To continue our series “Meet Fearless”, this week we meet another new member, Maurice Benson. Maurice has been a long-time friend of the Fearless team, but made it official last week as our newest senior Software Developer who will also be helping us get Fearless Labs, our R&D arm, off the ground. We’re excited to have him on board!
Nicole: Hi Maurice! Welcome to the Fearless family!
Maurice: Thanks Nicole, happy to be here!
Nicole: Just a little background info for our readers, prior to the interview I asked that Maurice send a head shot and/or any other pics that would give our readers an idea of who he is. He sent the ones below. When I opened the email, I literally clapped. His choice of Voltron, Defender, of the Universe, specifically brought me great joy. <chuckles>. So what does each of these pics tell about you?
Maurice: Hahaha, you know at the end of the day I try not to take myself too seriously. That and I’m also looking forward to working with the Fearless team to form like Voltron and save the universe!
Nicole: It is my understanding that you started off as a Political Science and Psychology major at UNC Wilmington (go Seahawks!) and then transitioned into Computer Science. Why the shift from social science to computer science?
Maurice: Go Seahawks, wings up! As much as I found poly-sci interesting there were some neat things happening in artificial intelligence like facial recognition and decision support systems like WebMD I wanted to explore. An opportunity to work with the psych department led me to stay and get my master’s degree working on trying to control video games by thought alone!
Nicole: That is really interesting. Tell us a little more about your thesis as well as some of your published work.
Maurice: So for my thesis I hooked some of my best (and most patient) friends up to an electroencephalograph and had them play a little game I created first by physically using the controller then by just imagining making the same moves. I then fed that data into an Artificial Neural Network to try and predict what move the person was trying to make! More recently I’ve been working on some image processing projects that help farmers determine when to harvest their crops.
Nicole: How does this segue into new your position at Fearless? Being that it is a newly created position, how did it come about?
Maurice: So I’ve been talking with Delali for quite a while now about how I would like to find more time to do research. He had also been saying how Fearless has some interesting projects coming down the pipe. So after some negotiations, a best two out of three coin toss, and me losing an arm wrestling match, we decided to come together and start Fearless Labs! Well, that’s how I remember it. We’re both excited to see what 2016 will bring so stay tuned for more!
Nicole: Fearless is all about being purple – the purple cow in a world full of brown cows. Basically this means being different, exceptional, and remarkable. What is it about you, Maurice, that makes you purple?
Maurice: I would say a teaspoon of imagination, a cup of willing to take on the hard problems and a gallon of elbow grease makes me as purple as they come!
Nicole: Thank you so much, Maurice for your time. It has been a pleasure chatting with you. Again, welcome to the Fearless family!
Maurice: Thank you, Nicole.
Fearless Labs will be positioned as a leader in the both the technical research as well as commercialization of internal technologies that make a real mission impact across Defense, Healthcare, and Environmental/Agricultural markets. Many research organizations have the scientific and data science capabilities, but lack end to end software development expertise. Leveraging existing Fearless capabilities in Software Presentation and Performance, we are able to conduct research, create analytics, mine / analyze the data, visualize, and create enterprise ready applications that get commercialized (all under one roof). This is a big differentiator for us and we welcome the opportunity to partner on your toughest research topics. Feel free to reach out to us here.