MakerGirl, a startup focusing on encouraging girls aged 7-10 to get involved in STEM by hosting 3D printing sessions, will be using the new Innovation Spaces in the Armory as of Sept. 8. These spaces include the Innovation Studio, Classroom, TechHub and Virtual Reality Lab.
The Innovation Studio features a 55-inch interactive touch table, three large worktables, individual storage spaces for students and a six-screen, multitouch video wall with wireless capabilities.
“We can fit a ton of girls in this space,” said Devon Goszkowicz, co-director of MakerGirl and senior in Engineering. “Having this large of an open space will allow us to really interact with them when they’re designing and help them.”
Since the girls’ designs take time to print, Goszkowicz said MakerGirl will use other Innovation Spaces like the Virtual Reality Lab, overseen by Jim Wentworth, during this downtime. She said this will give the girls a chance to see what virtual reality is like and experience more with technology. In particular, she wants to host themed sessions to incorporate the Virtual Reality Lab.
“We in the past have used Google Cardboard where you put your phone in this little lens, glass thing and put it over your eyes,” Goszkowicz said. “Having the VR studio means we can do something like that with the girls and it’s incredibly high-tech and interactive.”
MakerGirl will also use the TechHub, overseen by Jamie Nelson, to enhance its 3D printing sessions. One piece of technology available in the TechHub is the Structure Sensor, which is a 3D mobile scanner. This device enables the person using it to scan objects — or even people — using the sensor, which is attached to an iPad, and then 3D print it.
Goszkowicz said the MakerGirl team wants girls who come to the session to remember their experience, and the technology available in the Armory Innovation Spaces helps accomplish this.
“Whenever the girls come to a session, they will be able to take something home,” Goszkowicz said. “Every time they pick (their design) up, (we want them) to think, ‘Oh yeah, this was really fun. I enjoy learning about science,’ rather than just forgetting about the session and only remembering it if they see a picture of it on their parent’s phone.”
With the help of the the Innovation Spaces, MakerGirl can help inspire the young girls who attend sessions to one day pursue a career a STEM.
“We want all (the girls) to self-identify as a MakerGirl; see themselves as someone who will be in STEM in the future and who can do all these incredible things with technology and engineering and math,” Goszkowicz said. “We want them to be confident.”