I recently watched the Tedx talk above by the Creator of GoldieBlox, Debbie Sterling. Her talk sucked me in instantly as it discussed the lack of female engineers, her inability to believe she ever “fit in” to the engineering world and her journey to create and fund GoldieBlox. GoldieBlox is an awesome new toy set that seeks to introduce engineering themes to girls through the added context of reading and story which, through her research, more easily captivates young girls.
Women and men think and process information differently and that’s a great thing. Technology and the world are better the more diverse the thinking is that creates them. 3D printing will be better with a strong female influence and there have been some some great examples of 3D printing with a feminine touch from a 3D printed gown with a new printable rubbery plastic to 3D printed nails. One of my favorites is Sea Pony Studios by Sara Pocius which makes beautiful 3D printed jewelry that started as prototypes for custom jewelry and have now become a product themselves. 3D printing is a convergence of technology and creativity and my hope the creative aspects of it will be a lure that will grab the interest of many girls who wouldn’t otherwise be interested in engineering.
I know what Debbie was talking about. As a student at Georgia Tech we had all the male/females ratio jokes and females were most definitely in the minority in most of my classes. So how does this change? I think it starts with changing perspectives young and I think the 3D printer could be the Easy Bake oven for the 21st century. It could allow girls to express their creativity making items from toys to jewelry. I think we’re seeing the first baby steps in that direction. Girls can now design their own “Makie“, which is a doll they customize and then is printed and shipped to them. Hasbro is also developing the DohVinci which uses a handheld Play-Doh extruder resembling a glue gun that allows kids to make 3D designs.
Perhaps we’re just a few years away from the low resolution $100 pink plastic 3D printer under Christmas trees. I have a soon to be 4 year old niece that I adore. She loves to wear her princess dresses, but I’m super excited for anything that gets her excited about engineering. I agree with what Anuranjita Tewary of Intuit recently said on Twitter, “I think the world needs way more girl geeks than it has.” Does that 3D printer come in pink? Hopefully that becomes a common question soon.