Science Fiction Technologies which are now a Reality

Today, there are a lot of projects and companies from private companies and hobbyists that have taken advantage of latest technologies and talent to make things happen. In this blog post I would be sharing some of those cool products showcased in the past in science-fiction TV series, which are now a reality. 

1) Tablet computers shown in ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’, are now ubiquitous, thanks to Apple’s iPads and various other brands that have made Tablet computers a phenomenon around the world. Today Tablet computers are used across places, be it for education, brand feedback or for entertainment purposes.

2) In the Jetsons, one got to witness driverless and flying cars. Now we have driverless cars being regularly on trials across roads. And soon flying taxis as well, with drones looking to ferry passengers being tested by companies like Boeing and at cities like Dubai.

3) Again on ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’, a holodeck was built to create virtual reality experiences for its participants. Today virtual reality headsets are becoming increasingly popularly, with these headsets being used for gaming, training, learning and development and even in the maintenance of equipment.

Here are some more that were showcased on movies, and which are now a reality.
4) Wearable Computing – Back to the Future II (1989)
5) Skype – 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
6) Touch Interface – Minority Report (2002)
7) Robot Assisted Surgery – Sleeper (1973)
8) Smartphones/PDAs – Star Trek: The Original Series (1966)
9) 3D Printing at Home – Weird Science (1985)
10) Siri – 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Check out these and more on this Gizmodo articleMany of these projects would not have been a reality had it not been for the generous support and funding of innovators in their research and development efforts.

Crowdfunding Electric Cars

There are already some electric car pioneers that have tried to finance their development with Crowdfunding. These crowdfunded cars are often equipped with innovative technologies or have rediscovered features that appeal to people that care for a sustainable future.

Characteristic features are for instance; lightweight aluminium chassis, ultra compact in size and variable length, three-wheeler configuration, auxiliary removable battery, solar panels on the car body, natural moss breathing air filter and bidirectional charging for energy grid storage use, or for the charging of other equipment. Another interesting fact is that the companies developing electric cars are spread over different countries in Europe and North America, but not only in traditional car producing countries.

A list of the selected cars and their characteristics are presented in the table below, and could give you a feeling for the innovative specs used in each car, and perhaps make you interested in them, or the crowdfunding of the same. The list is very likely not complete, since the brief search has probably only scratched the surface of the heap of all crowdfunded electric cars there are around today.

Most of these crowdfunded cars, found during a Google research, are more affordable short range cars, but some are more like “Super” cars. Thus the amounts of money that have been gathered in the Crowdfunding process are different in size; it seems that the more affordable electric cars are the ones that are more prone to succeed with their goals, but in some cases quite large sums have been collected for the development! Please follow the links in the table to get more in depth information about each Brand of electric car.

Table: Crowdfunded Electric Cars
[Please scroll or swipe the table and sort the columns if you need to.]

Corporate R&D or Startups: Who will lead the next innovation?

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Image credit:

Today’s pace of innovation has been like never before. In the course of Crowd Product’s many a startup as well as corporate engagements, we have been privy to new solutions that leverage transformative technologies like Blockchain, IOT, AI-ML, Predictive Analytics, NLP & Text Analytics, AR-VR, Computer Vision and others, to realise goals. Alongside, there’s also been a raging debate in the innovation-led communities and among thought-leaders – on whether innovation happens at Corporate R&Ds or in the Startup community. The jury seems divided here.

In a recent tweet shared by YourStory media, India’s Minister of Commerce & Industry, Suresh Prabhu believes that R&D enters are not the only place where innovation happens, but innovation is led by startups today.

Several companies have R&D teams, where the best of talent are given the environment and resources to come up with new solutions. Organisations have also used creative techniques to ensure this talent is engaged productively. One example that comes to mind is the Internal Crowdfunding at IBM R&D. Here each of the 500 member were given US$100, and we asked to either propose an idea or use the money to contribute to projects of their colleges. This simple exercise brought out a micro-tasking site for the company.

TCS, which is among the world’s largest IT services brands and among the top 100 Most Innovative Companies in the world, has recently begun looking within for the next big technology solutionTCS NumbersEven as its closest Indian competitors, Infosys and Wipro, have invested in startups to unravel the next emerging technologies. As witnessed during the recent NASSCOM India Leadership Forum 2018 conference, Corporate-Startup matchmaking has become a trend. During the event one witnessed several corporate leaders interact with trending startups and on latest technology solutions.

While today’s corporates are pursuing a smart strategy, as in taking advantage of their internal R&D teams as well as engaging with innovative startups, another opportunity and a massive one is being missed out on by most organisations. Very few corporates have been engaging their larger workforce on ideas and solutions effectively. Such engagements has not only the potential to bring out the next big idea, but can also serve to address corporate cultural issues and team morale, where employees and their ideas are taken note of.

Corporate innovation I believe, and with data to back the claim, should not be restricted to a few individuals or designated teams, but open to the collective – that is every member of the organisation (and society at large). We have a solution and format to enable you engage your large teams more productively and to realise goals. Email me on to learn more.

Live Polls with Crowds at Events

Having been part of several events the last few months via Crowd Product, we’ve learnt crowds love been part of snap polls. I would recommend event organisers to keep their audiences engaged with polls and other compelling engagement option. However what I find even more exciting is the learnings from poll results.

eduthon17-coverHere I’m sharing with you some of the polls we had taken during recent events and their results. At the recently held TiE Bangalore’s EduThon 2017 event – where startups and ecosystem enablers shared their inputs on a set of questions.


IOT India Congress Poll Results (Sample Size: 144 at IOT India Congress 2017)


Q1 Which of these Industry 4.0 areas would you like to learn more about?
Additive Manufacturing 25.00%, Distributed Manufacturing 25.00%, Next Shoring 10.71%, Virtual Manufacturing 39.29%

Q2 Which of these areas of your living you feel more startups need to be in?
Smart Retail 6.90% Smart Homes 31.03% Smart Mobility 13.79% Smart Governance 48.28%

Q3 What are the challenges of IoT in the Telecom Sector?
Security 22.22%, Network Connectivity 55.56%, Standards 22.22%

Q4 Which of these sectors will help India leapfrog in 2018?
AgriTech 22.73%, HealthTech 18.18%, Robotics 22.73%, Digital Payments 36.36%

In the coming days and months, based on the crowd engagement, we will be sharing more learnings from our crowd engagement at events.

Conference Crowd Engagement – 5 Learnings to Consider

In an earlier post I’d written about how corporates have leveraged crowdfunding. While corporates have been finding ways to engage with the innovation-led community online more productively, they somehow haven’t been able to engage effectively during offline events and conferences.

In a recent article I’d written on Entrepreneur Magazine, I share my experience on how conference organisers can offer much more to their delegates and partners. Inline with those shares, here I’m sharing how corporate brands can also prepare themselves to get the most out of their audience engagement. Some learnings:

a) Multitasking Galore
While the audience and crowd at event would also be multitasking, listening to sessions, attending workshops, visiting booths and networking, it’s essential to identify your target audience and also understand when and where to engage them during the conference. The best time would be during the conference breaks and when they’re on the move.

b) Better Connectivity
It be better to also not interrupt them and start demo-ing/selling and or just engaging with those at your stall, but to find it easy for the crowd to view and understand your product/offering without any human intervention. A good wireless connectivity platform or even a link/app can facilitate this.

c) Conferences for Learning
The question here is how do you enrich your audience even more, is there something new your can share with people around? Today’s event delegates, especially those from the millennial generation use events as a way to discover and learn new things. Look at the crowds at MakerFaire events, who are wow’ed with new discoveries.

d) Know Who are Attending
Half the job is taken care of, if one did a pre-event research on the profile of the audience attending the conference. Based on the attendee segments one could find their audience and reach out to them accordingly.

e) Share Expectations in Advance
It’s also useful to interact with the event stakeholders and organisers to understand and see what one could expect as takeaways from the event. This would be useful, especially if its the brand’s first time at the conference.

While brands continue engaging via online platforms, offline is a medium that could provide quality leads and a good ‘return on investment’ if one planned their offline engagement strategy well.

Crowdfunding with Cryptocurrencies

(Image source:

(Image source:

This month we take a look at some of the platforms offering crowdfunding through cryptocurrencies.

We expect blockchain funding to slowly but surely compare to VCs or Kickstarter-styled funding into ideas and startups, in the coming years. The future of crypto tokens will however depend on its reliability, clarity and legality in the various jurisdictions that it can be used and transacted.

For the uninitiated, cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that uses a peer-to-peer system such as bitcoin. They are digital currencies in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency as well as verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a centralised authority or bank.

According to Coinstaker’s definition: Crypto Tokens represent a specific value and each cryptocurrency token embodies a tradable good.   This means that crypto tokens can be used to represent a share in a company or can be used as central committee voting rights. They are often used to raise funds in a crowdsale (A Crowdsale is a new way to use cryptocurrency technology to issue tokens that can represent shares or equity in a company).   With the year 2016 having seen more than US$ 200 million worth of cryptocurrency investments raised via Initial Coin Offering (ICO is an unregulated means of crowdfunding via cryptocurrency).

Here are some news updates on the topic:

Singapore-based platform is set to enable future project creator to raise funds for their campaigns in Ethereum and Bitcoin by 2018. (Ethereum and Bitcoin are cryptocurrencies that use the Blockchain technology).

According to the CEO of FundYourselfNow, Jack Ser: With the recent mainstream acceptance of virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, we want to build an ecosystem that offers entrepreneurs an alternative funding raising platform for their product, with minimal technical and marketing knowledge.

There are more developments happening, those from other online platforms that help connect crowdfunding and cryptocurrencies such as Tokenly to those companies creating their own cryptocurrency like StartCOIN. According to the people behind StartCOIN, they aim to be the first stable digital currency created to promote and support crowdfunding. 

The bottomline in cryptocurrency-based crowdfunding is how compelling the end-users find it to pledge their support to campaigns. In the coming months we will be sharing more updates with you on this developing space. Tell us what you think about the latest forays into cryptocurrency and crypto-token crowdfunding.

Engaging Crowds beyond Crowdfunding

Crowds can be engaged not just during crowdfunding campaigns, but also productively during offline activities. Here are some of the areas where crowds have been and can be engaged to generate value.

Startup Pitch Events
Gone are the days where only a select few validate startups presentations. Today it is important to know what other stakeholders think about a product’s potential – they may include domain experts, peers and potential customers of the product too.
crowdsfromeverywhereSports Stadium Activities
Be it at team sports or individual sports events like the Wimbledon, keeping the audience sharing comments, insights and learnings can keep them engaged with the matches. This will also help the organisers drive traction to the event and keep conversations going.
sports_crowdDuring Music Concerts
Now this may not be the norm, but music lovers and concert-goers can also be engaged on songs and lyrics. Just like how one would dedicate songs to people during a karaoke evening or a live-show at a pub, concerts too could crowdsource dedications.
concert-crowdsEngagement at Political Rallies
Today, both offline and online networks are being taken advantage of to amplify messages to larger audiences. From Twitter trends to posts trending on Facebook, online media are playing an important in peoples getting to know of popular movements.
rally_crowdWhat are the other areas where crowd engagement is being pursued? Let us know in the comments below.

VR Crowdfunding: Are You Game?

Ever since VR (Virtual Reality) headset Oculus Rift’s crowdfunding campaign success on Kickstarter, followed by its acquisition by Facebook Inc., the space has taken off like never before. Many a gaming companies have leveraged crowdfunding platforms to directly get VR enthusiasts and avid gamers support VR initiatives.

At a recent VR workshop and pitch event in Bangalore, people with backgrounds such as film-making, animation, interaction design, sound engineering, 3D gaming, human resource development, psychology, etc got together and came up VR projects. The projects included those in exploring art, addressing mental health, inspiring moonshot ideas, bringing social causes and historic narratives to the fore.

The event’s participants also shared some of the areas where VR can be beneficial:

  • Tourism & Hospitality
  • Defence & Learning
  • Construction & Real-Estate
  • Disaster Response
  • Sports & Fitness
  • Automobiles
  • Advertising
  • Film & Theatre
  • Celebrity Engagement
  • International Relations

The events conclusion on the ‘Future of VR’ based on the insights received on Crowd Product was:

The future of VR would be multi-sensory (involving multiple senses, besides eyesight), with mass teleportation (being at places without any physical movements required) and being part of 3-dimensional experiences. These will help business leaders and policymakers explore, learn and create better experiences for audiences.

Let us know in the comments if you’re interested in VR Crowdfunding.

Recent Reads on VR Crowdfunding
1. Kickstarter Alum Oculus Pulls the Plug on Virtual Reality Shop Story Studio (source:
2. Zero Latency Shoots For Multiplayer VR Arcade Network With 24 Locations In 2017 (source:
3. Grazer VR glasses ExChimp reaches crowdfunding goal (<German> source:
4. This VR Camera Is the Size of a Smartphone and Designed for Anyone to Use (source:
5. Virtual Reality in India: A Closer Look (source: via LinkedIn post)

Sharing Economy vs Crowd Economy = Access vs Purpose

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From the times when large banks and the government machineries exuded trust and confidence in people to today’s era where renting homes and lending money to complete strangers – the trust economy has slowly but surely shifted to the side of the sharing economy.

While the likes of Uber and Airbnb are rendering ownership of objects obsolete, it’s the efforts behind the building of ‘trust’ that’s fuelling such lifestyle changes.

There’s a compelling TechCrunch article by Adriana Stan, which also mentions about the metric of trust and building up trust beyond just customer reviews. Everything about people will be measure, right from our influence, social following, work connections, etc, will also provide one with our ‘trust score’ – something like the ‘credit score’ that banks and traditional ‘trust’ institutes are built upon.

Inspired by the shares by Epi Ludvik Nekaj and his Crowdsourcing Week series where he elaborates on the 5 Ps (People, Purpose, Platform, Participation, Productivity) of the Crowd Economy.

In his piece he mentions about how the foray of the web and mobile networks, have facilitated increased collaboration and cooperation. Defining:

The crowd economy is a dynamic ecosystem of productive people who participate through a platform with a purpose to achieve mutually beneficial goals.

Based on deep dives and experiences with both forms of economies (Sharing vs Crowd), here are conclusions in 3 points:

  1. The sharing economy’s foundation is ‘Trust‘, while in the crowd economy, it is ‘Collaboration‘.
  2. The key driver of the sharing economy is availability of ‘extra Resources‘, while in the crowd economy it is availability of ‘extra Knowledge‘ that’s fuelling its growth.
  3. Commerce‘ focused organisations have best leveraged the sharing economy, while ‘Impact‘ focused organisations have made change with the virtues of the crowd economy.

Power of the Crowd

wevolunteersAs part of an event by the Digital Empowerment Foundation India, we were introduced to startups that are into spaces such as Crowdsourcing Votes, Volunteers, Food and more. Is Crowdsourcing the way forward to solving global challenges?
Check out some of these startups and let us know what you think of them.

Crowdsourcing Votes – A platform that seeks support for petitions directed towards policy-makers in an effort to create a true democracy.

Jaago Re – A cause marketing initiative launched by Tata Tea in 2008 to raise awareness for issues around Indian general elections, citizenship and social causes.

Greenpeace – An activism platform for campaigns dedicated to protecting naturally available resources like air, water and forests to prevent the dangerous impacts of climate change, nuclear power and modern development.

Jhatkaa – A campaigning organisation committed to building grassroots citizen power in effective and innovative ways to engage citizens to hold corporate, cultural and government leaders accountable.

Crowdsourcing Volunteers
Youngistaan Foundation – One of India’s largest networks of volunteers that is committed to making a difference in the community by helping those in need.

iVolunteer – A social enterprise that brings together volunteers and organisations to share time, skills and passion to promote social development.

Bhumi – An organisation that provides youngsters a platform to serve the society and bridge the gap between the educated and the uneducated by educating and mentoring children from orphanages, slum and village community centres across the country.

Crowdsourcing Food
Robin Hood Army – A volunteer-based initiative that crowdsources surplus food from restaurants and makes it available to the less fortunate people.

Annakshetra – Another volunteer-based organisation that targets ceremonies, functions and parties to procure surplus food and make it available to the needy.