Lyssa Neel is the CEO of Linkitz, a wearable electronic toy that teaches kids to code. The company gives girls hand-on experience with making electronic things and programming them. Earlier, attempts were made to understand why few girls chooses to go into the field of Computer Science and are not participating in programming and building things and weren’t interested in this as a career.
The company studied that the toys sold to children are marketed differently to young boys and girls, and marketing sends the message that engineering isn’t something girls do. Further, many tech toys are designed in a way to be built alone in a room and are not played with your friends, so the toys don’t appeal to the many girls who prefer social play. So they decided to work on a toy that would give girls hands-on experience with making electronic things and programming them, but in a way that related to the things that many girls already like to do.
Linkitz works on various module and every link does something different. They connect links together in various configurations, to make different wearable toys and they have various programmable link, a radio link for communication, a speaker, a microphone, a motion sensor and an LED link. They use this modules to make things like a walkie talkie, a color tag or Simon Says game, or send secret messages in code. Further, they are designed in a way that kids can also program the links to choose their own light colors and sounds, and even make their own games.
Their aim is to make such toys that any child can play with them that is both girls and boys. But a lot of traditional toy marketing uses cues like only showing boys on the box to cue toy buyers therefore Linkitz is trying to make such boxes that people recognize as toy to welcome girls’ interest exploring STEM-related fields as our first addressable market. For future products, the company is looking forward to clothing made of smart materials that can change their configuration or structure to automatically keep you warmer or cooler
The company’s head Lyssa Neel think that discouraging girls from going into tech starts very early, and the subtle and not-so-subtle discouragement continues into adulthood. Linkitz want more women to join the club of technology and dismiss the norm that tech toys are only for boys
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