My natural face-recognition skills are strongly inferior even to moderately obsolete computer algorithms. Such thing would work as a neural prosthesis for me, a social-interaction equivalent of a peg leg. Would you want to relieve me and others of such aid?
For the record, I'd strongly prefer if such functionality operated offline, without cloud connection...
Yes. Because there is something called principles. Because freedom is not free. Because there are friends that will ask for help with the same. And because then you can publish/validate the approaches that worked so others would not have to go through the blind alleys.
Hardware is cheap these days, and if you get a good deal on a stereomicroscope the soldering of even tiny SMD parts is about as easy as it can get.
You mean, like, ummm, running some of the widely available fulltext-search indexing software, e.g. the Apache Solr?
The basic problem with your premise is that fully rational, well-adjusted people are so rare their existence borders on mythology. People in general tend to be fairly easy to manipulate and to follow the group they are in (peer-rejection/accetance is a powerful force), or to seek belonging in a group if they aren't in any. In proper context, my conservative guess is that a good half of people will be vulnerable.
Smuggling is not a crime. Import duties are!
That too (but mind that not everybody has one, and not everybody has one able to significantly help when the going gets too tough).
I mean the one that, at least in developed countries, would let you not have to choice between a surgery for your father and education for your children.
Is any of these requirements something that can not be implemented in an open-source way on e.g. a cheap dsPIC chip? The water-resistance and ESD-robustness are also nothing special; from a water-tight housing, conformal coating and a Li-poly battery to an industry standard ESD protection.
I still don't see the reasons for such high costs.
Even the FDA can be worked around; just sell the thing as something else non-medical and allow an user-end reflashing of the firmware that will add the "regulated" functions.
I can imagine the sound-processing core being sold as a naked board by SparkFun for $30, with printable housings available from Thingiverse and user-customizable with Sugru.
Maybe it's a high time for opensource software and electronics hobbyists to enter the field of health-care technology, and put some squeeze from the Great Distributed Bottom onto the overregulated market. Maybe a HAM-radio club equivalent for hearing aids? There must be a lot of retired engineers with bad hearing, certainly enough to come up with something.
It is not a "photo frame". It is a full-featured, though weak, embedded computer with a LCD display. Just because it has a limited firmware and marketers call it a "photo frame" does not take away from its inherent nature.
What's it with people these days that they let themselves be limited with how things are named?
When the DRM is stripped, the files can be multiplied for all the friends/families who care to have them. The legal system does not have to be told about files on a computer, only about the computer itself. Assuming no ill will within the family, the issues can be resolved later after the possession of the physical hardware is resolved.