When technology seems like art – you are on to something big

An interview with Mark Daniel, Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition

When technology seems like art – you are on to something big An interview with Mark Daniel, Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition

Product InnovationThis podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to avoid people that get paralyzed from having to start their lives over. My guest is Mark Daniel, Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition.

Mark Daniel was born and raised in Pensacola. He injured his spine almost 13 years ago and has been using a wheelchair since. In 2010, Mark was asked to assist IHMC with evaluating their first powered exoskeleton, and he kept this involvement since.

He has now joined IHMC as a full-time research intern to work on the design, fabrication, and testing of the exoskeleton for the Cybathlon. Mark anticipates the Cybathlon to make a huge stride in technology and awareness to improve the quality of life for those with loss of mobility due to injury or illness across the world. 

“Every day I am confronted with the reality that I am paralyzed. Every day I face this reality to find comfort in my abilities and not anger in my disability – we all have disabilities and I encourage everyone to live unrestrained.” 

This inspired me, and hence I invited Mark to my podcast. We explore the world of Exoskeleton, the major advances over the last 10 years, and how the blend of hardware, software, and active user involvement has been fundamental to this.

We discuss what the innovation should be really all about, how to accelerate it,  and what mental obstacles one has to overcome to come out as a winner. 

Here are some of his quotes:

I look at everything that we’re doing here at IHMC and all the other exoskeletons, and the other technology that is giving mobility back to people with disabilities. 

I look at all of this as hopefully, that 18-year-old kid that I was. An accident will happen to him, and he will get paralyzed. And some of the technology that I’m working on or helping to push or develop will be what he’s given whenever he has the same problem that I did. And he’ll go back to the same job that he had and he won’t have to start his life over.

We notice who makes strides in the market, and who wins in that market. And it’s the people that pay attention to the feedback of their end-user. And the way to do that is to get somebody that’s gonna want your technology and then give them a reason to want it.

During this interview, you will learn four things:

  1. Why it is key to create solutions that smartly balance working with you, as much as for you
  2. That users have alternatives – sometimes radically different from what you offer. And to make them want to change you have to deliver a shift in value.
  3. Why it is key to not argue with a user whether what they want is a good idea or not. 
  4. That art and technology are not that different – and that’s where the opportunity hides

For more information about the guest from this week: