Now on Kickstarter, Tech DIY uses sewing to teach kids how to build electronics

Tech DIY takes a soft touch toward teaching electronics — literally. Now on Kickstarter, the kit uses sewing to teach kids and adult beginners about electronics and electric circuits by sewing dolls, soft figures and bracelets that light up, move and make noise.

Tech DIY was created by Ji Sun Lee and Jaymes Dec, the authors of “Tech DIY: Easy Electronics Projects for Parents and Kids,” published in 2016 by Maker Media. While working on her master’s thesis and thinking of ways to close the gender gap in technology, Lee began exploring the idea of using textile crafts to teach electronics for her master’s thesis.

Dec is a fab lab teacher at a girls’ private school, while Lee is a professor at a women’s college in Korea. “I also worked in the IT industry for many years, where it had very few women employees. Although both of us teach technology, we feel that the educational content created for female users is minimal and marginalized,” Lee said.

Lee and Dec decided to use sewing for their projects because many women and girls are already familiar with textile crafts. There are already kits that combine electronics with textiles, like Lily Pad and Adafruit’s Flora, which both use Arduino, but the programming required for their micro-controllers is too complicated for most novices, Lee said. Tech DIY’s kits are designed for elementary and middle school students, as well as adult beginners. They can be built with basic sewing skills and the projects increase in complexity, allowing new makers to level up.

Tech DIY’s Nightlight Cat Bracelet project

Two kits are available for Kickstarter backers. The Joy Kit contains five projects, including an embroidery sampler called My Happy House that teaches about electricity, circuits and basic electronic components, and the Purring Elephant, a … Read the rest

Drones are making a difference in the world and regulatory agencies are helping

About two months ago, in the middle of the night, a small, specially designed unmanned aircraft system — a drone — carried a precious cargo at 300 feet altitude and 22 miles per hour from West Baltimore to the University of Maryland Medical Center downtown, a trip of about 5 minutes. They called it, “One small hop for a drone; one major leap for medicine.”

The cargo was a human kidney, and waiting for that kidney at the hospital was a patient whose life would be changed for the better.

“This whole thing is amazing,” the 44-year-old recipient later told the University of Maryland engineering and medical teams that designed the drone and the smart container. The angel flight followed more than two years of research, development and testing by the Maryland aerospace and medical teams and close coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) .

There were many other ways the kidney could have been delivered to the hospital, but proving that it could be done by drone sets the stage for longer and longer flights that will ultimately lower the cost and speed up the time it takes to deliver an organ. And speed is life in this case — the experts say the length of time it takes to move an organ by traditional means is a major issue today.

This is one example of how small drones are already changing the landscape of our economy and society. Our job at the Department of Transportation … Read the rest

A young entrepreneur is building the Amazon of Bangladesh

At just 26, Waiz Rahim is supposed to be involved in the family business, having returned home in 2016 with an engineering degree from the University of Southern California. Instead, the young entrepreneur is plotting to build the Amazon of Bangladesh.

Deligram, Rahim’s vision of what e-commerce looks like in Bangladesh, a country of nearly 180 million, is making progress, having taken inspiration from a range of established tech giants worldwide, including Amazon, Alibaba and Go-Jek in Indonesia.

It’s a far cry from the family business. That’s Rahimafrooz, a 65-year-old conglomerate that is one of the largest companies in Bangladesh. It started out focused on battery manufacturing, but over the years its businesses have branched out to span power and energy and automotive products while it operates a retail superstore called Agora.

During his time at school in the U.S., Rahim worked for the company as a tech consultant whilst figuring out what he wanted to do after graduation. Little could he have imagined that, fast-forward to 2019, he’d be in charge of his own startup that has scaled to two cities and raised $3 million from investors, one of which is Rahimafrooz.

Deligram CEO Waiz Rahim [Image via Deligram]

“My options after college were to stay in U.S. and do product management or analyst roles,” Rahim told TechCrunch in a recent interview. “But I visited rural areas while back in Bangladesh and realized that when you live in a city, it’s easy to exist in a bubble.”

So rather than stay in America or go to the family business, Rahim decided to pursue his vision to build “a technology company on the wave of rising economic growth, digitization and a vibrant young population.”

The youngster’s ambition was shaped by a stint working for Amazon at its Carlsbad … Read the rest