Technology…What’s Next?

Was reading my morning paper and found a fascinating, yet worrisome, article announcing that Delta Airlines would be installing baggage drop off stations that employ biometric facial-recognition technology. With these stations you tag, weigh and drop off your bags without any interaction with a Delta employee. No mention of how much this will cost (and you know it will) nor how this will work if they are not storing images?

Fascinating technology? You bet. Great for the traveler? I doubt it. Great for Delta. Of course. Now they can eliminate employees and save money, as if they are not making a killing now. They call this “technological unemployment”.  I prefer the term “screw you, find another job”…..

Now I know I am old school and there’s no stopping technology but will the jobs created by designing and manufacturing these baggage stations outnumber the ones being lost or will it simply be a revolving door with the new jobs being lost as well thanks to future advancements? Where does it all end and is it really a good thing?

So what the hell does this have to do with metal detecting? Not a damn thing…just got me going.

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EVER WONDER WHAT’ COMING?

Try as I might I cannot imagine what a metal detector will look like in the year 2025. I remember thinking way back when that it wouldn’t be long before we would all be able to see the detected item before we dug it.  A sort of X-ray. Well thirty years later…nada!!. Hasn’t happened.  I must remember however the limited number of manufacturers as well as the number of engineers they employ. We are small potatoes folks. Sure related technology is being worked on elsewhere but will it translate and transfer over?  Perhaps but I’m not sure it would be a good thing. The number of newbies entering the pastime would be overwhelming and the availability of places to hunt would almost certainly dry up.

What do you think? What is that you want to see happen in the coming years. What new features would you like to have?  Right now the buzz word is “wireless” and I must say I thought this technology would have been perfected and been a standard feature in every metal detector by now. I realize the sticking point is the audio response timing but still….? I wish too the manufacturers would think more about “noticeable” changes instead of minor ones that demand adding numbers after the name or suffixes like Pro, Max and Master.

I don’t doubt there will be a big breakthrough in detector technology soon but when is the mystery. Besides wireless the attention of late has been in accessories like pinpointers and in, excuse me, unnecessary things like shovels, cameras and camouflage.  Yes I know anything for a buck but come on folks and will someone please tell me why you want a camo detector or pinponter?  Save that rush for Sunday services…

Finally, understand I was born in 1941. No TV’s, computers, cellphones or air-conditioning. Minimum wage was 43 cents per hour and only 55% of the country had indoor plumbing. Why I used to have to shoot my dinners, cook it over an open fire and fight bears on my 30 mile walk to school each day.

Nah just kidding….it was only ten miles.

On a more serious note I do remember having a helluva good time growing up. Life was simple, life was good and we didn’t miss what we didn’t have. Kind of where we are at today or at least where we should be….

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Q & A with D.J. Yost coming up soon….

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18 Comments

Filed under Metal Detecting

18 responses to “Technology…What’s Next?

  1. heavymetalnut

    I’d like to see x-ray technology as well. I can see you at a park waving that thing up womens backsides now Mr. Stout lol

  2. Joe

    Dick, anyone who’s been around this hobby for more than 10 minutes, and who has a modicum of common sense, will admit that the ‘secret’ to great success in this pursuit is the SPOTS, not the units. Location, location, location. Of course, I’m not advocating to go cheap and use second-rate equipment, but the constant drumbeat from detectorists for newer, newer, newer every few months is ridiculous. The key to finding great stuff on a regular basis is quite simple (IMO)…

    Buy the best machine one can afford, that suits his/her style of hunting and specific applications, and then learn the $h@t out of it. Period. Invest your time into research, or trying as many new hunting spots as you can, and I assure you, the finds will flow. Of course…

    The manufacturers won’t tell anyone this, as they need to keep their coffers nice and fat. So they constantly release ‘the latest and greatest’, which most of the time consists of an added new feature or two and some fluffy bells and whistles. If I owned a company, I’d do the same thing. Lest we forget, since so many of us (myself included) have a deep, burning passion for this hobby, but, from the manufacturers standpoint, this is simply a BUSINESS. They need to move product.

    I’ve been saying this for years…INCREMENTAL advancements in this hobby are the norm, and the most profitable for the manufacturers. Which is why the depth of machines isn’t keeping speed with the changing years on a calendar. Ask yourself this…

    If a company had a machine they were sitting on right now, which was capable of getting an extra 3″ of depth beyond anything else currently on the market, would they release it? Most people would say yes, but I say no. If they ever released the unit in question – yes – they would make a killing financially, but they’d also be shooting themselves in the foot, as they’d have nowhere to go from there. Guys would buy’m, clean out new depth strata, and be looking for a ‘better’ unit next year that’ll go 3″ deeper. Lol. Much savvier (and fiscally wise) for a company to SLOWLY roll out an army of new units that each go .50″ or 1″ at a time, and squeeze as much money out of us as possible 😉

    As for the 3D capable units, never say never, but even if it could be done, again, why would they release it? Think about it for a second…

    Suppose their was a detector right this second that could accurately tell someone when they had a gold ring under their coil. Aside from taking much of the fun/mystery out of the hobby, it would also lower the barrier to entry into this pastime (no operator skill needed!). Further, the machines would be SO good, that an operator could theoretically go out and find 5 or 10 gold rings per outing. That’s terrific, but how much do you think a manufacturer would want for a unit like this? I’m sure guys would spend $15,000 or $20,000 (in the least) for a machine of this capability. But the competition would increase 100 fold, resulting in everyone finding less as an outcome…so we’re right back to square one.

    Unless you’re a gear-head who enjoys tinkering and constantly playing with new units, have one or two trusted machines, and devote as much time as you can to research. Use the money you save by not purchasing all the unnecessary crap that’s constantly being pitched to us, and put it towards your divorce once your spouse becomes a detecting widow 🙂

    • Joe, excellent points but I’m not sure that a manufacturer wouldn’t put out a detector that went 3 inches deeper. Remember I was a marketing director for one years ago and there’s no holding back. The competition is fierce and there an acute awareness of what the competition is up to. When one releases a detector the others get it and take it apart. Both marketing and engineering are under intense pressure to, as you stated, move product. I heard it every single day.

      There was also pressure from distributors who needed “new products” to push….their dealers were already stocked with last year’s models and didn’t need more, but a new one, heavily advertised? It’s all a game and the end user has to be a wise buyer or else he get’s an extra knob or new paint job.

      One situation that pissed me off royally was when a very large distributor took it upon himself to put a small light on one if our models (that was synced with the audio) and gave it a “new and improved” label. He claimed it was for the hard of hearing. Needless to say that’s the one everyone wanted and the rest of our distributors were incensed that we didn’t have it and how could we have let him get away with it. The answer? He was the largest distributor/seller in the country. Still is….

      You are right though about research and finding good places to hunt. I’ve long advocated getting a decent mid-line machine and learning it inside out. They all have nuances or if you want, character. The realization is that today everyone has to have the latest greatest and money is no problem. Honestly I could never justify the money I see tekkies spending today. Just blows my mind.

      Now that I have once again pissed off the manufacturers and a large seller, thank you Joe for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts. I love this kind of discussion and back and forth.

      • Joe

        Dick, you know more about the marketing end of things than I ever ever will, so maybe you’re right about them not holding back on innovation, but I still have my suspicions. Consider this…

        What did a top-of-the-line detector cost in the 70’s & 80’s? $400 or $500? That was 30 years ago, and unit costs have basically tripled or quadrupled on some of the top-tier machines. Can you honestly say that the detectors are 3 and 4 times better than they were back then? From a depth perspective, did the ability to detect 2 or 3 times deeper ever come to fruition? In my eyes, it’s a clear NO across the board. Now, I’m not saying that today’s machines haven’t improved, because they certainly have, though nowhere near on pace with the price increases.

        For the record, I’m not a complainer. I happen to LOVE the machine I currently use, and generally stick with one detector for many years. I’m simply trying to illustrate that most of what is pushed in this hobby as ‘newer & better’ are basically rehashings, nothing more.

        Like any other business, the need to sell the sizzle, and not the steak, is the name of the game. And people buy into the hype because instead of putting in the work looking for better hunting spots, they believe the ‘new’ machines will magically turn their beat-to-death spots into virgin sites again.

        Gotta say, your story about the detector with the light for the hard of hearing was a GOOD one, and doesn’t surprise me in the least! 🙂

      • Joe, never said they were three or four times better nor do I think they are all worth the price they are asking. That’s why I find the cost of pinpointers so ridiculous. There’s also just too many variables when determining a detector’s depth….ground, mineralization, weather, trash, coil configurations, settings, user expertise, etc..

        Not too long ago I went out with my old 6000di S2 (as well my Garrett Groundhog VLF/TR) and came home with a few decent finds.

        As for the detector with the light….think you know who I was referring to.

  3. BigTony

    Dick, I would like the brand that I use to have less weight and also a simple way to change coils, period. It goes deep enough and if you really need to go deeper then add a larger coil.

    Another point – there was a dealer in NJ who spoke at club meetings and was asked one night, if there is still silver in parks, (this was in the mid 90’s)? His answer was you are walking over good stuff all of the time. Oh by the way – he sold Whites……..I miss that guy big time, he was a gem for the club and the hobby.

    • Tony know who you are referring to and he was indeed a great guy. Took care of me with repairs and always came to the FMDAC events to repair machines, any brand and no charge.

  4. Yo Ricardo:
    Joe’s right on the money; it’s ALWAYS location, location location. No metal detector irrespective of its ‘whistles and bells’ or hefty price tag, will ALWAYS fail to find what ain’t there. This inescapable fact is completely lost on many Tekkies.

    Even if X-ray machines did hit the market place, they’d still be used by the same people, in the same coin-free places, and they’d still transfer their own lack of detecting savvy onto the machine.

    BTW, a friend of mine had a ‘cammo’ metal detector and laid it down in the grass while he dug a signal. Then couldn’t find it!

    Happy daze

    • Last time the word location came up you mentioned 5 different pubs…

      • Indeed…but why bring bloody metal detecting into the equation? Mayfly, Mayfly,and Mayfly.

        Did you know you can have a real good time at this classic hostelry for $20? No? I thought not. As I recall, the fragrant Fay pressed a £20.00 note into my hand, saying get the beers in handsome, “It’s in his genes. He’s as tight as a duck’s arse and that’s water-tight.” I didn’t believe it of course, well not until I saw that pack of cigs that had written on it…’Good luck to the Lads on San Juan Hill.’

      • This story can only be repeated so many times John…..

  5. Bigtony

    I don’t want to overtake this discussion on “Things you want to see in your new machine” but I have to say that I love “Hunted Out Parks”, those are the areas where as the Pirates say, “You make your bones”. So Joe, if you know of any, again, let me know!

    I was born in 1951 and most folks had black and white TV. Recently they added a plaque to monument park at Yankee Stadium. They showed the stone monuments from way back when…and they were brown. I said to my son I remember those to be gray, maybe they didn’t keep the originals when they moved then from deep center field, (460 feet or more). The players would sit waiting for the next batter or TV commercials to resume play. Then it hit me —– black and white TV made them look gray when all along they were brown.
    So things aren’t what they seem , even in metal detecting.

  6. I say let’s get the high-speed trains going and put them $!#!@! airlines outa’ business!!!!! I’m tired of their foolish crap, (AKA United Airlines et al) especially Delta and their rude employees, and facial recognition technology coupled with doing their work for them is the last straw!!!! I was at a Home Depot the other day, in a crowded checkout line, when one of their employee’s asked me if I wanted to “Self Checkout?” I told em’ I was not one of their employees and the next thing I’d be seeing was a “self-stocking” customer who had to un-box, shelve and stick a price on the product from the warehouse before heading for the checkout. Not happening. As far as new detecting technology, also not going to happen unless some new scientific principles are discovered, and we know the chance of THAT happening here in what’s left of the United States. Not much. Cheers, Dick…good post!

    • Wow, thank you Jim. I agree wholeheartedly about the train/plane issue. Fay and I have used Euro-Rail many times and loved it. Clean, fast, on time and comfortable. Here in the Dallas area I cannot get a train to Houston. Why? Who the hell knows….we are just that far behind our European/Asian counterparts and no one cares. And the jobs it would create? Just blows my mind.

      I also agree with the self checkout thing…..seems I pay more and get less personalized service. I am hoping that all this will catch up to those businesses that are more interested in making a buck than in keeping a customer.

  7. BigTony

    Dick, you hit the nail on the head……American folks know what’s happening and are moving away from companies or stores that don’t help their customers. Folks are not going to take it, same thing will happen to the MD manufacturers

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