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Our speaker this month was Dr Ilse Daly who told us about her journey from vision scientist to start-up founder at her company Blackdog Biomechanics.
I’ve had a varied academic career, going from a Physics undergraduate to an Ecology of Vision PhD where I specialised in tracking and understanding the weird and wonderful eyes of the mantis shrimp. Mantis shrimp have 12 distinct colour receptors (we have 3), can see 2 types of polarized light (we see none) and can move their eyes independently in three rotational planes. Building a bespoke mantis shrimp eye tracker was an *“interesting” task, which put me on the path to becoming a software developer. However, there’s a pretty big gulf between being a true software developer and someone who just writes MATLAB code to track shrimp eyes!*
As my academic career went on, I realised two things 1) academia wasn’t really for me and 2) the computer vision techniques I’d been learning could be used for a lot of useful stuff. So I started tinkering on the side - in the evenings and at weekends and I eventually fell into app development, which in turn led to me to starting my own business; BLACKDOG biomechanics.
Sounds easy right: have an idea, write the app, sell the app… Turns out that’s not entirely how it works, as I’ll show in this talk.
Image: Cédric Péneau via Wikimedia
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