A few weeks ago, we here at EAF published an “Industry Spotlight” article on the up-and-coming STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) outreach company STEM Center USA & today we want to shift that spotlight back in their direction again. For those of you who may not have had the opportunity to read the original article, here it is: Industry Spotlight: STEM Center USA.
As a quick reminder (for the full scoop, please read our previous article on them, as linked to at the end of the above paragraph), STEM Center USA (which recently received massive attention after receiving an investor deal on the hit TV show Shark Tank on ABC) was founded by two sisters who just so happen to be the daughters of a professor from the alma mater of EAF (Cal Poly Pomona), with whom most of us took classes with! Melissa (a USC mechanical engineering grad working for Raytheon) & Lavanya Jawaharlal (a mechanical engineering senior at UC Berkeley) started their company with one dream in mind: to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders! Sounds pretty familiar right? (If not, just go ahead & take a look at the tagline for our website in the main banner/header)
STEM Center USA & EAF share a very common goal, which is exactly why when STEM Center USA reached out to us a few days ago about helping them to get a little bit more publicity for their next big project: the Fiat Lux Wearable Electronics Kit, we were ecstatic & jumped at the chance. As Lavanya informed us, Fiat Lux translates to “let there be light” & (as we see it) is indicative of their goals for these DIY electronics projects. You see, all of these projects & the aims of their awesome company in general tend to push for the exposure of the upcoming generation to the possibilities associated with a future/career in the STEM fields.
Regardless of whether you are an environmentalist, a so called “doomsday prepper”, a survivalist, or really anyone with an eye on the future, one thing is very clear: in order to secure a proper future & continue to improve the world around us, the growth of the STEM fields is an absolute necessity. It is these scientists & engineers who will provide for the continual evolution of science & technology towards the embetterment of the world around us. As the famed astronaut, fighter pilot, and mechanical engineer Buzz Aldrin once said “For the future, primarily, we must educate people in science, engineering, technology and math”. Where does this all begin? As President John F. Kennedy once surmised “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”
The efforts of STEM Center USA to educate the next generation with regards to STEM subjects is directly in line with what is arguably one of the most vital of all missions for today’s society and, as such, we 100% support them in their goals & hope that you will as well. Now, at this point, I think we’ve pretty well established the merit of the work of STEM Center USA & their various side projects, such as the aforementioned Fiat Lux Wearable Electronics Kit…but we have yet to answer the question of what exactly is this Fiat Lux thing? And just as importantly, how can we get our hands on it?!?!
The Fiat Lux Wearable Electronics Kit is basically exactly what is sounds like; that is, it is a wearable electronics kit. The kit comes with material supplies (cloth, conductive thread, sewing needle, etc.), Fiat Lux controller, various sensors & other electronic components that may be used in conjunction with computer programming using the C language through Arduino (or for younger or less experienced users there is a very simple, intuitive graphical programming interface available) to produce wearable electronics. What does this mean? Well, remember that cool bow tie at the top of the post? This is what it looks like in action.
So now to answer that second question of how can we get our hands on this? Well, when we first decided to write this article, STEM Center USA had a KickStarter campaign going on to fund the Fiat Lux kits (there are multiple levels of the kit). Unfortunately, it would appear that the funding campaign was cancelled in the last day likely owing to the fact that there was still a long way to go to meet the funding goal & very little time to meet it. However, we are confident that this is not the last time that you will hear of the Fiat Lux & we strongly recommend keeping an eye on both that KickStarter campaign page & STEM Center USA’s website (as well as their social media accounts), as while I cannot comment on this with certainty, I do feel that there will likely be a revamped attempt at funding the project in the not-too-distant future & we at EAF offered up some of our humble advice regarding crowdfunding from our own experience with this type of funding during our senior project, in the hope that some of our learned lessons can go towards helping their next campaign to be a success (as their first two campaigns were).
Anyways, please keep STEM Center USA in focus in your sights, as they are making huge gains & are helping to change the landscape of tomorrow. We full-heartedly endorse their company & hope that as our site comes to a close, that you all will use this as motivation to begin to follow STEM Center USA & the directions that they begin to move in. After all, we are all part of the same mechanical engineering family, are we not?
Please return for EAF’s final post this Friday and until then take care & push yourself to learn in everything you do.