Amy Smith, lifesaving design – 24 hours of Lady Ada Lovelace day #ald10
Each hour we are featuring a woman we admire who is currently doing amazing work right in the tech/maker/art/science space. Woman of the hour, Amy Smith.
Amy Smith is a senior lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT specializing in engineering design and appropriate technology for developing countries. She founded the D-Lab program at MIT which introduces students to technological, social, and economic problems of the Third World. She teaches the courses SP.721/11.025: D-Lab Development, SP.722/2.722: D-Lab Design, and SP.784: Wheelchair Design in Developing Countries. She has taught in the past 2.72: Elements of Mechanical Design.
Smith encourages women to become engineers although she dislikes being referred to as a woman engineer. “Actually, because my class involves humanitarian engineering, I very rarely have more men than women. There have been times where there have been ten women and one man. This isn’t surprising, given that women often want to see an application to what they’re learning that they feel is worthwhile”, says Smith. “But I’m not involved in any particular projects to encourage women engineers, because I dislike being referred to as a woman engineer. I don’t like programs that single out woman engineers as particular achievers just for being women. I think that it should be coincidental.”
Smith’s designs include the screenless hammer mill and the phase-change incubator, and she is also involved with the application of the Malian peanut sheller in Africa. She is also one of the founders of the popular MIT IDEAS Competition.
In 2000 Smith won the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize that honors inventors who are also good role models. Smith is the first woman to win the prize. Amy also won a MacArthur Fellowship.
Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging (videologging, podcasting, comic drawing etc.!) to draw attention to the achievements of women in technology and science. Women’s contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognized. We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines, whatever they do. It doesn’t matter how new or old your blog is, what gender you are, what language you blog in, or what you normally blog about – everyone is invited.
Who was Ada? Ada Lovelace Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852) was one of the world’s first computer programmers, and one of the first people to see computers as more than just a machine for doing sums. She wrote programs for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, a general-purpose computing machine, despite the fact that it was never built. She also wrote the very first description of a computer and of software.
Adafruit has had paid day off for voting for our team for years, if you need help getting that going for your organization, let us know – we can share how and why we did this as well as the good results. Here are some resources for voting by mail, voting in person, and some NY resources for our NY based teams as well. If there are additional resources to add, please let us know – adafruit.com/vote
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.