A couple of weeks back, I was chatting with someone on the subject of logic analyzers, and mentioned the old HP1630G (which I no longer have, but whatever). I was vaguely remembering that it had the HP Interface Loop for saving data to tape, and maybe also printing.
Which led me to a Ludicrous Product Idea: implement HP-IL in firmware on some modern MCU, and emulate a tape drive using a micro-SD card for storage.
The market for this would be right around zero units, but it'd be cool, right...?
Well, today I was chatting with some medical-device types, and suddenly went off on a tangent involving a thing I saw in a collection of "Amateur Scientist" projects that had originally been published in Scientific American back in the 1950s and 60s - you know, back when they still published interesting home-science stuff. This idea is... well, it's almost totally off the wall... but not quite entirely so. It might conceivably be practical and have actual utility, so I guess I'd better keep quiet about it until I've had a chance to do a bit of research. It's right there in the zone of being probably (but not certainly) a complete dud, but if it's not a dud it has awesome possibilities, and the idea seems just stupid enough that maybe nobody's tried it yet.
Update: A quick examination of current, respectable work in the relevant field suggests that this latest Wacky Idea is, indeed, entirely out to lunch. I may, however, wish to review work from the 1950s.