Future Solutions: Introduction

Gary Bartos
6 min readMay 19, 2024

Could you help me develop technology that would benefit you or someone you know? Would you work as hard as I do, or possibly harder?

If you’ve landed here, but you haven’t read the Preamble, you might wanna go read that. Use an Optophone, if you have one, and if Medium supports it.

A photo from 1921 of “The Optophone,” a device to assist the blind to read.
Optophone! From LookAndLearn.com

In future posts I’ll publish proposals for technology I think should exist. If you’d like that technology to exist, too, and if you can contribute appropriately to product development, please contact me. But please read the rest of this introductory post first.

Also check out the List of Proposals:

Proposal Format

Books like The Tao of Startups by James LaLonde, Million Dollar Weekend by Noah Kagan, and The Lean Startup by Eric Ries are good references if you want to understand the proposal format I’ll be using.

It’s fairly simple, and just my spin on an approach that’s been around since before any of those books were conceived, and indeed before anyone living was conceived.

  • Problem statement: what is the need to be addressed?
  • Solution: some details about implementation
  • Users: who would want this? why? how do we know?
  • Obstacles: difficulties that would need to be addressed
  • Workaround: means to address the obstacles, at least for the proof of concept, but potentially for a future solution
  • Proof of Concept: description of an experiential prototype, a “Wizard of Oz” prototype, or some other prototype users can test, preferably without the developer(s) having to write code or build a device

For many proposals I won’t dive too deep into the Solution, largely because I don’t want someone to continue development and claim credit for it. That sucks. That has sucked for me several times over the course of my career.

The Necessity of Credit

For people who work in R&D, credit is a necessary component of compensation. Sometimes you end up re-inventing something that someone halfway across the world developed in the decade when you were born, but that’s different. When you find that out, you credit them, maybe even send them thanks or offer to take them out to lunch.

But some people actively seek technology to copy and then claim as their own.

That stinks. It hurts financially, especially if you run a small business.

Contact Me, If Appropriate

The proposals in upcoming blog posts are intended to offer just enough information to start a discussion. If you read a blog post in this Future Solutions series, and if the tech solution would be very important to you, and if one of the bullet points below would apply to you, then please contact me.

Please contact me if…

  • You want to see a problem solved AND you have the marketing and/or startup experience to figure out who wants the solution, how development would be funded (not just could be funded), what business model would likely work, etc.
  • You want to see the problem solved for yourself AND you already have a strong, “warm” (recent) contact who is interested in funding development for the solution.
  • You know there are solutions out there, but you want / need something 10x better and/or much cheaper. AND you can do work in marketing, funding, sales, or the like.
  • You have worked on a similar solution, you’re funded or at least partly funded, but you’re stuck. AND you’ve already asked questions on StackOverflow and Reddit. Maybe I can help.
  • You need the solution, you can bring something to development to ensure a product will be made, and you can commit to working to ensure this happens.

What I Get Out of It

Closure. I’m especially interested in improving equity for people with disabilities.

Making money is nice. Necessary. As my friend Beno says, I have an addiction to food, clothing, and shelter. And there’s a Corgi to consider.

I may not actually co-develop the product. Depending on the situation I might just provide a writeup and/or proof of concept to someone who can develop a solution, once I know they have the abilities and funding to follow through.

At the very least I’ll want some credit. I’m available for consulting. Part-time work is an option. Acting as an advisor is an option. Co-ownership is worth considering. If the project is promising, it’d be grand to help for a while.

Echobatix, my benefit corporation, is tasked with creating assistive tech (a.k.a. disability tech). There are lots of ways I / we can help if the project is sufficiently promising. Money keeps the company (and me) afloat, but there are lots of options.

Contact info for me is provided below, two sections down. But first, please read the next section.

If Not Appropriate, Don’t Contact Me

Simple, right?

What I won’t be doing:

  • I won’t help with student projects, hobby projects, or half-serious inquiries, so please don’t contact me about them. In my experience, students need too much help. Student projects and hobby projects don’t become products that can be sold at scale. If you’re new to product development or to assistive tech, post a question on StackOverflow or Reddit instead.
  • I won’t hunt after “the money.” I already have to think about funding for my company, and I need to focus on R&D rather than do all of the heavy lifting on new projects. (However, I can write pitches and present when the time comes.)
  • I won’t be offering jobs or mentoring unless / until a project is funded and reaches a stage at which that makes sense. Even then, I may only offer to help with interviews.
  • I won’t explain how some tech works until / unless a project is underway, and perhaps only after a mutual NDA has been signed. If you don’t believe some X that I’ve proposed is possible, or if you think X is impossible, then yee-haw. Go write your own blog post about that. Go become a billionaire. Be happy about that.
  • I won’t jump through hoops. If you’re a gate keeper, consider me (and like-minded folks) uninterested in approaching your gate. Non-starters include comments similar to “If you develop a prototype, I’ll consider …” or “I’m the only one who can help you…”
  • I won’t answer inquiries that are even slightly sketchy. No overhyping, no exaggerations, no promises of “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a technology today.
  • I won’t grovel too much before my current advisors. You understand why I’m doing this, right? And how we can set appropriate constraints?
  • I won’t be putting cash into development. Done that enough!

How to Contact Me

I’ve disabled most notifications for social media, so I may not see your comment here. Who needs little pings, buzzes, and other attention stealers throughout the day?

If you have a serious inquiry, please send an email to

(my company name, e___x) “at” (Google’s email service) dot com

If you can solve that little puzzle, then that’s some indication you’re willing to do at least a little work toward a project of mutual interest.

In the subject heading of the email, please include the text “future solution” or “proposal.”

Preamble & List of Proposals

If you haven’t read the Preamble that precedes this introductory post, here the like:

And here’s a link to the list of proposals written so far:

--

--

Gary Bartos

Founder of Echobatix, engineer, inventor of assistive technology for people with disabilities. Keen on accessible gaming. echobatix@gmail.com