Marvel and Disney have united behind what I think is a great cause — involving young girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). There is a definite lack of women in the careers supported by those backgrounds, so any encouragement we can give to today’s young women to follow a STEM career is a good thing for the nation.
Marvel and its partners created the Ant-Man Micro-Tech Challenge. Applicants (young girls, ages 14-18) were asked to design and build a DIY project using at least one readily available micro-technology component that could inspire other young girls to develop an interest in STEM: science, technology, engineering, and math. The projects could be utilitarian, artistic or just plain fun.
After completing a project, applicants were asked to submit a short video demonstrating the project and explaining how it will inspire other girls to pursue interests in STEM: science, technology, engineering, or math. A STEM-based girls program in each winner’s hometown will be selected to receive “re-create” instructions for each project. Each winner will have the opportunity to lead a workshop in building her project with the girls in the selected program in her community. By sharing their work, the winners will accomplish big things from small beginnings by inspiring other young girls to follow their interests in computing, technology, and engineering.
Disney is proud to announce the five winners of Marvel’s Ant-Man Micro-Tech Challenge nationwide contest.
Age 16, from Kaysville, Utah
Allison created a water usage limiter for shower heads, which visually notifies the user when they are exceeding their water usage limit. Allison acquired skills in electrical circuiting and programming while working on her project. She feels her project could help people throughout the world better manage scarce water resources.
Age 14, from Portland, Oregon
Anna turned a plush toy into an interactive character with voice recognition, face detection features and a graphical user interface. Anna learned many new skills while creating her project, including three coding languages and how to use AMP stacks to run a dynamic web server. She is looking forward to adding real-time health detection features to her project, so it could be used with youngsters who may otherwise be scared by basic health procedures.
Age 16, from Columbus, Georgia
Ashita combined her love of art and engineering to create a robotic arm that draws images created on a computer screen. Ashita learned two coding languages and refined her robot-building skills for this project. She describes her project as a stepping-stone to the integration of art and design into STEM, thereby making STEM more attractive to a wider group of girls.
Age 17, from Durham, North Carolina
Elizabeth brought her sense of whimsy to the contest by creating an automated bubble maker shaped like an octopus. This project taught Elizabeth how to program and work with micro-controllers and servos. Elizabeth is excited about sharing her project with other girls because she believes it can show them that science can be fun and that they can be creative while using STEM.
Age 18, from Boulder, Colorado
Maxine created a sound-actuated lantern. Maxine taught herself a new programming language and how to use pwm pins to vary LED light levels for her project. She feels her project is perfect for a STEM workshop because it is easy to recreate and could give girls new to STEM a boost of confidence when they finish the project on their own.
The five winners each received: Two round-trip tickets to Southern California, including hotel accommodations, from June 28 through June 30, 2015, to be on the red carpet at the World Premiere of Marvel’s “Ant-Man” at the Dolby Theatre in Dolby Atmos on June 29, 2015; attend a special “The Evolution of Technology” workshop on June 30 at The Disneyland Resort where they met Walt Disney Imagineers who will introduce them to the broader scope of technology and how innovation is inspired during a behind-the-scenes tour of The Disneyland Resort; and receive a tour of the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California.
All of the winners will also receive an Amazon Kindle Fire HD, provided by Dolby and from Raspberry Pi, a kit which includes a Pi 2, power supply, SD card, case, camera, & Wi-Fi adapter.
Disney, Marvel Studios, Dolby Laboratories, Visa Signature and Raspberry Pi united to sponsor the contest in conjunction with the July 17th release of Marvel’s ”Ant-Man”, starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Wood Harris, Judy Greer, David Dastmalchian and Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym.