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Lincoln Laboratory Hosts First 'make Your Own Wearables' Workshop For High-School Girls

By MIT News

January 22, 2015

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Mechanical engineer Kristen Railey is the founder of Girls Who Build, which seeks to engage girls in science, technology, engineering, and math education. Railey last month hosted a pilot workshop for 50 high school girls at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory, a federally funded research and development center.

Participants received tours of the lab's Technology Office Innovation Laboratory and attended a session on computer-assisted design (CAD) software. Several three-dimensional (3D) printers were running to enable the girls to see the 3D printing process as it was occurring.

Guest speaker Katy Olesnavage guided the girls through the mechanical-design process by detailing her experience developing prosthetics. After learning how to use the CAD program, the girls worked in pairs on laptops to create 3D models of bracelets.

Gavin Lund from the Optical Communications Technology Group introduced the girls to computer programming and circuits, enabling them to form simple instructions to program a robot to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Railey intends to host the one-day workshop again this year but is considering changing the venue from Lincoln Laboratory to the MIT campus to draw Boston-area participants, as well as offering beginner and intermediate/advanced versions of the programming challenge.

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