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Oh Crap, I Did It Again.. The Merging Of Metal Detectors And Smart Phones..


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Steve's post on the merging of metal detectors and smart phones inspired this extremely witty response.. I can see why someone could easily mistake their smart phone for a control box.. 😁 I guess for people glued to their phones all day, nothing much will change when a 'control box app' on our phones becomes a reality.. Can't say I'm looking forward to that day..

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57 minutes ago, Chase Goldman said:

It already exists but this particular implementation appears to be a bust.

That's a real shame.. The company's other detecting accessories were really competitively priced.. I'm surprised they didn't do better, a glace at those prices made me think this was a high-end detector about to take on Minelab.. 

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Hope those prices are in rubles and not dollars, pretty steep haha

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The whole effort is a laugher alright, except for the people who actually shelled out cash for this.   Not necessarily a scam but a confluence of unfortunate events including:

  • The premise that the detector would actually be cheaper if you used your phone as an interface was flawed from the get go.  There is a reason experienced detector manufacturers have not gone down this path and it has nothing to do with selling us dedicated hardware for profit.  It's simply a loser premise that sounds great if you only put about 5 seconds of thought into it.  It attacts a lot of people who have cell phones (hey an app for that!) but who have no clue as to what detecting is about so they got a lot of support on their crowd sourced campaign.
    • The designers quickly found out that you needed dedicated processing in the coil (a la XP) because BT comms are fine for transferring audio, text, and control data but does not allow you to do any signal processing on the phone.  Which meant that coil would be the bulk of the expense and would be more expensive than a "dumb" coil.
    • Just getting an app to meet the requirements of the two app stores as well as providing broad compatibility for "all phones" was a bridge too far.  Even XP has not delivered on that promise fully after 7 years of working on it.
    • Never use a do it all, but do no one thing particularly well (except phone calls, pics, music, gps, and internet), device as your interface.  Too much going on and not what you need when you are trying to focus on detecting
    • The core engineering team was not particularly experienced at detector design so they had no real experience and lessons learned to build from like ML, Garrett, Nokta, XP.
  • Overhyped and underdelivered.  Pretty typical of most of these crowd sourced projects
  • Terrible overall management - I've seen it a thousand times.  Smart engineers have no idea how to run a business, project manage, understand materiel logistics, know how to run a production line.  You had two ears - smart engineer and enthusiastic marketeer but no infrastructure (head/brains) between the ears to bring this across the finish line smartly
  • Terrible overall comms to their backers and customers.  You could see the backlash building even before the product was delivered with deadline after deadline missed and promise after promise broken.  The ultimate slap in the face was when the performance turned out to be barely Go Find worthy with many non-functioning features.
  • Having COVID and an invasion disrupt your supply chain and production doesn't help.

Result:  Abject Failure and a great case study in how not to run a crowd sourced tech toy launch.

I've seen (and predicted) similar flawed and hyped projects go down similar paths.  Not going to name names out of respect but seriously, it is amazing how many level headed people you can get on these nutty "I've got a great idea" bandwagons. (See LRL)

That's not to say there is not room for disruptive, out of the box thought, regarding development of the tools for this hobby but recent threads concerning use of AI and other thoughts are usually raised by folks who are familiar with the  "enabling" concept but not familiar with the dominating physical principle in use for metal detecting - Faraday's Law of Induction and its implementation through induction balance (aka VLF's) and Pulse Induction.  If you know what is going on there, its a pretty crude but effective way to discern different types of metal in the ground but it also presents a lot of ambiguity because of overlapping material properties.  So a lot of time is spent on how to discriminate junk targets and accurately ID desirable targets through the power of microprocessor-based signal processing.   To really turn the hobby on its head, is probably not going to be AI applied to induction balance, pulse induction but harnessing a completely different physical principle to get the job done.  IMO

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I see no reason why a properly made app could not control a Deus coil, and actually be a better interface. The XP menu system is nothing to brag about, and something better designed, in color, on my big iPhone 12 screen, would be great. You could still use the headphones to actually hear targets. Just an alternative, and much better control interface, would be a plus.

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1 hour ago, Steve Herschbach said:

I see no reason why a properly made app could not control a Deus coil, and actually be a better interface. The XP menu system is nothing to brag about, and something better designed, in color, on my big iPhone 12 screen, would be great. You could still use the headphones to actually hear targets. Just an alternative, and much better control interface, would be a plus.

It can be done, obviously and I can see the value in that capability (visual graphics).  And I suppose it would be good for some to have that option as a cost savings measure with better visual functionality and functional navigation.  Most UK folks only use the remote to program custom programs and they detect with nothing but the smart headphones so they have moved away from even simple TID displays and rely totally on audio.

In my specific case, my phone's doing enough as an assist tool while I'm detecting (comms device to my detecting partners, taking pics and documenting finds, information look ups, GPS tracking and topo/lidar maps nav reference), need to keep it separate from also being my main detecting device and also being exposed to the abuse of being fully exposed to the environment.

XP should just design the UI better on their dedicated box (it costs $750 US standalone for gosh sakes). (take a lesson from Nokta Legend in logical UI navigation or Invenio for graphics) and they obviously are challenged with just getting an app that simply communicates with detector on the street for some reason.  Like I said, XP has been 7 years working on a companion app and counting.  I am sure someone else could be more successful at it.  

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4 hours ago, Chase Goldman said:

Most UK folks only use the remote to program custom programs and they detect with nothing but the smart headphones

That's mainly because the remote keeps falling off the handle.. 😆

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My biggest reason for not wanting to see 'control box apps' become a reality too fast is that I leave my phone at home when detecting or prospecting.. Not just to avoid calls but mainly to avoid any distraction.. I like being far outside the 'real world' when I concentrate on the ground beneath my feet.. Besides my metal detector, I don't really need any other assist tools or clever phone apps to do that.. If anything they take away from the experience.. For me, checking GPS positions, logging finds, taking pictures/video, calling friends whilst detecting or even looking up information right there and then, all take away from the moment of the hunt.. They don't make the joy of finding something valuable any more joyful.. If anything the suspense of waiting until you get home to look up information is a great thing in itself, instant gratification is not always what it's made out to be..         

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