All posts by ylannr

Zebra the advisor

Have you ever been in a supermarket in a foreign country and had no idea what to buy?

Chinese product

You are not the only one!

Travellers and exchange students are often faced with puzzling situations when they go grocery shopping. They don’t understand the product descriptions written in a foreign language, they don’t have knowledge of the local brands and they don’t know where to find the supermarket offering the products they want, at the best price.

The results are: more stress when choosing a product, more time spent in the supermarket, less value for money and the risk of buying the wrong product. In other words, the customer has a much worse shopping experience than when shopping in his home country.

As always when facing a difficult and stressful situation, you can rely on your smartphone!

Zebra is a mobile application designed to make shopping in a foreign country easier. Zebra enables you to read a product’s barcode using the camera of your smartphone. Once the product is identified, you access a broad range of information: Continue reading Zebra the advisor

Athletes crowdfunding their way to the Olympics


Making your way to the Olympic Games as an amateur athlete requires talent, hard work, dedication and discipline. But not only! Training sessions, coach, equipment, flight tickets, hotel rooms… the life of an athlete comes with a considerable cost. While professional athletes are sponsored by various brands and potentially collect money by winning competitions, amateur athletes must rely on alternative sources of revenue to fund their sporting career.

Having faced the dilemma of choosing between an athlete career and a more conventional path, two Canadian former amateur athletes founded the website This non-profit crowdfunding platform is run by volunteers and designed to help amateur athletes of any country to gather funding in order to reach one specific goal in their athletic careers such as making the podium, getting to the next competitive event, or making the national team.


Pursuit uses reward-based crowdfunding, meaning that contributors are promised varying levels of rewards depending on the amounts pledged. The usual rewards include signed equipment, lessons and personal phone calls. As described by co-founder Leah Skerry, the givebacks are personal items and real “bragging-right pieces”. The main incentives for contributors are thus clearly the access to exclusive products, the belonging to a community of close fans and philanthropy. (Agrawal et al., 2010)

Continue reading Athletes crowdfunding their way to the Olympics

Rap Genius – The Real Meaning of Music


Have you ever been listening to the last track of your favorite artist and wondered: “What does this song really mean?”

Since 2009, a community of fans of Rap, R&B and Soul music has been trying to decipher the lyrics of thousands of songs for the enjoyment of the general public. To this end, the founders of the website have applied crowdsourcing to the annotation of songs’ lyrics.

 This is how it works: Anyone can create an account on and start annotating the lyrics of any of the songs on the website. If the song in question is not on the database yet, the user has the possibility to add its lyrics himself. The user will then select the words or lines that he wants to annotate and suggest an explanation. Other users will then rate the annotations and suggest changes. If one of the annotations is well rated by other users and is validated by the site’s moderators, it will appear in a pop-up window when curious internet users will point with their mouse at the words that the annotation intends to explain. Good contributions are rewarded with points named “Rap IQs”. Continue reading Rap Genius – The Real Meaning of Music

Crowdsourcing Takes Off!

Airbus A380 for Blog Post

Crowdsourcing can be defined as the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call (Howe, 2006). The motivations for people could be intrinsic or extrinsic or a combination of both. Two examples were highlighted to exemplify crowdsourcing, illustrate the different motivations behind them and to discuss their relevance and success levels.

The first example was Tomnod.  A Boeing 777 disappeared into the ocean in flight MH370 of Malaysia Airlines on March 8th. Due to the large search area of the ocean, the search was an overwhelming task. Therefore, to make the search faster, a satellite imaging company, Digital Globe, launched an online platform called Tomnod. Continue reading Crowdsourcing Takes Off!

Parlez-vous Français?

What if you could learn French for free on your smartphone where and when you want to?


This is exactly what DuoLingo offers. Well, actually if your English is good enough, you could also start learning Spanish, Italian, German or Portuguese. Conversely, if you speak one of these 5 languages, Dutch, Russian, Hungarian or Turkish, you might want to refresh your skills in English. Your lessons will mainly consist in translation exercises adapted to your level of skills in the language of your choice, and hints will be provided to help you when exercises get difficult.

But wait a minute, how can this app offer lessons in 6 languages for free and without any commercials?

Continue reading Parlez-vous Français?