7 years, 11 months ago
#MakerMonday Women in Tech Special
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we thought we’d share our own list of inspiring women in the makerspace.
In the UK, only 17.5% of tech or IT jobs are held by women. An imbalance that doesn’t only affect work culture, environment and decision making, but according to research from Deloitte, costs the industry around $4bn a year. At the same time, there are over half a million tech jobs that are being generated and need to be filled, making the UK the most gender balanced tech sector in the world will give us a massive global competitive advantage.
It’s clear that work needs to be done, but luckily the UK is already home to thousands of inspiring and innovative women in tech and over the last twelve months we’ve interviewed some of them. Here are our top #MakerMonday interviews with some of our favourite women in tech:
Bethany is a designer, a mother, and leading the charge for a more positive and collaborative future using hands-on technology to inspire the next generation. Since 2012, she’s been building a team at Technology Will Save Us and creating DIY gadget kits and resources to help families, educators and young people to make, play, code and invent. When we spoke to her she was working on the BBC Micro:Bit project which has now fully launched.
Interaction designer, product designer, entrepreneur and named second in Onalytica’s 2014 “Top 100 Internet of Things Thought Leaders”, Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, has been exploring IoT for most of her professional life. In fact, she was co-founder and CEO of Tinker London, the first distributor of the Arduino platform in the UK. We interviewed her as she was preparing her second batch of the Good Night Lamp for shipment. Since we spoke, she’s started working more closely on designing the 21st century home as part of The Good Home.
Imagine if custom made, carefully designed, bionic hands and arms for amputees were affordable, 3D printed and only took 40 hours to produce. Set up in 2014, Open Bionics are doing just that and after only a year of rapid prototyping aim to be on sale by the end of 2016. Their hand uses soft robotics to closely replicate bones, ligaments and skin that make up a human hand and it's all open source allowing everyone to benefit and make adaptations. What Open Bionics are doing is not only life changing for the millions of amputees across the globe, it’s also a massive leap forward in democratising technology.
We’re not the only ones who think the work Samiya is doing with Andiamo is incredible - her team won the Global Talent Unleashed award and were listed as the “One to Watch 2016” by Richard Branson and Steve Wosniak. Founded in 2014, Andiamo are disrupting traditional treatment for disabled children with the help of 3D printing and unwavering determination, reducing wait times from 28 weeks to 48 hours for custom body supports called ‘orthotics', by using 3D scanning and printing technology.
Haiyan is a maker, designer and technologist based in East London. When we interviewed her last year, she was Innovation Director of Lift London, a Microsoft Games Studio. She’s now Innovation Director at Microsoft Research. With an impressive background, including working as a software engineer and user interface designer creating applications for the biomedical and data-mining industries, Haiyan’s work has consistently explored the ways we can use technology and design to inspire communities.
Before starting Bare Conductive in 2009, Isabel completed a Master’s in Industrial Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London, where the idea for a non-toxic electrically conductive paint was first developed. Bare Conductive grew out of this idea and Isabel and her team are exploring the intersection of design, technology and material innovation using conductive paint to connect any surface, object or space to the digital world.
With a background in engineering, Jessi has spent time travelling the world and visiting factories, getting a sense of the supply chain and investigating how products are created. The rapid evolution of online shopping has changed not only the way we buy but also how companies make their products; if buyers can make better choices then companies will have to pay attention to how they scale and at what cost. Established in 2013, Provenance are seeking to empower both consumers and sellers with their digital transparency tools aimed to help companies share the stories behind their products.
Inspired by the Irish word for play, Sugru began life back in 2003, when Jane decided she wanted to improve and re-imagine the stuff she already had rather than buying new things all the time. Now, a global community of do-ers, makers, tinkerers and hobbyists are fixing and adapting their environments using her invention, you can buy Sugru in more than 500 shops worldwide.
Becky is an engineer, developer and seasoned maker; whether it’s putting GPS into hand-cobbled leather shoes or using dog leads to turn suspension bridges into musical instruments. With a PhD in acoustics, spatial audio and interfaces, she’s a force to be reckoned with. Since interviewing her nearly a year ago, she’s become a Lecturer in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary University.
Yodit is a Software and Data engineer, she founded OpenSensors with an aim to enable people to publish and subscribe to the multitudes of invisible IoT data that exists in our environments. The OpenSensors IoT ingestion engine is capable of processing millions of messages per second and enables their users to create smart and responsive environments in realtime.
More people than ever are making, tinkering and experimenting as Raspberry Pis and Arduinos make creating new devices more accessible and affordable. Whilst it’s a great time to get involved in electronics, we’re also wasting and discarding our products in record numbers. We’re living in a time of heavy consumption and built in obsolescence where our tech gadgets are becoming increasingly enigmatic. When our belongings break it’s easier for us to throw them away and upgrade than fix them. Janet Gunter cofounded The Restart Project to help fix our relationship with electronics.
Founded in 2011, Codasign is built on the belief that just because it’s digital, doesn’t mean it can’t be as creative as paint on a canvas. To help spread the message, they run workshops to help people use computers to realise their ideas and bring them to life. Emilie is a strong believer in using digital technologies for creativity and works in eTextiles and haptics.
Co-Founder of Vai Kai Justyna Zubrycka, is an industrial designer who, fittingly, used to work in a wooden toy factory. With a passion for tangible interfaces, she was working on both digital experiences and traditional wooden toys when she thought about combining the best qualities of each to create a new type of toy for modern children.
Finding appropriate funding is usually the hardest step must startups face. That’s why Paulina set up GrantTree: they help UK-based companies gain access to funding without having to give up equity. GrantTree have already helped many startups scaleup with grants ranging from thousands to millions of pounds.
For our first #MakerMonday, we decided to interview Anab Jain, Founder and Co-Director of Superflux. Born and educated in India, Anab founded design studio Superflux in 2009 and can now be found in a lab-meets-office space complete with aeropress and drones at The Biscuit Factory in South-East London. Anab’s work consistently touches the lives of others, whether through thought-provoking documentaries or building tech for good prototypes and platforms.