Another Kid Invents An Airport Device Ignored By Adults

from the simple-solutions dept

Apparently, the adults responsible for airport safety are so busy developing sophisticated and silly devices, they're leaving it to kids to come up with the obvious ones. A while back, an Eagle Scout in the US created a shoe scanner that interested people at Chicago's O'Hare airport. Now, a 12-year-old boy in Scotland has invented a device to monitor airport runways and notify pilots of debris that could interfere with landings and cause crashes. Basically, it's a camera mounted on a little platform with wheels, which rolls along the side of the runway. Folks at the British Airport Authority like the idea so much, they're working with the kid (and presumably some adults) to flesh it out into an actual product. Perhaps the young inventor is a precocious wunderkind, but you have to wonder what the adults have been doing all this time. The kid was inspired by the Concorde crash of 2000, which was supposedly caused by debris puncturing one of the plane's tires. Why has it taken five years to come up with a simple idea to prevent more runway disasters?


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  1.  
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    dorpus, Jun 21st, 2005 @ 2:58pm

    Proud Parent Syndrome

    Maybe the kid has an engineer daddy? How many Science Fair projects are really done by the kids, with no parental help? I can think of plenty of problems that having a roving robot on the runway will cause -- the robot will become an obstacle itself.

     

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    acousticiris, Jun 21st, 2005 @ 4:06pm

    Proud Parent Syndrom, or "not stuck in a box" synr

    I think one thing that us adults tend to lack is creativity when solving a problem. Children instinctively use their imagination as a source of entertainment, and enrichment in their lives. Our school systems to a great job at encouraging our children to come back "down to earth." Math is tought by memorization, and step-by-step problem solving where "doing the work" is as important as getting the right answer in the end. Forget about figuring out a better way to solve the problem, just follow this formula, and 87 steps later you get the answer.
    I see this behavior every day at work. Someone steps up and asks "why are we doing this the way we're doing it." and the response is "because that's the way we've always done it." People aren't encouraged to come up with *new* ideas, they're encouraged to use the old ones in different ways. The rare individual who looks beyond the problem, the instructions and the systemic biases is either entirely disregarded as a whack-o, or if successful is accused of "stricking it lucky."
    So, to debunk this mess, why would such an incredibly smart parent attempt to sell an invention to an airport by using his 12 year old child as a shill? Is this "Proud Parent" likely to be taken more seriously by using his 12-year-old son as a marketing tool? Not likely. Ask any 12-year old how many people listen to him/her and you'll have your answer there...

     

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  3.  
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    dorpus, Jun 21st, 2005 @ 4:13pm

    Re: Proud Parent Syndrom, or

    Hehe, your view of schools says more about what kind of schools you went to. Better schools teach students to think for themselves, refusing to provide specific steps on how to solve a problem.

    I've seen everyday behavior at work, where married people will brag about their children endlessly. I can easily imagine some engineer getting the media involved, then use their influence and bullying to push through an idea because it sounds "pro-family" or whatever.


     

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  4.  
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    DV Henkel-Wallace, Jun 21st, 2005 @ 4:40pm

    Perhaps it's not a big deal?

    ...what the adults have been doing all this time. The kid was inspired by the Concorde crash of 2000, which was supposedly caused by debris puncturing one of the plane's tires. Why has it taken five years to come up with a simple idea to prevent more runway disasters?
    How common are small-debris incidents? Perhaps what the adults have been doing is working on issues that kill more people?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2005 @ 7:18pm

    Re: Proud Parent Syndrome

    omfg!
    I had scrolled up so I couldn't see the author of this shit.
    I thought, "This sounds like a dorpus comment", then I scrolled up, and it was.
    Seek help man. You are sick.

     

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  6.  
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    VonSkippy, Jun 22nd, 2005 @ 9:46am

    Useless fawning

    Ooooo look at the cute kid inventor. Not to hoot on the kid, but it's a completely useless idea. Any major airport spaces planes (both inbound and outbound) at just a few seconds of separation. No "robot camera" is going to have enough time to traverse a runway (which is 1-2+ long) looking for dangerous material. Not to mention that it's already being done - it's called "the pilot".

     

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    Nadine, Jun 22nd, 2005 @ 11:22pm

    C'mon Now

    The kid just suggested something the grownups overlooked: monitor the runway for debris. People go to school to learn how to go from design to product. Unbelief aside this kid is just twelve. Encouragingly BA who I am sure has some expertise as to the timing of planes and etc, is helping the kid to flesh out a useable product.

    (Then with the fairyland ah-golly-mushy thinking aside they will offer to buy the patent from him/his parents for a tiny bit of money and sue other airports for the next 17 yrs....)

     

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  8.  
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    Mousky, Jun 23rd, 2005 @ 7:36am

    Re: Useless fawning

    I guess the pilot of the Concorde that crashed was not doing his job in noticing the piece of debris on the runway.

     

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  9.  
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    Gavelect, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:01am

    Airport Security

    I know some people feel victimised by security measures at airports, and the thought of being profiled is not nice either but after witnessing some of the terror scenes from one of the Ramada Jarvis Glasgow Airport hotels in Scotland I feel a little safer knowing that security measures at all airports across the globe have been beefed up since. After all if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to worry about.

     

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