Why tech development is hard?

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I’m a mechatronics engineering graduate with very little work experience. I’m also about to complete my masters. I’m telling these because I’m actually not that unfamiliar with technology but there are some things that I need to be explained like I’m 5.

Why is it that hard for a non-developed country to produce technology? How hard could it be to do a robotic vacuum cleaner? It’s not like starting from scratch. There’s years of know-how of humankind and it shouldn’t be that hard to reach that information.

We design and implement some simple robots as engineering students. One of them was a robot gripper. Nothing fancy but it was able to grip sensitive objects without harming them.

I don’t understand how a country with unlimited resources, compared to us some students, can’t produce at least this level of technology? I am pretty sure that they can but there must be something that’s preventing them from doing.

Edit: Forgot to add, I’m not living in a developed country.

In: Engineering

8 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

“brain drain” is a major factor. it is easier for intelligent and educated to people to leave and work at already established companies in other countries. it is likely these outside companies will pay better and offer a more comfortable life……if you have the skills would you rather live in USA or not USA

local governments also have to be friendly towards fostering new companies and new innovations. Building factories and training factory workers takes a different framework from allowing creative process of designing entirely new products or services. government subsidies towards manufacturing has a much more tangible understanding than supporting people who may or may not provide an actual product in 10 years development time

Anonymous 0 Comments

For many consumer goods, the question isn’t whether it can be done, but *why* it should be done and whether anybody will decide it’s a good idea.

If you can buy a cheaply made robot vacuum from China for $50 because they already have the factories and the workers, not to mention the mines and other factories to create the raw materials they will need… what benefit is there to setting up all that stuff in your country? Yes it might be beneficial to have high-paying jobs. But if you cannot produce the thing as cheaply as China, very few people will buy your robot vacuum for $75 when they could buy it from China for $50, if you cannot sell products the factory will close, and nobody will benefit. 

There are things like computer chips for example that need such precise machines and controlled environments that only a few factories in the world exist. However most other tech COULD be made in other locations. Nobody has bothered however because it doesn’t seem profitable. 

Anonymous 0 Comments

Well….would you rather do that development work for the salary you can get there, or for the one you could pull down in a wealthy country, that’s part of it. 

If you don’t have an advanced industrial base you’re going to need to be able to aquire components like boards and chips from another country in bulk, usually from an expensive developed one.  Based on the sales price you could achieve locally and the exchange rate how profitable could you make that sale when you’re buying parts from South Korea, Japan or Taiwan?

That’s another big issue.

Anonymous 0 Comments

If you want to make a robot cleaner and sell it on the market, you don’t just need to make the cleaner, you need to make it cheaper or better than cleaners that are made by companies with years or decades of experience. You need to catch up, and it’s hard to do without protectionism of the country. But protective measures are usually hitting the low income people first.

Anonymous 0 Comments

If you can build a robot why would you choose to live in a poorly developed country? You could live almost anywhere because everywhere wants more robots

Anonymous 0 Comments

How hard is it for *you* to make a robot vacuum cleaner from scratch?

Not buying in parts and cobbling it together, not downloading a github navigation script and tweaking it. You have to make the shell, the software, the instructions, the app, the branding and the support?

You have a blank sheet of paper. How many years will it take you to create one? How much will it cost to develop? How much will you have to sell them for to break even?

How much will it cost you? How much money do you need to save up from your other jobs to set aside enough to start this company from nothing?

You can’t hire employees from another robot vacuum competition, you can’t employ interns from local tech universities with a graduate scheme, you can’t get government funding or favourable tax breaks.

When you’re finally finished in ten years time, you’ll have spent $3,000,000 US dollars on development and each of your vacuums will cost $1200.

You’re competing against Chinese brands selling cheap ones for $39 and Roomba selling top-end featured ones that are far better than yours for $799. Nobody will buy one because it’s new, unknown, expensive, late and there are better options to buy.

That’s why it’s hard for developing nations.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It boils down to money and investment. A tech-related company can be set up anywhere but you need the money to keep it running while you do research and development for that tech product. It takes money to fund the required talents and the prototyping. Then the next huge investment comes in the manufacturing process – whether you’re building out your own factory and tooling, or contracting it out to original equipment manufacturers in China, it will cost a mind bogglingly large amount of money.

And even if you come out the other side with a viable product, ready to be sold, who’s to say that people would buy it? Would you buy a robotic vacuum cleaner that came out of that 3rd world country or would you rather buy a Roomba?

Anonymous 0 Comments

Designing is easy. Prototyping is easy. Mass manufacturing is hard. Listen to Musk talk about Tesla, where he says the manufacturing is by far the biggest headache. And it shows, their tech is great, but they still don’t quite have the manufacturing down after all these years.