The SpinWheel with Bridget Hegarty

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I am talking to Bridget Hegarty about the SpinWheel. The SpinWheel is a small, colourful, programmable, wearable kit to facilitate student exploration of physics, engineering, and computer science.

Bridget is part of the SpinWheel Team, a group of volunteers with a passion for teaching science and building beautiful things.  She is a postdoc researcher in Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan. As a kid, Bridget was always asking “why?” Luckily, her parents put up with her incessant questioning and taught her to love the process of discovering new information. 

Images: (c) Bridget Hegarty, used with permission

Bridget continues to pursue answers to her questions as a researcher, studying the microbes that survive in buildings. Outside of the lab, she shares her love of science and engineering by designing and leading activities that help participants, particularly girls, envision themselves as engineers. Through SpinWearables, she is excited to develop educational kits to inspire the next generation of engineers.

The SpinWheel is a colorful wearable programming kit. It can be “just” a stylish, cool,  accessoire, but can also be programmed to be way more via the popular Arduino IDE. For example you can turn it into a step counter, a compass or an exploration tool for color and vision. No prior knowledge is required to program the spinwheel and it also comes with an educational guide that introduces you to the basics. 

The small, round board features a microcontroller, 8 larger and 12 smaller RGB LEDs, a motion sensor and connectors for power and micro-USB for connecting it to a computer.  Due to it’s small and round form factor, kids can easily attach it to a backpack or even wear it as a ear ring.


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