Have you ever heard the phrase — the innovators’ innovator? It refers to a person or group of persons that inspire people that are already viewed as innovators, to be more innovative. And recently I came across a group of individuals in IBM Argentina, that truly inspire innovation! To begin with, they don’t let anything get in the way of their curiosity, passion and team work. Their day jobs don’t have anything to do with the Internet of Things, directly —- but wow are they creating crazy cool stuff in their free time- in the IoT Open Lab they created. So how do they do it ?
They wanted to create a robot, but lacked space, skills, and materials. Didn’t stop them. Their manager got them some open space, they designed and built a 3D printer, they taught themselves robotics and electronics, they learned various software languages to support the development boards they bought, and they learned natural language processing and computer vision —-all on their own time ! The word got around about what they were doing — and that anyone interested could join. Volunteers came from different IBM business units and job roles. Volunteers learned new skills. And together, they designed and built a robot, Emma, literally from an idea and teamwork.
I met Emma and was amazed at her ability to interact with a human. The engineering feat here was no trivial task. First, the 3D printer to create Emma’s form, was designed and built by the team: wow! They shared the various design versions of Emma, and the challenges they overcame. And then the programming of Emma to recognize and understand human voice, and recognize images, including human faces for recognition. They were leveraging what they could from IBM’s current capability, but adding much more to it. Emma can find you on sametime and send you a note that someone is the lobby waiting for you, for example. Looking at you, she can find you on Bluepages – quickly. Something I can’t do as quickly today even when I know who I am looking for.
But what was truly amazing – was meeting the team. The energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and openness to invite anyone to come learn new skills. And the skills they are learning — are in hot demand, just about everywhere. I loved their attitude — on let’s stop talking about IBM can could do in AI and IoT, let’s start SHOWING what we can do. Emma is not their only project either. They showed us projects to monitor water usage, and one on determining how many people are in a building based on detecting mobile devices.
So often people complain about their jobs, not having the chance to do something really innovative. Well this team puts their energy into making things happen and not waiting for a job to give them opportunities….. they are making their opportunities. And they are inspiring other to do the same. It is this type of grassroots, passionate pursuit that changes the world – and that is why this team of volunteers has become a symbol for me when I think of the best Innovators.
Introducing the AWESOME, and INSPIRING TEAM :
Amelia Lourdes Balsamo
Carlos Eduardo Monti
Carolina Monica De Napoli
Claudio Hernan Casillo
Federico Ariel Carella Herrera
Germán Nicolás Gomez
Leandro De Bueno
Leandro Ezequiel Villatoro
Maria Cecila Bel
Nicolas Alejandro Gomez
Nicolas Eduardo Finamore
Nicolas Orlando Nappe
Norberto Sebastian Gonzalez
Sebastian Demetrio Bistakis
And their tremendous, supporting leadership team:
IoT Lab Sponsors:
CIC Argentina Director: Javier Szyszkowsky
Managers: Nicolas Pantuliano, Javier Morales and Nicolas Lorenzo