Pittsburgh startup BirdBrain Technologies
and Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute
are hoping to inspire the next generation of female inventors and engineers with their Hummingbird Robotics Kit
. After conducting several workshops, they found that girls’ interest in robotics plummets when they reach high school, so they decided to create a kit that would appeal to middle school-age girls. BirdBrain founder Tom Lauwers
explains, “We wanted girls to be expressive and creative and make robots not so much with an engineering focus but as an artistic, creative endeavor.” The easy-to-use kit has an arts-and-crafts sensibility, including a customizable control board outfitted with a rainbow of lights, sensors and motors.
Girls Who Code: Girls Who Code
is a new eight-week summer program
that teaches high school-age girls how to build websites, develop mobile apps, and become entrepreneurs. With a curriculum that includes everything from financial literacy to computer science to robotics, the initiative is strategically devised to both close the gender gap and eradicate income inequality. Former deputy public advocate of New York City Reshma Saujani
launched the project after learning that just 3.6% of Fortune 500 companies are run by women and less than 10% of venture capital-backed companies have female founders—a particularly disturbing finding considering the fact that women use the Internet 17% more than do men.
GADgET Camp: Triton College
’s GADgET Camp
(Girls Adventuring in Design Engineering and Technology) is a four-day affair, taking place this week, which educates girls ages 12-16 on engineering technology in a welcoming environment. Instructors at the suburban Chicago institution conceived the program after noticing that when boys and girls were in class together, girls tended to let boys assume leadership roles. Consequently, GADgET empowers girls with an opportunity in which they must take control. Like more traditional summer camps, attendees spend most of their time working with their hands. Last year’s campers
visited a metal fabrication shop, learned about production design, and created gadgets using heavy-duty machinery.