If someone suggests you spend time working on boring projects, would you take that advice? In this case, I think Kipp Bradford is spot on. We sat down together at the Hackaday Superconference last fall and talked about medical device engineering, the infrastructure in your home, applying Sci-Fi to engineering, and yes, we spoke about boring projects.
Kipp presented a talk on Devices for Controlling Climates at Supercon last year. It could be argued that this is one of those boring topics, but very quickly you begin to grasp how vitally important it is. Think about how many buildings on your street have a heating or cooling system in them. Now zoom out in your mind several times to neighborhood, city, state, and country level. How much impact will a small leap forward have when multiplied up?
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When we sat down for an interview, we dug a little deeper into the “boring” projects that Kipp Bradford sees as important. HVAC has already been mentioned, but he adds to that things like electrical infrastructure, concrete (think construction), and plumbing. At first glance these don’t feel flashy like the latest and greatest smart watch design. But they affect a mindbogglingly enormous portion of humanity. Start looking around and you’ll easily appreciate Kipp’s point of view. Boring things are everywhere, and they’re begging for a new set of eyes to move them forward.
If you just can’t get excited about the infrastructure, there’s still hope. We touched on the difficulty of getting medical equipment through the regulatory process — a realm where Kipp has breadth of experience. It’s interesting to hear his views on the opening up of what has been a closed area. Specifically he mentions hearing aids and electrocardiograms (ECG). Kip cites HeartyPatch from last year’s Hackaday Prize as a great example of progress — what once was prohibitively expensive is now available in a chip for anyone to experiment with. He sees additional opportunities opening now in places like hearing aid technology as the supply chain and regulatory process both become easier to navigate.
I like the message that Kipp leaves us with: “The imagination has to be at 20, not 10, not 11… 20!”. As with so many brilliant people, Kipp found he was working during all waking hours and it took a toll on his creativity. He turned to Sci Fi literature as an outlet and found it to be exactly what he needed. For him, these books helped him envision many possible futures, which is the first step in going out and making those futures happen.
Want to hang out with hundreds of awesome people like Kipp Bradford? The place to do it is at the Hackaday Superconference!