Meet the team: Uno Brosten Vaaland talks Stereolabs, purpose and potential
Passionate and expressive by nature, Uno has become a leading voice within Bolder’s collaboration with Stereolabs. Here, he discusses the recent partnership and his personal journey towards value creation.
“The first time I remember the mission truly sinking in was when AIR by Bolder was still under construction,” Uno says, recounting the time Bolder-founder Eirik Skjærseth gave him a tour of the adventure center to-be. “I told Eirik, ‘I see what you’re doing. I see that this is much bigger than it seems. On the outside, it’s an adventure center. But on the inside, it is a lab, a sandbox, a place where we can explore our goals.”
At the time, Uno was working as a part of Bolder’s machine learning engineering team, but when the pandemic hit and shuffled the cards, he was presented with the opportunity to take on IoT instead. Together with Roald Wikene, the two of them were experimenting with the potential of 2D cameras and machine learning. Roald soon discovered that Stereolabs was the leading company for cutting-edge 3D cameras and when they got in touch with the company, it turned out they also provided gateways and management systems. And so, it seemed yet another door had opened.
“Becoming industrial partners with Stereolabs was a big milestone,” Uno says. “We were developing our own solution but decided to give them the responsibility for the technical side of things while we focus on the underlying vision.” He explains that the partnership is built around AIR by Bolder, which is the ideal physical testing ground for experiments and learning how to realize the technology’s potential.
When Roald left the IoT team, Uno found himself in charge of a project he, once upon a time, never could have anticipated working on. “Despite it being a coincidence, the role suited me because one of my biggest strengths is understanding the bigger picture of what Bolder is doing, while putting that in the practical context of what is happening right now,” he says. “The concepts can be difficult to grasp because they are often vague, fluid and explorative. The idea behind them might be concrete and tangible but the challenge is to concretize them. That is my most important task.”
In the name of concretizing ideas, Uno has helped shape models for various concepts and emphasizes the importance of having a shared language within a team. “If there isn’t clarity in the definitions we put behind the words we use when discussing a concept, we end up talking past each other. Having shared definitions means it’s easier for people across the company to understand the common goal.”
So, what exactly is the common goal? Giving people control of their digital lives – something which is an equally wonderful and challenging task, according to Uno. “We want to change the framework. For example, our economic system is one of the structures we take for granted. One sees it as something that can’t be discussed or changed. But when looking for solutions in the context of a system that is the very root of the problem, you are limited,” he says.
Bolder, on the other hand, takes a step back and looks at the very assumptions that the system is built on and swaps it for a human-centric solution. “We ask what happens if we put the individual first. By doing this, many deeper issues, whether economic or political, become almost trivial,” Uno continues. “It is a powerful experience.”
He describes Bolder as providing a toolbox that will empower people to find purpose and meaning in their own journey. “You don’t necesarrily need to understand why something feels meaningful as long as that is your experience. That is how I experience my work at Bolder, and what I wish to share with the people around me.”