Techbridge Girls launched in 2000 as a program to expand the academic and career options for girls in science, technology, engineering, and math. Since its founding, they have worked with over 4,000 girls in grades 5-12 through our after-school and summer programs in the San Francisco Bay Area. They believe every girl needs personal and consistent support to succeed, and to that aim, they have created resources for educators, families, and role models who make up her support network. [Techbridge Girls]
On Wednesday, May 2, 2018, the Autodesk Foundation hosted ~20 Techbridge middle school girls in the Autodesk Gallery.
It was a full day that included:
- Autodesk Gallery Tour
- Design and Make Workshop using Autodesk Tinkercad
- One on One Lunch with an Autodesk Employee Role Model per student
- Design Thinking Lecture
I was the ambassador for the gallery tour.
I was happy to share some of the interesting gallery exhibits with them.
Autodesk partnered with Ferrari to hold a contest to challenge students to design the supercar of the future: super-light, super-fast, ecologically responsible, and technically superior. Students just like you from Hongik University of Seoul Korea used our software to create their winning entry. The students even put their names on the taillights.
The Cathedral of Christ the Light, located near Lake Merritt in Oakland, has won several (27 to date) awards for design based on its use of Christian symbolism in its architecture. The architects used Douglas Fir to make the supporting beams because in an earthquake, the wood is as strong as steel but has more give.
ADEPT Aeromotive (team of 3 in South Africa) used Autodesk software to design and make an engine that is approximately one-third as heavy as engines of similar power and runs on aviation fuel, automotive gasoline, or biofuel (e.g., dog poop).
The Shanghai Tower represents a vertical city with 8 stacked neighborhoods (128 floors) where each one is an open-to-the-public park with 14 stories above it. So occupants can walk their dogs, play Frisbee, and rest among grass and trees even though they are hundreds of stories in the sky.
Using a device representing a virtual camera puts "what a movie looks like" in the hands of the director, in this case James Cameron, instead of an animator. Cameron was able to make the Avatar movie using motion capture technology. The movie was not drawn by cartoonists.
Unsatisfied that 450 low-birth-weight and premature babies die each hour, many in developing countries, two Stanford women students developed a low-cost (only $200) incubating blanket for newborns.
Designed for poverty-stricken areas of the world that do not have access to electricity, children kick the SOCCKET soccer ball around for 30 minutes, and it stores enough energy to power an LED reading light for 3 hours. Unchartered Play (started by two Harvard women students) used Inventor to redesign the energy harnessing mechanism after testing showed the original design was prone to breakage.
Playing with LEGO bricks has been the initial inspiration for many of today's architects and engineers, and the dinosaur mega model (62,500 bricks) is a replica from the LEGOLAND theme park that helps spur the imagination. The students' guess for the number of bricks was 50,000 — not too far off.
One of the 3 busiest bridges in the world, the eastern span of the San Francisco Bay Bridge is the longest self-anchored suspension bridge in the world. It's being built to withstand 1500 years of seismic activity. Engineers computed how much stress would be put on the bridge and designed it to withstand an earthquake.
Inspired by the ancient art of origami, the double-layered polypropylene ORU Kayak needs no internal frame and folds into a carry-on sized box when not in use. Designed using both 2D AutoCAD (the folding pattern) and Fusion 360 (the 3D components), architect Anton Willis was able to start his manufacturing business with a Kickstarter campaign after designing/creating 25 prototypes at TechShop. So like Anton Willis, if you can imagine it, you can design and make it.
My message was simple:
You know all that math and science that you learn in school and ask "When will I ever use this?" Here's where you'd use it. The process of imagining, designing, and making a better world is built upon science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.
Thanks to Engagement Coordinator for the Autodesk Foundation, Bobbie Casey, who organized the field trip and provided the images for this blog post. She's been working with Techbridge Girls for 5 years now.
Autodesk has always been an automation company, and today more than ever that means helping people make more things, better things, with less; more and better in terms of increasing efficiency, performance, quality, and innovation; less in terms of time, resources, and negative impacts (e.g., social, environmental). The Autodesk Foundation believes that design can change the world and supports the design and creation of innovative solutions to the world's most pressing social and environmental challenges. Educating middle schoolers is a great place to start.
Education is alive in the lab.