CoLab INC.’s Executive Director, Ryan Dye, talks with inventor, engineer and cultural anthropologist Daryl Gungadoo on how his various projects have sparked studies on the effects of technology in remote, untouched civilizations; provided 360-degree video documentation on the plight of Syrian refugees and how the ability to read brain synapses will shape the future of learning.
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Ryan Dye (00:00:00):
So from CoLab Inc, it's There to Here. A show about entrepreneurs, innovators, and investors and the impact they seek to make on the world. I'm Ryan Dye, Executive Director of CoLab. And on today's show we talk with Daryl Gungadoo, an MIT and Andrews University grad with a background as an audio and electrical engineer, inventor, podcaster, anthropologist and adventurer. So Daryl, with that welcome to our show.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:00:26):
Pleasure to be with you.
Ryan Dye (00:00:27):
Yeah. So I have to be honest, knowing where to begin with today's discussion is a bit of a challenge because your story is a bit like something out of Dr. David Livingston's diary. You were born on the Island of Mauritius way out in the Indian ocean, grew up as a child of missionary parents, spending time in East and West Africa, and decided to go to school in the United States to study engineering. So why don't we start there. It seems like a logical spot.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:01:00):
So, correct. I was born on a little tiny island off the coast of Madagascar. As a matter of fact, we might as well illustrate all of this, right?
Ryan Dye (00:01:12):
Yeah, that'd be great.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:01:13):
A visual interface. So let's see here. So you are in Idaho over here? I currently live in England. Not too far away from the queen. About 20 minutes from her castle.
Ryan Dye (00:01:32):
Oh, well there you go.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:01:35):
But I was born on the Island of Mauritius over here. And my parents, from the age of three years old, my parents were missionaries. So we worked in Madagascar, in Kenya, in Rwanda, in Ivory Coast, in Senegal in Burundi, close to Rwanda. We also worked in Rwanda. And most of my growing up years, I was definitely not exposed to technology at all. I did not see much of TV. And so, while in Rwanda, we were kind of caught in the genocide that happened there, and that got us to expediently leave Rwanda.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:02:30):
And my dad thought, "Oh, well as we are suddenly, abruptly ending that job might as well finish my PhD." That was my dad speaking. So [inaudible 00:02:42] Andrews University and I followed. I was about 15/16 years old then. And so, arrived at Andrews. I was completely amazed by even a light switch. I wasn't used to that kind of technology. And what happened is that, I ended up being very curious of how all of these things worked. Coming from out in the middle of the bush in Africa, pretty much. The country I come from is pretty modern. I actually grew up out in the middle of nowhere.
Ryan Dye (00:03:21):
Well, Andrews University is almost out in the middle of nowhere, at least in the United States.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:03:28):
There are lights. But anyway, I was keen at opening everything I could to figure out how it work inside. So that curiosity got me known in high school. I was kind of like a geeky person. It's cool. As a matter of fact, I remember my dad was still... We were still in Africa, and my dad just got himself, way back in the 80s, a regular SLR camera with lenses and so on. And I was quite fascinated by the fact that he was taking pictures and we'd process, develop it with our own chemicals at home to make [inaudible 00:04:06]. But it came to a part where I really wanted to figure out how it mechanically work inside. So I ended up opening the whole camera up and couldn't really put it back together.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:04:16):
So I thought, "My dad's going to figure it out," So I filled it with rocks. So it felt like it was heavy, and kind of put the case back together. It obviously didn't work. But it's that kind of childhood that I had. That got me some spankings as a kid. But to tell the truth, I wouldn't exchange it for anything because as I got to the US, being curious about how anything works got me to really get down to the nitty gritty of things. In the early 90s, that's when computers, like desktops and so on to become a popular. Not too far from Andrews University, there was a factory called the Zenith Data Systems. They used to make computers back then. And what I would do, is every minute that I had free, I would go over to their trashcan and pull out all the circuit boards that they were throwing away.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:05:15):
They were drilling big holes in the middle of those circuit boards. So I would combine multiple circuit boards to get one that's working, so the drill was somewhere else, and make them work. And I would end up [inaudible 00:05:27] into selling working computers to all the fellow students at Andrews. That also got me into repairing computers that were faulty and got me and a couple of friends to start a company called PC Consultants, that was doing just that. And that's how I pretty much paid for my education, finished high school on that, went to University. The other thing that was interesting is that as I got to Andrews, I didn't really speak a word of English, so I kept quiet for most of the time. And the other academy students really thought I was very dumb. I would listen a lot and I would sneak into areas and open things to figure out how they worked.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:06:11):
So while typical kids of my age took a lot of things for granted, "Yeah. We'll switch on the light and it turns on, it's no big deal. We don't need to know how that works." For me, the curiosity really... I consider that an advantage to have kept and to have nourished that curiosity. And it's now something that I try to impart in my kids, "Why don't you break it."
Ryan Dye (00:06:37):
How's the circuitry work? How does everything connect?
Daryl Gungadoo (00:06:41):
I came with a very different worldview from most of the kids in high school, and then as I graduated and went over to university, I came with that perspective of let's find out how it works inside. So I also have that appreciation for nothing's really broken, it's just in a different state of it's life cycle in a way. Let's get things working for a different purpose maybe.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:07:03):
And this also gets me to when an object is designed for a particular purpose, I have that propensity to be able to say, "Hey, but I can use it for something completely different. It'll solve that other problem somewhere else." The ability to see solutions that cross platforms pretty much. After a degree in electrical engineering, I started masters at Andrews in software engineering, then moved over to MIT for acoustic audio engineering, but then also got quite interested in a complete different department at MIT and that was with the Media Lab.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:07:43):
I got working a lot with a person by the name of Nicholas Negroponte who was the director of the Media Lab then, and got involved with a product OLPC: One Laptop per Child Project. Just a sec. Let me go get one. So the One Laptop per Child was an idea of MIT of getting a laptop so cheap in cost, more modern than it's time, distributed to every kid in the developing world. So those One Laptop per Child's, the operating system on it didn't require you to learn English.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:08:17):
It was only a [inaudible 00:08:18], furthermore, it had a lot of interesting concepts like the screen could be in black and white with no backlit [inaudible 00:08:27] the sun to reflect the character, kind of like the old LCD screens like you [inaudible 00:08:35] watch. You didn't need it backlit to work. And it could turn into a color mode as well. And we were also using back then a technology called WiMAX, which gave us ranges. I mean WiFi would give you about 300 feet or so in the distance, but WiMAX got us to about 10, 15 to 20 kilometers in range, and you could use similar devices as repeaters.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:08:58):
So I was perfectly poised there to put myself in the shoes of let's say a person who lives in the Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa or so and see how those devices would be useful for a people group that has never seen technology or computers.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:09:18):
While at MIT then, one of my projects was to see how this would vibe with the Kalahari people group. And the project was quite interesting in that we... It was actually more of a anthropological study rather than a computer science study, seeing the human-computer interaction to a human who has never seen or been exposed to technology. Some of the findings there were out of this world. For example, as long as you've got two or more of these devices on, they create themselves to gather a mesh network.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:09:56):
And what ends up happening is that you are able to view all the people on a video conference kind of thing. And however, the first few days, Kalahari people having the OLPC, they didn't really know what it was and we didn't want to tell them what it was either. They figured out that they could turn it on. They would just pressing every button until something happened, and then light was signing on the screen. They didn't care what was happening on the screen. So what they would do, they would turn it in an angle like this, and they would carry this as a torch. That was for them, in the first week or so-
Ryan Dye (00:10:35):
Daryl Gungadoo (00:10:36):
This was a handy flashlight, right. What you could see, it would change their village activity in that rather than going to sleep with sunset, they would stay up a little bit longer because there was a little bit of light coming out of that screen. At the same time, a lot of the witchdoctors would be completely fine with it. "Yes, it's sucking the energy out of the sun and then it vomits it back out." That kind of lingo. To make a long story short, what was really cool from an anthropological perspective is that they ended up figuring out that by pressing a couple of buttons on the device, it would turn on a two way, or three way, or five way video conference. And they ended up thinking, "Hey, we could send one of these with one of our hunters, they could put it on top of a big rock, press somewhere, and they could film or they could live stream," without the terminology of course, "we could live stream a hunt." For the ladies at home in their huts they would sit there and they would watch reality TV.
Ryan Dye (00:11:49):
Daryl Gungadoo (00:11:49):
So this is like three weeks, they are in their own worldview producing reality TV shows that would actually appeal to our generation today. So you've got the hunters, and there's a couple of hunters. So you get multiple views of the hunt and the ladies in the village would know already what size animal was coming in so they could prepare the fire for the-
Ryan Dye (00:12:18):
This would be better footage than National Geographic or something.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:12:21):
Oh, absolutely. But exploring how a human that is not taught how to use a computer, how they end up using it, and then later on going back to the operating system and adopting and creating user interfaces that benefits them has been quite a finding.
Ryan Dye (00:12:41):
Yeah, that would be a fascinating study for sure.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:12:44):
And since then, there has been many PhDs written on the topic of course. This was kind of like the opening of a human-machine interaction and seeing how that works. And also, if find out what kind of verbiage, what kind of terminology do they give to those devices when they don't have a word for it. So I completely thrive in that kind of environment. Interesting aspect that we found by deploying those to remote parts of Africa and Asia is that, the distribution of intelligence is not concentrated necessarily in the Northern Hemisphere.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:13:26):
Actually an even distribution throughout the world. So with an IQ of over 160 or so is distributed throughout the world. And what a shame to not be able to harvest those little Einsteins, just because they don't have the opportunity of learning and expanding their horizon in that way. So the main objective that was not initially documented but that ended up bubbling up was too to empower those little Einsteins to let their brain go free, and expand that boy and benefit humanity in general.
Ryan Dye (00:14:10):
Absolutely. No, that's a fascinating study to see kind of that cause and effect in different communities of how technology, like you say, even on a rudimentary level, has a profound impact. And I think it's something that kind of gets lost in our modern society. Sometimes we just take it all for granted and don't realize how this can impact the world in various ways.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:14:36):
So one objective that I'd like to at least share, especially if it's talking to possibly parents of young kids, is the level of curiosity and level of, "I don't care if I break it, I want to find out how it works." Kind of idea that your kid has, this is a beauty to behold.
Ryan Dye (00:15:01):
In other words, be a patient parent and don't buy the extended warranty.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:15:07):
Just like kids, I was happy to play with a box of a toy rather than just the toy. Opening a toy and figuring out how it works, is part of education. And I got a lot of spankings for it but [crosstalk 00:15:23]-
Ryan Dye (00:15:23):
But look at where you are today.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:15:25):
Yeah, our generation doesn't think that way anymore as per parenting.
Ryan Dye (00:15:28):
Well, I would say, this is more of just kind of a side thing. but I came across the 2007 footage of you on the BBC hacking one of the early iPhones which is a fascinating little clip. And some people look at that as though these are the guys that are jailbreaking all this technology or the hardware or whatever. But again, I think that goes back to your fascination with, "No, I want to know how it works and how could I apply it in other ways." We need people that do that. So maybe you could talk about being the, what did you say, the 'Robin Hood' of technology, jailbreaking these things.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:16:08):
Oh, you know this world needs both Steve Jobs kind of people and Steve Wozniak kind of people. Wozniak wanted to just give the intellectual property away to anyone. He did not have a business mindset. If Apple was just run by him, Apple wouldn't have survived today for sure. But at the same time, Steve Jobs had great ideas but needed a Steve Wozniak next to him to be able to actually produce it. You've got to find that complimentary other person. Together then, the synergy makes a bigger sum of its whole kind of thing. So I don't see myself as a business person. I don't see myself as an entrepreneur from a business side of things. I see myself more as an inventor. I'm totally happy that another company ends up marketing and profiting from it. I mean I would feel completely miserable sitting behind the desk and doing accounting work on patents, just sales and so on. I'd rather just get dirty and develop something.
Ryan Dye (00:17:15):
With CoLab as an organization, one of our primary interests is that we do a lot of different types of pitch competitions, whether on an academic, collegiate level or young professional level. Part of the goal in that is we want folks to be able to connect with someone else who might have a different skill set that maybe isn't in their field of study at all, but can be beneficial to whatever it is they're working to develop. So that's part of our name, CoLab. We want people to connect in a lab setting and collaborate and all of those different ways we can look at that. And so far we've had some of these competitions.
Ryan Dye (00:17:53):
It's been neat to see students connecting, like you'll have an engineering student with a business student, with a computer science student and maybe someone in education. Well you can put a lot of great things together in those areas. So I find that fascinating. That leads me to another question. Talking about being an inventor, speak a little bit about the process of when you go from an idea to a product to a patent that's kind of a journey. How do you go about that process and what's been your experience there?
Daryl Gungadoo (00:18:25):
Yeah, so having talked to a couple of other inventors as well, I noticed that we all don't necessarily have the same formula to get things going. A good inventor friend of mine, Gary Rayner, who you probably also know, he is great at inventing with the purpose of selling it and moving on. For me, I am a lot more tied emotionally to what I invent. So I've learned that's not necessarily a good thing. That's just me.
Ryan Dye (00:18:56):
You're emotionally invested.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:18:59):
My skill set also resides in the media side of things. So I appreciate new ways of producing media content. And for me, it is not a purpose of making money, it is a purpose of solving something and already thinking five to 10 years down the road. Well, how do we invent it today? So my formula is not necessarily the de facto recommended one that you will hear at Oxford or Cambridge or Stanford, but sometimes I have a hard time sleeping and I have this idea that stuck in my mind, I just won't let go. Unless I start documenting it and crafting it right there, right then.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:19:43):
The idea of wanting to solve a problem ends up being often too early for its time. One of the patents I have is on stitching images together to create 360 images and then video. So that was one of my masters thesis at Andrews in software engineering, and that was back in the 90s when computing power was not even powered to able to mathematically calculate this. So it was all theoretical mathematics. It was not even codes yet because it just wouldn't render on a regular PC.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:20:20):
So the idea of having at least the six sides of a cube, having a camera be on that angle, and then seeing the intersection between those images, and then deciding how to cut, it wouldn't be a straight line, it would be based on the object, if anything between there. So it's not simple math. And also the concept of bending the image on the side so it looks more like part of a sphere that you're looking at. Kind of like a fish-eye running at [inaudible 00:20:49] straight image. So those ideas of, "Yes, this is mathematically doable, it's just not humanly possible with today's computers, but it's doable." So I ended up writing this as a thesis and then moving on. Way down the road by 10, some years later when computing power became strong enough, I thought, "Well, let me turn that a pseudo code into actual code to see if it works." And it did on a regular PC.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:21:24):
Then what I ended up doing is said, "Well, I've done this algorithm for a single static image, let's do this now for a video," which at the end of the day, is just a succession of photos, right? Then it took me into developing hardware that will do this. So this is one example. This is a whole lot of GoPros put together and pointed at different angles, and as you do a time sync of these videos, turn them into a multiple channels of video, a software would stitch that together to give you a 360 full immersion video experience.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:21:57):
So the idea that I got back then only came to fruition 10 years later. And it was very much on a shelf, because I was distracted by doing all kinds of other things. So the distraction is not so much... don't consider that a problem. Also don't consider the fact that you can't have the solution this year a problem either.
Ryan Dye (00:22:22):
Timing is everything.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:22:23):
It might mean that first of all, society is not ready for it or technology is not ready for it. And there's no point in necessarily rushing to get a product out if the society is not ready for it yet, especially from a business perspective, then you won't be able to sell your product. However, being first to market is always the suggested direction. However, what I learned from a young age is the idea of having something, is almost worth more than the object itself. Once you have the idea and once you're able to formulate it, turning that into a patent is extremely useful, and then you can shelf it for a couple of years. It's not a problem.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:23:03):
One area that I've noticed has caused me some problems is for lawyers like patent trolls, who just hunt for ideas and either steal them or try to duplicate them. So it takes a full time job just to watch that your technology is not being copied. But then, you can possibly outsource that to a trustworthy entity or person. And that's been my approach. You can describe enough to show that you actually are hiding about 90% of the iceberg, in only showing that you're able to do it but you don't reveal how it's done. The hiding of the iceberg ended up being my method of progressing. And further more, the other approach that I've taken is I recognized that some people, or some ideas might be life threatening to the person who has the idea, in that a nefarious company can come over to you and say, "We want to buy... " hostile acquisition kind of thing of your patent, "buy this thing. And if you don't want to sell it to us, well we know where you live" kind of thing .
Ryan Dye (00:24:18):
We have other ways.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:24:21):
I lived in Italy for 10 years and had a few encounters from a business perspective with the mafia type work. I used to work in Italy and we had all the paperwork to be able to build a radio station at a particular location. I mean from the national government, from the regional government, from the state, from all of those. But there was this one extra area that was kind of like in the gray, basically the mafia that was more powerful. So this kind of helped me craft this idea that I ought to never associate my direct name to a patent. I ought to either incorporate an entity that is distant enough so that cannot be traced directly to me, and have that entity as a holder. Me and my family, my address, my home would be safe. So that is non-orthodox, but at least it worked for me, right?
Ryan Dye (00:25:26):
Right. Well and it's similar to how businesses will set up several different escorts or LLCs or whatever, because you need some degrees of separations. I mean it's the same process for sure.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:25:39):
Even Apple or Google wanting to acquire some intellectual property, rightly or wrongly, is not a political discussion here, but they won't to acquire directly as Apple. They'd create a subsidiary, that is a holder, doesn't mean anything, it doesn't even come close to the illusion that it is owned by these big companies. And that's how the acquisition gets done. That's also how they get it for cheaper.
Ryan Dye (00:26:04):
Exactly. Well, and I was going to come back to the 360 degree videography question in a moment, but one thing I wanted to touch on that I think is quite fitting for right now. You were talking about 3D imaging. This could be something that came from you. But I came across an article recently where they were showing, I think it was on CNN, and you could watch a video of 3D imaging of a patient's lungs and how the corona virus was affecting their breathing. And it was quite fascinating because in this video you could see, "We're going down the trachea and we're into the lungs and we're looking all the way around." And I thought of you actually when I saw that and thought to have that ability, especially right now, can be really helpful to truly understand what's going on and how we might be able to perhaps treat things more effectively. So I know you could probably speak on that and how that technology is working in the medical industry.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:27:04):
So the whole accelerated learning process is super critical in some of those new platforms. Very often, looking at it just from a pedagogical perspective, all our books and all our formal education has been targeted or crafted for pretty much one kind of learning style. And there are so many others really that we are ignoring. Let me just illustrate this while we're at it here, I mean on screens. So you've got all these different learning styles that was coined by this guy by the name of Howard Gardner back in 1983. And most of our courses is very much targeted towards the word smart. So that's why we have books, and we have tests the way it is. But there's so many other ways of learning. So if we concentrate on expecting people to only learn one way, we are failing all these other people who learn in a completely different way.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:28:05):
Virtual reality helps in a couple of all of these ways. Virtual reality helps in people who are kinetically apt to learn. So they want to touch and feel and pulling. It also helps in people who have a dysfunction in learning linearly. So there are ways for them to learn much quicker by, we call it in pedagogy, curiosity education. When you don't even know that you are being taught something, but it's by curiosity that you discover things. We find these attitudes also in games. There's typically four kinds of gamers: one kind doesn't care about winning or getting to the end, but they care about trying every single turn in a labyrinth or maze to see-
Ryan Dye (00:28:56):
Exploring the world more.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:28:57):
Once we're able to identify those kinds of learners, there's a plethora of new ways of teaching them that accelerates a person's learning mechanism based on their style in a way that you could easily compress six to seven years of education in one year, provided you have tuned the education method to that user. And this is what brings me to now another degree that I'm working on that has completely nothing to do with electrical engineering or computer science, and this is cognitive neuroscience. Being able to scientifically identify within about four seconds or so, what is the person's skill, this person's way of learning and [inaudible 00:29:42] content for that person. Just completely fascinating to be able to read a person's mind enough to identify the neuron connections that basically can... It's kind of like reading the map of a person's brain and saying that is most likely a person that learns by kinesthetic ways or by reading books.
Ryan Dye (00:30:07):
Well, as a parent of a fourth grader and a fifth grader, I'd sure like to be able to peg my kids that way. That would be fantastic. Okay. We're going to spend our time working on this way of learning.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:30:19):
So that's been my latest endeavor and my latest patents. I've been in this area because I can see that in about five to 10 years this is going to be big business. Large companies like movie producers will want to know does that video... I mean currently what the media industry does is, they have guinea pigs coming into a room, and then they give them a sheet of paper and then they have to rate from zero to 10: "Did you like this or not?" But wouldn't it be awesome, without revealing too much of how I'm doing the work, to be able to decipher a person's mood while they are watching a video clip down to the second, that would be able to feed right back to the video producer in saying, "Hey man, at that time code in our video, 90% of our audience are daydreaming. We've got to recapture it, that engagement, so we need to re-edit the movie differently."
Daryl Gungadoo (00:31:20):
So that would be super useful to the movie industry to have a tool like this. It would be super useful for advertisement companies of course to piggyback on those kinds of things, but it would also be super useful to entities like game developers. Been approached by Sony in San Diego on that technology on being able to embed this into augmented reality or virtual reality glasses to be able to read the brain synopsis of people. And again, it is a read-only concept, so don't be scared that it's going to influence a person's brain.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:31:58):
It's a read-only concept, that reads the mood of the person to be able to possibly change the storyline. It's a lot easier to do it in a game rather than in a movie. Well, games like Assassin's Creed and so on can definitely benefit from, "Am I bored? Do I need more stimuli in the game or is it overwhelming for me?" Therefore I need to tone down a little bit on the stimuli that the game is offering to that consumer. There's no single solution to it, it depends on the person.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:32:37):
And it also depends on the time of the day that they're playing: are they just waking up, are they coming from an exhaustive day of work? Depending on that, you want to be able to tweak your game storyline. So where I consider myself in a way, if you want to use a spiritual jargon, of being blessed is being able to, not necessarily predict, but to somewhat see what will become beneficial and useful in directly then generate the most demand, therefore the most business opportunity a few years down the road from a media perspective. So applying those concepts to cognitive neuroscience.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:33:22):
So my first design, looks like this here. It's got a few sensors on top that basically looks like the brainwave and this pulls down and that grounds from the back of your ear, and is basically listen to the brain waves of your brain. I was working with a Chinese company for the mass manufacturing of this, without telling them what it did. But I did give a demo to their CEO, and I'll make sure not to mention the company's name here, but he was fascinated by what he could gather from brain analysis to the point of offering to me, "Hey, I'll build it all for you for free for a period of X amount of years, provided you give me access to the software." When I have them manufactured there, I don't populate the software in the chips, [inaudible 00:34:19] but I do that in my lab instead."
Daryl Gungadoo (00:34:22):
And the reason why he wanted this, was so he would be able to pay his employees based on their level of concentration at work. So obviously yes, it can measure your level of concentration with a resolution of about four seconds after a fact. But suddenly, I realized that I had to be very careful from an ethics perspective of how my innovations were to be used. And this is still what's tormenting me today. I mean, obviously I did not go that path, I did not sell it to them. As a matter of fact, what I did is I designed the hardware, so the whole electronics piece is detachable. They would only manufacture this without knowing what it did, and that [inaudible 00:35:12] manufacture in Texas by Texas a [inaudible 00:35:15]. And only when both of them get joined together, then we would know what it does kind of thing. So yes, to tell you the truth, I have not resolved this in my mind yet. The level of ethics that goes behind all of this. I don't feel capable of making those decisions myself.
Ryan Dye (00:35:35):
That's a challenging arena because there's obviously the development and technology side but you have to put the human element into it and determine what's causing an effect here in the end run.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:35:47):
And from an ethics perspective, I might have the best of intentions, kind of like Einstein or the others with nuclear reactor kind of idea and then the nuclear bomb. So these are things that I think a lot about and I know I don't have the solution, and do I bring something to full fruition knowing full well that they're nefarious ways of using it? Or at the end of the day, am I incapable of even controlling those things?
Ryan Dye (00:36:23):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). I mean, that's obviously an issue that's been relevant for years and years as our societies advance and technologies increase. Everyone wants to get their hands on something.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:36:38):
If I needed, for example, to make a quick buck the Ministry of Defense would just love to buy that kind of technology and they'd pay good money for it because what it would allow them to do is, as a prepping soldier goes through bootcamp or so, they're able to analyze that person's reactivity to know if that person will succeed or not, because they invest a lot of money in training a soldier. Right from the get go they'd be able to, with artificial intelligence and studying all the successful and not successful soldiers, they'd be able to see, well that brain pattern has the propensity of being a fantastic soldier indeed or not.
Ryan Dye (00:37:18):
Absolutely. Well, having said all that, it kind of leads me to more of a humanitarian question and how you've utilized 360 degree videography and things like that. You spent a bit of time a few years ago embedded in Syrian refugee camps. And I'd love to hear that story because you were able to spend some time not only with your work with AWR: Adventist World Radio, but working with Doctors Without Borders and other entities in the UN. So maybe you could speak a little bit on that experience and how you incorporated technology into that experience.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:37:57):
A year before all of that, when I was basically coming up with a 3D method of capturing videos and maybe from a... Sorry, I'm a technical geek, so I've got to show and tell. [crosstalk 00:38:08] with a couple of GoPros put together which eventually moved into a prototype. I think this is the first time I'm showing this in public here. So this is a prototype of multiple cameras put together, which eventually became a more user friendly method and this will do 16K of video capture resolution. So with the right goggles on, you really don't see pixels anymore and it really feels like you're there apart from the wind or the temperature. But that's a different sense altogether.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:38:51):
So when I first leased the patents out, that was at an NAB show, the National Broadcasting Association that usually meets in Vegas every year in April. I got a little bit of publicity for that acquisition from one of the camera manufacturing companies. And National Pulse contacted me and asked me if I was willing to use their environments to basically do a proof of performance that you could virtually travel those locations, and more of an advertisement which I gladly did. It was great because they would take me to National Pulse in quick ways. Like helicopter here, helicopter there.
Ryan Dye (00:39:32):
You didn't have a nine hour drive?
Daryl Gungadoo (00:39:34):
They would close the power up just to capture a scene [inaudible 00:39:37] anyone before moving on to another location. I could have access to locations that are usually bordered off to the regular mortals. Also my perspective is not to look at it from a lucrative perspective. I don't want to get paid for these things. I want to possibly [inaudible 00:39:57] things. Anyway, that got me interested in, "Oh, that was fun. That was a fun project. I enjoyed that." Then two NGOs contacted me for documenting some of their work and building booths in the middle of malls and so on, where you would put those goggles on, you would experience being in the middle of... It was not just refugee was disaster areas and so on and so forth, to give a different perspective to a potential donor.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:40:28):
And what they noticed is that nine times out of 10, a donor would be a lot more willing to contribute, especially millennials, because they would have experienced it and they would have been able to almost feel the need rather than reading a textbook or even watching a movie. So that experiential element was very key to making that. So with that in mind, this worked out quite well, and I started getting introduced to some of the disaster areas that those NGOs were working on that were connected to refugees. That really touched me a lot.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:41:10):
Either working, for example, on the path between Aleppo, which is in Northern Syria, all the way to a little island in Greece that the Syrians would have walked and then would have taken a little boat to cross a four mile track. And seeing and hearing their stories really got me to rethink my whole life. Just one anecdote there. I met this one father who had a quadriplegic 16 or maybe 17 year old kid. And he had carried his kid, obviously this is an adult size kid now, it's heavy. He carried his kid all the way from Aleppo. I calculated about 1200 miles in distance that he had been walking to get into the Island of Lesbos in Greece. And then off to eventually Germany, was his preferred destination. At first, I was impressed that he had the muscle to carry that kid for that distance and furthermore that he walked it.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:42:22):
But then when we look further in his scenario, he was barefoot. But furthermore, he had nails that had gone through his feet, but he kept on walking on. He's like, "If I'm walking on nails here, I'm just going to get my kid to safety." And then at the same time hearing... Well, one product that we did in our church organization, Seventh-Day Adventist Church, was called Global Refugee Day. On one day... It is a UN event, but we wanted to do it as a church as well and showcase some videos and so on. It worked quite well. It was very positive. And I was quite involved in capturing a lot of those videos for our church organization.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:43:06):
But it really flopped in the US. And the main reason was, and I really don't want to get into the politics here, but the main reason was the whole narrative of Trump's wall between Mexico and the US and the narrative that, "They are thieves trying to come in. These are criminals trying to come in and so on." And there was a small minority in Europe that had the idea that those refugees coming in were terrorists. Now I thought after seeing what I've seen, after walking in the shoes of those refugees for a distance to understand what they went through, there is no way any of these guys going through the pain that they're going to cross could be Al-Qaeda type refugee. If Al-Qaeda wanted to get in and infiltrate over into Western Europe or the States or so they'd find quicker, cheaper ways to do that and not risk that many people's lives to get across.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:44:11):
However, what I also found out was, and this is where the anthropology comes in handy, is that these folks, a lot of them, at least in that wave of refugees coming in were not even Muslims, they were Zoroaster. The Zoroaster religion comes down from the Babylonian times. They worship this lion with wings and a face of a human kind of thing. But they themselves were persecuted by the typical extremist Muslims. So it's easy for a Western society to say, "Oh, these are Muslim countries that they're coming from, therefore they must be bringing terrorism with them." So that was the first eyeopener to realize, "Hey, this is not what the typical media in the Western world, especially the Fox news style, is highlighting here. That is not true." So some of the footage I ended up selling or borrowing to the BBC and also to the Italian news agencies. And many people still felt that what was going on was on a set somewhere, it was not true.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:45:29):
One thing you cannot fool is a 360 camera. Reason is if you have stage lights pointing at just the subject in that 16x9 frame, a 360 camera sees all around, sees what's behind, what's all around so you couldn't fool that. So until I started going on those sides with 360 cameras capturing, and a lot of those ended up being prototypes of what I was building. So no one had seen those kinds of cameras before. So they didn't know what it was, which was a handy thing because a lot of those refugees did not want to be filmed initially. Not so much from a perspective of privacy or so, but from a perspective of extremist video propagandas, which is not what I was doing.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:46:23):
So my objective, as I said before, was more to desensitize the Western world of the trauma that was happening there. So at the end of the day, the most successful video clips that ended up illustrating what was happening on those refugee camps or in the paths in those refugee camps happened to have been those 360 video clips. So it was the one item that was able to raise the most funds in a lot of these NGOs that I work with. Again, I was not interested in being paid, by then that was not my interest. My interest was to tell the story. But at the same time, it gives me the opportunity of testing my gear in a rugged environment. What happens when these things fall? What happens when it gets dipped inadvertently in salt water? Just because the Zodiac that I'm on with those refugees gets punctured by one of the coast guards around, just so they can make in their books, a funny video about how these refugees died kind of thing. So it's those nasty images that comes to mind that, you know what? Us Westerners aren't any better than the narcissistic folks during World War II or the Hutu and Tutsi conflict in Rwanda. We're not any better.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:47:47):
Put in the situation, we can be nasty. And this is something we've seen very recently with this whole pandemic thing. Friend of mine in Southern California in the Loma Linda area, had bought a couple of toilet paper rolls. It was in the truck, and someone broke the window just to steal the toilet paper.
Ryan Dye (00:48:09):
Daryl Gungadoo (00:48:09):
So at the end of the day, who are we to be pointing fingers at these poor Syrians trying to escape a fate that they haven't chosen, they haven't voted for and who are we to block them entry. But the one thing that I want to say that, again, is not technological or innovative based, but philosophical, is that those refugees as they come to Western Europe, they're like, "Wow, this is a land of freedom. This is fantastic. We love it. What is it that makes this land free?" And they recognize as they walk pretty much from village to village that each of our villages in Europe have, the one thing in common is either a cathedral or church with big steeple.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:49:00):
And so they're like, "Okay, it must be the religion in those countries that have taught a worldview of freedom." And a lot of those refugees who have been disillusioned by either their own religion or by being persecuted by Muslims or Muslims who are anti-extremist come to these countries and they walk into those churches, they go, "Where's everybody?" And they recognize that people, at least in Europe, have become pretty much atheists. We got a little window of about three months to four months where they are very confused and then they become atheists themselves.
Ryan Dye (00:49:43):
Sure. No, I could see that progression happening.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:49:48):
So either that or they become mistreated by the locals and they become hardened. And that is also a formula to creating extremism in Muslim or in whatever perspective. Believe me, there's Christian extremists just to say.
Ryan Dye (00:50:12):
I think your global perspective throughout your life, now with your vocation of being an inventor and really taking technology to a new level, is really quite fascinating because it puts a human perspective on all of that I think, because sometimes... It's not like you're just working in the basement in the lab, whiling away the hours and creating all this incredible thing and barely see the light of day, but it's really how does this interact with the human condition? I think that's a really important thing to connect in what you're doing.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:50:49):
To a young person that's like, "I've got great ideas, I want to bring them to fruition, but I need to put bread on my table," kind of thing. What happened for me is that a couple of patterns got released, not necessarily sold, but leased out to companies enough to financially give me stability. Money can really get to your head, if you don't connect the blessing or the value to the fact that you can make a difference in people's lives. So my ideology was, before all of that happened to draw a line saying, "I need X amount of dollars per month to survive. Anything above that ought really go back into priming the pump."
Daryl Gungadoo (00:51:41):
I mean my motivation at least, and I can't really speak for anyone else, but my motivation has never been being proverbial rich or of being a millionaire. My objective has always been, I just need to provide for my family and then the rest needs to prime itself, and possibly potentially help others who are in that startup scenario of wanting to get somewhere but not necessarily having the means of taking that first step to help them do that first step.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:52:16):
But it is not in a perspective of, "Let's give to everyone the exact same amount." It is more to the idea of creating or helping to create an environment where these kinds of nurturing dynamics can happen. I feel privileged to be connected with CoLab that way, in seeing it progress and hopefully when the right time comes to start building either brick and mortar or a platform that ends up becoming an incubation lab where we could take youngins very much in the Silicon Valley ideology of, "Hey, this establishment gives you free food and free lodging in exchange for possibly a percentage of the patents that you will be building in our labs." That's where I feel my calling.
Ryan Dye (00:53:14):
Well, and that's what would prime the pump of that reality. Well, and you basically answered my last question, which is going to talk about your interest in trying to... You've been moving to this point in time, but looking back and going, "Well, how can we help those next generation of innovators and inventors and technological wizards to move up to that next level to continue to grow and encourage development?" That's basically what you were saying.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:53:50):
But in another parallel conclusion, one thing that I'd like to say is I can't hide the fact that I'm a Christian, but I'm not a Christian because I'm just following what my parents thought of a perspective in their lives. I'm a Christian because of personal experiences. I do not believe that any one religion necessarily drives you or one of the brands of Christianity drives you to a grander being out there. It is something very much internal. With that said, I also believe that as an inventor and innovator, I feel the experience of inventing spiritual, and it's really hard to put words to this, but all right, if we believe in a God that created this world, one thing that he's put in our DNA that he hasn't put in a dog's DNA is this idea of creating things.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:54:58):
I mean, we sort of see it in birds when they build nests. We sort of see it that way, right? So there's an element of randomness there, but they create something like a nest or in a very systematic way, or a spider for that matter, taking a random environment, so it's never the same surrounding, but yet they build a web that is very mathematically sound, but always in a different environment. So for me, these are illustrations of a creator who creates a creation that wants to create.
Ryan Dye (00:55:35):
Right. That's a good way to put it.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:55:38):
I see the spiritual aspect to all of this. And this is why I see that in the process of creating, there's a little bit of, without being sacrilegious here, but like a God DNA that comes out. And that for me, is the biggest joy really. But also, it's taught me a lot of hard lessons, like a creation that comes out of my lab, might not see the light of day or might not see the benefit to today's society. It might only be relevant 20 years down the road. It might be relevant in my kids' generation, not even mine. Who am I to claim that this is mine? Who am I to hoard it and not to share it in the right dosage to where it's needed? So these are the philosophical ideas that's running through my mind. I'm not scared of, in a way, giving certain things away, provided it's making a benefit somewhere that it might not necessarily be only measured financially, but at the same time, you got to put bread on your table so [inaudible 00:57:04] just balance them.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:57:06):
What I would exalt a younger generation who might have great ideas and want to move somewhere with it, is that being hoarders is actually detrimental to an inventor's mind. But being completely altruistic doesn't help your pocket either. And finding that just middle might take a lifetime to balance it. It's really a balancing act. Be honest with yourself in deciding what gets given away and what gets financially marketed. It's a little bit like supermarkets, they run this promotions called loss-leaders that they would put on the front shelf a product that they might sell at under the cost that they bought it for themselves. But it gets people in the shop to then be able to buy all the things where they will make a better profit on.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:57:58):
So consider your life almost so your inventions or innovations where you have a few loss-leaders that you need to factor in. Certain things need to be given away to be able to get the promotion for the next thing. And in the VR and the 360 world, doing this job for the US National Pulse was definitely a loss-leaders that got me recognition by a couple of NGOs that wanted to do promotions. And again, there was no financial gain there. But what it did, is that it created an awareness in society of what a refugee life is all about. While that has been altruistic, that has changed the mentality of a lot of Western Europeans.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:58:49):
And for that, my little contribution of providing technology to capture and to be even daring to go to those very dangerous locations, to capture those stories. I can only see this as a divine being kind of forging me to be ready for those kinds of things. And whatever I'm doing now is forging me for the next step again. Being able to grow up in very rural Africa, taught me that, "Hey, I don't even need toilet paper to... "
Ryan Dye (00:59:22):
Talk about priorities.
Daryl Gungadoo (00:59:30):
One thing that most universities will not teach you is the art of innovation rather than the science of it. I tell you, working on a circuit, it brings me to emotional tears, often tears of joy. I think we're created like that. We were created to achieve that balance. Other religion might call it differently, like getting into your Zen moment kind of thing or so, but being a spiritual experience of bringing that balance to a perfect equilibrium is a skill that can't really be taught. It is something that is self... You have to self-teach that to yourself.
Ryan Dye (01:00:17):
Absolutely. Well, again, thank you so much for your time. It's been just an incredible pleasure to talk with you today and to hear all of these interesting things that you've worked on and are working on now. And I know that as we get back into some semblance of normalcy and start having more events and things down the road, we're certainly looking forward to having you share more with us. So thanks for listening to There to Here. We invite you to check us out on all the social media platforms and visit our website colabinc.org to sign up for information on our many upcoming events and the various ways we help promote the spirit of entrepreneurship. Until next time, be well, and God bless.