Samu - Why even research at all?

Can you solve a problem without researching it?

An effective solution tailors itself to the needs of a problem, and so before we attempt to solve a problem, it’s essential that we gain a proper understanding of the surrounding context.

This involves recognizing the who, what, when, where, and why of the issue itself and those who face the problem. For my solution, research became key in helping me develop a strong understanding of how to approach transferring my solution from paper to product.

What problem were you looking to solve?

Ever since the rise of the first commercial computers within the early 1950s, keyboards have been the primary method of interaction used for computers. It’s remained the same all throughout these years because it simply works. But after talking with my buddy Sam, it was clear that this isn’t always the case.

For a large majority of the disabled population, the conventional methods of interacting with a computer through a keyboard and mouse proved to be a serious obstacle. While many alternate solutions do exist, many proved to be either too expensive or hardly practical. Instead, I wanted to look at developing an adaptable and accessible method of interaction through the use of software technology and any old computer webcam.

What role does research and gathering information play in coming up with a solution to your problem?

Having the ability to look into a lot of the work that has already been done within the realms of computer vision and machine learning became priceless. Since the concepts themselves have been around for a rather long time, there was a lot of information regarding best practices that prevented me from reinventing the wheel and repeating mistakes, allowing me to focus instead on delivering a great user experience. But the information itself wasn’t always clear cut.

What was the hardest part about gathering information?

As the two sciences cover a very vast and diverse set of topics and understandings, the hardest part about gathering the actual information itself became organizing all of the various info into material that was personally valuable and applicable.

Do you think it’s important for scientists to be organized?

Organization becomes a key component of any one individual's success, whether he/she be a scientist, entrepreneur, athlete, or fisherman. Being able to efficiently and purposefully manage one’s resources opens up a lot more room to direct efforts towards forming and testing ideas rather than worrying about lost papers or fish bait.

- Samu