Tech Shop SF got overrun by kids this weekend. Not just any old kids, but kids passionate about making an impact in their cities. Wielding various pieces of circuitry, 3D printed objects, boxcutters, cardboard scraps, lasercutter files, pies, and glow-in-the dark paint, a hoard of 14-19 year olds spent the weekend thinking about how to give a damn about San Francisco. And they did so wearing cardboard cars on their heads, fake noses, and “trash hats.” While eating pies.
This weekend was the first official ‘civic hackathon for youth’ to hit San Francisco, Mayor Ed Lee’s “Innovation Capitol of the World.” A project of MAKEimpact, led by local mover and shaker Libby Falck, the event sought to expose participating teens to a dream team of designer / educator / technologist / artist / activist / maker / environmentalist coaches, various modes of making, and locally-relevant challenges. For two days, twenty-four kids tackled some pretty tough stuff: waste streams, light pollution, transportation, and homelessness. With Tech Shop’s awesome, humongous cache of maker tools at their fingertips, I have to say that the two-day sprint culminated with some exciting prototyped solutions from the teams.
Bioluminescent bacteria as an alternative to electric streetlights, anyone?
Shout Outs to the good folks at Tech Shop, all of the kids, and my fellow coaches - this was an amazing event to be a part of. I am proud of everyone and look forward to staying tuned on some of the projects. Rock on.