Using technology to create change.
My Invention Story
Technical education is not accessible for everyone.
I'm the girl that makes robots, and I give them all away.
Growing up, I saw my little sister struggle to access technical educational opportunities. She’d beg to learn about coding and robots, but the opportunities that did exist were just way too inaccessible. Later on, I'd witness local robotics teams and students struggle to purchase expensive educational resources. It wasn't fair then, and it isn't fair now. Sadly, it is an all too common experience for many youths. I want all youths to have access to quality technical educational resources. Education in technology enables economic development, connectivity, and innovation. It is more than that, though, it is making sure that every youth has an equal opportunity to engage in our modern and tech-driven world.
To bridge this educational gap, I created Every Kid Gets a Robot or EKGAR, an affordable and scalable educational robotics kit to increase technical educational accessibility. I invented it when I was eighteen as a recent high school graduate. Educational robotics strengthen and support students' skills in developing their knowledge through the creation, design, assembly, and operation of robots.
EKGAR is an app-controlled robot made from recycled plastic that costs $18.95 USD to make and goes to kids for free. EKGAR teaches technical skills in a project-based way with a culturally competent curriculum featuring representative characters. The robots come with a pre-programmed loop for communities without stable Internet access. Our core tech is an ESP-32 Development Board. Through EKGAR, I've been able to reach tens of thousands of deserving youths all around the world.
I've gone on to create many more robots, including an open-source one named Twenty and an educational bot for a multi-billion dollar design corporation. I bring my robots to youth through my charity, The STEAM Connection. We are minority and student run and all have been volunteering in education for years. We manufacture the robots from our headquarters in Troy, MI, my hometown. We also have a virtual learning platform that I created called the Make-A-Robot Platform.
It is more than educational advocacy, it is creating the change that I want to see. Every child deserves the opportunity to learn, to create, and to change the world.
Robots help make that happen. Robots will change the world.
My public inventions
What I've Created
These are just a few of my creations. I also invent new things with my mentees and students and for companies who are looking to use technology to create positive change in the world.
Every Kid Gets a Robot (EKGAR)
Increasing technical educational accessibility for youth with an affordable robotics kit.
Every Kid Gets a Robot is an educational robotics kit that costs $18.95 USD to manufacture and is sent to children for free. After I saw the rising need for sustainable and accessible technical education within my own community, I developed EKGAR. This is a forward-thinking educational solution that is a game changer for many traditionally excluded populations. Since early 2019, tens of thousands of bots have been put in kids hands.
The future of sustainable technology.
The rebirth of EKGAR. To replace the bioplastic, I designed a biodegradable and plant based paste that hardens and replaces the plastic altogether, easy for us and our students to manufacture from anywhere. Our aim is to keep growing beyond the need for plastic, and to allow kids to engage in important technical skills in a project-based way all while conserving the Earth.
This project is a winner of the Verizon x Clinton Foundation Social Innovation Challenge.
A free open-source learning solution for all youth.
I recently turned 20-years-old. I would normally be celebrating by putting on a robotics event or volunteering to helps kids learn about STEAM. This year with the pandemic, we decided to shake things up by releasing a new educational robot. Twenty is an affordable, simple, and creative robotics kit that you can assemble for free at home. This resource is open source and was created as a gift to express our gratitude to our loyal supporters, our students, and our communities.
Learning our Indigenous languages.
Learning our Indigenous languages with an interactive and wearable mini-droid that senses motion and speaks Navajo, Ojibwemowin, and Taino. The robot, geared to middle school youth, is customizable and easily programmable for youth. With a light-up face and playful sayings, we are hopeful that youths will engage Designed with two of my Indigenous mentors Robert Maldonado and Dr. Joshuaa Allison-Burbank. Debuting at the end of September 2021/
Robots in Action