For one Cape Breton teen, helping out his great-uncle has led to a blooming relationship with tech giant Google.
A couple of years ago, Jack Mugridge’s great-uncle started using some Google Home devices as part of a project launched by the company that allowed seniors to check in with someone and have daily interactions with people. Mugridge, now a Grade 11 student, stepped up to help his great-uncle try out the devices.
As the project continued, Mugridge started to notice things that could be improved on. So when Google came to Cape Breton to record footage for marketing and feedback, Mugridge’s great-uncle invited the teen over to meet the crew.
The budding tech whiz then took the opportunity to make a presentation of his observations and ideas.
“I told them about some issues that it had and some things that I thought were good about it,” Mugridge told CBC Radio’s Information Morning Cape Breton.
For example, instead of loudly broadcasting a conversation a senior might be having with someone checking in, Mugridge suggested an earpiece or integrating the technology with a hearing aid.
From N.S. to Google HQ
The Google team was so impressed with the teen, they first invited him to Google’s Toronto headquarters before scratching the idea and instead flying him to Google HQ — Googleplex in California in February 2019.
“It was crazy,” said Mugridge, a student at Riverview High School in Sydney River. “They talked about how it was good to get a younger person’s view on this kind of technology, how it was also good to get an older person’s view on this kind of technology from my uncle.”
Mugridge wants to someday build gadgets centred around making daily life easier for seniors and people with disabilities. He has some ideas, but a non-disclosure agreement he signed with Google prevents him from revealing too much information.
Since his trip to California, Mugridge has taken online courses sent to him by Google and stays in touch. He and his great-uncle also brainstorm gadget ideas together and have put together a 3D printer.
Mugridge hopes to learn how to engineer the technology he’s been brainstorming and get a job with Google once he graduates college.