Through conversations with UTAustin, I learned the number of girls pursuing careers in engineering had dropped significantly over the years. An open call was placed for solutions, I proposed the #TinyHackerHouse workshop to UTAustin, they approved, invited me to run a #Tinyhouse workshop and we inspired 8,000 #girlday2017 #girls @cockrellschool @UTAustin and into engineering fields and promote #STEM #designthinking in #Engineering.
I decided to organize a design centered workshop 'the tinyhackerhouse challenge' as a fun activity to engage our younger generation and their thoughts on the future of housing and community. As a constraint, they were only allowed to use one post it note for brainstorming, a pencil and 1 sheet of letter paper. I felt this would allow them to exercise their natural motor skills and remember that technology is not always necessary at the early ideation stage.
For the fist part of the activity, I prepared a #virtualreality #experience using the Samsung Gear360 #VR, along with the @Oculus headset and Samsung S7 smartphone.
Girls were taken on a #Virtual tour of the #Tinyhackerhouse community space learning about different outdoor structures, mobile rv's, campers, tents, geodesic domes, tee-pee's and airstreams.
In the next part of the challenge, girls were introduced to project TinyHackerHouse and brainstormed all the things they needed to have in the tinyhouse to survive for 30 days off-grid.
Following the rigorous brainstorming session, the next part of the challenge was to review a selection of 20+ pre-prepared 3dmodels and design their own version included with all the ideas they listed from the previous challenge.
On the other side of the paper they sketched out their interpretations of a shared community space for our tinyhouse village.
One of my interns Viswanath Kasireddy presented his garden automation prototype using the @Intel Edison and Grove starter kit.
He also showcased his 3dmodel of a vertical wind turbine specifically designed for our TinyHackerHouse.
Next our friends from @RE3d presented their #giant #gigabot 3dprinter along with different 3dprinted models. One in particular allowed the top half to be separated and kids could see the floorplan design inside. Each girl received a custom #girlday2017 3dprinted badge to take home with them.
Which leads us to the final part of the experience which entailed a collection of 2016 Hackaday Prize projects along with some of my personal projects for inspiration and research for our next design challenge.
In conclusion, the TinyHackerHouse project organized by team HACKSTARZ incubator, inspired girls to think creatively, conceptualize ideas and design prototypes.
Through collaboration, communication and leadership they broke down all the walls, encouraging diversity and creative problem solving but most of all had fun learning in pursuit of their passions.
Stay tuned for more exciting community engagement activities. Please tweet us your questions or suggestions @tinyhackerhouse #thh we would love to hear your thoughts.
In 2018, I returned to implement v2.0 of the design challenge, If you would like to see more, here’s a link: