Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Tube: Revolutionizing material transport

Wished everything just came and went from your house? Well, this post is about using a single real-life physical delivery system using a network of tubes. Think of the "Sucky" tubes in the movie, "Elf" that delivers post, sewage, water, etc.

If it really can be implemented, then it could be a fairly neat system. Especially potentials in online shopping--the warehouse would send your order automagically (not that it doesn't now).

But in order for this to be effective and "real-time", as the guy is imagining, very very difficult problems need to be solved, namely, how to route real things.

His comparison to IP is only half right. In IP, if there is contention at a router, packets are simply dropped. But you can cannot do that with post, water, and sewage. You'd have to develop some type of mechanical router. Not to be a naysayer, but the current delivery systems are 'good enough' and the barrier would be too high for something like this to see the light, unless there was a specialized niche problem that this system solved in the future.

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