Richard Surroz: Tech and the death of missed connections

By Eric Howald, August 7, 2014

Richard-SIt doesn’t take much of a conversation with Richard Surroz to realize that he’s basically made a hobby of surprising people.

After dropping out of high school at 17 to join the Army, Surroz later went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in software engineering and a master’s degree in teaching, which he continues to do for ITT Technical Institutes, but it goes beyond that. Surroz manufactures surprises, too. They come in the form of modded computers that have taken the form of everything from wall art to a Star Wars clone trooper to Autopsy his pièce de résistance, a computer molded into the inner “organs” of a translucent mannequin.

The last one graced was his first project to grace the cover of CPU Magazine.

“I can’t paint and I can’t sculpt, but I was able to look at the components and make artwork out of them. When you think back to the old, big IDE cables, who says we can’t make origami out of them?” Surroz said.

Surroz will be talking about his passion for computing in his TEDxSalem Talk, The Chang­ing Par­a­digms of Per­sonal Com­put­ing: Wear­ables and beyond. His talk is the result of his own evolution with technology. Surroz’s eye for dismantling computers and reassembling in new forms has earned him clients that span the globe. He’s also a regular consultant for Nvidia, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based graphics processing company.

“The internet has given me reach across the globe. It’s not that I’m special, it’s the nature of the common interests. Because of that the political and physical barriers are transcended. The internet makes it possible to find each other,” Surroz said.

As such, he’s enthusiastic about developments in wearable technology like Google Glass for its ability to bring those connections back down to the local level.

“We could pass each other in the street and never know we had common interests, but wearable tech makes those connections possible,” Surroz said. “Even more exciting is the way that technology might help us improve our own lives in terms of things like health.”

Eye contacts that also monitor blood sugar are a recent advancement in that area, but Surroz believes even greater heights are just around the corner.

“We’re at the point where we have a powerful computer in our pocket, our bandwidth is capable and our server capability is where it needs to be. We’re reaching the point when we’ll be able to do high-end gaming or 3D rendering using the phone or tablet is an interface, but the work can done on a remote server with much more power,” he said.

To learn more about our potential future, you’ll need a ticket to TEDxSalem. Buy yours here.