"In Europe," he says, "people are of the extreme cautionist school - they only do something if it has proven to work in the US.”The problem actually being, the absence of a European Chuck Yaeger to break through the impenetrable sneer barrier:
De Brouwer takes the example of the VScan handheld ultrasound device, recently presented by General Electric. “In Europe, people would say: It can’t be done. In the US they say: It will be done.”
And what about the Tricorder? Would it have been possible to build in Europe?
“No,” says De Brouwer
But like the conferences, it seems most of the devices are either American-made or designed. And not European. De Brouwer himself, a Belgian national, recently moved to California in order to start work on the Tricorder.
“People who decide to live in Silicon Valley are larger than life,” he says. “They are romantics, not afraid to take risks or to fail.”
But most of all, he says, they are happy to listen to other people's ideas "with a willing suspension of disbelief,” citing English 19th-century poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.