Name: Majeed Kazemitabaar
Home: Originally from Babol, Iran, but currently in College Park, Maryland
Makerspace: HCIL HackerSpace, University of Maryland
Day Job: Graduate Research Assistant

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Majeed in the HCIL HackerSpace with the MakerWear modules

How’d you get started making? I started to learn about soldering and basic electronics (resistors, capacitors, diodes, and transistors) at the age of 10 in my grandfather’s copy & print shop in Iran. Then I signed up in a local electronics class and learned about basic digital electronics and binary gates. I was able to follow circuit schematics and build simple digital systems on breadboards (e.g. a digital watch using 7-segments, 555 timer, counter and decoders).

Although I started programming in high school, I built my first real program when I was a freshman in college. In the meanwhile I was very excited to learn about microcontrollers in order to build robots. So I spent nearly two years in a robotics research lab as an undergraduate student, learning electronics, making robots, and running workshops on programming microcontrollers.

Afterwards, I spent a year building an industrial FPGA/ARM based Internet of Things platform on TCP/IP for monitoring industrial mechanical systems.

Then somehow during my undergraduate studies, after taking a couple of courses on Human-Computer Interaction, I started to become interested in building interactive systems with a user-centered design approach. Thus, as an uncle of 6 children, I became obsessed with building technologies for children!

And finally, here I am as a graduate research assistant at the University of Maryland, co-designing systems with kids, building construction kits for children to enable them in the creative making of wearable electronics, and running workshops to evaluate toolkits.

What type of maker would you classify yourself as? I don’t really know the categories! But does a “Maker of technologies for children” count?

An 8-year-old girl making a motion reactive scarf

An 8-year-old girl making a motion reactive scarf

What’s your favorite thing you’ve made? MakerWear, a modular construction kit for young children that enables them in the creative making of wearable electronics.

MakerWear modules

MakerWear modules

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What’s something you’d like to make next? A visual hardware programming tool for children to program their clothes with a wide range of interactive behaviors. A kid-friendly oscilloscope that would enable children to understand signals and graphs as a way to help them debug their electronics systems.

A 9-year-old boy making with MakerWear

A 9-year-old boy making with MakerWear

Any advice for people reading this? Quoting President Obama, “I want us all to think about new and creative ways to engage young people in science and engineering, whether it’s science festivals, robotics competitions, fairs that encourage young people to create and build and invent — to be makers of things, not just consumers of things.”

Who else should we profile?
Professor Jon Froehlich who is also a maker!
Liang He a talented maker, interested in digital fabrication
Leyla Norooz is another talented maker who made the BodyVis shirt:

Where can people find you on the web?
Twitter
Makeability Lab
University of Maryland Department of Computer Science