming languages at LL2.

First of all, Compressed Sensing is really a technique not a technology, so I will try to address the technologies that are beginning to use CS at and see if those can be considered disruptive technologies.

  1. In the case of MRI, Compressed Sensing should clearly not be labeled as disruptive as it has clearly been adopted by the large MRI companies to increase the throughput of their machines.
  2. In the Rice single pixel camera case, there is currently a clear advantage in the realm of imaging parts of the light spectrum where the development many sensitive pixels is clearly too expensive. The other interesting aspect of the single pixel imager is the ability to remove the compression scheme which takes most of the battery. But in an age where batteries are seen as the technology to improve, should an imaging hardware be developed just for the purpose of being less power hungry ?
  3. In the case of hyperspectral imagers, any current hyperspectral imager cost between 70K$ to 100K$. A low cost product while not being very efficient (accurate in certain bands) would clearly make the CS hyperspectral imager as a disruptive technology. One of the major underlying reason as to why CS hyperspectral imager have a reasonable possibility of creating a niche market is the ability to provide a large field of view and dynamic range compared to current technology.

For each of these technologies I will try to address the following in the future:

  • Opportunity: what’s the issue?
  • Current solutions: what’s done now
  • Proposal: New disruptive technology
  • Disadvantages why some (many?) will scoff
  • Unmet needs benefits to adopters:
I am sure most of you can make out what the "many will scoff" will be made off ?

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