Last year, AIY Projects launched to give makers the power to build AI into their projects with two do-it-yourself kits. We're seeing continued demand for the kits, especially from the STEM audience where parents and teachers alike have found the products to be great tools for the classroom. The changing nature of work in the future means students may have jobs that haven't yet been imagined, and we know that computer science skills, like analytical thinking and creative problem solving, will be crucial.
We're taking the first of many steps to help educators integrate AIY into STEM lesson plans and help prepare students for the challenges of the future by launching a new version of our AIY kits. The Voice Kit lets you build a voice controlled speaker, while the Vision Kit lets you build a camera that learns to recognize people and objects (check it out here). The new kits make getting started a little easier with clearer instructions, a new app and all the parts in one box.
To make setup easier, both kits have been redesigned to work with the new Raspberry Pi Zero WH, which comes included in the box, along with the USB connector cable and pre-provisioned SD card. Now users no longer need to download the software image and can get running faster. The updated AIY Vision Kit v1.1 also includes the Raspberry Pi Camera v2.
AIY Voice Kit v2 includes Raspberry Pi Zero WH and pre-provisioned SD card
AIY Voice Kit v1.1 includes Raspberry Pi Zero WH, Raspberry Pi Cam 2 and pre-provisioned SD card
We're also introducing the AIY companion app for Android, available here in Google Play, to make wireless setup and configuration a snap. The kits still work with monitor, keyboard and mouse as an alternate path and we're working on iOS and Chrome companions which will be coming soon.
The AIY website has been refreshed with improved documentation, now easier for young makers to get started and learn as they build. It also includes a new AIY Models area, showcasing a collection of neural networks designed to work with AIY kits. While we've solved one barrier to entry for the STEM audience, we recognize that there are many other things that we can do to make our kits even more useful. We'll once again be at #MakerFaire events to gather feedback from our users and in June we'll be working with teachers from all over the world at the ISTE conference in Chicago.
The new AIY Voice Kit and Vision Kit have arrived at Target Stores and Target.com (US) this month and we're working to make them globally available through retailers worldwide. Sign up on our mailing list to be notified when our products become available.
We hope you'll pick up one of the new AIY kits and learn more about how to build your own smart devices. Be sure to share your recipes on Hackster.io and social media using #aiyprojects.
Source: Google Developers Blog
Can you tell us about your current role at Google and how you got here?
Currently, my focus is on securing workloads running in containerized environments – which is a mouthful! To clarify, containers are a relatively new way of running workloads especially in the cloud. Our team uses tools such as Docker and Kubernetes which ultimately make our customer’s applications more portable.
Prior to this, I focused on encryption at rest and encryption key management, and was the Product Manager for Google Cloud Key Management Service (Cloud KMS). Before joining Google, I worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, serving financial, healthcare and insurance customers on a variety of topics, where I discovered my passion for security strategy.
What’s your educational background?
I completed a BA&Sc in Mathematics and Economics at McGill University in Montreal and then pursued a Master in Science in Applicable Mathematics, focusing on cryptography and game theory at the London School of Economics.
Can you tell us what motivated you to pursue a career in science and technology?
I always liked solving puzzles and when I took a number theory class at McGill, I realized cryptography was a great mesh of puzzles, math, and practical use cases in security. I pursued my interest in cryptography, and ended up doing a Master's degree in the field. It wasn’t a straight path from there to a technical role in the industry, however, by seizing the right opportunities when they arose, I ultimately ended up in role that was meant for me, at Google working with the encryption team. I’m especially excited about working in infrastructure security, which is a huge focus given the uptake of the cloud industry. There’s a lot of opportunity for development, and for innovation in this space.
What challenges did you face as a woman during your studies and then throughout the course of your career?
Being taken seriously has always been difficult. I can remember going to some of my first conferences in security, and people asking me if I was a reporter, or what I ‘really’ worked on, even if I had Google written on my badge. No one will give you the benefit of the doubt, you have to initially prove yourself. I’m lucky that I had the opportunities to do so, and the courage to not let people dismiss me easily.
Why is now a great time for women to pursue careers in tech?
There are two complementary forces at work - it’s a friendlier and more attractive industry for women; and companies are also realizing they need women to be more successful. In general, there are already more women in tech, and more women in leadership roles - mentoring and acting as role models for the next generation of women.
Why are women uniquely qualified to excel in some of these leadership roles?
Without over-generalizing, women bring different viewpoints to the workplace. Research has shown that more diverse teams lead to better business outcomes, and teams with more women tend to have more individuals actively participating in decision-making processes. In any product, but especially in security, having individuals from a variety of backgrounds leads to building better, more useful products.
What advice would you have for other women considering following a career in science and tech?
Simply, just go for it. Given how accessible information and tutorials are nowadays, you can teach yourself anything. I often see people falter in their belief that they need to have gone to a particular school, or have a particular degree, or particular life experience, in order to have a particular job. Compared to men, women are less likely to apply to jobs where they don’t meet all the requirements, but there’s really no harm in trying. Ask others in the industry how they got where they are, teach yourself that, ask questions where you don’t understand, and go for it.
Additionally, when I studied mathematics, about half of my class was women - which I know is unusual. We were a headstrong bunch, each taking on leadership roles in student government, research, and other campus activities; and standing up for each other if needed. I would encourage women to support each other and to take on leadership roles either within your program of study, in the community or specific ecosystem they are aiming to persevere in.
What do you think would encourage more women to pursue studies in science and technology?
I don’t think there’s an easy solution to gender equality in tech, which is why we’re all trying to improve it! I think having more exposure to how your studies are directly applicable in the real world, in the form of internships and co-ops, helps any student get a better idea of whether or not this work interests them, and what’s needed to be successful.
Source: Official Google Canada Blog
Source: Official Google Canada Blog
Editor's note: This post is part of our series for U.S. Teacher Appreciation Week. Look for more content on our blog and social media throughout the week. Don’t forget to add to the conversation using #ThankATeacher.
When I was five years old, I immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan. My sister and I were the only Asians in our entire school, and I remember how my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Marvin, went out of her way to make me feel welcome in the classroom and country. I stayed in touch with her until her passing a few years ago. Our relationship speaks volumes about how influential teachers can be. Later in high school, my math teacher, Mr. Fee, showed me how to apply my math skills in the real world. His practical guidance shaped my career aspirations to study chemical engineering in college and to become a high school math teacher myself.
|After moving from Taiwan to the U.S. at age 5, Mo Fong's first experiences with the U.S. School system was formed by her kindergarten teacher Mrs. Marvin, who helped set her up on a path to success.|
In the spirit of Teacher Appreciation Week, I would like to share the stories of three high school CS teachers who are overcoming these obstacles and inspiring students to be passionate about the problems they want to solve in the world.
Diane Terrell - Exposing more students to computer science
When I think of Diane Johnson Terrell words like strength, empowerment and role model come to mind. Terrell, a high school math and engineering teacher at Oakland Unified School District in California, became a CS teacher via an unconventional path. She was working as a programmer analyst and quickly realized she was one of the only African Americans and females in the industry. One of the main reasons the field isn’t more diverse is because people haven’t been exposed to the field, Terrell says. Now her students understand they can build amazing things with a CS degree, and they can have a lucrative career doing so.
Terrell also is breaking down the idea that CS is only for boys and the affluent. She's introducing a CS program that more than 400 9th graders will take next year, and teaching youth at her church how to code and develop an app for the church together.
“Many students in my community play video games and post on social media, but they don’t understand that a lot of programming and code goes into building them,” Terrell says. “My goal is to get my students to move from being consumers to being builders by creating apps on their phones.”
Another inspiring way Terrell is empowering female students to pursue CS is by connecting them with female executives and doctoral students in the field who mentor them and show them that women can be as successful in the field as men. “After spending time with their mentors at UC Berkeley, girls of color learned they have a phenomenal aptitude to change the world,” Terrell says. “Their confidence exploded and they realized how much of a difference they can make.”
Seth Reichelson - Breaking down the computer science stereotype
The field of CS shares the unfortunate “geek” stereotype that math and engineering do. But that stereotype doesn’t exist at Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, Florida. Teacher Seth Reichelson, a White House Champion of Change, has toppled those preconceived notions and made his AP CS class appealing to all students. To make the subject relatable and interesting, he changes his in-class examples to be fun, for example by having students manipulate pixels in a picture instead of doing a bug simulation.
“I won’t acknowledge a stereotype because if you acknowledge it, that’s the same as promoting it,” says Reichelson, who learned this strategy at a National Center for Women & Information Technology workshop. “My students have no idea what the stereotype is.”
|The computer science class of 2015 at Lake Brantley High School|
Leslie Aaronson - Turning the classroom into a startup environment
After working for Nickelodeon for three years, Leslie Aaronson realized she wanted to teach students communication, collaboration and networking skills in a way that reflects the real world. Today as lead teacher of Foshay Learning Center’s Technology Academy in Los Angeles, California, she’s turned her classroom into a startup environment. She encourages students to take control of their learning and be proactive, instead of waiting for the teacher to provide instructions. “I put learning back into the student’s hands. Students show each other their screens, and when they can’t figure out a solution to a problem, I ask them, ‘What have you tried, and who have you talked to?’ I challenge them to explore all of their resources.”
Aaronson teaches her students to meet with professionals, both to develop the skill of networking and to form strong relationships with people in the industry. She coordinates mentor days and field trips for her students to connect with people at local colleges like USC and UCLA.
To showcase their projects, Aaronson’s students develop a digital portfolio that speaks to their technology skills when applying for college or interviewing for jobs. “Some kids come back to me three years later and say that the portfolio they created in my class got them a job. The most rewarding thing is to know I’m helping people get on their feet and achieve great things in life.”
|Leslie with nine of her students who won the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award|
These are the stories of just a few of the inspirational CS teachers that are educating the data scientists and software developers of tomorrow. Reach out a hand and support teachers like Diane, Seth and Leslie by donating to a classroom in need at DonorsChoose.org, or partnering with a school to introduce a CS program.