Like us, Google sees a future where technology plays an increasingly important role in everyone’s lives. In order for new products, services and software to be inclusive, we need women to be active participants in the creation of this new world. At the Lab and in Smart Design’s Femme Den, we’ve been encouraged by seeing more female leaders in new fields such as social robotics, but the facts unfortunately still point to women being incredibly underrepresented in technology fields in general.
When Google realized that only 17% of its tech employees are women, it set out to create initiatives to try to increase that number. One such effort is the recently launched Made W/ Code project, a combination of community resources and online projects. This inspirational video paints a picture of the larger vision that Google has invested $50 million dollars into:
To build the community, Google has video portraits highlighting mentors, such as Limor Fried, creator of Adafruit online catalog and learning resource and Miral Kotb, founder of the iLuminate dance troupe, there are similar portraits of “makers”, such as young Tesca Fitzgerald at Georgia Tech, who uses code to experiment with social robots.
The projects are interactive and encourage kids to code using a browser-based tool for crafting many kinds of experiences, from animations and avatars to 3D printed objects and musical compositions. Though these projects seem to be in their early phases, they showcase a solid foundation of how a visual coding language (theirs is called “Blocky”) can be used as the framework for crafting algorithms and establishing behavioral patterns. Below is an image of the 3D printed project created in collaboration with the Shapeways service. Using only what you see in the browser, you can adjust the parameters of a bracelet and then have it 3D printed and shipped to you.
We’re excited to follow Made W/ Code and help spread the inspiration to girls everywhere.
To check out Made W/ Code visit http://www.madewithcode.com