The two sides of 3D printing in “Arms”

In what is called as the next big revolution in the world, 3D printing is slowly making its mark. A world where you can start downloading furniture, toys and other things you would need and print it yourself. Feels almost like technology utopia, but it does have its qualms.

A detailed guide to printing in 3D is already published on the blog before, you can read it here. I am today going to pen my thoughts about what’s the next few steps and where we might go from here. And yes for a seemingly innocent technology as well, there can be a dark side. (Never underestimate the mind of a human being). But before I go all dark and scary, lets start with the positive.

“Magic Arms” for Emma

 

Emma was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC), a rare disease that cripples joints and limbs. Because of this condition, the two-year-old girl couldn’t play with blocks, bring food to her mouth or hug her mother.

That is, until engineers at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children used a 3D printer to create a durable exoskeleton that helps her lift her arms. Emma was able to lift candy to her mouth for the first time while wearing the supportive plastic vest.

The Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX) is made of hinged metal bars, resistance bands and tiny 3D printed parts. Emma calls them her “magic arms.” Emma was one of the first patients to wear the WREX. Now, about 15 of the hospital’s littlest patients are wearing the lightweight vests. The ease of 3D printing makes customization of parts possible. When a piece breaks, on-demand printers enable quick fixes. If a child outgrows a vest, the engineers can simply print larger parts out.

And Emma’s case is not just isolated, here are some more :

With advances like this one, and many others, you can quickly see the draw that many people have to 3D printing. It solves business problems, but more so, it solves life problems and changes lives.

And then come the “Fire Arms”

This summer, an American hobbyist used a thermoplastic machine to fashion parts for a homemade .22-caliber rifle.

Wisconsin engineer and amateur gunsmith Michael Guslick detailed on his personal blog how he used a Stratasys 3D printer and downloaded blueprints for the lower receiver — or frame — of an AR-15 firearm (the closest civilian variant of the M-16).

Guslick has been prototyping ideas for gun parts for years, but it did not occur to him until last year to use his Stratasys to build an actual firearm. “The concept is making its way to the hobbyist gunsmith,” he explained on the blog. He took pains to record how he made the 3D-printed weapon; as to the best of his knowledge, this is the first firearm in the world to be tested.

For the U.S. government, keeping tabs on the flow of physical weapons is proving to be a problem. 3D printing is only making matters worse: How do you control a digital pattern that people can use to print guns in their living rooms?

However, if metal materials become available for home printers, it could become possible for hobbyists to one day print an entire gun. Gun-enthusiast groups like “Defense Distributed” even set up a crowdfunding page (known as “Wiki weapon”) to usher into existence the first fully 3D printed gun. Indiegogo recently shut down its page, citing “unusual account activity.”

In related news, the army recently deployed a 3D printing kit to Afghanistan, including an industrial CNC machine, plasma cutters and more, so soldiers could built weapons on the spot, without needing to ship equipment from overseas.

So well the sort of other “arms” to be printed are not al that great for mankind. Who is to say this will not lead to another incident like the one at the opening of Dark Knight Rises. Access to many weapons easy, is not really something that the engineers would have thought when they made the first.

What I think 

Well there will always be people who will use technology for bad, I think the example of the nuclear weapon is the largest that anyone can give. But the promise of clean energy is worth the scare. Similarly these extremities will always exist in technology, its upto when we will be able to justify the good to bad is when the true potential comes through. In fact, I am a believer that saving one “Emma” is worth a lot more than potentially creating havoc.

What do you guys think ? let me know.

When technology goes bad : BMW stolen in less than 3min without keys

Personally on this blog I like to talk about technology and how it makes lives better, innovation and such. But there is a time when too much technology or rather lack of thinking in application of technology is something that really creates the negative impact in people. Culprit in question :BMW.

Oh I love their cars, the concepts, the ads even like the one above. But seriously BMW what were you thinking ? Making the car with accessibility to the programming port available is definitely a major design flaw. A user on the BMW 1M addicts forum has posted this video of his BMW 1M getting stolen within 3 minutes with the thieves not having the keys. This is a video of a £43,000 BMW 1M Stolen at 3am in 3 minutes. The thieves accomplished this by accessing the BMW OBD port in the footwell by breaking the glass, reaching in and using a device to reprogram a blank key fob. The car was simply then unlocked and pushed off the drive and driven away.

 

The one incident reported above apparently used a similar FOB programmer from Bulgaria and they were able to make another key on the spot. The Chinese and Taiwanese are surely watching this closely as they can definitely make a knock off and sell it for like AED 100. Look at the 3 videos below for how these things work.

It’s probably the cream of engineers that have worked on the cars, and with the cream comes issues of practicality. They are brilliant in technology and its application, but it’s the final practical user experience if you, may that would come from the second crop or the third crop of engineers. What needs to be commended is actually the ingenuity of the guys that figured it out. BMW, looking for new engineers ??

Watch this : Do you really need to switch off your phone on the plane ?

All mobile phones these days come with a “flight mode” and when you put this on to flight mode, all connections that transmit or receive are turned off. Be it WiFi or Bluetooth, GSM, GPRS all the modes of communication are closed off and are kept as a feature for usage by companies as many airlines insist on switching these off especially during take off and landing. Not only do they ask passengers to turn off connections they also insist on switching off these days. On my recent trip to India, flying on Emirates, I found myself telling a fellow passenger to switch off his phone as well and had a bit of an argument with him as well.

Nokia Mobile Phone

Emirates is quite a progressive airline allowing people to make and receive calls during flights but even they insist these ceremonies during take off and landing. Once I landed in Dubai and when I have started to look back at the trip I am beginning to think if it is actually required to switch off phones, not just take them to “flight mode” even in this day and age.

Before I present my justification, I think you all should see this video :

First things first most airlines including Emirates Airlines do not really understand the “flight mode” in mobile phones, considering that Android is the most popular Operating Phones these days and Android has the flight mode feature since the early inceptions of the OS, it is clear that Airlines need to pay attention to this setting, considering it was made for them.

Secondly a search trying to find if the mobiles actually cause disruptions in the signal of the sophisticated commercial airliners to today, comes up with some interesting conclusions, here is what I found out. Logic says that Airlines would not let us carry phones if it did, take the scenario that liquids over 100 ml could be mixed to make explosives, so they don’t let us carry more than 100ml. If this was the case with cell phones, they would not have let us carry these. Instead, an arbitrary set of rules established by the FAA and extended by the airlines prohibits iPods during takeoff, but explicitly allow electric shavers to be used during flight.

What about the regulations ? 

The governing body for Airlines and Airports, IATA mentioned in a study commissioned in 1993, suggested that airlines prohibit the use of personal electronic devices during takeoff and landing, despite a lack of evidence that these gadgets had caused a single accident.

In Nov 2009, the Federal Airlines Authority (FAA) of the US again mentioned in an immediate release that “there is insufficient information to support a wholesale change in policies that restrict use of PEDs.” The actual rule from FAA on this is here :

§ 121.306   Portable electronic devices.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person may operate, nor may any operator or pilot in command of an aircraft allow the operation of, any portable electronic device on any U.S.-registered civil aircraft operating under this part.
(b) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to—
(1) Portable voice recorders;
(2) Hearing aids;
(3) Heart pacemakers;
(4) Electric shavers; or
(5) Any other portable electronic device that the [airline] has determined will not cause interference with the navigation or communication system of the aircraft on which it is to be used.
(c) The determination required by paragraph (b)(5) of this section shall be made by that [airline] operating the particular device to be used.
[Doc. No. FAA–1998–4954, 64 FR 1080, Jan. 7, 1999]

The FAA has since approved the use of Wi Fi inside the planes, and also for communicating with Airports and control towers, the frequencies of which (2.4 Ghz) have a similar effect. So based on which your iPhone or Nokia might crash the plane but not your laptop using WiFi ??

The other reasoning 

The other reasoning is that people do not pay attention to the announcements that the crew is making, or the captain is making during take off or landing and thus is a danger eventually. Well I should say good point there, but this should be forced on to your screens at the back of the seat anyway like what Emirates and other carriers do. How are we to trust someone telling us that reading a iPad document during takeoff is dangerous as we stare across a field of EMI-spewing LCD seat-back screens? Or the pilots wearing the digital watches on their wrists much closer to all the gadgets.

Another justification seems that there are those who don’t switch off even after saying it, so everyone should switch off everything. But well if there is no proof that people using these gadgets can cause a risk, then well it should not matter now does it.

The last one seems more like it, people do not want to listen to other people rant even if it means to a loved one. People want to fly and read or reflect on their thoughts when they do so. So if its a way to  “Shut up and fly” then well that is something understandable.

My verdict after reading this : Its a Dumb rule

More interesting Read : 

Prediction : Future Phones will not come with chargers

The other day I was out of charge on my phone which is a rare thing considering that I got a new Galaxy Nexus (Yes I will post a review) which is not only energy efficient but by far the best battery I have seen on a portable device taking the phone to nearly 2 days of talking and wifi without the need of charging. Back to where I was,  the need for a charger was large and the charger was no where in sight, shopped around in the office and found a blackberry charger that well fit the phone very well. This got me thinking, well why don’t all manufacturers come up with some universal standard for the charger if required. At all other times they can use alternative means built into the phone itself. I have been writing about some of these here on the blog before. Lets see whats available.

First off the Charger itself 

The mini USB is pretty much a standard charger at the moment for a lot of phones, my Blackberry, the Nexus One and now the Galaxy Nexus all seem to love it. But move Blackberry models and phones, you will quickly see that its not enough its just another in the large market for charger pins. In fact when I got this car charger from Merlin in Dubai, looked like there are a lot more than just the mini USB in the market.

Add the ever popular iPhone and the other Galaxy smartphones and the chargers change. I am not sure if the mini USB is the best standard, but considering that most people seem to have one lying around these days, looks like this could be a good standard to follow.

Getting to the Chargers built in with the phone 

First getting through the familier, here is a list of some you can read within the blog:

Indian Innovation : Wind Powered Helmet mounted Cell phone charger

Indian Innovation : Hand Powered Mobile Phones 

Thermoelectric boots charge your mobile phone

Charging phone from the movement of the owners

Charging Phones with residual energy from airwaves

Charging phones with body heat

Some more from other blogs that can fill up the gap with more innovations

Nokia Bicycle charging kit 

Some Eco friendly charging options (must see) 

Juicebox, the charging platform available in public places

Another Charger using movement of phones 

Mobile phones charged by the power of speech

Wind-powered mobile phone charger

Mobile phones in developing nations could charge up using dirt

Sound Charge t-shirt tops up mobile devices using sound

Solar powered tie charges your mobile phone

Piezoelectric generator creates power from shoes

Interestingly a lot of these were invented by Nokia in an attempt to make the lives of all better, but the lack of good software (ahem .. Android) has kind of made it difficult for Nokia to make it big in the market, we might be able to see some of these innovations in the Mobile Phones running Windows Mobile. Keeping fingers crossed to see the Lumia 900 with one of these built in.

From notifications that require attention of the users towards energy saving and other power saving tips to alerts when Phone batteries are fully charged, the chargers require an upgrade if possible to go with apps that are coming up on phones to do the same on the software side. All in all it seems like a really required innovation that the manufacturers are keeping away from the consumers, even though it seems like they have most of these figured out. Well only time will tell if these innovations will get lost or really get implemented into future phones. Are you listening Google, Apple and ofcourse Nokia.

Phone stacking, you really need to know about this.

In my recent memory I cannot remember the day when I left the house without my mobile phone. Our lives are more or less run my Mobile Phones. Being in construction, the entire “coordination” for all activities on site / engineering and others actually relies completely on Mobile Phones. This gets even worse with fields like sales, events where constant updates change the game. The additional usage gets worse when you include such devils as the BBM into the equation. Although I use it in my opinion it is a plague to the society. From movies to the dinner table including first dates, people all over the place seem to be using their phones.

One annoying habit that seems to be very common is people sitting with friends or family and are on the phone chatting, checking emails etc to be somewhere else. And this is not just work related stuff (some people are justified with that). So in another out of box thinking a new solution has appeared online, from tumblers to now the bigger blogs all are talking about Phone Stacking.

I ’ve seen/heard this described as both “The Phone Stacking Game” and “Don’t Be a Dick During Meals”, but a quick  poll of my friends suggests that it hasn’t become widespread yet. Which is a shame, because it’s perfect for folks in tech. Interested to learn more ?

Rules:

1) The game starts after everyone has ordered.

2) Everybody places their phone on the table face down.

3) The first person to flip over their phone loses the game.

4) Loser of the game pays for the bill.

5) If the bill comes before anyone has flipped over their phone everybody is declared a winner and pays for their own meal.

Variations/house rules:

-Starting the game after everyone is seated.

-In the rare event that multiple people flip their phones simultaneously, the bill is split between said players.

– Feel free to invoke penalties/strikes systems.

Notes:

– No touching or messing with anybody else’s phones.

You can explain the game in a few different ways. Most obviously, it could be a protest against the indecent, unthinking use of cell phones during social gatherings. Or maybe it’s a game that acknowledges the new reality and tests your willpower accordingly. Personally, I like to think of it as a free market exercise. After all, people love to say, “Sorry, but I have to take this.” Do you have toanswer it? Really? Is it that important to you? Great, then you can pay.

 

The window of the future is truly insane

Over the past few years Samsung has well and truly worked its way up to the top of the electronics Manufacturers market and with new innovations they seem to add in interesting and intriguing possibilities into the world of the future. This one well, is a bit over the top. However, having invested as much as they have in the past few years on Television screens, and just screens of every type, it seems like a natural progression that they will try to include screens anywhere and everywhere possible.

There’s a lot of buzz around the Samsung Transparent Smart Window, the full touch TFT (thin-film transistor) LCD display that turns any household window into a prop from Minority Report. The 46-inch, 1366×768 resolution display won the CES 2012 award for innovation and, from what we see in the demo below, it’s not hard to see why. A video from Samsung video gives a nice overview.

The device is really a transparent touchscreen LCD that can be fitted to any window, so long as it’s no longer than some 46 inches. Resolution is 1366 x 768 pixels, reportedly. During the day, illumination is provided from outside. At night, built-in lights kick in.

At first glance, the window, while cool, isn’t necessarily innovative: it just brings all the apps and widgets we’ve come to love to your window. But Samsung has included a few unique touches. My favorite is the “blinds” feature, where with the swipe of your finger, you can open and close virtual blinds that will actually blot out the light. A video report from MobileNations says that mass production will begin “in the coming months.” Samsung has indicated an intention to put the thing out by the end of the year. No word on price yet.

The window is considered to be working as a one sided glass when viewed from outside, making it like ordinary windows. Additionally, the window can also work as a screen for Augment Reality to see overlaid information on the outside world. So in what can be described as a double stroke, Samsung has not only opened another market for the screens they make but also have taken on the window covering world, from Blinds to Curtains.

Wordless Thursday – Apple vs Apples

If you have been following this blog for a while, by now you will know that Thursday’s is a good day for Infographics around here. Well although I am not writing as much as I would like to, it seems like my personal favorite section to write about. The beauty of Infographics stems from the simplicity to represent lots and lots of information in a very fun to read way.

This week’s Wordless Thursday is an interesting infographic about Apple vs the Apples. Although they both are from different worlds in our world, The artist has really picked the interesting similarities.  This infographic is really a  good example of how fun infographics can be made.

How To Use An iPhone 4s Application To Manage Your Finances

The new iPhone 4S, amazing, capable of more than anything before it, and its able to help you manage your finances as well?  I thought coming up with Siri was a major accomplishment, and now Siri can help you manage your finances. Let’s take a look Siri and what it offers in the way of financial management:

Siri is an Intelligent Assistant that just debuted in the newest Apple iPhone, the 4s.  It allows you to give voice commands and receive the information your looking for such as a local restaurant, text, phone call, weather forecast, and so much more.

Pay bills on time:

You can ask Siri to remind you of upcoming payments, including amount and due date.  You can even set an alarm so that you can’t forget a payment is due, and sync her with the newest application RememberTheMilk so you can organize your financial obligations as well as important dates.

Keep track of stock rates:

Even though Siri cannot give you ‘insider’ information, it can certainly let you know what your stock is doing, by answering a simple question, such as ‘How are Coca Cola’ stocks doing?  You can get the latest stock updates on any stock that you choose.

Find closest ATM or Bank:

This is what Siri is best at – finding locations and giving you options.  But if you ask for a specific bank, you can get that address and location as well.

Personal finances:

When you’re out shopping, having lunch or just out spending money, Siri can tell you whether you’re close to your spending limit in your bank account, or if you’re over your budget.  Installing a third party sync to Siri of your bank account through a site such as Mint.com, can help you from overspending.

Moneystrands:

This is an amazing iPhone app that can give you all of your bank and credit card balances, all in one place.  And, offers a pretty up to date budget tool.  I can’t tell you how convenient this is, when we’re used to having to call the credit card companies to get balances before we charge.

This is a free app and can be found at moneystrands.

Pageonce Personal Assistant:

This allows financial monitoring from your iPhone, with access to bank, credit card and brokerage accounts from your phone.  It allows you to access all of your bills, in one simple app, and you can pay them from Pageonce as well.

One of the greatest features of this app is that it is secure, with top security measures taken, you can do your banking, financial monitoring, and bill paying all in the safety of your phone.

Best of all – it’s FREE!  

Pocket Money:

This isn’t a free app, however, its not expensive.  Last check it was $1.99 and will probably go down from there.

This little app does so much, such as tracking accounts, budgeting, keeping track of spending and it actually backs up and exports financial data.  It can handle split transactions and exports data to programs such as Quicken.

Bloomberg:

If you’re an investor, this is the app for you!  The Bloomberg iPhone app offers investment tools and real-time portfolio tracking, all for free.

You can also receive news, according to date and time, and it is available in 12 different languages.

And… it is free here!

PayPal:

You can send money from your iPhone through your account on PayPal.  If that person is on your contact list in your phone, you can send them cash.  And, there are over 190 currencies available, and in 16 different languages.

This is also a free application – PayPal

Shopping Budgeter:

This little app, Gift List Budget Shopper, can actually help you save money by budgeting for gift giving, finding the cheapest price for the product you’re looking for as well as locate it for you, and conduct product searches online.

It integrates with your address book and maps, creates lists that can be exported to the spreadsheet of your choice, and can be backed up.

Gift List Budget Shopper isn’t free, last check, $3.99 and reviews state it is worth every penny!

Currency Converter:

This handy app will help you know exactly what you’re being charged in that bistro in France, or in nearly 200 other countries.

You can convert currency rates in seconds on this ACTCurrency iPhone Currency Converter, and never wonder whether you over paid again.

And, as a bonus, since the rates change regularly, you can get updated exchange rates via wi-fi while you’re travelling.

And, the cost –  .99 cents.

This is yet another Guest Post from one of the readers. Ally is part of the team that manages personal finance guides in Sydney, Australia, which provide tips about Budgeting Planner and Way tso Save Money. Before joining BS & HSTM, she was a Media Planner in McCann Worldgroup Philippines, Inc., with award-winning executions, including the Levi’s 501 “Live Unbuttoned” global campaign. Please get in touch with me using the contact page, if you want to contribute to the blog. 

India Innovation – Android Love from India, including a Siri Clone

Its been a while since I wrote about India and the technological innovation there but here is something that is hard to be missed. Being an Indian and an Android fan it is one of those moments that you will be surely proud of, Apps. Indian Software developers are not the foremost to come up with products, yes there are quite a few there, but in comparison to the number of apps used worldwide the apps from India don’t come to the forefront. Indian Software industry has always played a service role for most companies, where we have developed products for others. Not many products that are home-grown. I guess its changing, and here are the first signs that we can be good at it too.

When Apple introduced Siri, every Android user wanted to hear about the version for Android. And there were few but all lacked complete functionality. An Indian Startup is trying to change all that, from the notion that Indian Software companies dont do products to Siri App for Android. Enter Dexetra, A startup from Cochin that is planning to change the world of Android and India.

Iris 

Like the Siri clone, Iris is a speech recognition and interpretation engine aimed solely at the tech savvy always connected Android user. Like the iPhone 4s the Iris requires the internet to be connected at all times to be able to process the information and spit out the results. With over a Million  installs and with tremendous response from the global Android community this app seems to be the one to see in 2012. Along with the company.

Check out Iris for yourself here on Android Market. Oh yes that’s not it, they also have more software like the Speed Sense and Secure Keys that are as helpful as the Iris You can check them out on their developer page on Android Market. Check out decent App Intro Videos as well for their upcoming Android App, Friday. Does this not look like an international App company now ?? Proud to have crossed paths with these guys.

I just hope that these guys find all the support they need and also move along and produce some brilliant Android Apps. Now waiting for some hackable intelligence of connecting the Arduino with the Iris to get a proper solution to the Voice Activated Home. Dexedra Are you listening ??

Namma Metro – A geek train for a high tech city

Bangalore was the Garden City of India and IS the Silicon valley of India now. Yes, there will be some debate over this statement, but Bangalore is and always will be for me the IT hub or IT Capital of India. So when a new Metro started operation in the city it had to keep up with that image. Having used the Metro in Dubai, I was not very impressed with having the Metro manned with a driver, as opposed to the metro in Dubai which is completely automatic. But thinking as a project Manager I realized that the Capex of introducing an unmanned system was far greater than having the Opex of a Manned system, and in India there is no shortage of labor or rather inexpensive labor so it made sense.

So without having a train that was automatic, it would have to be impressive in terms of technology for me to be able to be impressed with it. On my last trip to India, I did go and see the train in Bangalore, the coach placed at MG Road was a non working display sample but still did not fail to impress. I did a bit of research on the technology used on Namma Metro and I was pleasantly surprised. Here are some things I found out :

The track system

The Bangalore Metro is standard gauge, a system used by most metros worldwide. Narrower than the broad gauge, it allows for greater manoeuvrability, easy ride along curves, laying of tracks even on narrow stretches and control. The standard gauge has a track width of 4ft, 8.5inches, or 1,435mm, while the Indian broad gauge is 5ft, 6inches, or 1,676mm.

Bangalore Metro runs on the ballastless track system used by 70% of the world’s metros. In layman’s language, this means the track does not require stones used on traditional broad gauge track systems to build the track and run the train, as the load is lower than that of a conventional train. The tracks are laid on a concrete slab after assessing the engineering factors. Stones on the conventional track help in balanced construction, while in metro systems concrete slabs are enough.

The Rolling Stock (Coaches)

The rolling stock (coaches/cars) are three stainless steel-bodied wagons. The train will be under the driver’s control, but they are equipped with some Automatic Controls to assist the driver. The seating capacity per train is approximately 1,000, giving more floor area to standing passengers.


The coaches are manufactured by Hyundai Rotem Korea and Mitsubishi Electric Company. BEML has the licence to manufacture the coaches in Bangalore. While Mitsubishi supplied the traction for the coaches, Hyundai Rotem supplied the rolling stock and BEML the coaches.

Power in Third Rail

Electricity for the train will run on a third rail next to the main track. It has an opening at the bottom at certain points from where the train draws its power. The third rail is covered with a yellow shroud, and a person falling on the track won’t be electrocuted. ABB designed, supplied, installed and commissioned four substations to receive and distribute electricity at 66/33 kV, as well as auxiliary and traction substations. ABB will also provide an integrated network management, or SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) system to monitor and control the installations.

Consumer tech in the Coaches

Apart from the technology of the trains themselves, of course something that will not be very visible the trains feature a host of features that are visible and form an important part of the coaches. Guess here are some of the interesting consumer or close to consumer technologies in the metro.

Wi-Fi : Ironically the first thing I am listing is not visible at all, but is increasingly becoming one of the basic requirements especially in a city like Bangalore. Passengers can use their laptops, tablets and the mobile internet to be connected while on transit.

Emergency Voice Comms : Passengers will have emergency voice communication with train staff through a speaker system. Passengers can press a call button to communicate anything urgent to the driver or control centre. Help will be at hand at the next station. The integrated control centre will have direct communication with trains and stations which will be CCTV-fitted with visual and audio service information.

Collision Detection : Bangalore Metro also has automatic train supervision, protection and operation systems — if there’s a train on the same track ahead, the approaching train will sense it and come to a halt at a safe distance.

CCTV Monitoring : Cameras will be installed inside the train as well as stations, and people’s movements will be monitored by an operations control centre at Byappanahalli. In case of any help or emergency, the control room will be able to see what went wrong.

Ticketing : Ticketing, too, is completely automated with just a swipe of the ticket, token or card at a particular point near the entry and exit, enabling the gates to open and close. Recharge of metro cards through mobiles and SMS, a first in the world. What I am waiting for Google India to introduce the features of Google Wallet into the Metro, it will be really interesting. Are you listening Google?

Bollywood and Social Media – Ra.One

Bollywood’s interest on the internet was so long left to some ads on youtube, trailers and websites for nearly every movie that tried to provide some “interesting” information about movies. Lately we do see some activity on the social web, Facebook Pages and such started by Aamir Khan during Three Idiots, were quite engaging. Aamir himself on his twitter used to post and interact with people for publicity.

What one does, the next Khan seems to take on seriously and try to outdo. Case in Point, Ra.One. In the past few days if you have not seen an Ad for Ra.One on websites that use Google Adsense, then well you might not be a frequent surfer. Because, I have seen the ads everywhere from Gulf news right through to Labnol.org one of the most famous tech and how to blogs from India. Compelled to click on the ad, I did click on it. This is my review of what I found and where I was taken. An insuisitive thought on the social media campaign for Ra.One.

First of all SRK and Google have partnered for the promotion of the movie Ra.One. Although I am not a big fan of SRK, I am of Google and so when they decide to pay attention to a movie in India, it makes things a lot more interesting for tech fans especially Google fans like myself. So well here are what Google is offering SRK and what I think of those.

The Google Ads

Impressive. One word to describe the campaign. They have targeted audience on various age segments and various interest groups. Starting from the teaser ad which spoke about the launch of the YouTube campaign, right through to the various sizes of ads and the sheer number and visibility of the ads, am impressed. They did manage to not only attain my attention, but also got me to click through. I do click ads on blogs that I usually like as a simple token of appreciation of me liking the blog. Although I know nothing like leaving a comment, but if I have nothing to actually comment I do provide a click on the ad. Well the quality of ads is important to click through, and I should say I was impressed.

YouTube Channel 

The ads on Adsense take you to the custom built YouTube page for Ra.One. If you have not been fortunate enough to check it out yet, you should. I was really impressed again with how they have used the personality of SRK to interact with some of the elements that we are used to seeing on the YouTube page. Here is a sneak peek at the YouTube channel with a video available on the channel itself.

Google Plus

Yes we all heard it, SRK will be on Google Plus Hangouts, Hanging out with fans soon as well. He has a new profile on Google Plus after conquering the twitterscape with his twitter profile. You can check out his Google Plus profile here with this link below:

No you cannot add him yet, cos Google and he are working on privacy, but if you do check out the profile you will see very soon that there are spicy bits to the movie progress there.

Website and other profiles

The end of the video on YouTube takes you to the website of Raone, and you will be really surprised to know how much effort they have put in on the online presence for Ra.One. They have actually gone ahead and created a profile on nearly every interesting social network where you can find people on. From the indian ex favorite Orkut, right through Blogger where they are posting some interesting information.

The website first of all was a bit disappointing after all the roads leading it there. It was completely flash driven made for children sort of a website. Could have been better. But there are some interesting new things from other indian movie websites, the shop where you can buy merchandise (again for children) and also a comic as well. I am thinking the movie is more inclined to get the kids into the theaters. There is also an interesting segment which is deconstruct G One and it shows really heavy terminoligy for the gear he is wearing. You should check it out here : . Reminded me of Prashant Nair :)

Coming to the Online profiles, well I am going to list them out here to save you the trip to the website but if you do want to go then the link is : http://www.raonemovie.com.

Youtube : http://www.youtube.com/raonemovie

Google Profiles : https://profiles.google.com/107544518344682087224/

Blogger : http://raonediary.blogspot.com/

Linked in : http://in.linkedin.com/in/raonemovie (really ??)

Orkut : http://www.orkut.co.in/Main#Profile?uid=18156379693003537934 (Wont open in Dubai, Thanks Etisalat)

My Space : http://myspace.com/Ra.OneMovie

Flickr : http://www.flickr.com/photos/raonemovie/

Twitter : http://twitter.com/#!/IAMSRK (SRK’s Own Profile)

And the Grand Daddy of Social Media Marketing

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Ra.OneMovie

With this new avatar of Movie Marketing, SRK and RA One have taken another leap into the online world, but how successful the campaign will be can only be measured with the success of movies, well soon you could be seeing more of these.

It is the first time that an Indian movie has so thoroughly embraced online advertising and engagement with fans. Couple that with the increase in online distribution of Bollywood movies on Yahoo! and YouTube and it signals that the industry is making a concerted effort to tap into the online market. The entire campaign also shines some light on the fact that Google seems to have a keen interest in India, and everyone knows to be popular in India you need to be associated with Bollywood and Cricket. With Youtube already showing IPL games live streamed across the country this might be Google’s foray into Bollywood.

Wordless Thursday – Angry Birds Addiction

Angry Birds might be the greatest Mobile game ever created. The craze of the game just keeps increasing, people in the office seem to start playing it in long boring meetings as well. Oh the game and oh the addiction. So much so that someone thought it would be a good idea to make an infographic on the game and its addiction. Check out some really interesting statistics of the game, a “Birds” eye view perhaps.

The producers of the game are growing richer and the users more addicted. I installed the free version on my Android and say what, I could not put down the phone for sometime. Now well nearly though the game, I am kinda over the addiction. However, the Game is still entertaining when Blocks or paper toss does not compel me.