At the age of 15, Goran Vuksic received his very first computer — an Amiga 500 based on the Motorola 68K microprocessor. What began as a games machine quickly became a platform for the budding young technology enthusiast from Croatia to write programs. Taking advantage of courses in BASIC and Pascal programming language at his high school, Goran quickly learned the ins and outs of computer languages and began to embark on a technology path.

After school, Goran started his career working in the banking and human resources sector. There he worked with COBOL programs, but later focused primarily on Microsoft .NET technologies. At some point, the iPhone and iPad came along, and the buzz around mobile was too great to ignore. Goran took notice, eventually moving into mobile application development full-time where he learned the Objective-C programming language. When Swift was announced in 2014, Goran quickly jumped to learn the new language and is loving it so far. “I always try to do some fun projects with fun and interesting, SDKs, frameworks, to explore what is available, what is possible to do.”

So what does Goran think about Apple’s pivot to Swift? “My personal opinion is that I still miss Objective-C. People usually complain that it’s a hard programming to learn, but it has strict rules, and that’s what needs to be followed. I really liked it more than I like Swift now, because Swift is still changing. Even with Swift 3.0 released, Objective-C is a stable and solid 30-years-old language.”

Goran at work

When asked about his view on other mobile platforms, Goran muses: “Android is challenging because of the number of devices that must be supported. I like the Apple platform, but I’m not one of those ‘iOS only’ guys. I have an Android phone and keep current with other mobile platforms to see what is new and what’s going on. But, yes,I find the way how Apple does things interesting and I think it’s cool.”

Now Goran works at Tattoodo, but still enjoys taking on side projects — his most interesting and fun project of late is playing around with LEGO blocks and using mobile applications to enhance the experience using principles of augmented reality (AR). Goran explains: “My projects use a deep learning framework to detect the LEGO object. When I have two Lego bricks put together, the application will recognize it and it will tell me the next step for how to put the bricks together.” His experiments finally led him to Affectiva’s Emotion SDK and gave him an idea. What if you could capture the user’s facial expression and superimpose it on the LEGO character using AR? It worked beautifully!

The project has been an inspiration for Goran, who now believes that the combination of emotions and artificial intelligence has significant potential.  “When we communicate between ourselves or between with machine or such, we actually express emotions naturally — it’s the thing that comes first and it’s the most intuitive way to communicate. I think the mechanical button is something like 100 years old now. But it’s not about pushing buttons, it’s about people more intuitively interacting with technology. It’s also a faster way to communicate.”