Uchi Mata is considered the “Throw of Kings” and made my good friend Chuma Soita invincible in competitive judo. Chuma broke his neck executing this technique in a tournament and became paralyzed immediately. I still remember trying to comfort him when he asked me ‘Am I going to die’ and the feeling of despair, hopelessness and helplessness as I had no words. I watched Chuma turn from a proud fighter into an empty shell. Chuma died one week after the accident. That was the first time I wanted to use technology to help people. For one of my electronics college projects I designed and built a prototype smart home for paralyzed people.
Then I moved to the Bay Area, studied computer science and worked as a system engineer in the high tech industry. On a trip to Africa , I ran into the effects of hiv, hunger – the despair, the hopelessness and got driven into designing for food issues. By restoring soil microbiology and using local materials, we shared with others how to grow food in marginal rainfall regions through rapid composting, worm tea’s, double digging and even using bugs
Then I discovered similar food insecurity and malnutrition problems here in the bay area. I got propelled into urban farming and alternative farming methods such as aquaponics for intensive food production
It was hard to scale because realistically it is strange talking about growing food to a people not really hungry but for technology. We pivoted on to data driven solutions such as smart aquaponics. We creating our own full stack platform using hardware software and integrated IoT into food production.
Food introduced me to social inequity and marginalized communities. I realized that as a minority immigrant education equalized and shielded me from a lot of social realities. So I created an integrated learning tool – the Jellyfish Smart Aquaponics Kit and packaged many things I had learned academically, professionally and about life into this STEAM kit
But felt like all the technology was obscuring true learning opportunities. So we started leaning towards using storyboards – which were already built into the jellyfish kits. Storyboards reduce friction when introducing students to interacting with and experiencing a data driven physical world.