Wireless world left with high-tech search

Our high-tech, Wi-Fi world offers marvels of inter-connectedness that would have been considered science fiction not long ago.

Technology that allows a doctor to interact with a patient in another city via a virtual presence is coming to a nearby hospital. Emergency beacons can locate people buried in an avalanche.

Digital capabilities also can be alarmingly omipresent and ceaselessly observant. Grocery stores print coupons based on your purchases. Traffic cameras issue tickets for moving violations. Cellphones leave a trail as owners travel between towers. Pilotless aircraft can strike targets halfway around the world from the operator.

That makes the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 more perplexing. How does an entire Boeing 777 vanish?

Turns out, flights over oceans aren’t tracked as closely as those over land. Technology exists to follow and monitor air traffic at all times everywhere. But that would be costly and require a multi-national effort.

High-tech search efforts do exist, however.

DigitalGlobe aimed cameras from its satellites Saturday on the region where the flight went silent; images are being made available on a website, Tomnod, so people worldwide can help hunt for the missing jet.

Plus, the flight data recorder has a locator beacon that works under water and can be detected up to two miles away.

But for now, waiting and watching are all that remain.