Most of us would find it off-putting to imagine that there are many trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi living in our body, invisible to the naked eye. But Richard Sprague, a Seattle-based software engineer, has dedicated years of his life -- and tested himself hundreds of times — to unravel their mysteries.
Sprague started his career at Apple in the 1990s, where he worked as a software engineer on an early version of what is now Apple TV. He left to form a media start-up, which was later acquired by Microsoft, where he remained for more than a decade.
At that point, Sprague started thinking about the next consumer technology breakthrough, which he could get in on early. And that led him to a surprising space: biology.
More specifically, he stumbled upon to an emerging field of research known as the "microbiome." That can broadly be defined as "the entire community of microbes found in any specific place and time," said Jonathan Eisen, a microbiologist and professor at the University of California, Davis in California.
In recent years, Eisen and his peers in the scientific world have had tools at their disposal to better understand the microbiome, and figure out how it relates to human health and well-being.
Sprague isn't a scientist, but he's found his own way to help.