Module 5: Red Queens and Increasing Returns


I can still remember when DVDs were introduced and I started sending my VCR tapes to what Yeebo (2004) calls the “technological graveyard”. People like myself were joining others in saying goodbye to Blockbusters’ motto, “Be kind, rewind,” and embracing the simplicity of popping in a disk, and ejecting the disk. Currently it looks like DVDs are heading in the same direction as VHS tapes; to be replaced by something new.

There is a new technology currently on the market that I love called VOD or video-on-demand. VOD is great because it’s fast, easy, and I can view movies from the comfort from my home. The purpose of this week’s blog is to determine if DVDs and VOD are Increasing Returns or Red Queens.


Red Queens and Increasing Returns are technological terms used to describe how technology behaves (Laureate Education, 2014e). The term Red Queen is from a scene Alice in Wonderland (Burton, Zanuck, Roth, Todd, & Todd, 2010), where both the Red Queen and Alice never get anywhere, despite running as fast as they can (Laureate Education 2014g). Arthur’s (1996), definition of Increasing Returns is when there are several technologies available at the same time, one of the technologies overtakes the other in terms of popularity and makes the previous technology obsolete. At this time, my DVDs are not heading the way of the dodo, but according to the Increasing Returns theory (Laureate Education 2014e), there is a possibility that one day they may be.

To determine if DVDs and VOD are Red Queens or Increasing Returns, I used McLuhan’s Tetrad to help me. By using the theories of McLuhan’s Laws of Media, I was able to examine further how DVDs and VOD enhanced, retrieved, revered, and made other technologies obsolete (Laureate Education, 2014g). Below are my tetrads discussing both DVDs and VOD.


The quality of DVDs is one of the reasons it replaced VHS cassette tapes. The picture quality was enhanced due the technology currently available for video recordings. Pictures were sharper, clearer, and with the addition of Blu-Ray, gave the impression that viewers were actually in the movie theater (Dawson, 2010).

DVDs made VHS tapes obsolete simply by their design (Dawson, 2010). The design of the DVD makes viewing and returning movies easier on consumers. No longer would people need to put the tape in, watch the video, rewind, and then return it. DVDs simplified the process by allowing viewers to put the DVD in the machine, watch, eject it, and then return it.

DVDs are smaller versions of the LP or vinyl albums. For people who grew up on this technology it rekindles the times when they would head off to the local record store and select their records to play at home. Much like the vinyl records, DVDs offer a wide selection, and they also include the pretty cover jacket, which reminds people of the album cover jackets from the past (Hayes, 2013).

While DVDs are superior in quality to the VHS tapes, VOD may replace them, just as DVDs replaced VHS tapes. The reason of course is the quality of the DVDs. If DVDs do not continue to advance and improve their quality, they may find themselves replaced as well.


VOD went beyond the basics of DVDs by eliminating the need for people to buy a DVD player. VOD allows consumers to view, select, and pay for movies from the comfort of their homes without a need for a separate trip to the video store (Lafayette, 2014).   This experience enhanced their need for instant gratification.

VOD eliminates or obsoletes the need for consumers to have broadcast TV. Consumers will not need to wait to see when and if their local TV stations will show their favorite movie. Now, people are able to choose the time and day when they wish to watch a movie.

VOD rekindles the past when jukeboxes were in bars and various entertainment venues throughout the country. People could walk into an establishment and listen to their favorite song on the jukebox. There was no need for people to wait until the radio decided to play their favorite song.   This need was satisfied almost as soon as people walked into their favorite entertainment establishment by simply paying the fee, selecting the song, and pressing play.

VOD reversed the need to spend more money to be entertained. Most of the services available on Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, and Vudu are affordable for consumers. There is no longer a need for people to pay for gas, parking, movie admissions, and snacks when they want to see a movie. For a fraction of the cost, people are able to watch movies at home. They would also have the satisfaction of knowing that whatever movie they choose, it will never be sold out and the movie is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week (Flacy, 2015).

Using the earlier definitions of Red Queens and Increasing Returns (Laureate Education 2014e), it is my opinion that DVDs and VOD are Increasing Returns. Now once upon a time, both DVDs and VOD was Red Queens, but that is no longer the case. Due to the ease of accessing movies and the relative low cost of purchasing them, I think that VOD will become the dominant technology and cause DVDs to become obsolete. What are your thoughts?



Arthur, W. B. (1996). Increasing returns and the new world of business. Harvard business review, 74(4), 100-109. Retrieved from

Burton, T. (Director), Zanuck, R. D. (Producer), Roth, J. (Producer), Todd, S. (Producer), & Todd, J. (Producer). (2010). Alice in Wonderland [Motion picture]. United Kingdom; United States: Walt Disney Pictures, Roth Films, The Zanuck Company, Team Todd.

Flacy, M. (2015). Battle of the streaming giants: Which streaming service is best for you. Retrieved from

Hayes, D. (2013). Six reasons why dvds still make money-and won’t die anytime soon. Retrieved from

Hoffman, P. (n.d.). VOD. Retrieved from

Lafayette, J. (2014). Streaming helps cut 3qlive tv viewing. Retrieved from

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014e). David Thornburg: Increasing returns [Video file]. Retrieved from

Laureate Education (Producer). (2014g). David Thornburg: Red queens [Video file]. Retrieved from

Yeebo, Y. (2014). Inside a massive electronics graveyard. Retrieved from

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Science Fiction as a Force for Emerging Technologies

This week, I learned how science fiction plays a huge part in stimulating the creative juices to come up with new tech. One of sci-fi technologies I love and would like to see one day is memory manipulation. I think that movies showcasing this technology make for a great movie. Think about it, controlling one’s  memories is a powerful thing. If someone has the ability to change a person’s memory, it’s a little like mind control. A person would be able to control and change the way they interact with people. It can also be a technology, which can be abused and misused, but we can do that any type of technology, such as hacking.

I was also reminded of a movie I haven’t seen in a while, but shows what happens when people have the power to manipulate not only their memories, but also manipulates the memories of the people around them. Below is the link for the trailer to The Butterfly Effect.

On a side note, I learned that the butterfly effect is an actual thing!




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The Disruptive Power of MIT SixthSense Project

sixthsense palm photo

(Archakam, 2010, figure 4: Using palm for dialing a phone number)


Components of SixthSense technology (Wright, 2010)

SixthSense technology is a wearable technology that enhances the physical world by  augmenting the physical world  with digital information and lets us use natural hand gestures to interact with that information  (Mistry, 2009). SixthSense uses a camera, projector, a mirror, a phone, and colored caps. Below is a video describing the technology:

Everything on the device is connected wirelessly using Bluetooth, or the Wi-Fi on a smartphone (Chandra, Naik, & Patel, 2015). The technology can interact with your world as you go about your daily activities (Mistry, 2009). If you want to take a picture, instead of taking out your camera, you can use fingers, and the hardware will take it for you. Think of Tom Cruise’s character in the film Minority Report (Spielberg, Molen, Curtis, Parkes, & de Bont, 2002), when he was using his hand to manipulate the data on the screen at Precog, the central police headquarters.

The use of sixthsense like technology is not only useful in science fiction, but there are numerous social benefits in the applications of this technology as well.

Social Benefits of Sixth Sense Technologies


(Augmented reality for autism, n.d.)

One of the social benefits of the SixthSense technology is in education. An example for educational use is helping students with autism. Timothy Byrne, of Western Washington University, is the creator of SixthSense for Autism. This project focuses on giving its users social cues for basic everyday situations (Augmented reality for autism, 2010.) The video below explains in more detail how to use the device.

SixthSense Technology and its Lack of Disruptive Power

Technology that disrupted other technology (Swetha, 2013)

Technology that disrupted other technology (Swetha, 2013)

Both Thornburg and Harvard Business review describe a disruptive technology as an ideal that comes out of left field and usually changes a technology and elevates it to the point where we can no longer ignore the new technology (Laureate Education, 2014a, Harvard Business Review [HBR], 2013). When SixthSense was first introduced, there was a lot of excitement and speculation about how SixthSense would change the way its users see and view the world but there seems to be little talk about the technology now (Tsering, 2013).  In terms of an emerged technology, SixthSense is not yet at that stage because the general public does not have access to it, nor has it replaced current technology such as when email replaced hand-written letters (Laureate Education, 2014a).


Tomassetti, 2009

Tomassetti, 2009

Currently, SixthSense has not reached critical mass where the product is available for mass consumption and it seems to be forever stuck in the developmental stage (Rogers, 2003). Perhaps in another 5 to 10 years the technology will be readily available. There are a few devices currently on the market that are emerging to replace sixth sense. Nymi is a wearable computing device that is designed to replace the need to remember passwords. The device works by recognizing the heartbeat of the person wearing it and uses a person’s unique heartbeat signature to log on to computers and access other secured devices (Beal, n.d.).


King, 2013

Below is a video describing the capabilities of the device

Personal opinion for SixthSense applications in specific industries

            In a k-12 classroom, SixthSense technology has the potential to transform the classroom. Students and teachers are no longer confined using a handheld device such as a camera or an iPad. The absence of a handheld device will allow students and teachers to explore and engage in their environment more freely than before. For example, suppose the students were to take a school trip to the museum to gather information on dinosaurs for a group project. Students would be able to take photos using their fingers and have all the information added to their SixthSense device. Then, the students would be able to  use a flat surface in the museum to post their pictures and work together on their dinosaur project. There would be no need for teachers to be concerned about student’s breaking the school’s camera or iPad, and students would be engaged with the activity and learning.

Final Thoughts

SixthSense technology has some social benefits by allowing its users to remain productive and interact with others socially. The only problem I predict with SixthSense technology, much like in the film, The Matrix, is that the user may never be able to disconnect from the system. The technology is such that the interfaces merge effortlessly with the real world; unfortunately, we can often forget how important it is to disconnect and reconnect with the real world.



Archakam, K. C. (2010, November 13). SixthSense technology [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Augmented reality for autism. (2010, May 28). Augmented Reality for Autism [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Beal, V. (n.d.). Nymi. Retrieved from

Bigmoviefanatic. (2002, March 8). Minority report (2002) trailer [Video file]. Retrieved from

Byrne, T. [WesternID]. (May 14, 2010, ). SixthSense for autism by tim byrne [Video file]. Retrieved from

Chandra, M., Naik, A., & Patel, P. (2015, April ). Study of Sixth Sense Technology. International Journal of Research, 2(4), 915-919. Retrieved from

Harvard Business Review. (2013, November 22). The explainer: Disruptive innovation [Video file]. Retrieved from

King, B. (2013). The nymi bracelet can unlock your android devices by reading your heartbeat, pre-orders now available for $79. Retrieved from

Laureate Education . (2014a). David Thornburg: Disruptive technologies [Video file]. Retrieved from

Laureate Education. (Producer). (2014a). Elliot Soloway: Emerging vs. emerged technologies [Audio file]. Retrieved from

Mistry, P. (2009a). The thrilling potential of SixthSense technology [Video file]. Retrieved from

Mistry, P. (2009b). SixthSense: Integrating information with the real world . Retrieved from

Nymi . (December 3, 2014, ). The nymi band by nymi [Video file]. Retrieved from

Rogers, E. M. (2003). Chapter 6: Attributes of innovations and their rates of adoption. In Diffusion of Innovations (5th ed.). New York : Free Press.

Rogers, E. M. (2003). Chapter 8: Diffusion networks. In Diffusion of Innovations (5th ed.). : Free Press.

Spielberg, S. (Director), Molen, G. R. (Producer), Curtis, B. (Producer), Parkes, W. F. (Producer), & de Bont, J. (Producer). (2002). Minority Report [Motion picture]. United States: Amblin Entertainment, Cruise/Wagner Productions, Blue Tulip Productions, Ronald Shussett/Gary Goldman Productions.

Swetha, B. (2013). Examples of disruptive technologies. Retrieved from

Tomassetti, G. [Quoter]. (2009, ). April 6 [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Tsering (2013). What happened to sixth sense and Pranav Mistry. Retrieved from

Wright, M. C. (2010 ). SixthSense technology [Video file]. Retrieved from

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Nymi: My Heartbeat is my Password

Researching on the disruptive power of SixthSense and I came upon this “new tech”. Anything with the quotes “new tech” means that it’s new to me. The tech is Nymi, which is a wearable computing device, which is designed to replace the need to remember passwords, and connects you to all your devices. This looks like something  I should seriously look into. Here’s the promo video discussing Nymi.


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Evolutionary Technologies and Rhymes of History Technology


This past week I finished work on Module 3’s subject of evolutionary technologies and rhymes of history technology. Naturally, like everything else with my PhD program, the terminology was completely unknown to me. As luck would have it, I was well aware of both concepts; just didn’t know the technical terms. An evolutionary technology is a technology that is continually developing and changing. A rhyme of history describes a new technology developed from an existing technology or revising a technological breakthrough from the past An example of both would be the mobile phone; seems like a new model is coming out every few months. I guess the takeaway for this week is that technology is similar to Darwin’s theory of evolution…the strong survive while the weak die. I suppose that’s why I’m typing on this lovely 13in MacBook Air instead of typing this in a room-sized computer!



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Rhymes of History Technology

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”- Mark Twain (Earyrs, 1971 p. 121).


“Edison’s Telephonoscope (Transmits Light As Well As Sound).”



On Space Station V, Dr. Heywood Floyd places a videocall to his daughter in 2001: A Space Odyssey

Using Skype to communicate across the world

Using Skype to communicate across the world









Using Twain’s quote (Earyrs, 1972), and drawing from Dr. Thornburg (Laureate Education, 2014h), history has a strong influence on emerging technology. This influence can best be phrased as rhymes of history. Rhymes of history describe new technology developed from an existing technology or revising a technological breakthrough from the past (Laureate Education, 2014h). An example of this is Bell’s videophone technology (past technology) and Skype (current technology). The technological breakthrough from the Bell videophone experiment made way for Skype.

Limited commercial Picturephone service between public locations in three cities-New York, Chicago, and Washington, D. C. began on June 25. The service was inaugurated with a call from Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson in Washington to Bell Laboratories scientist Dr. Elizabeth A. Wood, at the Picturephone center in Grand Central Terminal, New York. Robert F. Wagner, then mayor of New York, is seated at right.

Limited commercial Picturephone service between public locations in three cities-New York, Chicago, and Washington, D. C. began on June 25. The service was inaugurated with a call from Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson in Washington to Bell Laboratories scientist Dr. Elizabeth A. Wood, at the Picturephone center in Grand Central Terminal, New York. Robert F. Wagner, then mayor of New York, is seated at right

Skype technology 2015

Skype technology 2015


Skype is a welcome change to the way we have previously communicated using pen and paper, the telegraph, and the telephone. In the past instead of having to use pen and paper (old technology), we can now use Skype to communicate (new technology). Skype also allows us to see the person we are having a conversation with. Instead of writing a letter and wondering how the person will react to the news, Skype allows us to verbally and visually give news. We can then watch and hear the other person’s reaction.



Being able to see the person we are speaking with has a long history in both film and animation, which brought about the idea of the videophone. The concept of a videophone has a long tradition in both film and animation.




Their use can be seen as early as 1927 in the movie Metropolis (Lang & Pommer, 1927), in Blade Runner, (Scott & Deeley, 1982) and even in an episode of The Simpsons (Daniels & Reardon, 1995).

(Lang & Pommer, 1927) Figure 6: The wall-mounted videophone in Metropolis Trailer link:

An outdoor public video phone service

(Scott & Deeley, 1982)Figure 7: An outdoor public videophone service in Blade Runner. Trailer link:

Video phone using a rotary dial to make calls

(Daniels et al., March 19, 1995) Figure 8: Picture phone using a rotary dial to make calls from The Simpsons. Description of the episode link:’s_Wedding

As technology continues to advance there is no telling what type of communication we will have in the next fifty years. Instead of transatlantic communication we’ll have       trans galactic communication.

Let me know your thoughts!







Below is a mash-up of the videophone technologies in films dating from the early part of the 20th century to the late 20th century. Enjoy!


Berg, L. (2012). Videophones in film [Video file]. Retrieved from

Du Maurier, G. (1879). Edison’s Telephonoscope [Illustration] Retrieved from

Daniels, G., & Reardon, J. (1995). The Simpsons: Lisa’s wedding. In J. L. Brooks, J. Collier, G. Daniels, M. Groening, C. A. B. V. Lewis, . . . M. Wolf (Producers), The Simpsons (March 15)USA: Fox.

Earyrs, J.G. (1972) Diplomacy and its discontents Publisher University of Toronto Press, Toronto

Kubrick, S. (Director), & Kubrick, S. (Producer). (1968). 2001: A space odyssey [Motion picture]. United Kingdom; United States: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Lang, F. (Director), & Pommer, E. (Producer). (1927). Metropolis [Motion picture]. Germany: UFA; Paramount Pictures.

Laureate Education. (2014h). David Thornburg: Rhymes of history [Video file]. Retrieved from

Novak, M. (2013). A brief history of the videophone that almost was. Retrieved from

Scott, R. (Director), & Deeley, M. (Producer). (1982). Blade Runner [Motion picture]. United States: The Ladd Company; Shaw Brothers; Blade Runner Partnership.

Skype. (n.d.).




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Hello Echo

Looking for a new phone case for my iPhone 6 on Amazon and new tech staring me in the face!  The Echo is here. Technology really does have a way of sneaking up on you. I never knew this was in development, yet alone ready for the masses.  Wonder what this would do for a classroom?

echo 1 echo2

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