Discovering innovations that matter since 2002

The rising quality of smartphones’ video capabilities is opening up new opportunities for consumers to create their own mini films. Now Film Crew is an app that enables professional filmmakers to crowdsource smartphone footage from anyone wanting to join the crew and earn a credit.

Those with film projects — which could be anything from short films, ad spots, or even lo-fi horror movies — are able to list them through the app, detailing the shots they need filming and offering directions to smartphone users. Others using the app can then follow their instructions — such as setting, character actions, dialogue — to create clips that will be edited into the final film. Once they’ve uploaded their shot, they can share it with friends on social networks and receive a credit as a crew member in the final product. Available for free on both the App Store and Google Play, the app turns anyone with a smartphone into a camera operator for projects bigger than they could otherwise complete themselves. Filmmakers also benefit from getting a unique multi-faceted perspective for their movie.

Much like Crowdsync — the platform that creates music concert videos from the footage filmed by multiple spectators — Film Crew has recognized the possibilities of combining the material already being created by consumers on their smartphones. How else can citizen-produced content be collected and curated?

Spotted by Miranda Porter, written by Springwise

While some people get annoyed by pedestrians who walk and text at the same time, it’s tough luck — because a company called Brolly has made it easier to do just that. The unusual knuckle duster-shaped handle has been designed to enable umbrella holders to stay dry and keep their digits free for using their smartphone at the same time.

The Brolly functions in much the same way as a typical umbrella, and — aside from the claim of being more wind-resistant than other makes — does much the same job. However, the device’s handle is shaped in a way that allows the hand to support the weight while leaving the fingers free. Using what the company calls Grip-ology, the distinctive handle features finger holes and a palm rest lined with a rubber material that provides a more comfortable and secure grip. Relieving the fingers from having to grip tightly means the user is free to text, email or play Angry Birds on their smartphone while they’re walking in the rain. For those excited about the innovation, the company has also started the People for Rain movement, encouraging rain-lovers to discuss the things they love about umbrella weather. The video below shows just how much trouble typing on a smartphone can be with regular umbrellas, before detailing the benefits of the Brolly:

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The Brolly retails for USD 19.95 and comes in a range of colors. How else can ergonomic design add extra functionality to existing products?

Spotted by Murray Orange, written by Springwise

Not all hotels cater for tourists who want to travel in an eco-friendly way, although we have previously seen venues such as The Charles Hotel in Massachusetts offer free cycle classes. Now the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel in Vancouver is launching a Bike Butler service, giving cyclists help in exploring the local surroundings.

After noting the number of travelers arriving at the hotel with their own bikes — or wanting to know where they could hire one — the company launched its first Bike Butler service this summer. A stock of 20 bicycles were available to for members of the Fairmont President’s Club loyalty scheme to borrow, free of charge, to explore the city. On hand was Marc Henley, the hotel’s resident bike concierge, who offered accessories such as helmets, locks, water bottles and maps, and was even available for a quick tuning up of their bike. As well as getting equipment from the Bike Butler, tourists could also get some recommendations from the passionate cyclist, who has 20 years of experience taking his two wheels around Canada.

Bicycles offer a cheap and environmentally-friendly way for tourists to take in a new city and its atmosphere, and Fairmont is adding extra value to its services by providing a tailored experience for guests using a bike. Are there other niche areas that hotels could provide expert assistance on?

Places such as Mumbai in India are famous for the amount of rainfall they experience in monsoon season. This natural downpour usually renders public furniture such as park benches useless as residents escape the rain. The Water Bench is a Dutch-Chinese innovation that puts the furniture to work during heavy rain, collecting rainwater to irrigate the parks they sit in during drier spells.

Created by Shanghai-based MARS Architects, the Water Bench takes the form of a large rounded cushion and features depressions interspersed on its surface. These depressions look like buttons but are actually valves — when rain falls the water collects in the nooks and is drained into the inside of the bench. Not only does this system keep the top of the bench dry for sitting on, but also results in a reservoir of stored water. An extra container can be installed into the ground for extra, hidden space to store up to 1,000 liters. When the weather becomes hotter and the surrounding greenery needs watering, a pump and hose can be easily connected to the bench to release the stored water. The video below explains more about the Water Bench:

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The Water Bench — which is being supported by the BMW Guggenheim Lab in the US — is first being trialled in Mumbai, where it will be installed in ten parks around the city. However, its creators believe it could be valuable in any location with both dry and wet spells. Could the Water Bench be useful in your part of the world?

Spotted by Murray Orange, written by Springwise

Regular readers of Springwise may remember Virgin Atlantic‘s in-flight art gallery, which helps passengers with cash to spend find a new piece of art for their home. Now Turkish Airlines is introducing its Invest on Board program, enabling investors to discover and support new businesses while they fly.

Developed for the airline in collaboration with startup incubator eTohum, the scheme will be a part of the in-flight entertainment for business class customers. Taking the form of a video channel, passengers can browse pitches by ten new startups predominantly from Turkey — currently including an independent game studio, e-commerce platform, and crowdsourced shopping guide. The aim of the program is to help investors take advantage of a time when they’re typically away from their phone and business tasks and can concentrate on the presentations. If any of the startups seem interesting, their contact details are made available for investors to follow up once they’re on the ground.

Virgin Atlantic also temporarily had its own in-flight channel — PitchTV — dedicated to giving airtime to new startups back in 2009, but Invest on Board will be a set fixture for business class fliers on the airline. What other unusual places can startups get their name heard?

Spotted by www.airlinetrends.com, written by Springwise

Restaurants get through a large number of wine bottles, and eco-conscious kitchens typically send them to be recycled once they’re finished. However, this process still uses up resources, which has prompted Portuguese startup My Little Garden to turn the containers into plant holders that help homeowners and businesses grow their own herbs.

The company first collects empty bottles from local restaurants and then sends them onto OASIS — the Organization for Support and Solidarity of Social Integration — whose disabled members learn new skills for cleaning and unlabelling the bottles. The containers are then delivered to the Leiria Prison, where inmates adapt the bottles for use as growing kits. All of the volunteers involved are rewarded for their help. My Little Garden then turns the bottles upside down, cuts off the top and places a water-holding wick in the neck of the bottle, which provides continuous moisture for the soil packed on top. The company delivers locally-collected herb seeds along with the bottles, which can be hung on the wall with steel frames. Kits cost around EUR 15 each.

Offering a unique-looking way to grow herbs in urban environments, My Little Garden also helps to put waste products into good use before they get recycled. At the same time, the company involves members of society normally denied fair remuneration for their work. Are there other ways to help city dwellers grow their own food?

Spotted by Luis Lemos, written by Springwise

We first wrote about Bitcoin in 2011 when it was still in beta and had just reached parity with USD. Over two years later and the digital currency is dominating the news after positive comments by US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke recently, which contributed to a record surge to USD 900. Now globetrotters with leftover foreign currency can exchange their cash for Bitcoin through Gibraltar-based Travelers Box.

Currently operating in Ataturk Airport in Turkey, the startup’s vending machines are designed to help those leaving the country swap their loose change for a currency that will be more useful when they arrive back home. Rather than a traditional foreign exchange, the kiosks offer the option of trading in Turkish money for Bitcoin, which — although it isn’t yet accepted by the majority of online retailers, let alone high street stores — is not confined by national boundaries. The machines use the Mt. Gox exchange rate and the currency is deposited electronically into users’ e-wallets. Additionally, the kiosks also enables users to transfer the cash straight into their PayPal or Qiwi accounts, have it donated to one of a number of charities, or turn it into gift cards to spend at online stores such as Amazon and iTunes. Either way, tourists and business travelers can avoid having any foreign currency they take with them go to waste once it’s followed them to a different country.

At the time of writing, Travelers Box has actually pulled the service from its kiosks due to an overwhelming demand. The team is hoping to redesign its process in order to reinstate Bitcoin transfers as soon as it can. It is also in talks with 40 other international airports to install the machines.

The service has hit on a desire of regular travelers for currency that can be stored safely, can technically be used in all countries and online, and doesn’t subjected to bank fees or time delays in the exchange process. Given that visionary entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson recently announced that Virgin Galactic would accept Bitcoin as payment for its private spaceflights, could services dealing with exchange of the cryptocurrency soon be a common sight?

Spotted by www.airlinetrends.com, written by Springwise

Many of the startups that make it to the pages of Springwise are pushing the boundaries of what we can do with new technology, not reverting to methods that now seem old-fashioned and, well, more work than it needs to be. However, Erik Andrus — Project Director of the Vermont Sail Freight Project — will tell you that there’s a solid philosophy behind his re-opening of a historic sail trade route to deliver goods to the people of Vermont and New York. Non-perishable foods don’t require the speed, fuel usage and carbon emissions that come with shipping goods by truck or plane, and certainly don’t do anything to foster a sense of community and connection to the world. We caught up with Erik to discover why he wants to turn the typical view of sail freight from an old-timey novelty to a valid way to help save the world.

Erik worked as a contractor with his own business — Erik Andrus Carpentry — for ten years before moving to Boundbrook Farm, where he ran the Good Companion Bakery and continues to farm when he’s not working on the Vermont Sail Freight Project. The Project successfully completed its maiden voyage at the end of October.

11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Many things are possible if you defy the magnetism of the couch. Generalists can sometimes succeed where the specialists and corporate boardrooms deem the prospects of failure too great to attempt.

I think we all have a desire to prove that together we can still accomplish great things by combining our skills and working as a true community. It seems to me that if you create a project that speaks to this need that we have at this point in our history, you can attract some really extraordinary allies to your cause.

10. Tell Springwise a secret…

The Hudson River Valley is a totally different place when seen from the water, moving slowly and with purpose, than it is as seen from your car window from the FDR. Experience the difference and you might just fall in love.

11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Many things are possible if you defy the magnetism of the couch. Generalists can sometimes succeed where the specialists and corporate boardrooms deem the prospects of failure too great to attempt.

I think we all have a desire to prove that together we can still accomplish great things by combining our skills and working as a true community. It seems to me that if you create a project that speaks to this need that we have at this point in our history, you can attract some really extraordinary allies to your cause.

9. If you weren’t working on the VSFP right now, what would you be doing?

Probably designing or building something else that most people would look at and shake their heads in disbelief. I still have it in mind to build a workshop that is rigged to use both a windmill and a steam engine for power.

10. Tell Springwise a secret…

The Hudson River Valley is a totally different place when seen from the water, moving slowly and with purpose, than it is as seen from your car window from the FDR. Experience the difference and you might just fall in love.

11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Many things are possible if you defy the magnetism of the couch. Generalists can sometimes succeed where the specialists and corporate boardrooms deem the prospects of failure too great to attempt.

I think we all have a desire to prove that together we can still accomplish great things by combining our skills and working as a true community. It seems to me that if you create a project that speaks to this need that we have at this point in our history, you can attract some really extraordinary allies to your cause.

8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?

The goal is to get sail-powered commerce past the point of being a novelty and to the point of being ordinary. We want to keep the focus on food and farming and ultimately have producers become stakeholders too. We will do this by first focusing on the activities and products that were the most cost-effective for us the first time around, and by developing a program that should make Ceres (our sailing barge) a frequent visitor to river towns and cities along our route. We want to build on the splash of our first voyage to develop repeat business, both wholesale and retail.

9. If you weren’t working on the VSFP right now, what would you be doing?

Probably designing or building something else that most people would look at and shake their heads in disbelief. I still have it in mind to build a workshop that is rigged to use both a windmill and a steam engine for power.

10. Tell Springwise a secret…

The Hudson River Valley is a totally different place when seen from the water, moving slowly and with purpose, than it is as seen from your car window from the FDR. Experience the difference and you might just fall in love.

11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Many things are possible if you defy the magnetism of the couch. Generalists can sometimes succeed where the specialists and corporate boardrooms deem the prospects of failure too great to attempt.

I think we all have a desire to prove that together we can still accomplish great things by combining our skills and working as a true community. It seems to me that if you create a project that speaks to this need that we have at this point in our history, you can attract some really extraordinary allies to your cause.

7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I don’t know. For what we were setting out to do, working largely with volunteer effort, we did a pretty good job. It would have been better if I had allowed more time at the outset for all of the major tasks our team had to confront — designing, building, testing, loading, sailing, and selling the cargo out of our sailing cargo barge all in the space of about eight months. But then again the time pressure really inspired everyone to rise to the occasion.

8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?

The goal is to get sail-powered commerce past the point of being a novelty and to the point of being ordinary. We want to keep the focus on food and farming and ultimately have producers become stakeholders too. We will do this by first focusing on the activities and products that were the most cost-effective for us the first time around, and by developing a program that should make Ceres (our sailing barge) a frequent visitor to river towns and cities along our route. We want to build on the splash of our first voyage to develop repeat business, both wholesale and retail.

9. If you weren’t working on the VSFP right now, what would you be doing?

Probably designing or building something else that most people would look at and shake their heads in disbelief. I still have it in mind to build a workshop that is rigged to use both a windmill and a steam engine for power.

10. Tell Springwise a secret…

The Hudson River Valley is a totally different place when seen from the water, moving slowly and with purpose, than it is as seen from your car window from the FDR. Experience the difference and you might just fall in love.

11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Many things are possible if you defy the magnetism of the couch. Generalists can sometimes succeed where the specialists and corporate boardrooms deem the prospects of failure too great to attempt.

I think we all have a desire to prove that together we can still accomplish great things by combining our skills and working as a true community. It seems to me that if you create a project that speaks to this need that we have at this point in our history, you can attract some really extraordinary allies to your cause.

6. What motivates you to keep going?

Bottom line is, there were only two things that could have killed this project in its first time out. First of all there was the very legitimate fear that for one reason or another we couldn’t do what we set out to do. Maybe the boat would develop problems, the cargo would get wet, maybe we couldn’t figure out how to handle and sail it within the time allotted, and so on. The second fear is that even if we can do it, the venture would still fail if nobody cared. But we can do this and people do find value in it. So this is some pretty strong positive feedback that helps a lot. We still have challenges, but in comparison to these two areas of worry we faced the first time out, they seem minor.

7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I don’t know. For what we were setting out to do, working largely with volunteer effort, we did a pretty good job. It would have been better if I had allowed more time at the outset for all of the major tasks our team had to confront — designing, building, testing, loading, sailing, and selling the cargo out of our sailing cargo barge all in the space of about eight months. But then again the time pressure really inspired everyone to rise to the occasion.

8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?

The goal is to get sail-powered commerce past the point of being a novelty and to the point of being ordinary. We want to keep the focus on food and farming and ultimately have producers become stakeholders too. We will do this by first focusing on the activities and products that were the most cost-effective for us the first time around, and by developing a program that should make Ceres (our sailing barge) a frequent visitor to river towns and cities along our route. We want to build on the splash of our first voyage to develop repeat business, both wholesale and retail.

9. If you weren’t working on the VSFP right now, what would you be doing?

Probably designing or building something else that most people would look at and shake their heads in disbelief. I still have it in mind to build a workshop that is rigged to use both a windmill and a steam engine for power.

10. Tell Springwise a secret…

The Hudson River Valley is a totally different place when seen from the water, moving slowly and with purpose, than it is as seen from your car window from the FDR. Experience the difference and you might just fall in love.

11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Many things are possible if you defy the magnetism of the couch. Generalists can sometimes succeed where the specialists and corporate boardrooms deem the prospects of failure too great to attempt.

I think we all have a desire to prove that together we can still accomplish great things by combining our skills and working as a true community. It seems to me that if you create a project that speaks to this need that we have at this point in our history, you can attract some really extraordinary allies to your cause.

5. What drove you crazy when building your business?

The project took too much time away from my family and home life and was actually so all-consuming that it took a toll on some of my farming operations too. These are both still potential problems going forward that I am looking to resolve.

6. What motivates you to keep going?

Bottom line is, there were only two things that could have killed this project in its first time out. First of all there was the very legitimate fear that for one reason or another we couldn’t do what we set out to do. Maybe the boat would develop problems, the cargo would get wet, maybe we couldn’t figure out how to handle and sail it within the time allotted, and so on. The second fear is that even if we can do it, the venture would still fail if nobody cared. But we can do this and people do find value in it. So this is some pretty strong positive feedback that helps a lot. We still have challenges, but in comparison to these two areas of worry we faced the first time out, they seem minor.

7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I don’t know. For what we were setting out to do, working largely with volunteer effort, we did a pretty good job. It would have been better if I had allowed more time at the outset for all of the major tasks our team had to confront — designing, building, testing, loading, sailing, and selling the cargo out of our sailing cargo barge all in the space of about eight months. But then again the time pressure really inspired everyone to rise to the occasion.

8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?

The goal is to get sail-powered commerce past the point of being a novelty and to the point of being ordinary. We want to keep the focus on food and farming and ultimately have producers become stakeholders too. We will do this by first focusing on the activities and products that were the most cost-effective for us the first time around, and by developing a program that should make Ceres (our sailing barge) a frequent visitor to river towns and cities along our route. We want to build on the splash of our first voyage to develop repeat business, both wholesale and retail.

9. If you weren’t working on the VSFP right now, what would you be doing?

Probably designing or building something else that most people would look at and shake their heads in disbelief. I still have it in mind to build a workshop that is rigged to use both a windmill and a steam engine for power.

10. Tell Springwise a secret…

The Hudson River Valley is a totally different place when seen from the water, moving slowly and with purpose, than it is as seen from your car window from the FDR. Experience the difference and you might just fall in love.

11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Many things are possible if you defy the magnetism of the couch. Generalists can sometimes succeed where the specialists and corporate boardrooms deem the prospects of failure too great to attempt.

I think we all have a desire to prove that together we can still accomplish great things by combining our skills and working as a true community. It seems to me that if you create a project that speaks to this need that we have at this point in our history, you can attract some really extraordinary allies to your cause.

4. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?

Don’t be afraid to fail. Without the risk of failure there is no potential to learn or grow.

5. What drove you crazy when building your business?

The project took too much time away from my family and home life and was actually so all-consuming that it took a toll on some of my farming operations too. These are both still potential problems going forward that I am looking to resolve.

6. What motivates you to keep going?

Bottom line is, there were only two things that could have killed this project in its first time out. First of all there was the very legitimate fear that for one reason or another we couldn’t do what we set out to do. Maybe the boat would develop problems, the cargo would get wet, maybe we couldn’t figure out how to handle and sail it within the time allotted, and so on. The second fear is that even if we can do it, the venture would still fail if nobody cared. But we can do this and people do find value in it. So this is some pretty strong positive feedback that helps a lot. We still have challenges, but in comparison to these two areas of worry we faced the first time out, they seem minor.

7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I don’t know. For what we were setting out to do, working largely with volunteer effort, we did a pretty good job. It would have been better if I had allowed more time at the outset for all of the major tasks our team had to confront — designing, building, testing, loading, sailing, and selling the cargo out of our sailing cargo barge all in the space of about eight months. But then again the time pressure really inspired everyone to rise to the occasion.

8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?

The goal is to get sail-powered commerce past the point of being a novelty and to the point of being ordinary. We want to keep the focus on food and farming and ultimately have producers become stakeholders too. We will do this by first focusing on the activities and products that were the most cost-effective for us the first time around, and by developing a program that should make Ceres (our sailing barge) a frequent visitor to river towns and cities along our route. We want to build on the splash of our first voyage to develop repeat business, both wholesale and retail.

9. If you weren’t working on the VSFP right now, what would you be doing?

Probably designing or building something else that most people would look at and shake their heads in disbelief. I still have it in mind to build a workshop that is rigged to use both a windmill and a steam engine for power.

10. Tell Springwise a secret…

The Hudson River Valley is a totally different place when seen from the water, moving slowly and with purpose, than it is as seen from your car window from the FDR. Experience the difference and you might just fall in love.

11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Many things are possible if you defy the magnetism of the couch. Generalists can sometimes succeed where the specialists and corporate boardrooms deem the prospects of failure too great to attempt.

I think we all have a desire to prove that together we can still accomplish great things by combining our skills and working as a true community. It seems to me that if you create a project that speaks to this need that we have at this point in our history, you can attract some really extraordinary allies to your cause.

3. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on the VSFP?

I play music any chance I get. I like to tell bad jokes.

4. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?

Don’t be afraid to fail. Without the risk of failure there is no potential to learn or grow.

5. What drove you crazy when building your business?

The project took too much time away from my family and home life and was actually so all-consuming that it took a toll on some of my farming operations too. These are both still potential problems going forward that I am looking to resolve.

6. What motivates you to keep going?

Bottom line is, there were only two things that could have killed this project in its first time out. First of all there was the very legitimate fear that for one reason or another we couldn’t do what we set out to do. Maybe the boat would develop problems, the cargo would get wet, maybe we couldn’t figure out how to handle and sail it within the time allotted, and so on. The second fear is that even if we can do it, the venture would still fail if nobody cared. But we can do this and people do find value in it. So this is some pretty strong positive feedback that helps a lot. We still have challenges, but in comparison to these two areas of worry we faced the first time out, they seem minor.

7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I don’t know. For what we were setting out to do, working largely with volunteer effort, we did a pretty good job. It would have been better if I had allowed more time at the outset for all of the major tasks our team had to confront — designing, building, testing, loading, sailing, and selling the cargo out of our sailing cargo barge all in the space of about eight months. But then again the time pressure really inspired everyone to rise to the occasion.

8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?

The goal is to get sail-powered commerce past the point of being a novelty and to the point of being ordinary. We want to keep the focus on food and farming and ultimately have producers become stakeholders too. We will do this by first focusing on the activities and products that were the most cost-effective for us the first time around, and by developing a program that should make Ceres (our sailing barge) a frequent visitor to river towns and cities along our route. We want to build on the splash of our first voyage to develop repeat business, both wholesale and retail.

9. If you weren’t working on the VSFP right now, what would you be doing?

Probably designing or building something else that most people would look at and shake their heads in disbelief. I still have it in mind to build a workshop that is rigged to use both a windmill and a steam engine for power.

10. Tell Springwise a secret…

The Hudson River Valley is a totally different place when seen from the water, moving slowly and with purpose, than it is as seen from your car window from the FDR. Experience the difference and you might just fall in love.

11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Many things are possible if you defy the magnetism of the couch. Generalists can sometimes succeed where the specialists and corporate boardrooms deem the prospects of failure too great to attempt.

I think we all have a desire to prove that together we can still accomplish great things by combining our skills and working as a true community. It seems to me that if you create a project that speaks to this need that we have at this point in our history, you can attract some really extraordinary allies to your cause.

2. Can you describe a typical working day?

The project is too young to have any typical working days just yet. But during the course of the voyage, when I was aboard, I would usually split my time between working belowdecks on administration in my “boat office” and working with the captain and first mate either sailing the ship or hand-loading or unloading cargo.

3. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on the VSFP?

I play music any chance I get. I like to tell bad jokes.

4. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?

Don’t be afraid to fail. Without the risk of failure there is no potential to learn or grow.

5. What drove you crazy when building your business?

The project took too much time away from my family and home life and was actually so all-consuming that it took a toll on some of my farming operations too. These are both still potential problems going forward that I am looking to resolve.

6. What motivates you to keep going?

Bottom line is, there were only two things that could have killed this project in its first time out. First of all there was the very legitimate fear that for one reason or another we couldn’t do what we set out to do. Maybe the boat would develop problems, the cargo would get wet, maybe we couldn’t figure out how to handle and sail it within the time allotted, and so on. The second fear is that even if we can do it, the venture would still fail if nobody cared. But we can do this and people do find value in it. So this is some pretty strong positive feedback that helps a lot. We still have challenges, but in comparison to these two areas of worry we faced the first time out, they seem minor.

7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I don’t know. For what we were setting out to do, working largely with volunteer effort, we did a pretty good job. It would have been better if I had allowed more time at the outset for all of the major tasks our team had to confront — designing, building, testing, loading, sailing, and selling the cargo out of our sailing cargo barge all in the space of about eight months. But then again the time pressure really inspired everyone to rise to the occasion.

8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?

The goal is to get sail-powered commerce past the point of being a novelty and to the point of being ordinary. We want to keep the focus on food and farming and ultimately have producers become stakeholders too. We will do this by first focusing on the activities and products that were the most cost-effective for us the first time around, and by developing a program that should make Ceres (our sailing barge) a frequent visitor to river towns and cities along our route. We want to build on the splash of our first voyage to develop repeat business, both wholesale and retail.

9. If you weren’t working on the VSFP right now, what would you be doing?

Probably designing or building something else that most people would look at and shake their heads in disbelief. I still have it in mind to build a workshop that is rigged to use both a windmill and a steam engine for power.

10. Tell Springwise a secret…

The Hudson River Valley is a totally different place when seen from the water, moving slowly and with purpose, than it is as seen from your car window from the FDR. Experience the difference and you might just fall in love.

11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Many things are possible if you defy the magnetism of the couch. Generalists can sometimes succeed where the specialists and corporate boardrooms deem the prospects of failure too great to attempt.

I think we all have a desire to prove that together we can still accomplish great things by combining our skills and working as a true community. It seems to me that if you create a project that speaks to this need that we have at this point in our history, you can attract some really extraordinary allies to your cause.

1. Where did the idea for the VSFP come from?

I guess you could say I came to this because I have a passion for farming and food systems, for woodworking, for history, and for being on the water. This is a way to tie together all of those interests.

2. Can you describe a typical working day?

The project is too young to have any typical working days just yet. But during the course of the voyage, when I was aboard, I would usually split my time between working belowdecks on administration in my “boat office” and working with the captain and first mate either sailing the ship or hand-loading or unloading cargo.

3. How do you unwind or relax when you’re not working on the VSFP?

I play music any chance I get. I like to tell bad jokes.

4. What’s the secret ingredient to success as an entrepreneur?

Don’t be afraid to fail. Without the risk of failure there is no potential to learn or grow.

5. What drove you crazy when building your business?

The project took too much time away from my family and home life and was actually so all-consuming that it took a toll on some of my farming operations too. These are both still potential problems going forward that I am looking to resolve.

6. What motivates you to keep going?

Bottom line is, there were only two things that could have killed this project in its first time out. First of all there was the very legitimate fear that for one reason or another we couldn’t do what we set out to do. Maybe the boat would develop problems, the cargo would get wet, maybe we couldn’t figure out how to handle and sail it within the time allotted, and so on. The second fear is that even if we can do it, the venture would still fail if nobody cared. But we can do this and people do find value in it. So this is some pretty strong positive feedback that helps a lot. We still have challenges, but in comparison to these two areas of worry we faced the first time out, they seem minor.

7. If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I don’t know. For what we were setting out to do, working largely with volunteer effort, we did a pretty good job. It would have been better if I had allowed more time at the outset for all of the major tasks our team had to confront — designing, building, testing, loading, sailing, and selling the cargo out of our sailing cargo barge all in the space of about eight months. But then again the time pressure really inspired everyone to rise to the occasion.

8. Where do you see your business in five years, and how will you get there?

The goal is to get sail-powered commerce past the point of being a novelty and to the point of being ordinary. We want to keep the focus on food and farming and ultimately have producers become stakeholders too. We will do this by first focusing on the activities and products that were the most cost-effective for us the first time around, and by developing a program that should make Ceres (our sailing barge) a frequent visitor to river towns and cities along our route. We want to build on the splash of our first voyage to develop repeat business, both wholesale and retail.

9. If you weren’t working on the VSFP right now, what would you be doing?

Probably designing or building something else that most people would look at and shake their heads in disbelief. I still have it in mind to build a workshop that is rigged to use both a windmill and a steam engine for power.

10. Tell Springwise a secret…

The Hudson River Valley is a totally different place when seen from the water, moving slowly and with purpose, than it is as seen from your car window from the FDR. Experience the difference and you might just fall in love.

11. Any final words for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Many things are possible if you defy the magnetism of the couch. Generalists can sometimes succeed where the specialists and corporate boardrooms deem the prospects of failure too great to attempt.

I think we all have a desire to prove that together we can still accomplish great things by combining our skills and working as a true community. It seems to me that if you create a project that speaks to this need that we have at this point in our history, you can attract some really extraordinary allies to your cause.

Some people are fitness freaks and some are couch potatoes, but it actually doesn’t require rigorous exercise to stay in good shape. We previously wrote about Coca-Cola’s Work It Out Calculator — which details the small tasks that cancel out the calories in its products — and now the UK’s StepJockey is a project that raises awareness of the health benefits of actions such as taking the stairs, through smart labels that detail how many calories can be lost by climbing them.

Funded by the UK Department of Health, the startup believes that walking up and down stairs, rather than taking an elevator or escalator, can improve cardiovascular fitness and even help people lose weight. StepJockey’s research suggests that stair climbing burns more calories per minute than jogging and even walking down them is more healthy.

The team is currently crowdsourcing data about the country’s stairs, encouraging fans to type in the location of the office building or public staircase they want to measure and count how many steps there are. The site — or free iPhone app for smartphone users — then calculates how many calories are burned by using them. Users can then print off or order posters to hang next to the stairs, giving passersby that extra bit of encouragement to avoid the easy way up. Each poster features a QR code and NFC tag, enabling those with smartphones to log, track and share their calorie burning with friends.

According to StepJockey, the signs were developed using the principles of behavioral science, and tests proved that the nudge to take the stairs improved usage by up to 29 percent in some cases. Are there other aspects of the real world that can be improved with the addition of similar labels, offering useful data and digital interaction?

Spotted by Murray Orange, written by Springwise

Most airports nowadays do not take security lightly, employing smarter technology and larger workforces to ensure potential threats are prevented from ever occurring. However, there are other venues such as sports stadiums, train stations and popular public locations that simply can’t afford the same level of safety. The Qylatron is a device that scans visitors and their possessions as they automatically check themselves in and out of any venue.

Prompted by the 2004 Madrid train bombings, Lisa Dolev — founder and CEO of Qylur Security Systems — decided to create a way to stop potential terrorists from entering public buildings without the manpower involved in manual security checks. The Qylatron is a honeycomb structure that includes five compartments, into which ticket-holders place their bags and scan their pass. They then walk under the gate, which sets off an alarm if it senses any indication of a weapon. Meanwhile, their bags are being scanned and the items inside matched with a large database to ensure they’re all clear. Although the systems can’t run completely without human help, the company believes one machine could replace five lines of standard TSA security gates and staff. Revenue could also be raised by showing ads on the compartment displays.

The first Qylatrons are expected to be in service at some point in 2014 at locations that currently can’t afford rigorous security technology, such as amusement parks and stadiums. Do you think self-service is the way to go for something as important as security?

Spotted by Lily Dixon, written by Springwise