While emerging technologies have often found early adoption in military applications where spendthrift practices have resulted in $500 toilet seats, perhaps the new area for prodigious spending on emerging technologies is in recreational sports.Weekend athletes can now use carbon nanotubes in their tennis racquets, golf clubs and bicycles. And they’re willing to spend big bucks for the privilege.
So, it’s little surprise that a hand-held, self-diagnostic device is being touted as a tool for British athletes training for 2012 London Olympics rather than for application in the multiple-billon-dollar, point-of-care (PoC) market. Argento Diagnostics, of course, is not ignoring the vast PoC market, but just like about every other company either making nanomaterials or developing a finished product enabled by nanomaterials, they are initially pursing sports applications for a very attractive introduction to the commercial marketplace.
On the one hand, you have a market that will provide all sorts of publicity for your technology (you can imagine that UK-based Argento after the London Olympics will be getting David Beckham to spit into their device) and then you have middle-aged, weekend athletes willing to spend any amount of money to ensure that they can improve their record-best time in their next triathlon.
However, what might make sense for an athlete training for an Olympic event, may not necessarily translate into use by a regular Joe. Either way, this application angle has won the technology a fair bit more media pixels than if they just been plodding through doctor’s offices trying to get them to use the device.