Name: Claire Smith
Home: Parkville, Maryland
Makerspace: My Home. I am in the action of authoritative my own adaptable maker space.
Day Job: Teaching middle/high academy girls, who are homeschooled, computer science and about the maker movement
How’d you get started making?
What blazon of maker would you allocate yourself as?
An all-embracing maker.
What’s your admired affair you’ve made?
My light-up brawl dress. I accept watched every division of Activity Runway back I was five. I adulation the challenges that they have, abnormally the anarchistic ones. I do not chase fashion, but the day afterwards the MET Gala, Claire Danes’ dress advised by Zac Posen appeared all over the Facebook feeds. I anticipation it was magical! Having some accomplishments in coding, I capital to amount out how that abracadabra happened. The added I searched, the added I accomplished that the “magic” was absolutely the tech, and I was hooked. I thought, “Maybe one day I can do that!” But I had no abstraction area I would accept to abrasion article so adorned — back I am a homeschooler, my accustomed compatible consisted of pjs and billowing t-shirts.
Since I am a leash (only girl) and every accident is cool big-ticket x3, I didn’t accept abundant money to get my dream dress and pay for the tickets for prom. On March 11, 2017, My mom and I went to an accident alleged Cinderella’s Closet in Aberdeen. I begin my dress there with the admonition of all the “Fairy Godmothers.” I fell in adulation with it! It is a LeGala dress from a few years ago, but it was “new” to me.
That April, I additionally alternate in the 2017 Baltimore Hackathon and got my easily on a wearable cyberbanking beginners kit. Apperception you, I had never affected wearable electronics before. I had formed with an Arduino and an Arduino Feather but never an Adafruit Flora board. I concluded up not application it, and instead activity with VR and 3D printing. My teammate, Bella Palumbi, and I concluded up acceptable 2nd abode in the accouterments clue for our activity History Flip, but, in my mind, I was acquisitive to try article with the Adafruit kit.
When I got home from the event, I looked at my dress and wondered if I could drudge it. I remembered Zac Posen’s MET Gala dress. I had an idea! The abutting morning, afterwards talking to my mom, and her auspicious me to try, I set myself bottomward to research. I concluded up watching absolutely a few tutorials. I looked at what I had. I asked myself what would appear if I broke my dress, back it was so big-ticket and there was no advantage to get addition one. I decided, in the acclaimed words of Tim Gunn, to accept a “Make it Work!” moment, and went for it. I acclimatized on a video I capital to use. I sketched out the architecture I capital to chase on the underskirt of the dress with dressmakers chalk. I planned area the Adafruit Flora was activity to be attached, as able-bodied as the array pack. That took me absolutely a bit of time, back I bare to amount out how to ability the backpack but not accidentally about-face it on or off by angle over or acquisition the brim together. The way Adafruit wearables assignment is that you can’t accept the conductive cilia blow itself. I was freaking out that my dress could abbreviate out or bolt on blaze during prom.
The bed-making was the longest allotment of this project. It all had to be done by hand. I angry on my computer and watched a accomplished agglomeration of Activity Runway reruns as I sewed. At one point I anticipation I was done and accomplished that, back I am a lefty, aggregate was backwards. I had to disengage the Flora board, the array pack, and the aftermost LED and move it to the added side. Thankfully, I had acquaintance affairs out seams because I was a apparel intern at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company for a few months back I was 16. Afterwards adhering the Flora lath correctly, I had to bung in my dress and cipher the lath so the lights would about-face on. I captivated my animation acquisitive that all my access formed and set to alive on the code. It failed. Nothing worked.
After a few tries and retries and a few added resewing attempts to accomplish abiding the access were solid, I got it to ablaze up and change colors! The way the conductive cilia works is that you accept to bend the cilia assorted times through the cyberbanking apparatus and afresh sew a few stitches out abroad from it. If annihilation touches afterwards you attach the array pack, the bolt can bolt on fire. Precision is important.
Then came the abutting allotment of the challenge. I capital to accept the dress change colors with movement. No amount how adamantine I tried, I couldn’t accomplish it work. My parents are not architect at all. And my brothers, that do code, are not accustomed with Adafruit Flora or Arduino. Frustrated, I jumped on Facebook to ask my all changeable tech accumulation (Ladies Storm Hackathons) if they had approved article like this. Not abounding had, but the few that did approved to admonition me troubleshoot the best they could. They all gave me altered approaches. I approved them all. Afterwards re-sewing the access yet again, I got one ablaze to change colors back I confused it, but all the blow were not lighting up at all. The best band-aid the accumulation came up with was to adhesive the connections. I was afraid about that advantage because of my abecedarian soldering skills, and the achievability that I would account the bolt to bolt on fire, abrogation me after the dress at all. So I fabricated a final accommodation to aloof accept it aeon the cipher thru the LEDs that I programmed. I thanked my group, and beatific them the designs of my accomplished project. It got a ton of babble reviews and likes. One of the associates of the group, a biographer at Mashable, asked to do a adventure on it, and the blow is history.
When I went to my homeschool prom, I heard girls say that my dress was authentic “magic.” The aforementioned acknowledgment as I had back I saw Claire Danes’ dress. I apperceive my dress went viral but I acquisition it funny that back I allocution about it in conversation, abounding bodies still don’t apperceive what Maker Faire is or what the Maker Movement is. The alone affair I can do is Google and appearance them my links. There has been some abrogating allocution too. For instance, addition said I could accomplish the aforementioned affair with christmas lights beneath the skirt. Addition one said I don’t accept to “girlify” the tech world. I accept girlifying the tech apple is a abundant way to ability added girls to accomplish them accept that STEM is for them, as well. I aloof don’t let the haters bother me because I see how abundant of a absolute appulse my dress has had to the girls already!
What abroad are you up to now that brawl is over?
I am accessory ceremoniousness classes at CCBC. This fall, I am active a 3D press Cohort for 15 girls. It is adjourned by NCWIT AspireIT in affiliation with Be You, INC. I additionally aloof begin out that I got allotment from NCWIT AspireIT to run my own wearable cyberbanking affairs for 10 girls in the homeschool association this spring. It will awning 10 girls (I ambition I could do added but wearable tech is expensive). I am acquisitive that as allotment of our final project, we will be able to do a ablaze up appearance appearance at Ablaze City Baltimore 2018. I am additionally teaching Scratch this abatement to 20 middle/high academy girls and boys in the homeschool association through my co-op.
What’s article you’d like to accomplish next?
I’m not sure, I mostly accomplish things spontaneously :) I am absorbed in biomimicry robots. I accept fabricated a few already. I am additionally absorbed in wearable electronics. Sometimes I appetite to be a appearance artist and absorb tech into appearance or I appetite to be an architect and actualize the abutting big affair or I appetite to be a computer scientist and affairs robots. But if I anticipate about it all, all of those jobs accumulated is aloof actuality allotment of the Maker Movement. So my ultimate ambition is to appearance added girls that tech is amazing and that they should not shy abroad from it! Technology is actuality to break and we ALL charge the abilities alike if you aren’t activity into a tech career.
Any admonition for bodies account this?
That actuality a adolescent woman in tech, you accept a cardinal of obstacles to overcome. You accept to accept in yourself. Apperceive that your account are not the aforementioned as males in the acreage and that that is okay. They are not lesser. They are a altered way to see the apple about us.
Also, math. Algebraic should be challenging. And girls can do adamantine things. Accepting a B in algebraic chic is okay. There are a lot of guys that are accepting C’s in algebraic and are acceptable computer scientists. As women, we anticipate that if we are not accepting beeline A’s in algebraic or science afresh that acreage isn’t for us. But that isn’t true. I absolutely had to booty alleviative algebraic back I entered association academy aftermost year and I am now demography Pre-Calc and will be demography all those appropriate Calculus classes as well.
Who abroad should we profile?
My leash brothers Ian and Dorian Smith
Where can bodies acquisition you on the web?
You can acquisition me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.