What’s New in Crowdsourcing?

September 1, 2016: From biohazard suit design to the latest watches, bass guitars, marketing videos, xenophobic violence data, and writing the next big pop song, crowdsourcing is being used to brainstorm new ideas, gather more data and build with better design for just about anything you can imagine. Here are the biggest news stories to wrap up the summer 2016.


Cities & Government

The U.S. Military Is Crowdsourcing A Biohazard Suit

The Chembio Suit Challenge offers a total of $250,000 in prize money to the person or people who design the best chemical and biological agent-resistant suit. Current suits worn by soldiers are hot and unwieldy. Hopefully, this contest will unearth some designs that eliminate those problems.


Business & Technology

ZTE moves on to phase two of its crowdsourcing CSX project

As far as smartphone gimmicks go, CSX is a pretty fun one. The project takes the sort of community driven creation brought to space courtesy of startups like OnePlus and takes it to the next level, asking customers to help design the next device in the ZTE portfolio. Phase one revolved around those initial solicitations. Users were asked to offer suggestion not limited to a smarthphone (“mobile device” being the specified qualifier) that is technically possible for the company to build by 2017. Around 400 ideas were submitted, at least 100 of which were deemed disqualifying for any number of reasons.

Google releases Crowdsource app to let you improve its services

There’s a ton of hidden data collection and processing that goes into powering and improving Google’s Maps, Translate, and Search services. In an attempt to gather even more data, Google has just released its new Crowdsource app to the Play Store. Crowdsource allows users to help out with image transcription, handwriting recognition, translation validation, and map translation tasks… What’s perhaps a little odd about the Crowdsource app is that Google isn’t offering any type of incentive or reward for participating, other than your own goodwill or boredom.

Android Wear Will Crowdsource Its Next Watch Face Designs from the Internet

This year, Google is asking the creative denizens of the Internet to design its new Fall Android Wear watch face collection. To celebrate the upcoming fashion weeks, PAPER and Android Wear are sponsoring a social media competition – launching a global search for unique watch face designs. Whether you’re a design student or just a fashion lover, this is your chance to free your inner designer. No need to be a computer whiz: snap a picture, sketch on a napkin, play with fabric, paint on canvas… If it inspires you, we want to see it! To enter, just post your design to Instagram by September 15th with the hashtags #AndroidWear and #WearWhatYouWant.

Sony crowdsourcing the updated FES Watch U e-ink watch

When the FES watch came out almost two years ago and crowd-funded its way to wrists in Japan, little did people know that it was actually from Sony and its subsidiary Fashion Entertainment. It was also released through First Flight, a crowdfunding platform, also from Sony. An updated version of the fashion watch, the FES Watch U is now seeking funding again, although just like its predecessor, it would only be available in Japan for now.


Eyethere offers crowdsourced videos on demand for your marketing

According to the website, “Eyethere is a mobile platform enabling you to create short form video requests, on demand, and receive specific and personalized content from a pool of crowd sourced video shooters, within a specified deadline.” “The platform can be toggled between 2 modes; Video “Requesters” and Video “Shooters”. Simply choose your Role and become part of a new and exciting community of video makers.”


Health & Nature

VLCC goes the crowdsourcing way for its new brand identity

As a global first in its category, VLCC wellness and healthcare company, has adopted a crowdsourcing path to discover a brand new identity for the company. Launched exclusively on www.99designs.com, online graphic design marketplace , VLCC seeks to discover its new identity by adopting a global approach that will signify its growth and transformation, and celebrate the culture of customer centricity. There are more than a million designers globally on 99designs.com who will have the opportunity to submit entries for this contest. This brand discovery also helps VLCC connect with the new generation of customers.

Crowdsourcing the Louisiana flood response

During the Louisiana floods, crowdsourcing has been combined with official data to resolve a large-scale emergency situation. Collected sensory data, such as that from river-height gauges and seismic monitors, when combined with geotagged social media information, provides a real-time what, who, why, where and how for enhanced situational awareness. Such data may even assist in predicting unforeseen events resulting from the original disaster.


Finance & Society

New Thomson Reuters Mobile App uses Crowdsourcing to Deliver Commodities Insight

The Data Share app works as a partnership platform with farmers around the world to create a transparent and better-informed marketplace. The app is designed to aggregate unbiased, raw data to generate more accurate crop forecasting and supply chain evaluation, helping the farmers to make more informed decisions. Commodities markets are driven primarily by the dynamics of supply and demand, which ultimately affect price volatility. The more detail traders have around these dynamics, the more confidence they can have in building trading, hedging or procurement strategies.

Spera Crowdsourced Its Launch to Serve the Sharing Economy

Can you crowdsource the launch of a startup by asking future customers to help shape a product and a company? That was Greg Pesci’s approach to create Spera, which offers an online platform to help freelancers manage all aspects of their businesses….
“We searched for people across the country by using Twitter and keywords, even potential competitors’ names,” explained Greg. That yielded a group of 30 who agreed to a half-hour of questioning in return for a $25 Amazon gift card.

NGO launches project to facilitate transportation of goods

Ujuizi Laboratories in collaboration with Borderless Alliance and partners has launched a smart device technology application to overcome challenges in transporting goods across the West Africa sub region. The platform called: “Chains of Human Intelligence towards Efficiency and Equity in Agro Food Trade along the Trans-Africa Highway,” (CHEETAH), is being piloted to tackle trade obstacles along the trade corridors within the sub-region.


South African Website to Crowdsource Reports of Xenophobic Violence

As anti-migrant and anti-refugee attitudes grow in parts of Europe and the United States, the way that South Africans are trying to tackle xenophobic violence in the country may be instructive. The ACMS and technology website iAfrikan this month launched a crowdsourcing platform called Xenowatch to address a major challenge in preventing violence – an information black hole.


Michael Kelly Guitars Are Crowd-Sourcing The Development Of A New Bass Line

American Guitar Manufacturer Michael Kelly Guitars are breaking the mould of old guitar industry standards by crowd-sourcing the development of a new collection of electric bass guitar models. Confident in allowing players to define the new product and guide the development, the guitar maker is throwing the curtain wide open. The resulting products will be introduced at the 2017 National Association of Music Merchants Show in Anaheim, California, January 19-22.


The internet is one note away from writing an entire song

Over the last year, 67,036 people from 147 countries have pooled in their aesthetic sensibilities to write a song. Now, with only one note remaining, possibly the greatest experiment in songwriting is almost at an end. And the final product seems to indicate that crowd-sourced music can actually work. Crowdsound.net, the website serving as the medium for this experiment, introduces itself as “an experiment in crowd-sourced songwriting. A melody is currently being generated, note by note, in real-time, using the popular vote of the crowd.”