Progressive sales tax

Idea: We all pay the . Ideally, a sales tax is supposed to be fair, should have a high compliance rate, should be difficult to avoid, should be charged exactly once on any one item, and should be simple to calculate and simple to collect. Sales tax is a ; that is, low income people tend to spend a greater percentage of their income in taxable sales (using a cross section time-frame) than higher income people. If all purchases are subject to the same tax rate, the tax rate itself is flat with higher income people paying more tax as they consume more. How about sales tax based on your income? Most of the purchases are done using credit card or debit card nowadays, which can be linked to your SSN (and hence your last year's income). When you swipe that card, the reader could use this information to charge your appropriate sales tax.

Reward: A more just tax system?

Bonus: The system could also be leveraged to give discounts based on your income range. We could also devise a different progressive tax in which the tax increases as you buy more items. This scheme will prevent us against frauds of using lower income people to buy stuff for you. Not only that, it will also encourage more efficient use of all the resources available.

Third party video tour of rental property

Idea: In today's world, everybody goes through the exercise of searching a for renting it or buying it. Most of the deals and advertisements are available in text format which provide absolutely no information about how the property looks, some of them have pretty pictures taken which are almost always outdated, a few of them actually have a 3D flash video tour, but then again it's hosted by the property owners and hence tend to shine light only on the good areas. How about having a third party video tour of rental properties? A very important thing to consider is that a lot of companies not affiliated with rental agencies already survey the properties on regular basis and have a pretty good idea about the condition of the property and the various amenities available there. e.g. gas and electric company, fire department, etc. Organizing such information and presenting it to the prospective renters and buyers could open up a tremendous opportunities.

Reward: The videos should be elaborate and the user should be able to select the right zoom level to see the various features in depth. That way a lot of making an appointment, traveling to the place, and coming back disappointed could be avoided.

Bonus: The video could also contain interviews of the property owners, residents and the neighbors of the 360 degree feedback. Maybe a live chat?

cellBoost: Steroids for your cellphone

Idea: A growing number of people rely solely on a cellphone for their telephone service, and many more are considering giving up their landline phones according to a not-so-recent survey. Another trend we notice is that cellphone is not only growing to become de-facto standard for verbal communication but also getting more popular with electronic data exchange. The problem however is cellphone service network is usually too weak for fast internet, and many of us are unhappy with spotty cell reception indoors. It's true that we cannot force service providers to install more towers. The solution is neither economic not sustainable. An interesting data point to note is most of the time we're either at home or at workplace. How about a wireless base station for the home, which boosts your service network by piggybacking on your home's or workplace's wireless internet? Not only that the device could transmit over normal cell-phone frequencies and offer a reasonable coverage area. It could also make use of a broadband modem and could send calls over the Internet, and recipients could use either landline or a cellphone.

Reward: Your hand held just became more powerful! Plus now you can stop worrying about reception with your very own cellphone booster.

Bonus: With your cellphone connected to high speed internet, you can now go about playing LAN based computer games or online multi player games too!

Of vines and wines

Idea: I recently went wine tasting and I was amazed at the skill, effort and experience it takes to produce a quality wine. I thoroughly enjoyed tour of the vineyard including how vines are grown on a commercial scale; history of the vineyard; art of winemaking and the history of the estate. The tour of the winery included the winemakers art, select tank tastings and current vintage tastings, and needless to say I ended up buying a bunch of wine bottles for home. I was about to open one of those bottles when it occurred to me: what if we could create the same magic which we experience at the vineyards at the home as well? Wine bottles could come with a DVD when played could guide us through the vineyards along with background music from the place of origin, explain us the finesse of the wine making process, introduce us to the wine-makers, and provide suggestions for what wines went with what foods.

: Recreate the magic of wine tasting on your dinner table.

Bonus: The DVD could also include information for the consumers to plan a scenic tour to the vineyards. The sponsorship of these commercials could pay for the DVD.

NextChat: next generation chatroom

Idea: Instead of simply having avatars to represent people, and emoticons to express human emotions, what if we could simulate real facial expression on a 3D model of each person and have this animated person sit in a virtual coffee house or an online bar. You go to the , you see several tables, where a group of people are socializing. You can "check out" people, glance over their moods, request songs on the jukebox, perform small dance moves, play pool with other people, ignite a conversation. If you feel bored, you walk away and find a different set of people.

Reward: Chat away to glory, now in !

Bonus: You might include features like when you let your mouse glide over someone in the coffee house, basic information could be displayed, like age, status, interests, what they are looking for, and maybe a picture, then you could decide if you want to chat with them.

vManual: Video manual for your reference

Idea: Everybody owns at least a handful of gadgets, and yet nobody knows what to do when your , or your , or your PDA stops responding. Sure, all of these products come with owner's manuals that talk about various components of the system, how it actually works, how to efficiently make use of various feature it provides. But frankly it's too boring to read. Also, when it comes to troubleshooting, following the instructions from the manual can be really cumbersome. How about shipping these product with (third-party?) video manuals detailing functionalities of various parts of the system with video links to troubleshooting frequently caused problems?

Reward: No more reading boring printed manuals!

Bonus: Now the customer, Joe can create an online account and videos tailored for him could be transferred to his account for a small fee. just got easier!

Digital office art

Idea: For centuries, art continues to inspire us. The paintings capture the emotions of the artist, and the spirit of creation reaches the eye of the beholder. Paintings breathe life into their surroundings, inspiring everyone who enjoys them. No wonder almost all the workplaces are filled with real, original paintings to inspire the people working there. The goal there is to make the workers happier, ultimately resulting in higher productivity. When I was strolling through the paintings from in my office, it occurred to me, why not have digital frames for the paintings? That way, we can lease digital rights to display famous artwork in our offices, and rotating them on hourly basis would enrich the surroundings with life. Rotating artwork adds to dynamics of the workplace. People respond to their environment, and a work environment empowered with enduring works of art is one of the simplest investments that you can make to establish an enthusiastic work culture.

Reward: An artistic work environment!

Bonus: You could add intelligence into the digital frame network, so that it eventually learns the kind of painting people like, and show them those paintings more often. It can also learn the mood of people during meeting and display a soothing painting to keep the things calm.

mWallet: cellphone is your mobile wallet

Idea: Remember the lines from ? George: "Because important things go in a case. You got a skull for your brain, a plastic sleeve for your comb, and a wallet for your money". Nowadays in addition to cash, you need to carry multiple credit/debit cards in your wallet. How about a cellphone which can be programmed to provide an interface to all your credit/debit cards? For example, your cellphone could have an interface to use each of your cards, and once you select a card to use, it sends an encrypted SMS to the shop. Instead of swipe machines, the shop could have smart SMS readers who can decrypt the message and use the card information from the message towards the customer's shopping cart.

Reward: No need to carry physical cards in your wallet. Remember? Jerry: [referring to George's stuffed wallet] "Your friend is morbidly obese".

Bonus: Secure shopping! Since you don't need to carry your credit/debit cards, your shopping can be really hassle-free.

Airport wishlist : Intelligent sleeping lounges

Idea: In past couple of years, I have spent an incredible amount of time on the airports. Many of us usually do, especially when you are on a long trip and you have a stopover in the middle. Odds are that you are going to be spending a long-boring-lifeless-tiring time at the airport during such a stopover. If you are suffering from depression, this might just push you over the edge! I thought about making this stay bearable. I usually can't get decent sleep in flights due to insufficient leg-room, and hence the very first thought which crossed my mind was how about dark, (somewhat) soundproof, and intelligent sleeping lounges? You swipe in your boarding pass on your bed, and it records information about you and your flight and wakes you up right on time. Also, if there is any announcement for you or your flight, your bed records it for you while it wakes you up depending on the urgency of the announcement.

Reward: Sleep! Your body gets a chance to recover from the jet lag before your reach your final destination.

Bonus: Why pay for pricey memberships for various airline lounges if all your care about is getting a good sleep? You can also get your bed to order a bed-tea for you when you wake up!

It's an escort, it's a tour guide, it's your rental car!

Idea: Packaged tours are nice. Your day is planned, you have a tour guide who takes you everywhere. Sure you save some bucks, but you lose your privacy and freedom, and to certain extent your preferences. What if your rental car is the tour guide for you. It may come with a loaded yet configurable program, a , and a GPS. As soon as you land on a new place, with a few questions and answers, it can decide a romantic or an adventurous itinerary for you. It can also take you to your favorite restaurant and better yet, make reservations for you. Last but not the least, your car can provide you with historical background, local information, and some juicy gossips about the places you visit throughout your travel.

Reward: Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!

Bonus: If yours is a bigger group and you end up renting multiple cars, it can also coordinate the crew, entertain them, and trigger conversation with random ice-breakers!

mBackup : A universal phone directory

Idea: Every one of us goes through an experience where you either lose your phone or it gets stolen or your phone becomes unusable when you need it the most. Cost of the phone is the least concern at that point. What's more inconvenient is the loss of data on your cellphone, especially your contact list which you've built over time. You can keep a copy in sync with your cellphone either on your computer or on physical notepad! Keeping the contacts in sync is an annoying task, and so is restoring them on your new device. How about a facility in your cellphone to backup your contacts (and possibly other data) on a remote server. Now you can access not only your voice mail but also your contact list from any phone around the world. Isn't that just convenient? Once you have all the data online, restoring it on a new device becomes easy and so does sharing it.

Reward: Once you have all the data online, restoring it on a new device becomes easy and so does sharing it across any number of cellphones.

Bonus: With all the phone directories online, (and other anti-terror organizations) can have tighter control over global communication!

Babel fish in your cellphone

Idea: recently published an article chalking out cellphone revolution. Google CEO Eric Schmidt predicts "a huge revolution" in the way cellphones are being used by various people. It started me thinking. What if your phone could do on-the-fly language translation for you? Now, you don't have to worry about honing your foreign language skills. If you're an effective speaker in your language, your are an effective speaker everywhere. Cellphone being such a universal device is always going to be with you. We already have facilities like text-to-speech and language translation. To achieve on-the-fly language translation in phones, we would just need to combine these two technologies, and you will become a polyglot immediately.

Reward: No more "lost in translation"

Bonus: ' soul can rest in peace when we'll have a in our pockets.

WebDoctor: Online Medical Reports Analysis Tools

Idea: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away", however all of us eat apples, and all us go to doctors. Some of us go to doctors only when absolutely necessary, while the others are more disciplined and believe in regular checkup/feedback. Most of the time during these regular checkups, the doctors consult your report and give you a prescription, a suggestion (e.g. eat more fruits, drink less coke), a tip (e.g. walk 20 minutes after lunch), or a combination of these, mostly in order to take some preventive measures. What if we could have all our medical reports (in a standardized format) online, and run an analysis tool which can email us (or send us an SMS or place an automated call) and gives us very similar feedback? No more making appointments for routine checkups, no more waiting in lines, no more taking time off during a working day, and no more doctor's consultation fees. If the analysis tool finds something alarming, it can ask you to consult a doctor (or send an ambulance for you right away).

Reward: "Health is Wealth!", you happy soul is the biggest reward you could get.

Bonus: A click a day could keep the doctor away!