Thursday, October 27, 2005


Over the last weekend I was watching this movie : Congo. Based on Michael Crichton's novel, this one can be categorized into Action/Adventure/Mystery/Sci-Fi. Out of these categories, the most striking one I thought was Sci-Fi. And a bit of comedy as well.

A team of scientists (!) is visiting the internals of Africa along the Congo river, where there have been deaths of their colleagues. The mystery thickens, as there are complicated theories that project existence of huge diamonds around this area, and another rival team is also trying for their pieces of cake.

Our team of scientists consists of a Gorilla, too. It's a she gorilla, called Emmy. The science (or technology, should I say?) is so advanced in the times of this story that they are carrying a gadget that can translate the gorilla expressions to English for humans to understand. Sounds good, doesn't it?

So when Emmy comes across his care-taker, Dr. Peter, she exclaims, "mummy gorilla", when they come across the wild and cruel gorillas in the forest, she says, "Bad gorilla". Apparently, this gadget is able to pick up the words by analysing the hand movements. Now, just give a thought how wonderful a product idea it actually is...

And obviously, how difficult to manufacture!

The following points came to my mind-

- Need analysis. How many fools will be interested in such a device?
- Market research. Clearly we are going to be in low volume high returns quarter.
- Feasibility and risk analysis. What if we don't understand Gorilla's emotions, or what if there is only 36.7% correlation between the emotions and the shake-of-hand when the requirement is 98%?
- Project plan and finances. What if we slip on schedule? What are the implications to our business then?
- Hiring plans?
- We must understand Gorilla psychology and emotion-movements of hand relationships.
- We must do this not only for one Gorilla that is Emmy, but for the whole of Gorillakind.
- We need to be able to do such a translation manually, or at least partly.
- The product must be a low power product. In africa, where batteries can last for days together only in movies, we can not assume even mains power supply availability. More so, since the gadget is to be tied to the Gorilla's wrist, it (the gadget, not the Gorilla) must be battery powered.
- Test plan and strategy? What's the test coverage going to be? Are we coming up with a Gorilla model? Obviously we can't test our gadget on each and every Gorilla on earth, which is a fair assumption.
- What about support? Do we have enough application engineers ready to go on-site in Africa?
- What's the product roadmap? Can we do it for other mammals? For pets? This can open up huge markets for us.
- And so on.

And then I decided it was a proposal worth pursuing. At least worth posting on this blog!

No comments: