Startup Machines



Today’s youth are aflush in a digital culture that permeates every crevice of reality.  Students come to school with smartphone earbuds embedded in their ears listening to sound that emerges from digital resonators watching the selfies of friends from remote locations sometimes half way around the earth.  It is striking to think that the iPhone came out in 2007 and since that time mobile Internet traffic has grown to dominate that from all other types of computers combined.  The next generation of high school students are so familiar with technology that Howard Gardener of Harvard University Department of Education calls them the App Generation.  It is apparent that the App Generation sees the world through the lens of silicon.  The question is who is in charge?  Is the next generation purely a consumer of technology?  What would it take for them to take the reins and drive their own journey through the digital vortex?  Perhaps experience.  Experience taking apart a computer and trying to put it back together.  Experience trying to code an app.  Experience trying to fund their technology addiction.  Experience working with their peers to design a new club that transcends the limits of the ordinary.  Imagine a robotics club where every member is an equal to every other member.  Working together, young men and women, to design, fund, and evolve robots to enter into Dean Kamen’s For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) robotics competitions.  The future is theirs.  A future of limitless possibility open to people of all talents and strengths.  The artist designs the aesthetics of the robot and media used to market the robot’s design to prospective funders.  The mathematician codes the software that runs the robot, testing algorithms learned from volunteers and mentors from around the metro Atlanta area.  The engineer and mechanic cooperate to assemble the body and drive system for the robot, training vocational skills together with academic prowess.  The entrepreneur creates a business plan and executes it for the good of all.  The team is as diverse as it is talented, and it is all found within the four walls of Langston Hughes High School.  Within this school is the foundation of a world class robotics team ready to fund itself for competition. We are ready for a future full of creativity and potential, are you?


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InnerLight Enlightenment by Dr. William Kaya Erbil is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

About kayaerbil

I am a Berkeley educated chemistry Ph.D. who is moving into the area of working on developing appropriate technology for communities that are subjected to socio-economic oppression. The goal is to use simple and effective designs to empower people to live better lives. Currently, I am working with Native Americans on Pine Ridge, the Lakota reservation in South Dakota. I am working with a Native owned and run solar energy company. We are currently working on building a compressed earth block (CEB) house that showcases many of the technologies that the company has developed. The CEB house is made of locally derived resources, earth from the reservation. The blocks are naturally thermally insulating, keeping the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Eventually, a solar air heater and photovoltaic panels will be installed into the house to power the home and keep it warm, while preserving the house off the grid. A side project while in Pine Ridge is a solar computer. I hope to learn about blockchain encryption software for building microgrids. In addition, it is an immediate interest of mine to involve local youth in technology education.
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