nextTread: A futuristic treadmill

Idea: Working out has become an irreplaceable activity from modern lifestyle. Remaining fit is the "in-thing" now. Many people love to workout. Many find it boring because fitness is an ongoing challenge. The primary reason I find workout boring is treadmills. They are supposed to emulate running. While the emulation does an excellent job at providing your a softer surface to run (and hence easier on knees), it fails miserably at providing you the same level of enjoyment you get running outdoors. A couple of approaches have been tried to alleviate this problem by putting big screen LCD TVs. I find it too hard to concentrate and very distracting. When I am running I would like it to be very similar to running outdoors in that I would like to look at changing sceneries while I "run forward". We could combine the technologies we already have (Shred 4D ride @ the Universal studios) with treadmill and provide the runner a perfect running ambiance.

Reward: A really enjoyable running experience on treadmill, finally!

Bonus: Maybe a runner could just be given goggles that show him terrain he is running on. The runner could also see fellow runners (running on similar treadmill anywhere in the world at that time) and exchange fitness tips. They could even take part in competition or a charity run while running on the treadmill.

Synergistic M&A

Idea: In 2007, From January to July, Google acquired more then 13 companies! It probably has a few more in pipeline. It's highly likely that Google's buying spree will never really stop. Close to 20 companies in 2007 is not a small number. Here is the list of all Google's acquisitions. Other companies like Cisco and EMC are known to do this and known to do this well, in most cases. In other cases however, companies have tremendous difficulties in porting technology (and of course people) from the acquired company and assimilate in their own. Some of the sad side effects being discarded technology and mass-layoffs. The problem being those companies were full blown companies when they were purchased, and in their growth most of them had no regards whatsoever about their current parent company or their current siblings. Had they known...? So here's an idea: how about giants like Google, Cisco, EMC,... taking active interest in startups and funding them from their beginning to shape them more amenable to acquisitions by them.

Reward: M&A can now be considered a match made in heaven! No more technology deaths and say goodbye to mass layoffs.

Bonus: The companies considering acquisitions could also participate in collaborative efforts to create solutions that might help setup a strong ecosystem. If there is significant market for co-solutions already, synergistic M&A could just be the next logical step.

Furniture Knapsack

Idea: I ran into this problem myself recently. I was moving to a new and much bigger apartment and I needed some furniture to populate my new place. I thought this can't be difficult! I set my budget and then started looking for furniture online, both new and used ones. What started being an easy problem, soon became nightmarish. Basically, I wanted to buy couch set, dining set and a bedroom set, and I had to search for them separately and every single time the total would go over my budget, plus I couldn't figure out what's the best combo deal I could get within my budget. So here is an idea: how about a furniture search engine which takes in your budget and items you're interested in buying and issues multiple queries to various furniture stores (and craigslist) and present you with a number of combinations which satisfy your furniture needs while staying within your limit. You could also provide a slack and engine would try to find you more options.

Reward: Peace of mind. Furniture hunting was never easier.

Bonus: The engine could be enhanced to take a delivery address and time as an input and provide you the end-to-end cost, and if you happen to select one of these options the furniture could be delivered to you at the time you wish for the price you're willing to pay.

flykut: shaping BA's million dollar social venture

Idea: Two months ago, I had published an idea about . British Airways announced that they will be investing heavily to make their air travel socially buzzing. They also outlined a number of incremental steps they will be taking in that direction. Willie Walsh, the new CEO of BA, has posed a million dollar challenge to design first version of social flight codenamed flykut. Well, if I were Mark Zuckerberg, I would just integrate basic facebook application in flights' personal screens along with a few applications and profiles of the passenger on board. I would also provide a touch screen keypad (like in iPhone) so that passengers can communicate (or play games, participate in quizzes). In addition, I would convert all headphones into headsets with microphones. Voice chats among fellow passengers would open up a myriad of possibilities.

Reward: Meet new people, learn new things, share new experiences.

Bonus: Since many flights now offer internet, the socializing experience need not be limited to in-flight passengers only. You could in fact socialize with people on the ground, or people on other flights!