"Not everyone is going to go into STEM fields, but just like how you teach all kids to write, our opportunity to use computers to make our lives better shouldn't be reserved for those who do it full-time.”
Drew Macrae is an engineer and Linkitz’ Chief Technology Officer. Macrae graduated from Harvey Mudd College, where he built electronic toys for class credit, summer jobs and just for fun - but at Harvey Mudd certainly wasn’t the first time Drew thought like an engineer.
For Drew, the path to engineering involved a combination of engineering role models and toys. Growing up, he was shown engineering as both a hobby and a profession. “Playing with small plastic robots as a kid made the notion of playing with big metal ones in high-school an attractive one. As our FIRST team began to focus on outreach, I thought a lot about the value that applying my math and science classes had for me and others. I was lucky to be involved in programs and to play with toys whose mission was to encourage engineering educations.”
Macrae’s experiences directly reflect the Linkitz philosophy: encourage children when they are young, let them explore, and you’re likely to inspire a lifelong interest in STEM. “Everyday we engage with electronics in the role of the user, but very few of us think of electronics as something we can be a part of creating. Linkitz gives girls a chance to try on that role and see if they like it.”
Toys in today's market are becoming less diverse as the expense of designing hardware encourages big companies to sell software instead. Today's powerful electronics are also limiting in the fact that they can never be changed by the user.
The Linkitz team is challenging that.
“We had this notion that by building a modular electronics toy, kids would have an opportunity to see how the hardware they put together puts them in control of their toys. We then sought to make parts they might want and systems to demonstrate and showcase those parts.”
Linkitz lets kids, specifically girls ages four and up, create and customize their own wearable toys- a first-of-its kind approach to introducing kids to technology and coding.
Here's to the next generation of female tech titans!
The Linkitz team has raised over $80,000 on Kickstarter, with four days left! Check out the campaign here, and connect with us on Twitter and Instagram @LinkitzToys and on Facebook!