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Blogspot: Meet the Maker

Last month Intel got involved as a lead sponsor of the Dublin Maker event which took place in Trinity College. Intel showcased the newly released Galileo Gen 2, the latest in a family of Arduino*-certified development boards based on Intel® architecture and specifically designed for makers, students, educators, and DIY electronics enthusiasts.

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Technology Maker Kate O’Donovan

The Galileo Gen 2 is an enhancement of the original Galileo, released in October last year, and this new board, and the Intel® Quark SoC X1000 by which it is powered, both continue to be designed in Ireland by a team based at the at the Intel campus in Leixlip Co. Kildare.

Intel demonstrated the power of Intel® Galileo through a series of creative and diverse technology demos which were brought together in the specially penned ‘Galileo hub’. Visitors to the Maker gathering, an event which was open to the public and free to attend, had the opportunity to see how artists, designers and other do-it-yourself enthusiasts – who often don’t have technical backgrounds – have created interactive objects or environments using Galileo technology. It is through events such as Maker gatherings that Intel aims to encourage makers of all ages to explore the possibilities of creating with technology.

One of our makers who participated in the Galileo hub was 16 year old Kate O’Donovan from Clonakilty, Co. Cork. Kate is part of the CoderDojo group and developed a creation with Intel® Galileo. CoderDojo is for kids ages 10-18 and offers a free programming club for young people where they can learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and explore technology using MIT Scratch, HTML, JavaScript, Python and Intel Galileo. It is run on a voluntary basis in locations around Ireland. Intel recently chatted with Kate to find out more from this young imaginative female maker:

So Kate, tell us about yourself?

I’m 16 years old, I go to Sacred Heart Secondary School in Clonakilty and I’ve been interested in math, technology and building things since I was very little.

How did you get involved in CoderDojo?

I had always thought CoderDojo was just for younger kids until my mum’s friend mentioned to me about people I knew from school that attended, so I decided to give it a go.  I had used an Arduino*Board for a project in school and when I was given the chance to experiment with Galileo, I jumped at it! Our CoderDojo mentor, Brian Kelly, was a great help to me and other members too.  Dan O’Donovan from Emutex Labs volunteered himself to help answer any weird and unusual questions that we had, and he provided information (and inspiration) on what could be done with the board.

Can you explain your project from the Dublin Maker event?

My project is a black box which plays sequences of lights. My original plan was to make an LED light cube that displayed different coloured lights depending on your choice of music (relayed via a smart phone). In the end my project was much simpler and consists of a black box which plays sequences of lights. I still plan to complete my original idea – it’s just going to take longer than expected.

What are your favourite subjects to study and why?

Math and Technology! I enjoy subjects that involve solving a whole problem, such as Art and Technology. I created a found object metal sculpture for Art and I built a mock-up of an animated concert stage for technology, in junior cert. My point? With minimal modifications I could have handed either one up in the other class.  I think it is as important to allow kids to develop problem solving skills, as it is to teach the basics of engineering, math and physics.

What are you hoping to do when you finish school?

Unsurprisingly I plan to study Math and Engineering in college, I haven’t decided which college or exactly what course yet, and I’ve no idea at all what I’ll do after college!  Some days I think Pyro Technician, some days I think NASA. I’ll almost certainly find a way to incorporate robotics into whatever I do. I am going into 5th year in September and I’ve chosen predominantly STEM subjects such as Physics, Chemistry and Technology for my Leaving Cert.

Do you find it strange being in an area which has a strong male presence?

I do find it a bit strange and sometimes daunting, but I love electronics, and I really want to be at events like Dublin Maker, so I don’t let it bother me too much.

What do you think needs to be done to get more girls involved in Science and Technology?

For me I believe that good mentors and enthusiastic female teachers are key in these subjects. My first mentor was a woman from the CEIA who thought me how to solder.  Second, finding ways that teachers can incorporate practical tasks that use engineering skills would help all students (kinetic sculpture in art, origami in math). Finally, as a girl, being enthusiastic and showing other girls how great and interesting these subjects can be!

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