Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Balloon vision

Anyone who has ever attended the birthday party of a small child will know that at some point in the proceedings an event will occur that inevitably upsets one of more of the children present.

And so it was when Dave Wilson, our beleaguered European Editor visited the small sleepy hamlet of Steeple Claydon in Buckinghamshire, England last weekend to attend the birthday party of the daughter of a close friend.

Towards the end of the party, the birthday girl's helium filled balloon was let loose from its moorings by another child at the party, only to ascend to the 50ft high ceiling of the seventeenth century village hall where the party was being held.

Seeing the lack of disappointment on the child's face, our European editor strode off into the village hall kitchen to ask if any of the adults present might know of any innovative means by which the rogue balloon could be brought down from its lofty heights.

Sadly, most of them shook their heads in despair. One suggested waiting until the balloon deflated. Another suggested hiring a very long ladder. No-one was able to offer any practical suggestions to the conundrum at all.

Upon returning to the main hall, our European Editor was somewhat taken aback to discover that the balloon in question was lying on the floor in the hands of the father of the child, who proceeded to attach a weight to it before passing it back to his daughter.

Needless to say, our European Editor was absolutely intrigued to discover how such a feat had been accomplished and approached the father to discuss the means that he had employed to retrieve the balloon from such a height.

Well, I must tell you, the solution was rather ingenious. The child's father had taken a small, yet rather heavy packet of the children's candy and wrapped it with a voluminous amount of double-sided sticky tape. Having done so, he pitched the projectile directly at the balloon to which it affixed itself. Naturally enough, after it had done so, the laden balloon then descended rapidly to the floor of the village hall!

The retrieval of a balloon from the ceiling of a village hall might at first appear to have little to do with the subject of vision systems design. But those with years of experience in the industry will see it differently.

You see, the solution to the thorny problem of how to retrieve the balloon was only derived through an indirect and creative thought process, using reasoning that was not immediately obvious. And it's that sort of lateral thinking that also sets the successful companies in the vision systems design business aside from the ones that are not.

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