It’s amazing to think about what tools for creativity and self-expression young people have today. A precocious and ambitious teen with a home computer, a phone cam, and something to say (and the talent to say it) can really make his or her mark on the online mediascape. And thus, a million YouTube video stars are born.
It’s also heartening to think about how many young people have been inspired by Maker Faires to get involved in making things, and sharing that journey via YouTube, Instructables, and similar sites. One such teen who recently threw her hat into the YouTube maker ring is Junie Grey (real name Lauren Valley).
Junie is a high school student from Pennsylvania who was introduced to the maker movement through the Pittsburgh Maker Faire, where she says she became “instantly inspired.” The result of that inspiration is a weekly Junie Genius: Mad Science Wednesdays.
Editor’s note: Actually, Junie is a fictional character created by Lauren Valley, a 23 year old student at Carnegie Mellon University. She created the channel to bridge her interests in art and tech)
You can think of Junie Genius as what might have happened if Simone Giertz had been an American from Pittsburgh who started building and ‘Tubing about her… ah… crappy robots while still in high school. Each Wednesday, Junie posts a new video where she’s built some wacky machine to solve a problem in her life. Like Simone’s bots, the devices never perform as advertised and the whole thing usually turns out to be one big existential joke on Junie.
While the show is comedy, and Junie never shows how she made the devices, she tells Make: that she’s learning a ton in doing the show and in building these “bots:”
Through this project, I have not only gained experience with (extremely) rapid prototyping, but I have also been able to dig deeper into the world of wearable technology. The devices created in this series are all functional and were built using platforms such as Arduino and MaxMSP.
Junie has only been doing her show since the Spring and only has a handful of subscribers. She obviously has tons of talent and passion for what she’s doing, so it will be interesting to see where her ambitions take her. You can also find her on instagram, showing off in-progress builds and more.