REINVENTED ISSUE 05Â
Svetlana Quindt Creating a Career in Cosplay
Team Credits EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
CREATIVE CCO : Avika Patel Director : Alice Liu Director : Christine Ao Director : Megan Jacob Manager : Hiya Shah Manager : Niamh Murphy Caroline Dinh Estrella Popoca Hamida Khatri Hariti Patel Jada Hunter-Hays Lisa Lam Lynn Nguyen Maria Sagastume Reyna Morales Lumagui Rimi Chakravarti
FINANCE CFO : Erin Mitchell Director : Palak Mehta Manager : Amy Zheng Manager : Avantika Samanta Manager : Nandini Goyal Manager : Niyati Patel Manager : Sonnet Xu Reema Sharma
GUEST WRITERS Carter Nelson
ASK GLORIA Gloria Kimbwala
page 2 | Team Credits
CMO : Rachel Weeks CMO : Ria Vora Director : Kaitlyn Davey Director : Marie Young Director : Varija Mehta Manager : Aashni Patel Manager : Abigail Jolteus Manager : Armita Hosseini Manager : Jenn Toso Manager : Paola Gonzalez Manager : Shamailah Haque Karen Velderrain-Lopez Sanjana Yeddula
OPERATIONS COO : Renee Becker-Blau Director : Peyton Paulson Director : Aly Trevino Aisha Lawrey Amanda Sherman Aneesha Kodati Divya Sharma Erika Torkildsen Jolene Lee Madhu Suraj Olamide Fadahunsi Snigdha Saha Vasundhara Bagchi
PUBLISHING Isabelle Tran Marta Taulet
Officer : Alice Ao Officer : Aparna Rajesh Officer : Vilina Mehta Director : Emily Miller Abigail Johnson Abigayle Peterson Aysia Torres Erin Robinson Grace Pfohl Jenn Toso Lavanya Sharma Madeleine Bloomer Madeleine Salem Madeline Day Meghana Krishna Rachel Wu Samyukta Iyer Sona Popat Sydney Kasner Zhao Gu Gammage Mandy Hathaway
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SPECIAL THANKS Adafruit Sherry Huss Ruthe Farmer Angela Cleveland Digi-Key Electronics
LETTER From the Editor
We have a TON of new readers this issue, so let me kick this letter off by welcoming you to the Reinvented family! For those of you who are just learning about who we are, let me fill you in a little bit. Reinvented Magazine is the United States’ first ever print magazine written for womxn in STEM by womxn in STEM. We focus on showcasing empowering female role models for our young readers to give them the courage to do what the womxn in our pages are doing. While our main focus is certainly on womxn’s empowerment in STEM, that isn’t the only thing our magazine is about. Each issue comes with its own unique set of exclusive interviews and articles about the latest and greatest in the STEM world, and this has been our funnest issue yet! Issue No. 5 features you, our makers and breakers and big dreamers. We have reached out into the maker community and found some amazing womxn and initiatives to bring to life amongst our pages, and we are so excited for you to learn more about all of them. As you start to flip through this magazine you’ll read about makers like Erin St. Blaine, Xyla Foxlin, and Lorraine Underwood. You’ll learn about Allie Weber, an incredible young girl breaking gender barriers and stereotypes and being awarded patents before even reaching college. You’ll read an exclusive interview with Svetlana from Kamui Cosplay, who is ready to help you with all of your cosplay questions just in time for Halloween. And finally, if you are brand new to the maker movement and this world of being creative with tech, you’ll find some articles that are meant to help you get your feet wet and introduce you to concepts like open source, building with electronics, and 3D printing. I would also like to take this opportunity to bring some attention to our One-for-One Program. You may not know that when you buy a copy of our magazine, you are also funding one for a girl in a low income or underserved area with minimal access to STEM education resources. Over the last year we have been able to donate and distribute over 3,500 print copies to girls who fit that description and, with Issue No. 5 alone, we will be able to donate an additional 1,500+ print copies, our largest donation yet! Finally, our readers who have been with us since the first issue know that this wouldn’t really be a Letter from the Editor without a quote from The Office and, after rewatching it yet again during quarantine, there is one that has really been resonating with me. In an episode where some of the employees in the office are selling Girl Scout cookies, Dwight Schrute says that he “think[s] it's kinda dangerous to teach little girls leadership and self-esteem.” You know what? He’s right. It absolutely is. When you give a little girl some power tools and tell them that they can change the world, that is exactly what they are going to do. To Infinity & Beyond,
Caeley Looney, Editor in Chief
Letter From the Editor | page 3
STEAM DREAMERS Fueling Your Next Steps in STEAM
Reinvented's very own video series featuring real women role models for the next generation of STEAM innovators! Reinvented Magazine YouTube Channel New Uploads TWICE a week! Quick glimpse into the lives of female STEAM professionals
Monthly Interactive Pannel
Last Friday of each month! Livestream Ask questions directly to women who will share their skills and experience in the field
VISIT OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION 14 |
contents IssueÂ 5 | Fall 2020
Meet Of Makers
Coping During COVID-19 BY: AYSIA TORRES
**Trigger Warning: This article contains information about anxiety, depression, and suicide, which may be triggering to some.** This content is not meant to replace professional medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.
My first memories of COVID-19 are vague: flashes of worry for people in Asia and the word “hoax.” When the first few cases hit the United States in March, I was not as concerned as I should’ve been and was definitely not as fearful as I am now. I attended my alumni weekend, and the coronavirus took a back seat to a great evening as my two best friends and I enjoyed the nightlife in downtown St. Petersburg. That’s the last good memory I have from before quarantine and social distancing. Now, I hold onto that memory of dancing until 1AM as I struggle with my mental health. The coronavirus pandemic has caused a historical increase in reported symptoms of depression and anxiety, with the highest rates seen in minorities, women, adults
under thirty-four, and people with pre-existing health conditions. Unfortunately for me, I fall into all of those categories; I am a Latina in my twenties with asthma and an autoimmune disease. Diagnosed with anxiety disorder, persistent depressive disorder, and clinical depression months before turning nineteen—the summer after my freshman year of college—I have long struggled with my mental health and managing my symptoms. Quarantine and social distancing have done nothing but stoke the flames of my anxiety.
by fatigue and want to stay curled up in my bed all day, while on others, sleep remains just out of reach. Other symptoms of depression can include mood swings, loss of appetite, excessive hunger, weight loss or gain, and thoughts or ideation of suicide. During quarantine, worsening depression symptoms involving sleep, appetite, and weight can be harder to recognize because we are quick to attribute them to coronavirus and the drastic ways our schedules and habits were forced to change.
Depression and anxiety can make getting through the day difficult for people as they trudge through feelings of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, apathy, and/or agitation. For me, there are some days when I’m bogged down Coping During COVID-19 | page 7
Like for many people, my worsening symptoms stem from a combination of two things: first, my nightmare of catching the virus and being hooked up to a ventilator, and second, the prolonged period I’ve been cooped up in my house. I recognize that I have always had a penchant for being a homebody—my ideal night includes being curled up with a book or binge watching shows like Riverdale and Teen Wolf— but I always had the option to leave, see my friends, or go to the bookstore. I’m tired of being in my house, but I’m filled with dread—often morbidly thinking about what happens if either my mother or I get sick—every time I leave for one errand or another.
I know I have to keep myself away from the news and off social media. I joined a Zoom book club with my friends, learned how to knit, and read thirteen books. I have also been looking into telepysch visits for talk therapy. While these coping mechanisms may work for me, it’s important to figure out what works for you, whether it be anything from exercise to pottery. Remember to not be hard on yourself during this unprecedented time.
Since I can’t leave the house, I find myself drawn to my bed, wanting to sleep the daylight hours away. I find myself rationalizing it as exhaustion and boredom, but I recognize that blanketing myself in quilts and trying to dream of a different me are my unhealthy ways of coping with my bubbling panic and deep seated sadness. The symptoms are still there, persisting regardless of recognition.
Here are some other self-care activities and coping mechanisms that have helped me manage and look after my mental health during quarantine:
It’s important that we all help each other during this pandemic. Taking care of yourself and others goes beyond wearing a mask, because this hopelessness and chronic fear that so many of us are feeling can be helped through healthy coping mechanisms and communication. Sometimes I forget that while we may be stuck at home, we’re far from alone. When the thoughts in my head and my graduate thesis get overwhelming,
page 8 | Coping During COVID-19
1. Keep moving and exercise. 2. Reach out to friends and family through Zoom and other online video messaging services. 3. Take breaks from watching and scrolling through the news. 4. Go outside. 5. Meditate. 6. Try some mindfulness activities. 7. Read. 8. Start a healthy, well-balanced diet. 9. Keep it simple, but start a new routine.
If you think talking to someone would benefit you, there are numerous ways to seek help for your mental health, including remote therapy applications like BetterHelp and Talkspace. In addition, more mental health practitioners are offering telepsych visits. See our list of just some of the free mental health resources available to you.
Mental Health Resources National Suicide Prevention Lifeline National Child Abuse Hotline National Sexual Assault Hotline National Domestic Violence Hotline Veteranâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Crisis Line Disaster Distress Helpline
call 1(800)273-8255 call or text 1(800)422-4453 call 1(800)656-4673 call 1(800)799-7233 or text LOVEIS 22522 call 1(800)273-8255 call 1(800)985-5990 or text TalkWithUS to 66746
Coping During COVID-19 | page 9
ORIGINS OF THE Maker Movement
BY: APARNA RAJESH
It’s every hobbyist’s dream: participating in a national convention to showcase their passion projects to thousands of eager visitors. The giant electric giraffes they had been building in their garages, the rocketpowered fair rides they had been developing in their spare time, and the firefighting robots they had designed in their labs—they are all a welcome sight amongst the crowds and festivities. For STEAM enthusiasts, there is nothing quite as exciting as a Maker Faire.
About the Master Mind Surprisingly, Huss’ path into the tech event industry started not with a degree in a STEM field, but rather with a degree in business and a focus on marketing and international commerce. “I decided to go into business, and I can’t really say why,” Huss says frankly. “But [it] seemed like a good course.”
After the premier Maker Faire in San Mateo, Calif., back in 2006, hundreds of Maker Faires have popped up around the world and ravished millions of visitors with the marvels of modern technology. Over time, these extravagant Faires led to the development of the “Maker Community,” a vast international group of selfproclaimed Makers who share a passion for tinkering and creating. In this community, Makers are encouraged to embrace the spirit of the open-source model and share ideas and design solutions with one another. They are a crew of individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of expertise that collaborate across continental lines to bring novel ideas into fruition. At the heart of this expansive network is the tech enthusiast and event-visionary who started it all: Sherry Huss. Much of the success of the Maker Movement can be attributed to Huss’ sheer fondness for technology and dedication to fostering collaboration across STEAM disciplines. Huss’ story, and the story of the Maker Movement, is one that spans over two decades. It is a story of unwavering passion and perseverance.
After four years at Ohio State University, she graduated with her degree and began working for Addison-Weseley Benjamin Cummings, a college textbook publishing company. Here, employees were required to start working in sales and eventually work through various tracks in order to build careers in other departments, such as tech or editing. It was while working in sales that Huss found her passion for electronics: “My love of technology hit when we were working on selling a book on Lotus 1-2-3 [the predecessor to Microsoft Excel]. After being assigned that project, I immediately loved technology,” she says. Huss’ first job inadvertently helped her find the interest that would later inspire her to develop an organization that brings millions of people closer together. Over the next few years, she worked at other tech-related companies and eventually became the Director of Electronic Publishing at Ziff-Davis. This is where she started her work in building communities. “I had to figure out how to build an online community,” explains Huss. But online in the early nineties was all text-based, so not a whole lot of fun things, you know, no pictures, no likes— there really was no social community attached to it. It was really pretty basic!” Origins of the Maker Movement | page 11
Understanding the limitations of online communities at the time, Huss jumped at the opportunity to get involved in the events division of Ziff-Davis. Her background in business and sales allowed her to view events for developers from a unique perspective. She began to completely reimagine social events for those in tech. “I got to take everything that I learned about online communities and actually apply it in real time,” she explains. The changes Huss proposed, however, were originally met with some pushback. “I remember getting called into the Head of Operations’ office because his teams were complaining about me. They were saying, you know, ‘This lady came in and she’s questioning everything we do!’...And the head of the department said, ‘I wanted to meet you because, maybe they’re right, maybe they’re wrong, but I wanted to hear your story,’” Huss recalls. “So I told him what I know from studying community. What I know about developers is that they’re not usually social by nature.
"'Be more forceful in the things you’re truly passionate about,’ because I think people can do anything. If you believe in something, go for it."
However, in the right environment, which can usually include food or music or gaming, you can’t get them to stop talking! So I said, ‘Why don’t we use the open areas in the convention center to have games and food? And let’s get acoustic musicians to fill the space.’ And he said, ‘I know why my people are complaining. It’s because you’re challenging what they’ve been doing, and I like what you’re thinking, so go for it!’” “And that ended up becoming the beginning of a six-year period where I ended up running an agency for all developer events. You had Sun, Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, Netscape, Intel, and RealNetworks. Everyone wanted my team to be working, because we were doing things differently!” she exclaims. Towards the tail end of her time at Ziff-Davis, Huss convinced her upper management to do a joint venture with O'Reilly Media and launch Web 2.0, an idea that reinvented the internet after the dot com collapse in 2001. Shortly after, Huss found herself at the head of a brand new event for O'Reilly's new magazine, Make. As Huss explains, Make was designed to be “for folks who really liked to make things and got into engineering thinking that they would make things, but when they got into their jobs, they realized they were managing people projects, and said 'wait a minute, I still want to make things!'” Hence the magazine’s tagline, “Technology On Your Time.”
page 12 | Origins of the Maker Movement
Make’s initial audience was almost completely male, and wanting to draw in more people and engage women and children, the group of organizers began to brainstorm ways to get others involved. Reminded of the fairs she used to attend back home in Ohio, Huss and the team settled on the idea of a fair. A fair would include attractions for the whole family; have indoor and outdoor spaces; and take tech events out of convention centers, a style of buildings which Huss felt a strong aversion to. “And a lot of Makers like breaking rules, so the fair grounds were perfect,” Huss adds. From here, the idea of Maker Faire gained momentum. In addition to including booths for engineers to showcase their work, Huss knew that they needed to include events designed to engage women and children. She invited Wendy Tremayne, the creator of Swap-O-Rama-Rama to bring her event to Maker Faire. Swap-O-RamaRama is a clothing swap that gave women the opportunity to sit down with notable designers and alter clothing that they selected from the swapped clothes that had been gathered throughout the event. The Maker Faire team also designed Take Apart stations for children to take apart toys and electronics to their hearts’ content. It would allow children the opportunity to study the inner workings of an array of household products in an environment that encourages creativity and out-ofthe-box thinking. “There’s something very special about a Maker Faire,” Huss says. “There’s a special permission to play.” The Maker Faire team, which was primarily composed of contractors, spent a significant amount of time together building the event from scratch. “I really had the best team,” Huss recalls. “Everyone was working together. Everyone had a smile on their face. Everyone was just solving problems and really trying to share their passion for what they were doing.” “We didn’t know if people would show up,” Huss says. “But we figured that the Bay Area was
probably the best place to be, and in the first year, we had about 23 thousand people attend!”
Prospects for the Future The Maker Movement has only grown since. “Nothing stopped me from moving forward,” Huss explains when asked if her gender had ever held her back in the industry. “Maybe I didn’t get paid as much, but then again, I don’t know if that was as important to me as other things, like having the power to create culture and create values that I feel have a longer-lasting presence, but isn’t that just like a woman to do that?...I think that seeing these kids grow up and seeing the values and the spirit and what they learned—that’s what it was about. Maker Faire was never really about the money, it was about showcasing your work.” After successfully creating a brand new inclusive culture for tinkerers and engineers, Huss has since stepped away from Make. She now works on several boards, including a local Maker Space, and is an advisor for a global food and climate institute. She also recently created a manifesto for the students for her former high school’s robotics team (which is currently made up of 60% women). “I think the greatest challenge for me now is just time,” Huss says candidly. “There’s still so much I want to do…I think for me, it’s like a race against the clock now.” “If I could go back and give myself one piece of advice it would be ‘believe in yourself,’” Huss says. “And I don’t think enough young people do. And ‘be more forceful in the things you’re truly passionate about,’ because I think people can do anything. If you believe in something, go for it.” Origins of the Maker Movement | page 13
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MAKERS 16 Julielynn Wong
18 Xyla Foxlin
22 Erin St. Blaine
24 Lorraine Underwood
Dr. Julielynn Wong: Improving Public Health with Technological Solutions BY: SYDNEY KASNER
When Julielynn Wong, MD, MPH, FACPM was a young girl, she dreamed of becoming a pilot, a medical doctor, and an astronaut. So far, Wong has become a licensed pilot, earned her medical degree, and attended the Harvard School of Public Health on a full scholarship. She earned her board certification in aerospace medicine, worked as a medical doctor at NASA Kennedy Space Center, and served as the Triage Physician for the Boeing Orbital Flight Test last year. Currently batting two for three, when it comes to becoming an astronaut, Dr. Wong says, “If it were up to me, I’d be going to space!”
3D4MD is a women led business that focuses specifically on creating 3D printed medical solutions for people no matter where they live. Creating solar-powered, portable 3D printers accessible to anyone Designing 3D printable files for assistive devices that help people with disabilities 3D printable designs that can be printed in space Responds to humanitarian needs, such as with their face shield page 16 | Meet the Makers: Julielynn Wong
While she may not be an astronaut just yet, Dr. Wong has done some impressive work with NASA throughout her career. In 2016, she was invited to participate in a 30-day simulated space mission with the Johnson Space Center. She served as the flight engineer on the Human Exploration Research Analog IX mission and was involved with NASA’s parabolic flight program and the Mars Desert Research Station Crews 183, 207-208. As you can see, Dr. Wong has the remarkable ability to make her dreams come true! Beyond making her dreams come true, Dr. Wong also works hard as a changemaker. She is the founder and CEO of 3D4MD and Medical Makers. Both are social enterprises, meaning that they are for-profit businesses with missions aimed at making the world a better place. Medical Makers grants its members opportunities for learning new technological skills and developing problem solving abilities through social impact projects, as well as the chance to participate in simulated space missions. 3D4MD is a woman-led business that focuses specifically on creating 3D printed medical solutions for people no matter where they live.
An Introduction to Medical 3D Printing
3D Printing PPE During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Dr. Wong combines her passion for public health with her innovative approach to 3D printing, which creates high quality and low-cost medical solutions. Part of her expertise includes creating the files or blueprints that are necessary for any 3D printing project. She mentors Medical Makers (50% of which are girls and women) who create specific computeraided design files for medical purposes, such as finger splints for sport injuries.
Considering Dr. Wong’s personal dedication to improving global public health, it might not surprise you that she has contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic response. Throughout the pandemic, you may have noticed news outlets and healthcare workers frequently discussing 3D4 MD 3 D Prin ted F “personal protective Shie ace ld equipment” or “PPE”. This equipment includes things like masks, face shields, and eye protection. All over the world, there have been reported PPE shortages. Dr. Wong took this public health crisis headon and worked diligently to create a solution using her 3D printing skillset.
Nearly half the world's population lives in rural areas, where finding specialized medical supplies can be close to impossible. Thanks to 3D medical printing, people who were previously unable to obtain personalized medical devices could have them printed on demand at a fraction of the cost. This type of printing can be done virtually anywhere that a 3D printer exists. In fact, Dr. Wong worked on the project that allowed 3D printing to be used to produce medical supplies in outer space for the first time! Utilizing a 3D printer at the International Space Station, NASA astronauts were able to print customized finger splints from digital files provided by Dr. Wong.
Within two months, Dr. Wong and her team of Medical Makers were able to design the eco-friendly 3D4MD 100% Reusable Face Shield which can be cleaned and disinfected or sterilized before reuse. Even better is the fact that each 3D4MD 100% Reusable Face Shield purchase helps subsidize costs of 3D4MD 100% Reusable Face Shields for frontline workers and vulnerable populations in Syria. This is part of their partnership with the humanitarian group, the White Helmets, also known as Syria Civil Defence. If you are interested in following in Dr. Wong’s footsteps, she recommends joining Medical Makers (medicalmakers.org) to “learn 3D printing skills, solve big challenges, and change the world.” Create or join a local Medical Makers chapter to learn 3D printing skills
Medical Makers extends its members opportunities for education, skillbuilding, and the chance to participate in simulated space missions.
Members can apply to attend missions at the Mars Desert Research Station Host make-a-thons to contribute printable designs to 3D4MD’s digital library
Meet the Makers: Julielynn Wong | page 17
Xyla Foxlin Beauty, Brains, and the Importance of Both BY: MADELEINE SALEM Xyla Foxlin is Miss Greater Cleveland, the Executive Director of Beauty and the Bolt, and a mechanical engineer. She leads a life full of duality: art and engineering, success and failure, individualism and conformity. Her refusal to choose any one side is a testament to the importance of balance and is partly why she is such a role model for many young girls in STEM.
Beginnings & Barriers At an early age, Xyla discovered a love for building as well as an interest in engineering and science. Going into middle school, however, her desire to fit in with her friends (who were more into subjects like English and history) led to her adopting a negative attitude towards STEM. It wasn’t until she joined her high school robotics team that her love for building was rekindled. The challenges Xyla faced as an aspiring female engineer didn’t stop as she got older. She continued to face pushback from sexist robotics teammates and unsupportive professors. Ultimately she emerged from adversity stronger, wiser, and more faithful in her engineering capabilities than before. “Every woman in this field will have her own stories to tell—and although it’s sad to say, very few people will make it through unscathed,” Xyla ruminates. “But something helpful I realized is that, while it’s so easy to make your priority fitting in, your priority should really just be to learn.”
Beauty & the Bolt Continuing her love for building, Xyla spent her early college years working at her school’s makerspace, a lab with different tools available for students to use. The makerspace was intended to be an interdisciplinary place where anyone of any background could come and build page 18 | Meet the Makers: Xyla Foxlin
whatever they wanted. In reality, however, its occupants were prominently white male engineering students. Wanting to improve the learning experiences of minorities in particular, she reached out to a friend, proposing to collaborate on making video tutorials for using makerspace machines. She hoped that if minorities saw someone who looked and sounded like them teaching them how to do something, they would be more likely to think, "I can do that!" These videos were eventually uploaded onto a new YouTube channel called Beauty and the Bolt. Months later, the duo discovered that a large array of educational institutions, from K-12 schools to Harvard University and Cornell University, were using their videos as a resource for their training programs. This exposure eventually snowballed into invitations to speak at schools, organizing various events and projects, and registering Beauty and the Bolt as an official nonprofit organization dedicated to lowering the barrier to entry for minorities in STEM. The most fulfilling part of Xyla’s experience with Beauty and the Bolt has been running the Princesses with Power Tools program, where volunteers dressed as princesses teach kids how to use power tools for the first time. The program has reached about five thousand kids, a majority of those being young girls. "Very few STEM programs reach those kinds of numbers," Xyla expresses. "More importantly, it's the most heartwarming thing to
see little girls take on the challenge of using power tools— all because they saw their favorite princess doing it!"
Balance & Beliefs Aside from her work as the Executive Director of Beauty and the Bolt, Xyla has kept herself busy with independent craftsman projects over the years. For example, the cedar strip canoe she recently built (her favorite project she's embarked on so far), or the launching of her independent YouTube channel, which features her showcasing maker projects that would pique anybody's interests. "It's important to realize that there's so much overlap between the fine arts and craftsmanship and engineering—in fact, without art, there can be no good engineering!" Xyla explains. "The way engineering is taught in schools right now is so formulaic and methodical that a lot of times people lose sight of why they're doing it: we engineer things for people. That's why I'm such a big fan of engineers getting some arts training—creativity is a muscle and it needs to get flexed." This interdisciplinary way of life is something that Xyla has exemplified in many ways, acting as a role model in showing that women don’t have to conform to fit one career or image. Diversifying the image of a woman in STEM by establishing more good role models and media representation, Xyla believes, could help promote gender diversity in STEM as a ghjhgj
whole. Many times, women are forced to choose between their femininity and something that actually interests them. It's important that we're teaching girls that they don'thave to make that choice—they can have both, and they can be both."
"It's important to realize that there's so much overlap between the fine arts and craftsmanship and engineering—in fact, without art, there can be no good engineering."
Best Friends & Bravery Xyla's final message for aspiring young girls in STEM is this: make failure your best friend, for the best way to learn something is to fail. If you use your failures as a personal reflection on yourself—be it as a person, engineer, or innovator—it's very easy to burn out, get impostor syndrome, and tear yourself down; it is then when you become your own worst enemy. However, the moment you decide to get back up, dust yourself off, and keep going? That is the moment you become victorious over your failure.
Meet the Makers: Xyla Foxlin | page 19
Circuitry With Ashley Awalt BY ABIGAIL JOHNSON
Technology, while an integral part of everyday life, can be tricky to work with, and confusing for those unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the latest gadgets. Maker Ashley Awalt, however, sees it as an opportunity to connect with others in the community. As a technical content developer (and the “resident geek,” as her teammates call her) at Digi-Key Electronics, an international electronic and mechanical components distributor, she is in charge of developing information for the company’s website through interactive and informative projects. “I have been with this company for almost nine years and love it more each day that I’m here,” Awalt says. “My experience here has been nothing short of amazing.” Awalt gets to help share her love for STEM every day as she works on blog posts and project tutorials through Digi-Key’s interface. From blog posts about Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) to CAD modeling, page 20 | Meet the Makers: Ashley Awalt
she tackles all aspects of technology in her work. She started out at Digi-Key in the Product Distribution Center as a Product Additions Specialist and later worked with them to onboard a new product. The company then offered her a technical scholarship, allowing her to graduate from Northland Community and Technical College in Minnesota with an Electronics Technology and Automated Systems degree. Ever since, she has been working on Digi-Key’s Youtube platform and helping to organize STEM events. One of her most interesting projects involved using Adafruit Neopixels to create light-up shirts—which were based on the Tron universe—for herself and her dog. She has also written tutorials for projects involving Internet of Things (IoT), a system that allows computing devices to be used autonomously through the internet, for example, garage door openers or laundry machine notification devices. Awalt has created dozens of blog posts on Digi-Key’s web page that explain various concepts relating to electronics, technology, and engineering, as well as their applications to everyday, up-and-coming technology. Her posts introduce readers to topics such as soldering, circuit building, CAD design, and 3D printing. “I love
I love technology, but more so I love the theory and ideology of how things work. That, accompanied by my love of writing, has helped put me in this position.
technology, but more so I love the theory and ideology of how things work. That, accompanied by my love of writing, has helped put me in this position,” Awalt says. Her blogs display her interest in these topics by helping the reader understand the background that they can then apply to specific projects. One of Awalt's favorite aspects of writing blog posts for Digi-Key is that she's able to inspire the next generation of game-changers in STEM fields. She remembers how her professors inspired her to expand her mind and to break down her walls to reach her full potential as a confident woman in STEM. One of her professors encouraged her to join her school’s VEX robotics team, and she even got to participate in the World Championship against teams from
across the globe! This drove her to promote STEM in her career and teach younger students about what could be accomplished through hard work. Now, just as her professors once encouraged her to conquer new fields in STEM, Awalt is determined to give back and do the same for others in the community. “Part of my job is to conduct STEM classes for local area schools and go out to talk to others,” Awalt explains. “I am almost always the only female, even when there are other companies involved.” She believes that it is important for her to be a role model for female students to look up to, as her presence enables them to see other women in the room that are interested in STEM.
They need to be shown that their gender does not discredit their potential.
Photos Courtesy of Digi-Key Electronics
“They need to be shown that their gender does not discredit their potential,” she asserts. Through DigiKey, she is able to connect with these students face to face and teach them about different aspects of technology and science. Awalt’s goal is to keep conducting outreach events and to perhaps one day lead the charge for STEM events in Digi-Key. As a maker, she believes it is important for people to grow and challenge themselves in order to best help others around them. “Change starts from within, and makers totally have that notion down.” She even encourages people to teach themselves the hard lessons you can learn from failure.
She even encourages people to teach themselves the hard lessons you can learn from failure. “Reach out to those around you, ask questions, and remember that failing doesn’t exist and is only a learning experience,” she tells girls interested in STEM. “Don’t be intimidated by being the only girl in the room! Jump in and show yourself how valuable you are.”
Change starts from within, and makers totally have that notion down. Meet the Makers: Ashley Awalt | page 21
Fashion An Interview with Erin St. Blaine
BY ABIGAIL JOHNSON
In a world where science and art seem to clash, a career that combines both STEM and fashion can seem like a contradiction. While science is concrete and mathematical, art allows for individuality and freedom of expression. However, Erin St. Blaine, a worldclass firedancer and international performer, proves these assumptions wrong by paving her own path as a woman with interests in both fields. As a maker, artist, and entertainer, St. Blaine uses her creative skills and STEM in a new way by combining costume design and electronics. By partnering with Adafruit to create tutorials and founding her company, Fire Pixie Entertainment, to display her creations, St. Blaine is paving the way for a future of unlimited possibilities. page 22 | Meet the Makers: Erin St. Blaine
St. Blaine spent her free time working as a part-time employee at Mexican restaurants, where she created balloon animals for some extra cash. Once St. Blaine graduated, she was hired as a web designer. Yet, her new job would only last a few months before she was laid off by a sudden slump in the economy in 2002. However, this only fueled her creativity as she combined her skills to create a balloon animal website with tutorials guiding viewers to create their own balloon animals. St. Blaine recalls, “People were just begging me, ‘Can you just come make balloon animals at my kid’s birthday party...but please just dress like Cinderella! Here’s $25. Go get yourself a costume.’ I wasn’t really a ‘princess-ey’ kind of person, but…the audience was asking.” While working at birthday pool parties dressed as Ariel from The Little Mermaid, St. Blaine was asked by several children why she couldn’t get in the pool. This inspired her first-ever technical undertaking in the industry as a costume designer and entertainer. She created a Bluetooth-connected waterproof silicone mermaid tail that used Adafruit Neopixel LEDs. With help from Adafruit representatives, she learned how to make the electronics for her project. The end result was a fully-functional mermaid tail that she could swim with in a pool. Around this time, she was also developing her skills as a firedance performer using fire and controlled flames, and was beginning to travel around the world to perform for audiences. At the time, firedancers were hard to find online, so St. Blaine took advantage of her education to, once again, share her talents with the world by creating her website. Through her work in electronics and costume design, St. Blaine realized a new method of performing through electronics.
Hoping to further expand her business, she explored the world of LED dance and light shows to later add it to her growing selection of event performances. “Back then, really good LED props just didn’t exist. It was a very new market,” she explains. Inspired to put on a unique light show of her own, St. Blaine worked to learn even more aboutlectronics. “I really wanted light-up costumes and props that were out of this world.” It was very different from what had been done previously in the theatrical industry, and St. Blaine was doing it all herself — creating, designing, building, and adding electronics to her stage. And she was not only using these electronics to perform, but also educating others about how to create similar systems through video tutorials.
"What I’m trying to do with it all is to inspire people and to get more women and girls interested in crafting with electronics.” Since her first LED project and her DIY tutorials, St. Blaine had been using Adafruit products to build her electronics. In 2014, Adafruit officially hired her to share her tutorials online with other makers, something she already had plenty of experience with. She believes that DIY projects are a great way to learn and share knowledge with others in order to create something unique or exciting. With Adafruit, she is able to connect and share her creations with others around the world who share her interest in electronics and design. “What I’m trying to do with it all is to inspire people and to get more women and girls interested in crafting with electronics,” she says. She enjoys dressing up as princesses, as it allows her to teach little girls about following their dreams through a platform they’re familiar with and look up to. She believes that costumes, such as an LED waterproof mermaid tail, can show young girls the magic behind electronics and demonstrate that creativity in itself is a beautiful thing. “When Elsa tells you that you are beautiful, you believe it in a different way,” She says. “That has been my life mission over the last 20 years... to get little girls excited and to get them believing in themselves.” She dreams that one day she will be able to perform in schools so that kids can see the theatrics in the performances and understand how she creates and uses electronics to manufacture everything they see. With thousands of subscribers on her Youtube channel and her active presence on Adafruit’s online tutorials, St. Blaine is undoubtedly leaving an impression on the next leaders of the STEM community. Not only is she sharing knowledge and creativity with others, but she might just be leaving a little bit of magic wherever she goes.
Meet the Makers: Erin St. Blaine | page 23
How U.K. Maker
Lorraine Underwood is Shaping Computing Education In most classrooms, students learn computer science fairly stringently. They memorize textbook definitions of abstract terms like “method” and “encapsulation,” follow strict syntactical rules, and take tests on seemingly endless theories. They learn to see computing as a subject that’s “nerdy” and precise, devoid of flexibility and creativity. BY: ALICE AO
In Lorraine Underwood’s classrooms, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. As a prominent member of the U.K. maker community and a former teacher at an all-girls’ secondary school, Underwood is passionate about showing students the fun, imaginative nature that computing can take on. She coordinates Code Clubs in which young students create their own hands-on projects and runs workshops where high school girls build cities and control robots with code before they even open up a computer. Underwood wants her students to know that computing isn’t just about monotonous memorization and exams—it’s about expressing individuality and using code to create anything imaginable.
Her Journey In Underwood’s own words, she’d chosen to major in computing “on a whim.” Before college, she had little knowledge of coding—all she knew was that she enjoyed working with computers. Despite her initial inexperience, Underwood turned out to be extremely talented at computing, landing a job at Microsoft as a software test engineer. However, she quickly learned that she didn’t want to pursue a traditional career in engineering. “It was the dullest job I’ve ever done in my entire life! I was in a cubicle and emailing my boss, who was three cubicles that way,” she laughs. “It was a great company to work for… but this was not what I wanted to do!” page 24 | Meet the Makers: Lorraine Underwood
Soon after, Underwood found herself trying her hand at teaching coding at a local scouting group, and loving every second of it. “I loved the chaos. And I loved the structure, loved the kids,” she recalls fondly. It was here, in the classroom, that Underwood was able to fully embrace her creative side and inspire others to explore computing.
Making Beyond the Classroom When she’s not teaching her students or fellow teachers, Underwood is devising elaborate creations of her own. Perhaps her most well-known project is “Cubert,” an enormous LED cube made out of a micro:bit, a Raspberry Pi, and hundreds of ping pong balls. As impressive as it looks, Cubert is far more than just a pretty light display. “I see a lot of people making these big art installations— and they just look at them! That’s a bit rubbish,” she says lightheartedly.
Underwood became a teacher at an all-girls’ school, witnessing firsthand how girls were discouraged from pursuing computer science. It was often portrayed as a challenging, abstract subject, and the girls felt unprepared to learn all its complicated theories and intricacies. The feeling was all too familiar to Underwood, who, despite majoring in computing, didn’t feel extremely drawn to it. “I was never really that nerdy—I wasn’t into the networking or the programming or the old computers,” she says. It was only when Underwood discovered physical computing, with its ability to bring code to life, that she became fascinated by the subject. She became an avid maker, building whimsical gadgets, like a tiny camera nestled inside a Tic Tac container, and fluorescent, fluttering fairy wings. As an educator, Underwood is now bringing physical computing to her own classroom. Instead of just requiring her students to memorize concepts and follow cut-anddried instructions, Underwood brings in micro:bits, pocket-sized computers that allow students to learn programming by physically building their own devices. Her students explore the power of coding firsthand, using code to control robots and make strings of lights glow. Underwood’s unique teaching methods aren’t just limited to her own classroom: as a regional computing coordinator for Lancaster University, Underwood has trained other computer science teachers, inspiring them to foster creativity and ingenuity in their own classrooms.
Underwood’s goal was to make her creation not just aesthetic but also functional and interactive. She programmed Cubert to enable users to control its lights and even play games like Snake and Pac-Man on its innovative display. Cubert traveled all over the U.K. and Ireland to serve as not only an educational tool for hundreds of young students but also a reminder of all the creative possibilities that computing entails. Underwood’s work is far from finished—the maker in her can’t help but continue to pursue new projects. Her newest pursuit? Save the World with Code, her first-ever book, published by educational giant McGraw Hill. Inside its hundreds of pages are 20 whimsical hands-on projects, including a “light-up attack sword” to ward off imaginary zombies, an alarm to protect cookie jars, and a temperature monitor to promote eco-friendly habits. Underwood specifically designed the projects with the interests of female students in mind.
social good. good “Girls want to do social They want to make an impact,” she explains. “That’s where we catch them in computing.” As someone who’s spent her career encouraging girls to pursue computing, Underwood has certainly made her mark on computing education. She’s teaching her students that coding isn’t just constrained to memorization and logic—it’s the joy and freedom of making something that is entirely one’s own. Meet the Makers: Lorraine Underwood | page 25
Open Source for
Open Source: A New Approach to Philanthropy The rise of the open-source movement has spawned a new brand of philanthropyâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;one led not by the wealthy and well-connected, but by coding enthusiasts with free time and an internet connection. Opensource technology has emerged as a driving force behind social reform, giving everyday developers the opportunity to build transformative software. BY: MEGHANA KRISHNA
The premise behind open source is simple: greater accessibility to information drives more rapid innovation. Open sourceware relieves makers from the financial burden of accessing proprietary software, driving collaboration and fueling interesting, novel ideas. The movement eliminates concerns about intellectual property infringement and integrates naturally with maker culture by emphasizing opportunity and equity.
Open Source: Software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified
Leaders in the maker community have compared the open-source movement to the Industrial Revolution of the twentieth century. Chris Anderson, former editor-inchief of WIRED magazine, studies the parallels between the two in his book The Makers: A New Industrial Revolution. The Second Industrial Revolution democratized means of production and manufacturing through the development of small devices like the typewriter, telephone, and sewing machine. For the first time in history, the average person had access to
machinery that could transform the way she earned a living. The development of these technologies led to a burgeoning of cottage industries and at-home subcontract work. Like these inventions, open sourceware can provide the basis for an infinite number of new technologies. Fueled by the convenience of data transfer in the Information Age, the open-source and maker movements will bring forth another Industrial Revolution, Anderson predicts. Drawing talent from a pool of technologists, social justice advocates, and community leaders, the open-source community today is responsible for critical advances in complex civic and social issues. Code for America is one of many organizations dedicated to seeking social justice through technology. Among the organizationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s priorities is reforming the criminal justice system. Although most states allow people to expunge their criminal records after a certain period, the process to do so can be convoluted and costly. As a result, millions of Americans eligible to clear their record remain barred from jobs, housing, and educational opportunities. Code for America developed Clear My Record, a technology that automatically clears eligible riminal records and eliminates much of the bureaucracy in the process. In February, a Clear My Record pilot in Los Angeles county helped government officials clear charges for over 65,000 county residents. Code for America has also released a free, open-source version of Open Source: A New Approach to Philanthropy | page 27
criminal records and eliminates much of the bureaucracy in the process. In February, a Clear My Record pilot in Los Angeles county helped government officials clear charges for over 65,000 county residents. Code for America has also released a free, open-source version of the software to every district attorney in California, expecting the technology will help officials expunge over 200,000 outdated convictions across the state. Open-source technology has transformed the way patients engage with the healthcare system as well. Tidepool is an open-source nonprofit that provides free software to help people with diabetes communicate with their doctors, easily access data from insulin pumps and other medical devices, and control how that data is shared. With their open-source app, Tidepool Loop, individuals with diabetes can keep track of what they eat and how often they exercise, and they are provided the option to share their medical device data with diabetes researchers and medical device manufacturers. The entirety of the code, designs, and quality metrics behind Tidepool Loop are open source on GitHub, where volunteers have contributed to the betterment of the app. Tidepool Loop’s model gives real users the power to directly and immediately improve the app experience. By taking advantage of GitHub’s forking and pull request features, app users can download a personal copy of Tidepool Loop’s code, implement a change, and push the updates into the master copy. With 50 million plus articles and over 1.9 edits per second, Wikipedia is among the most successful and wellknown open-source projects created. Wikipedia is the largest and most popular online encyclopedia, with over 600 million page views daily. Although any (potentially unqualified) individual with internet access can edit an article, the beauty of Wikipedia’s open-source model lies in its users’ power to immediately fact check information. With such high traffic, Wikipedia relies on the good will of its readers to actively correct errors. Despite legitimate concerns about its accuracy, Wikipedia offers a means to gain background information on a topic at no cost through articles potentially reviewed millions of times. Though double checking facts on Wikipedia is always a good idea, the encyclopedia harnesses the power of over 39 million page 28 | Open Source: A New Approach to Philanthropy
contributors to provide interesting information that may not be readily available elsewhere. The open-source movement has proven itself a powerful means of social progress, and open-source projects can provide an invaluable opportunity to build technical skills while contributing to important work. Getting involved has never been easier: GitHub’s Explore page is a great starting point to browse popular and interesting projects. Organizations like First Timers Only and CodeTriage offer tutorials for platforms like GitHub and Stack Overflow and connect new developers with projects. Tools like GitHub have dramatically simplified collaboration, allowing developers to branch off a project’s main source code and trial new features without compromising the original copy. Stack Overflow is an online question and answer platform for coders seeking guidance on virtually any computer programming related topic. The site is an invaluable tool for new programmers working against a learning curve. You don’t need to be an expert in coding to make a difference, as open-source projects are frequently short on non-technical helping hands. Simply using and reviewing a software is a meaningful way to contribute. Testing is critical to improving functionality, and the individuals who write code often don’t have the time to test every feature of their work. Developers depend on users to report crashes and provide feedback on the user interface. Non-technical contributors can also help with documentation, translation, and even marketing. Ultimately, it takes a lot more than good code to create effective, engaging software.
Those familiar with coding can suggest design updates, conduct bug testing, and build new features. It can be helpful to reach out to the project owner or primary author(s), if possible, to learn about the team’s vision and goals. There’s a lot to learn when diving into any new project, and it takes patience to fully understand the ins and outs of the code. Coders can also provide technical support by answering user questions on discussion forums like Stack Overflow or Reddit and writing tutorials for users.
Open-source work provides an invaluable opportunity to strengthen technical expertise while working toward a meaningful goal. In a time when working for change is more important than ever, the open-source movement gives every individual the ability to change the world from her bedroom. Open Source: A New Approach to Philanthropy | page 29
Reinvented Magazine aims to guarentee that everyone has access to its content, including those in low-income or rural areas without easy access to a computer. Our One-for-One Program ensures that for every one magazine bought, one magazine will be donated to a local library, school, or girls club!
Creating a Career in Cosplay
Svetlana Quindt of Kamui Cosplay If you are new to the world of cosplay, the word is a portmanteau of “costume play.” People from all over the world enjoy creating and wearing costumes inspired by their favorite fictional characters in television, movies, or books. Cosplayers often share their costumes by attending conventions like Comic-Con.
BY SYDNEY KASNER Svetlana Quindt is an internationally recognized crafter and costume-maker based in Germany. Through Kamui Cosplay, Svetlana’s small business, she manages an extensive online presence, travels all over the world, and develops content teaching people how to create their own costumes. Kamui Cosplay has successfully accumulated millions of followers between her website and various social media accounts. She provides tips on how to work with popular cosplay craft materials, like foam clay and acrylic paints. Her detailed videos provide step-by-step instructions for how to create cosplay characters such as Xena from “Xena: Warrior Princess” or Monk from “Final Fantasy XIV.” Svetlana is an inspiring professional maker who built a career out of her favorite hobby. Looking back at the beginning of her cosplay adventures, Svetlana never imagined that she could turn it into a successful business. Hailing from a traditional family in Germany, her parents were not initially supportive of her cosplay,
Svetlana’s Favorite Creations
and her father believed that women should take on traditional roles. However, once she started cosplaying, she had no interest in anything resembling “traditional.” Instead, she found herself growing in both confidence and independence, while also acquiring more friends than she’d ever had before. Kamui Cosplay started taking off, Svetlana’s parents eventually became more supportive of her new profession, as even though they did not exactly understand cosplay.
Their minds quickly changed after their daughter decided to make a “Xena: Warrior Princess” cosplay. Growing up, Svetlana and her mother loved to watch the Xena television show together. After debuting her Xena character idea, Svetlana finally felt like her mom understood what cosplay was all about: bringing favorite characters to life. Her mom became an enthusiastic supporter of cosplay, regularly checking in to see the Xena costume progress.
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As a result of that sentimental value, Xena is now one of Svetlana’s favorite cosplays that she has ever made. Another favorite cosplay of Svetlana’s is her Monster Hunter Nergigante. Nergigante is a destructive dragon first introduced in the game “Monster Hunter: World.” Creating an entire dragon costume by hand was challenging, to say the least. This character required Svetlana to individually create over 800 spikes, which were used all over the costume. She sculpted the spikes out of EVA foam and then shaped, primed, painted, and glued them onto the costume. She also created thousands of scales that she burned into the costume with a soldering iron. The Monster Hunter Nergigante cosplay took her months to create, but all the hard work was worth it. This cosplay became one of her mostloved creations by fans and is featured on the cover of her book, “The Book of Foam Props". One of Svetlana’s favorite
a cosplayer. She read about cosplay conventions and decided to attend one herself. This was back in 2003, and since cosplay was still a relaively new concept, there were few resources available to help cosplayers with their crafting. At the time, the German native didn't speak English and hadn’t made any cosplayer friends yet. The first cosplay she attempted was Saiyaman from “Dragonball Z,” and it was made out of very inexpensive fabrics. That convention in her Saiyaman costume was exhilarating, and she knew right away that she loved cosplay! Her love of cosplay even inspired her to learn English, as she was determined to grow and connect with the cosplayers. Svetlana’s advice for people new to cosplay is to start with a small project they’re excited about and be careful not to overwhelm themselves. Examples of simple introductory cosplay characters are
things about cosplay is the problem-solving aspect it presents, as can be appreciated by the complexity of some costumes such as Nergigante. There are often puzzles throughout the process of creating each character. How can that battle sword be replicated using foam? What would be the best way to create realisticlooking dragon scales? Getting "stuck” on a project like that and coming up with creative solutions bring her the most joy. Consequently, these difficult moments are often the inspirations behind many of her YouTube tutorials. She helps other cosplayers in their creative process by sharing her own experiences. In the beginning, Svetlana had zero expectations for herself as
Daenerys Targaryen from “Game of Thrones,” Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, or Misty from “Pokemon.” Today, there are also now many resources online for cosplay beginners. Svetlana’s tips? Check out community groups on Facebook, cosplay craft books in your local library, and free 3D printing files and patterns all over the Internet. When it comes to cosplay, there are lots of materials and skills that need to be utilized to put together an entire character. Capturing the character’s clothing may require specific patterns, sewing ability, and embroidery. Creating a helmet might require a 3D printer, painting supplies, a Dremel, and lots of EVA foam. Svetlana creates jggjgjgjgj Svetlana Quindt - Kamui Cosplay | page 33
Turning a Hobby Into a Career At the beginning of her cosplaying, Svetlana was also attending university and did not have time to constantly make costumes. For the first few years, she created one or two cosplay costumes every year with her partner, Benni. Gradually, she began creating more and more content to share her love of cosplay with the world. Shortly after graduating from university in 2013, Svetlana was offered the opportunity to work on some commissioned costumes. Deciding to take a leap of faith, she started working fulltime as a cosplayer. This meant starting with the commissions she was offered and then continually looking for opportunities to build up her new cosplay career. She started writing and publishing books, creating blog updates, and sharing photographs of her cosplay adventures online. These days, Svetlana supports herself financially almost entirely from book sales and patterns sold on her website.
tutorials on how to work with these crafting materials through videos like “How to Create Armor Patterns,” “Foam Clay Sculpting Tutorial,” and “LED Basics!” One of Svetlana’s greatest contributions to cosplayers around the world has been teaching others how to work with new and unique crafting materials, such as Worbla, a brand of thermoplastics often used in costume-making. Since Worbla was made in her home country of Germany, Svetlana initially started using it because of how accessible it was to her. This material had not typically been used by cosplayers before, and she created some of the earliest tutorials on how to work with Worbla! However, since Worbla is more expensive than some alternative materials, she tries not to use it exclusively. Her goal is to use low-cost and accessible materials so that more people around the world are able to try out her cosplay tutorials. page 34 | Svetlana Quindt - Kamui Cosplay
“You will keep getting better as long as you invest the time and effort, and don’t give up!”
Where to Start as a Cosplay Beginner Cosplay grows rapidly alongside the advancements of technology. When Svetlana first got started in this hobbyturned-career, cosplay was something she read about in magazines and otherwise had never heard of.
Today, #cosplay has 43.6 million posts on Instagram and 39.2 billion views on TikTok. There are general Facebook groups for new cosplayers, such as Kamui’s Cosplay Community created by Kamui Cosplay. Beyond that, there are groups specifically for cosplayers in a given state or city and for specific cosplay characters. There are over 10,000 results on Amazon books for “cosplay” subjects, and of course, local libraries should also have plenty of cosplay books on the shelves. Sometimes there are even cosplay or anime clubs at high schools and universities. People interested in recreating their favorite character can venture out to a convention, or if feeling shyer, can share a few photos of their creation with other cosplayers online. All of this to say, cosplay is easier and more welcoming than ever before. Readers interested in attending a convention or creating a cosplay can start by checking out
There, you will find a handy step-by-step getting started guide written by Svetlana. There are cosplay communities to get involved in all over the web, and every member knows what it is like to be a newbie. Check out local convention centers to see when the next anime, games, or comic con will be happening, and give it a go! Svetlana Quindt - Kamui Cosplay | page 35
Superposition: The Bay Area's Largest All-Female Hackathon BY: LAVANYA SHARMA
The Origins of Superposition In 2018, when high school freshman Stephanie Su registered for Superposition II, an all-female hackathon in the Bay Area, she didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think much of it. Finding the opportunity on her schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s local bulletin board, she simply thought it would be a fun experience to fill up some free time on the weekend. Two years later, Stephanie is now the Lead Director of Superposition IV, an ever-growing initiative that has expanded past the mere 24-hours of empowerment and coding that a hackathon encompasses.
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Their mission? To empower young women in STEM by creating educational opportunities and supportive environments where they can develop their passions.
Superposition was originally founded in 2016 by Bay Area teen and Girls Who Code alumna Areeta Wong after she noticed an overwhelming lack of female peers in computer science. Four years later, it is the oldest and largest all-female high school and collegiate hackathon in Northern California. Superposition is a 24-hour hackathon aimed at female and non-binary high school and college students of all experience levels and backgrounds. At Superposition, organizers especially emphasize fostering an inclusive environment by focusing on the attendee experience. While they still host technical workshops and CS-based challenges, they also make sure to organize bonding and self-care activities, like pop-culture quizzes, midnight boba parties, and face-mask sessions. Through these fun and relaxing projects, participants focus on connecting with their fellow hackers, rather than simply competing for prizes and prestige. Over the past four years, Superposition has been able to host four hackathons, amassing 484 attendees and 119 submitted projects. At their most recent hackathon, Superposition IV at Uber Headquarters in San Francisco, the team brought together 220 participants, where 35% were first-time programmers and 77% were first-time hackathon attendees. Shamita Gurusu, the Outreach Director of Superposition IV, says, “We are all about creating a safe and supportive environment for our attendees. It is so amazing to see the diversity of people attracted to our event and the continuous flow of positivity that we receive on a day-to-day basis."
"The positivity positivity is what drives us to ensure that all attendees receive the best attendee experience possible."
Why Are All-Female Hackathons Important? First and foremost, all-female hackathons provide a safe space where females can feel like they belong. Since computer science is such a male-dominated field, these hackathons are some of the only places where a large group of girls can participate in a field where they aren’t traditionally represented. Although co-ed hackathons attempt to promote equal opportunity and encourage female participation, a majority of participants end up being male. According to a survey done in 2019 by Major League Hacking, the largest community of young developers, designers, and makers, hackathons “currently dial in at 73% male, 24% female, and 3% other/non-binary.” At the end of the day, co-ed hackathons may not be discriminatory but are often discouraging, especially for female hackers who have just recently been introduced to the field of computer science, leading to a lack of self-esteem or feelings of imposter syndrome.
Image Courtesy of MLH
Kemi Airewele, who won Best Overall Hack at Superposition IV, stated her greatest takeaway was that “Creating something takes a village... [E]ven if you could do it alone, working with others will always result in a better project because of the things that other people bring to the table. I was lucky enough to have people on my team who had skills in other areas like design and machine learning. And even though they weren’t proficient in coding mobile apps or working with databases, they were passionate about our project which made developing it so much easier. They thought that they weren’t helpful to the team but really the rest of us valued their contributions… [I]n the future I’m going to want to work with more young women in tech. Girls are more likely to think that their contributions aren’t as impactful and I want to work with them to remind them that what they bring to the table is just as important as what everyone else brings.”
Superposition: The Bay Area's Largest All-Female Hackathon | page 37
Continuing Female Empowerment Virtually
“Female empowerment doesn’tstop stop after 24 doesn't hours, and neither should Superposition." - Stephanie Su During COVID-19, the Superposition team has not only donated over 400 face masks for PPE relief but has also been filling the existing gaps in STEM education, especially in the field of computing. Over the course of a few months, their team has been able to set up a Slack workspace, reaching over 300 community members, and even launch a free virtual workshop and panel series over a variety of themes, including an Intro to Python workshop, a Personal Branding & Digital Presence webinar, and a college admissions panel for rising high school seniors who are struggling through the process amid the pandemic. Through these new initiatives, Superposition has been able to reach thousands of students in over 37 countries.
During Superposition IV, over 90% of attendees were from the Bay Area, an already tech-oriented area; even then, 35% had never programmed before. Through their chapter program, Superposition will bring female empowerment and STEM education to locations and communities where they’ve never existed before. Chapter leaders will host virtual webinars and competitions, plan in-person conferences and events, and even teach STEM topics, like programming basics. Through these newly-established initiatives, Stephanie hopes to inspire and empower more girls in STEM than ever before. To those who may be intimidated and unsure about attending their first hackathon, she advises, “Remember that you’re there to learn: everyone starts from somewhere. Every girl is on her own journey.”
They’ve also launched a brand new local chapter program, where the Superposition mission will expand to new locations outside of the Bay Area. The reason? page 38 | Superposition: The Bay Area's Largest All-Female Hackathon
Winners Volunteer of the Year
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Outstanding Collegiate of the Year
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Educator of the Year
Gia Mar Ramos
STEM Changemaker of the Year
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To Infinity and Beyond Award
To Infinity and Beyond Award
Team Spirit Award of the Year
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The Age of AI BY: ABIGAYLE PETERSON
Machines That Think Like Humans
Next Generation Makers
Artificial intelligence (AI) triumphs as a double-edged sword that holds the power to both make or break our society. Fortunately, the greatest minds of today have used AI’s innovation more for technological advancements rather than peril and destruction. From self-driving cars to disease diagnosis, makers are using this innovative tech for social good. AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, including computer systems. Through AI’s virtually unlimited capabilities, innovative boundaries are pushed across multidisciplinary fields.
Prior to developing data visualization models at Microsoft Research, Hoak used her technical talents on a military base near Denver, Colorado. As a Cyber Security Analyst, she identified malicious activity in software scripts while collaborating with multiple partnering agencies to improve efficiency in time-sensitive projects. Hoak’s leadership ability also granted her the opportunity to help create new teams within the military that addressed large technical data issues.
However, AI systems are built using training data and implemented with computer algorithms, which potentially includes biased, manmade decisions that may fail to acknowledge sensitive social inequities. Because AI co-exists with us, it must accurately use data to represent our society without any bias. Amber Hoak, a software engineer at Microsoft Research, uses her coding expertise to create visible AI models that reflect the diverse perspectives behind the innovative technology.
“You should use what makes you unique and use that as your superpower” page 40 | The Age of AI
"With the current shift to fostering innovation for the military, I received much support in leading efforts in to integrate AI into mission systems and training simulations," she affirms. Co-leading the software development team and integrating automatic data-tagging for large amounts of mission-essential data meant her cybersecurity skills did not go unnoticed. This allowed Hoak to transition her multifaceted talents into the Greater Seattle Area, where she now contributes to improving representation in both data science and minorities in tech at Microsoft Research.
Diversifying AI and Beyond Through her experience in developing data visualizations for various AI models and serving in the United States military for software development, Hoak realizes the ethical issues surrounding these emerging technologies. “People fail to understand the privacy concerns and the way sites can aggregate, sell, and use your data to improve different machine learning models,” she says. For example, industries use ads dominated by AI for collecting user data in order to create a more refined business model. One way to combat these complications is data anonymization.
“AI creates a system that allows the opportunity for much-needed diversity” Amber Hoak
This process of information sanitization involves either encrypting or removing personally identifiable information from data sets so that the people described by the data remain anonymous. While data can be used for malicious activity, such as cyber criminals stealing people’s personal information or damaging software, AI contains the potential to use data for immense good too. “AI creates a system that allows the opportunity for much-needed diversity,” Hoak states. Because AI and machine-learning gifts society with a powerful tool that can divide or unify us, the data behind the technology must be unbiased and inclusive for all.
The Age of AI | page 41
AI for Everyone All valuable innovation stems from immense challenges and trials. From overgeneralized data to human biases that perpetuate inequality in tech, the need for diverse voices has never been more evident.
Visibility for Data and Minorities in Tech AI is shaping the world, but who is shaping AI? Hoak investigates this intriguing question by expressing the need for diverse perspectives to create meaningful AI models for data scientists. “If the data is only exclusively accurate to certain groups of people, this will reduce everyone’s contributions through generalizations,” she states. However, Hoak combats this problem by emphasizing the importance of diversity in AI through her own perspectives and talents. As a woman of color who sparks innovative change, she makes the data behind AI more inclusive and representative by utilizing design frameworks to create interfaces that are fair and diverse. The data visualizations she designs promise a new wave of tech that celebrates diversity and inclusivity in AI. “As we keep evolving our practices, we gradually evolve proper visibility for minority groups,” she states. page 42 | The Age of AI
In order to ensure that AI successfully implements social good in our society, the next generation of makers behind AI must remember to include those from different races, cultures, and gender identities. Hoak addresses this by using her skills in both graphic design and coding to represent the training data for AI systems in a beautiful manner that inspires action and change. “You should use what makes you unique and use that as your superpower,” she explains. As Hoak creates impactful data visualizations behind AI at Microsoft Research, our society learns to include everyone, no matter where they come from, in the creation of meaningful innovation. We have the data, the tools, and the minds behind AI to continue building a future where everyone feels represented in tech. Through the power of diversity, the production of AI’s innovative creations can more accurately reflect the unique world of makers and doers that we live in.
A L L I E
Allie Weber Proves That
Kids Aren't the Future; KIDS ARE NOW. BY JENN TOSO
Don't ask Allie Weber what she wants to do in the future. She's not interested in what she may or may not do tomorrow because she has plenty to do today. At the age of 15, Allie has accomplished more than most adults. As a patent holder, inventor, member of Teen Vogue's 21 under 21, MythBuster, and STEAM advocate, Allie has quite the resume already. How did a girl from South Dakota achieve so much at such a young age? Plain and simple: she wanted to do it, so she did. She has never let her age be a limitation to what she can do and achieve - and why should it be? She believes that adults shouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have a monopoly on creative thinking and problem-solving. A good idea is a good idea, no matter the age of the brain it comes from.
page 44 | Allie Weber
When she was five years old, Allie Weber built her first robot out of recycled items she had around the house for a school project. Her creativity and determination to solve problems were already guiding her to invent at an age when most kids were just learning to tie their shoes. Allie doesn't consider herself special, however. She believes all kids have the potential to invent whatever they want to. Of course, at various stages, adult guidance may be necessary, but an inventor's age shouldn’t be a barrier to their dreams. Allie has proven this time and time again with every invention that she has created. Last year, Allie was awarded her first patent for a device she developed which warns users when frostbite is imminent. The idea behind the Frost Stopper came to her in 5th grade, after Allie herself suffered frostbite from wet gloves while sledding. The Frost Stopper is essentially a pair of gloves with a temperature sensor that is wirelessly connected to a set of headphones. The headphones will emit a noise to alert the wearer when it's time to go inside due to low temperatures. Allie entered her invention in the 2016 Spark Lab Global Invent-It Challenge and won the grand prize, a patent for her winning design."It was a dream come true. When I was little, I always read books about inventors and makers, especially Thomas Edison. Every engineer or inventor I read about had patents, and a lot of them, so in my mind, I made it my goal to have at least one patent for an invention I created. For me, it was kind of a sign that I had finally made it," Allie explains when asked about the patent process.One of the inventions Allie is most proud of is the Got Your Back Binder Strap, which turns threering binders into backpacks. Allie discovered there was a
need for such a device the summer before she started. middle school. At her school, backpacks weren't allowed, so students had to carry three-ring binders in their arms, which was highly uncomfortable. True to her nature, Allie discovered a problem and she set out to solve it. The Back Binder allows students to carry their three-ring binders with a strap in the same fashion as a backpack supporting the wearer’s spine. It also is fully in compliance with the school’s no backpack rule. "Even though it was a simple idea," she explains, "it made going to school much more comfortable without breaking any rules."
The STEAM Advocate Allie is adamant that STEAM is for everyone, no matter their age, but especially for kids like herself. She spends a great deal of time advocating for STEAM, which often involves speaking to groups of all ages about the importance of getting involved in STEAM activities. Allie has spoken at local schools in South Dakota, talked to students in Thief River Falls, MN, and participated in Digi-Key's Engineer's Week Girls Night Out activities. Add that to speaking engagements at Make Magazine's flagship Maker Faires in New York and San Francisco, and you have one busy young lady. "My favorite memories are when I get to go to different STEM events and get to meet up with other makers, whether they [are] old friends or people who quickly become friends," she explains. Speaking at various events and spreading the message of young inventors provided an extraordinary opportunity for Allie. As a fan of the original MythBusters show, Allie was excited to be invited to be a part of the newest version, MythBusters Jr., which focuses on young makers solving myths.
page 45 | Allie Weber
"Kids are not the future; we are here now. We are not going to change the world someday; we already are."
Allie has met many amazing people along the way, and she cites pretty much all of them as her favorite. She doesn't view anyone as being â&#x20AC;&#x153;betterâ&#x20AC;? than someone else, because they are all influential on who she is now and who she will become. Whether the people she has met are considered to be famous or live right around the corner, she finds them all equally inspiring."I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of amazing people in my life, but I have also come to find that people are people no matter how much recognition they haveâ&#x20AC;?. One important message that Allie is adamant about sharing, wherever her STEAM journey takes her, is that STEAM is open to everyone. STEAM activities often conjure up the notion that kids must be academically advanced. Not true, Allie insists. "You don't need to be academically advanced to be good at STEM activities. Most of what STEM is [is] creative problemsolving." Anyone is capable of solving a problem. Failure is a big piece of that puzzle, and that's okay. Where there is a failure, there is learning. To be a successful maker, inventor, or creator the only qualifications you need are curiosity, the desire to fix problems, and the acceptance that fixing problems involves failure. Failure is an important part of the process and should be thought of as a good thing. Allie explains: "Showing that failure is not the end, but just a part of the process, is vital to help others understand that although making is a messy process that doesn't mean that it isn't also very rewarding. Seeing a finished innovation that you know just started off as an idea in your head, and is now something that is much, page 46 | Allie Weber
much more is one of the most fulfilling experiences you can have." Allie possesses a couple of essential qualities that have served her well: her confidence and self-assuredness. She has always maintained the courage to pursue, engage, and discover things on her own. It's easy to spot the natural inquisitiveness and problem solving that Allie has demonstrated as a child that all inventors and innovators possess. One of the points that she is very quick to make is that a person does not have to wait to learn. Allie proves that learning is not dependent on a specific timeline."That is one of the reasons that I like speaking [to] younger kids at elementary schools as well. When I show them what I have made at such a young age, they get excited knowing that they can do that too!" Allie explains. If electronics pique an interest, research and explore it. Geology? Dive headfirst into learning about rock formations. Biology? Pull up a chair and grab a book on plants and animals. The amount of knowledge a person can acquire is limitless, and age shouldn't be a barrier to a person's level of interest. Brains are lovely things that can soak up the environment, and turn everything around a person into a learning experience at any age. At the end of the day, Allie will always remain true to herself and continue to push boundaries wherever she goes. If there is anything she wants the world to know, it's this:"Kids are not the future; we are here now. We are not going to change the world someday; we already are."
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Learning Basic Electronics
BY: JENN TOSO
First and foremost, electronics can be dangerous. Safety should always come first. Research should be done and the appropriate safety precautions should be taken. Anyone under the age of 18 should have an adult present. Making projects that move, light up, or make noise requires the use of electronic components. It is these components that will bring a project to life.Â The world of electronics can seem intimidating, but learning a few of the basics is a great way to open the door and get started.
Key Players These are some of the most important parts to learn about before attempting to create electronic projects of your own.
A resistor controls the flow of current to the other components. The majority of resistors have color-coded stripes that tell the user the value. Many online color-code calculators make decoding resistors quick and easy.
A diode has two terminals: one is positive (anode) and the other is negative (cathode). This allows current to flow in one direction while blocking the current from flowing in the opposite direction. There are several different types of diodes, but the one most people are familiar with is the LED.
Capacitors are a lot like rechargeable batteries. A capacitor can store an electrical charge and then discharge it.
A LED, or Light-Emitting Diode, is a diode in the usual sense â&#x20AC;&#x201D; it limits current to flow in only one direction â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but when the current flows through the LED, it emits light.
page 48 | Learning Basic Electronics
The Circuit Developing maker projects that require electronic components also requires knowing what a circuit is and what it does. An electronic circuit is a pathway in which the flow of current can travel. A circuit can be open or closed but must contain a voltage source, conductive path, and a load. A very simple circuit would be a battery to a lamp. In this example: Voltage Source = Battery Conductive Path = Wires connecting the battery to the bulb Load = Light bulb
A schematic diagram maps out the circuit with symbols. It gives a visual representation of where the electronic components will be placed and how they will be used. An excellent way for beginners to get to learn and become comfortable with building circuits is by practicing! Testing circuits on a blank board is called breadboarding. It doesn't involve soldering because the connections in the breadboard are temporary, and it is used only for testing. By learning how to build circuits on a breadboard, beginners can learn the basics before jumping to the next step -- soldering.
Soldering Learning to solder is also going to become necessary when learning how to work with electronic components. Soldering creates a permanent connection between electronic components with the use of solder (a meltable metal alloy) and a soldering iron. It is similar to welding, as it uses heat to seal metal together. The soldering gun melts the solder that joins the components to a circuit board. Flux, a cleaning agent, is used to remove oxidation from the solder, which makes soldering smooth. Although soldering can be done without flux, it is difficult to do so. Soldering involves a very hot iron and is not something a person should undertake without following necessary safety measures. More detailed information about soldering is available online from various sources.
What Now? The above is a fundamental explanation of electronics and by no means covers everything. Thankfully, there are plenty of sources to complement this basic knowledge and learn even more. Many sites offer everything from written and video tutorials to actual online classes. Adafruit has a massive learning section appropriately titled Start Learning Electronics at https://learn.adafruit.com/guides/beginner. It contains everything from learning the basics to getting started with your first project -- and more. It is a wonderful resource regardless of what level of learning a person is at when it comes to exploring the world of electronics.
Visit the following websites to start a lifetime of discovery with electronics: Raspberry Pi - https://www.raspberrypi.org/ Arduino - https://www.arduino.cc/Sparkfun Electronics - https://www.sparkfun.com/ Make Magazine - https://makezine.com/
Microsoft MakeCode https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/makecode Pimoroni - https://shop.pimoroni.com/ Micro:bit - https://microbit.org/
Learning Basic Electronics | page 49Â
The Dynamic Discipline of Developing Prosthetics:
How 3D Printing Allows Us to (Literally) (Literally)
Grow Up with Technology BY: MADELEINE SALEM
The younger generations of today have grown up in the Technological Age, where it's commonplace to find kids playing games on the family iPad or teenagers listening to music on their smartphones. Over the past few decades, we've seen that one of the best things about technology is that it is constantly growing and adapting. 3D printing, or the construction of a three-dimensional object from computer-aided design models, is one of these evolving technologies that has played an integral role in revolutionizing the field of biotechnology. One of the most prominent applications of 3D printing in biotechnology is prosthetics manufacturing. Thanks to the tireless efforts of creative scientists and engineers, the scope of possibilities for 3D printed prosthetics continues to broaden, and they can now be used by anyone in any stage of life. As we grow and develop from children to adults, 3D printing allows prosthetic biotechnology to grow and develop alongside us.
I Wanna Play! Every kid deserves to play, have fun, and enjoy their childhood, and physical disabilities shouldn’t limit that in any capacity. Groups such as Limbitless Solutions—a team of engineering students from the University of Central Florida—have dedicated their work to creating affordable, custom, 3D printed, art-infused bionics for children with limb differences. Determined to design prosthetic arms that reflect children’s personalities, they make sure to spend time getting to know each child and their family with the hope that the personalized aspect of the prosthetic will empower and inspire the recipient. While limbs like hands, arms, legs, and feet are the most commonly 3Dprinted prosthetics, some scientists and engineers have dared to push the boundaries of what defines a prosthetic and have come up with creative assistive technology in the process. page 50 | 3D Printing & Biotech
Pursuing a grant from Elon University’s Maker Hub, George decided to 3D print a solution. George’s idea of a 3D printed pole vaulting shoe ended up winning the grant, which was intended for projects tackling uncommon or unaddressed issues, and she was given $300 to pursue her 3D-printed prototype. To fulfill her goal, George taught herself how to 3D design, and was able to devise a solution that better fit women athletes’ feet. In her improved shoe, the ball of the foot was designed to be narrower, the arch was higher, and there were seven spikes to ensure best support and fit.
GRiP (Generational Relief in Prosthetics) at the University of Florida, for example, develops Adaptive Video Game Controllers that help people with developmental differences play video games with their peers by incorporating customized designs specifically tailored to that individual’s unique needs. They have customized a plethora of gaming controllers, includingPS4s, GameCube controllers, GameBoys, Nintendo Switches, SNES controllers, and Wii controllers.
I’m a Big Kid Now As kids grow older and become teenagers and young adults, life throws them new challenges to tackle— challenges that can be conquered with a little outsideof-the-box thinking and the versatility of 3D printing. While 3D printing greatly benefits those who need prosthetics, the advantages of this rapidly developing technology can be extended to young athletes. Gender inequality is commonin athletics, including track and field, in which female competitors have to tolerate unisex equipment that ranges from ill-fitting to downright dangerous. Female track athletes often wear unisex track shoes, which offer inadeqate support and put female athletes at higher risk for injuries, such as shin splints. Having dealt with this issue in her own track experience, Elon University Honors Fellow Madison George decided to tackle this problem head-on by designing appropriate footwear herself.
The Trials and Tribulations of Adulthood The part of growing up that everyone fears is the unknown of adulthood. We think to ourselves, Who knows what heartbreak, loss, or difficulties I’ll experience?, all the while missing the simplicity of our childhoods. 3D printing can’t solve every problem in an adult’s life, but bioengineers have been trying to employ it to make life a little easier; for example, 3D printing can be extended to assist women who have battled cancer. Treatments for different types of cancers are often harmful to fertility and can damage a woman’s reproductive system. However, bioprinting offers a new hope for women who have suffered from infertility due to cancer treatments. 3D Printing & Biotech | page 51
Researchers at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago have discovered that proteins found in pig ovaries are the same as those found in humans, which provides a source of a potential bio-ink for 3D printing an ovary that could be used by a human. This effort, spearheaded by Dr. Monica Laronda, has the potential to restore fertility in young women who survive childhood cancer but suffer complications like early menopause as a result of treatments. The next goal is to use these 3D printed structural proteins to create a biological scaffold capable of functioning like a healthy ovary—one that responds to natural cues for ovulation.
This would result in the potential for pregnancy in women who were previously infertile, a revolutionary step in the world of fertility research. Breast cancer, the most common form of cancer in women worldwide, can also leave lasting effects on a woman’s body, most notably in the case of a
page 52 | 3D Printing & Biotech
mastectomy. Though there are breast currently on the market, these models are often uncomfortable, heavy, and unenjoyable for the user to wear. The company myReflection, however, is revolutionizing prosthetics by using scanning and 3D printing to customize breast prosthetics for breast cancer survivors. Tim Carr, myReflection’s director, watched his own wife suffer through using uncomfortable prosthetics in an attempt to avoid plastic surgery. Upon seeing her struggling with the available prosthetics, Carr decided to create a lightweight, customizable prosthesis. 3D scanning allows for a
perfect, individual fit, and 3D printing results in a light weight product that is comfortable to the user and exactly conforms to their body. These 3D printed prosthetics allow cancer survivors to feel more comfortable and confident in their bodies, which is priceless for those who have had body-altering sugeries
due to cancer.
Older and Wiser: Growing Up and Getting Involved There are endless ways 3D printing can be used to make it easier for anyone to make it through the day. If you’re interested in contributing to projects that do this, online communities, such as Enabling the Future, have made it even easier to provide affordable prosthetics to people all over the world, especially those in underserved communities with limited access to healthcare. Using 3D printers, collaboration, and open source
designs, they have delivered these prosthetics to about 8,000 children and adults in need worldwide. Growing up and getting old will always come with challenges, but at least we’ll have technology—and each other—to help us along the way.
T³ Time Triangle Thing
DIY: BY: CARTER NELSON
This project will show you how you can create a fun little physics-based hourglass gadget using an Adafruit Feather Sense and a couple of 8x8 LED matrices. We’ll go over the simplified physics model used and demonstrate it with some breadboard setups. Then we’ll put it all together into a papercraft hourglass.
Hardware Items: The specific items used in this project are:
Adafruit Feather Sense https://www.adafruit.com/produc t/4516
Two 8x8 LED Matrices https://www.adafruit.com/produc t/1051
Any Adafruit LiPo Battery https://www.adafruit.com/categor y/916 DIY: T3 Traingle Thing | page 53
CircuitPython Setup: The code used for this project is written in CircuitPython [https://circuitpython.org/]. To get the Feather Sense board set up to run CircuitPython, follow this guide: [https://learn.adafruit.com/welcome-to-circuitpython]. It’s best to start there to make sure the CircuitPython firmware is installed and working correctly. The guide has some basic examples you can try out. Additionally, you will need to install some CircuitPython libraries for reading the accelerometer and driving the LED matrices. The same guide covers how to install CircuitPython libraries [https://learn.adafruit.com/welcome-tocircuitpython/circuitpython-libraries]. You can download the latest library bundle from [https://circuitpython.org/libraries].
Here are the libraries you will need: adafruit_lsm6s - for reading the accelerometer adafruit_ht16k33 - for driving the LED matrices adafruit_bus_device - support library used by above adafruit_register - support library used by above
LED Sand Physics The basic idea is to apply the kinematic equations of motion to each sand particle one time step at a time. We start by getting the current value for acceleration (a) from the accelerometer and then use that to update the velocity (v):
The updated velocity can then be used to update position (x):
There are a few other details that need to be considered. A maximum value for velocity is set, which is called terminal velocity. This way, particles can’t just accelerate forever. When particles run into each other, their collisions must be dealt with by making them “bounce” off each other. The following projects all use this approach:
[https://learn.adafruit.com/matrix-led-sand [https://learn.adafruit.com/animated-led-sand] [https://learn.adafruit.com/digital-sand-dotstarcircuitpython-edition] page 54 | DIY: T3 Traingle Thing
So are all those kinematic details necessary? To provide realistic motion, yes. However, to actually appreciate the effects of that realism, the simulation needs to play out on a reasonably sized display, like the 64x64 matrix used above. For a smaller display, like an 8x8, there really isn't enough space for the realism to be seen. So what if we make some fairly sweeping and hand-wavy simplifications?
Just move one pixel in direction of current acceleration
Attempt diagonal move for any collision
And that's it. Will that work? Let’s investigate directly by coding up this approach and testing it out. The code needed is in [matrixsand.py]. Copy that code to the Feather Sense. It will be used by the examples we will go through next.
Breadboard Tests First, let’s just use a single 8x8 LED matrix with the default 0x70 address. Wire up the matrix, as shown in:
and then run the code [single_matrix.py]. Now pick it up and move it around. How does it seem? Now let’s wire up a second 8x8 matrix with address 0x71 to create a 16x8 matrix. Wire up the matrices as shown in:
and then run the code [double_matrix.py]. Move this example around and see what you think. While it may not be perfect, the results do sort of appear like grains of sand moving around. Let’s go ahead and use this and put together the LED hourglass. DIY: T3 Traingle Thing | page 55
Building the Papercraft Time Triangle 1
Gather the items you'll need: A source for the cardboard, a pencil, a ruler, something to cut with, and some tape.
Cut the cardboard into a 9" wide by 6" tall rectangle. Mark vertical lines at 3", 6", and 7.5" from the left edge. Mark a horizontal line 3" up from the bottom as shown in the far right area.
Place the components down and use them to mark the cutouts. Use the LEDs themselves (not the PCB edges) to mark square cutouts. Use the Feather to mark cutouts for the headers to poke through.
CAREFULLY cut out the areas.
page 56 | DIY: T3 Traingle Thing
This is how the markings should end up looking. The small circle by the Feather is for passing through the battery cable.
Bend the cardboard at the 3" and 6" lines using the edge of the ruler to help make it nice and sharp.
Tape the components in place. Note the orientation of the LED matrices. The top one should be 0x70, and the bottom one should be 0x71. The Feather is on the outside and pokes through the slots.
It should look something like this.
Wire everything together. Consult the wiring diagram.
Now close everything up into the eponymous triangle.
Tape along the edge to close it up.
Done! OK, now run the code [hourglass.py] and enjoy!
All code mentioned can be found here: https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit_Learning_System_Guides/tree/master/CircuitPython_LED_Sand_Hourglass DIY: T3 Traingle Thing | page 57
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Ask Gloria Gloria Kimbwala
is CEO and founder of Shule, a startup that tokenizes international experiential learning systems in decentralized education. Previously to venturing out on her own, she was Square's University Tech Evangelist where she focused on helping connect people to the tools, programs, and support they need to enter the technology industry. This includes leading programs such as Square's Code Camps, an immersion program that supports college women in pursuing careers in technology. She was recently named on the Top Ten Women in Fintech by Fintech Ranking. Her non-traditional path into technology includes a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies and a Master's degree in Computer Science. Gloria is the Technical Advisor on the Society of Women Coder's (SOWCoder's) Board which brings technical skills to women across the globe. In her spare time, you can find her coding with her sons, doing yoga, and playing the drums.
I am overwhelming myself with things for my college applications, and I am so scared I won’t get into any, but everyone I know always gets in with less work, I also have a high GPA. What should I do? First, hope for the best but also plan for the worst. What really happens if you don't get into your top choice for school? For most people, that means that you stay home and go to the local community college. This is a perfectly fine choice as long as you don’t let it completely derail you. There are many successful people that started off at their local community college and transferred to a 4-year university. If this is your goal, talk to a guidance counselor and stay focused on your goal and then reapply to your dream schools when it's time to transfer. If you are an academically-minded person, you should have the skills that will help you succeed in any school environment. The most important lesson you can learn from transitioning to college is not letting perceived failure deter you from your goal.
How do you discover what your career goals should be with little to no experience? Katherine Whitehorn said, “Find out what you like doing best and find someone to pay you for it.” It’s easiest to start a career in something that you naturally enjoy. So the best way to start a career is to look at your life and see what you are already spending your time doing. Once you have identified your passion, you can start volunteering your time in organizations that serve your passion. This serves as an opportunity to be part of an organization but also a way to learn more about the field that you are interested in and to see if there is a way for your skills to align. It’s also a great way to see if this field is something that you could for hours on end.
What books would you recommend for girls in STEM who are having a hard time in the industry? For young girls, I usually recommend reading “Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World” by Rachel Ignotofsky. This book highlights women from many STEM backgrounds and has been translated into many different languages. My kids also really enjoy The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage. For women that are in the industry, I recommend reading “How To Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings” by Sarah Cooper. It’s a great book full of satire that women in the workplace can relate too, but it also has great tips in dealing with inequality. Outside of books, I would also advocate for finding a supportive group to help during your journey in STEM. page 60 | Ask Gloria
How do you combat discrimination in STEM, if you face it directly? Discrimination in STEM is a big problem. The best solution to this problem is to know that it’s not a reflection of you but more of a reflection of the organization or people that you are interacting with. It’s important to know that you do not have to combat the discrimination alone - join safe spaces where you can be your authentic self and that are advocating for you to be in the space as well. There are many Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), national organizations, online communities, and on-campus clubs that you can join that advocate for inclusion. If you are facing discrimination, it’s important to go through those channels to get assistance. Facing discrimination can be extremely toxic if you choose to stay in the relationship. Make sure that have a community to support you, but, if you can get out of the toxic environment, I would also suggest doing so for your own mental health. Do not be afraid to stand up for yourself and to call out those who are perpetuating the discrimination. When you help yourself, you are also helping others.
How do we find motivation after failure? "Failure doesn't mean you are a failure it just means you haven't succeeded yet." —Robert H. Schuller. Failure is simply a step in a learning process. I have a couple of different methods for dealing with failure. The first thing I do is reevaluate if I was set up for success and what I can do differently to change the outcome. I try to implement those changes right away. Next, I look for honest feedback. Feedback is a way to see what others think needs to improve. Lastly, I try to see failure as a spectrum and not a binary result; some things worked and some things didn't. I try to find a way to repeat what worked and revise what didn’t. As long as you are learning from the mistake then it's all part of the process towards success. If you ever want to watch an interesting perspective about failure, I suggest watching SpaceX’s How Not to Land an Orbital Rocket Booster on Youtube.
I am interested in biomedical engineering, what should I do to make sure I am on the right path towards completing that goal? The easiest way to make sure that you are on the right path to a career is to reverse engineer the career path. Find what you think would be your dream career at your dream organization and see what requirements you would need to have in order to apply for that role. Once you have the dream career, work backwards from that spot. Do you need a specific degree, experience, mentorship, etc.? What would get you 70% of the way there? If you need a degree, I would come up with a degree plan and take the steps needed to make that happen. I would also see if there is a mentor that you could follow that would help guide the way. Lastly, I would start learning now: check out YouTube videos, books, webinars, lectures, and projects on Biomedical engineering. Check out camps, internships, and workshops that you could participate in now that will help you work towards your goal. Lastly, have fun! Enjoy the time that you spend and work on projects that are important to you!
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