This is a special month with Ada Lovelace Day and surprise, the 10 year anniversary of the Lilypad Arduino created by Leah Buechley. What started as a laser-cut textile with ATTiny ended up being a small round microcontroller with the color and punch to bring young women running to learn tech skills. That was Leah’s intent and she described it as a “cool social disruptor.”
I have Leah to thank for my original interest in ETextiles—my first project was an LED glowing flower pin. Later I was lucky enough to have a week long workshop with her and I can remember being so nervous. We learned to solder surface mount LEDs, which are so tiny they look like a grain of rice. I didn’t think I would ever master that technique, but she was so patient with me I eventually got it. Lilypad led me to more Arduino projects and eventually work with Adafruit. So, today I celebrate Leah, the Lilypad and the movement of circuit loving women that has not stopped. A few years ago Make: magazine asked me to interview Leah for the history of the Lilypad and I hope you’ll give it a read. The Lilypad legacy continues with Sparkfun’s latest release of the Proto Plus Board. May more young women make the discovery of electronics and grow up to be the makers and influencers of the next generation.
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