Arduino Technology

I’m incredibly impressed with this video of a few English youngsters hacking together some Arduino + plush toys to make their imagined scenarios. Peter Kirn put it best when it wrote about it on Create Digital Motion:

Media artists and design houses around the world: you’ve got nothing on this group of eight to eleven-year old English girls, bravely exploring interaction design, soft toy hacks, and physical computing using the open source Arduino platform to animate cats, mice, and elephants.

Just how comfortable are these kids with technology? Comfortable enough that a robotic, killer elephant with glowing eyes is “cute.”

Give them a couple of decades, and I think they’ll invent Cylons. I can’t wait.

Now I have to sing “I believe that children are our future…”

Take it from me, one of the only female writers for Make: Online, when I say “you go, girls!” (Yes, I believe that’s the only time I’ve ever used that expression.)

12 thoughts on “English girls Arduin-ify plush like nobody’s business

  1. Awesome video! More like this, please!

    I have always been kind of bothered by the really obvious gender demarcation between Make and Craft. Guys build rockets in the yard, girls crochet cute bunny figurines. Mayyyybe girls might play with extremely simple circuits, but only so that they can make their handcrafted sweater have a pretty glowy thingy on it. Come on! I like sparkly crafty things too, but that doesn’t mean I don’t also want to use power tools or do 3D graphics or build robots. More female writers at Make and more articles about awesome female makers, please! (And you could mix things up at Craft with more guy contributors too!)

    -slightly grumpy female crafty software engineer (and loyal Make and Craft reader)

    1. …but please keep in mind that the 2 people in the forefront of high-level hacking and making are in fact women. Yes, women! Limor fried (adafruit) and Jeri Ellsworth, in my opinion, are some of the most talented electrical engineer/makers out there! The projects they make are not simple circuits, in fact most of their projects are things many of us can only dream of being able to make ourselves.

      Do you know more “girl” makers….more “guy” crafters? PLEASE send us in some links. We would love to feature them!

      I know I am personally raising 2 future engineers, and they’re both girls! Give ’em a few years and they will be on MAKE too!

      1. Yeah, didn’t mean to diminish those contributions, my bad!

        http://dotfiveone.com/ is a pretty good blog to follow for general female geekiness, though it tends to be more programmer-y than build-y (but not exclusively).

  2. Inspiring video! Saw the shorter version, which just featured the cat and mouse project, over on tinker.it – great to see more, and to have a sense of the context.

    I teach at Ellis, a girls’ school in Pittsburgh, and am offering an elective for middle-school girls called “Building Electronic Toys” next year. We’ll be using PicoCricket microcontrollers and sensors for our electronics. I’d love to hear from any other Makers about their experiences with toy-hacking in the classroom – especially when working with this age group.

  3. Appreciate your thoughts Rivenwanderer and I share your feelings. But at the same time, I find it really heartening that some of my favorite hardware hackers, ones I admire the most (gender aside) are Limor and Jeri. I’m in awe of their talent, their creativity, and think I have tons to learn from them. Also our very own Becky Stern. And Leah Buechley.

    We’re also going to soon be joined at Make: Online by Diana Eng, author of Fashion Geek, and one of the “stars” of Project Runway. And no, she’s not here to cover soft circuits (altho that’s something that personally interests me), she’s going to be covering amateur radio for us. Diana Eng is a ham and she’s on a mission to introduce the joys of amateur radio building and operating to a new generation of potential hobbyists. I was a shortwave nerd for a few years so I know a little of this scene and it’s a hobby we’ve wanted to explore more at MAKE for awhile, but haven’t known exactly how to tap into it. We’re excited to have Diana leading the way for us.

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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