The Story of How I Met Mo-Isu

Rigozo

I would like to remind y’all that I have dedicated this period to sharing snippets of my daily life as a journal series. And this is why I’ll be telling the story of how I met this very interesting guy called Mo Isu.

How it all started…

It was a busy Thursday morning at the Imisi3D lab. Some students from a secondary school in Lagos had come to know more about XR, VR, and AR, and so the place was crowded. When I walked into the lab, everybody was talking at the same time, and most of the students were wearing VR headsets. It looked like an alien invasion.

Google Cardboard

All hands (staff and interns) were busy with the students, and I had to get out of their way. I found a free spot at the corner – directly under an AC unit – and it proved to be disastrous.

Story of my life – I have a low tolerance for cold and in less than two hours, everything from my head, hands, butt, and feet was frozen. I had to put off the AC or risk becoming frozen food. I wrapped my head with a shirt (it wasn’t mine) to help defrost my brain and faced my laptop.

I was still trying to ignore my frozen extremities and concentrate on my work when I heard a commotion by the door. From where I was seated, I couldn’t see what the fuss was all about, so I paid no attention.

Corner Seat at Imisi3D

I knew the students had left, so when I heard a voice say hello close to my ears (Uhm excuse me, haven’t you heard about social distancing?) I assumed it was one of the people that worked in the lab.

Without looking back, I replied to the person. It was when the person asked, ‘Who are you?’ that it occurred to me that an unknown entity was hovering right behind me.

I didn’t scream. But it was a close call.

I turned to see the apparition; lo and behold, I had to crane my neck up to see a face that was almost close to the ceiling. The face in question was a mystery behind a facemask and glasses just like Simon in Alvin and the Chipmunks.

The apparition introduced himself as Mo.

The relationship between Imisi3D and Mo-Isu

Imisi3D is an Extended Reality creation lab based in Lagos, Nigeria, that seeks to promote the presence of emerging technologies – Extended reality (XR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR) – in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. It was founded by Judith Okonkwo and she is a true evangelist of technology and how it can be used in education.

Imisi3D Extended Reality Lab

Mo is an audio producer and podcaster and he recently worked with Imisi3D as a researcher on the first Africa-focused XR report. It was a research that covered the activities of the XR community in Africa, and the future of the XR space on the continent.

After verifying that Mo was not a flesh-eating alien (he took off the face mask), we had a tête-à-tête.

It took me a few minutes to realize that I have met Mo before. In typical fashion, I said in surprise, ‘I know you!”

The first time I met Mo

I met Mo for the first time two weeks ago through his work. I had the opportunity to edit some of the interview transcripts for the XR report. As the researcher in charge of the XR report, Mo was the person that conducted the interviews. Because my house is close to the Imisi3D lab at Montgomery, Yaba, I was allowed to come work there.

In the interviews, Mo did a fantastic job of leading the people he was interviewing to expand more on stories and their work in the XR space. He directed them back to relevant points that they had made earlier, and so the interview flowed naturally. For me, it was easy to get absorbed in the stories. I’ll be sure to share the link here when the report is published.

While I edited the transcript, it roused my curiosity. Soon I was searching about VR, AR, and XR. I found out how expensive it was to get the hardware here in Africa. I also learned about Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, the Metaverse, and so many more techy-stuff.

Sidebar: I am one of the non-technology savvy people. I know some tech guys and believe me that they all think that I am a lost cause.

Library at Imisi3D

So, it clicked that Mo was the same as Mo from the transcripts, and it no longer felt like I was meeting a stranger. That sense of newness was still there but it was muted by my familiarity with his work. When we both started talking about books we’ve read, our background, work, blogs, and so on, Mo felt like an old buddy from way back. You can get to know more about him from his blog and podcast – Inside a Bubble.

With each meeting, we keep finding things we have in common, and it’s a little bit disconcerting – we attended the same primary school, and we do yoga.

Because of Mo from the transcript and his cool interview style, I became interested in knowing more about XR, VR, and AR. I can see some of my friends choking in disbelief. Hah! Exciting times are ahead, wish me luck.

#Day 8 of My Journal Series

Photo credit: Rigozo

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