imagiLabs is the all-female founded Stockholm-based startup that aims to bridge the gender divide in coding with its imagiCharm: a device which can be visually customised by coding into an accompanying mobile app.
The imagiCharm’s 8×8 matrix of LEDs can be customised to display tens of thousands of different designs, such as flowers, rising suns, animals etc., based upon the Python code written by the user into the imagiLabs iOS or Android apps, which connect to the device via Bluetooth.
By using Python to change the appearance of the accessory, girls are shown the real-world applications and possibilities of programming and what physical manifestations of code can look like.
According to a study by Google and Gallup, 12-year-old boys and girls share a similar interest in Computer Science. By 14, however, only 12% of girls are interested in Computer Science, compared to 47% of boys. This divergence is borne out in the adult workforce: women represent only 21.5% of all digital jobs and in 2019 $92 of every $100 of tech investment went to all-male founding teams in Europe.
An alumni of Apple’s Entrepreneur Camp and Google For Startups, imagiLabs is aiming to solve this problem by introducing young girls to the basic principles of coding, which in turn can help to shape their career paths. With the imagiCharm, attachable to backpacks, tote bags, purses and jackets, the Swedish startup is encouraging girls to showcase their designs and coding techniques within an in-app community centered around a shared interest in, and love of, technology.
Teaching Girls The Principles Of Coding
Beyond enabling the personalisation of the imagiCharm, the imagiLabs app allows girls to learn Python coding principles through interactive tutorials. Both the imagiLabs app and the imagiCharm have been built with a user-centered focus, based on the experiences of a group of hundreds of imagiGirl ambassadors (aged 12-16).
The imagiCharm is available to purchase internationally at https://imagilabs.com/
The corresponding app can be downloaded via the following links:
Since the app launch 4 months ago, more than 5,000 coding projects have been created on the platform.
Dora Palfi, imagiLabs CEO and co-founder, comments: “We all agree that equal representation in technology is worth striving for, and there are some amazing initiatives out there. However, women’s hackathons and the like are coming to the table too late. If we want to foster a genuine interest in coding within women, we need to be talking about technology to young girls. We love the imagiCharm and the app, but for us the important mission here is to build a community: a growing network of young girls who realise that coding is fun and cool. That’s how we bring about systemic change.”
Founded in 2018, imagiLabs is an ed-tech startup building the world’s only mobile-first community for teenage girls interested in tech. It was the first Swedish company to be accepted into Apple’s Entrepreneur Camp (spring 2019 cohort), and was also selected for Google for Startups (Female Founders Fall 2019 cohort). The company has received funding and support from Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology and the prestigious tech incubator Sting. Key clients include the Swedish telecoms giant Ericsson and Tekla Festival, an event set up by pop musician Robyn designed to involve more teenage girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
About Dora Palfi
Dora has a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience with a minor in Computer Science from New York University Abu Dhabi and has studied Human Computer Interaction at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. She has worked as a developer at Morgan Stanley and as a UX Designer at Cisco. She has co-founded and led two organizations for women in STEM previously, growing and managing a team from 2-12 people. She has years of experience teaching programming to children and teenagers as well as advocating for women in technology. Dora is originally from Hungary and currently resides in Stockholm. Dora was listed among Hungary’s Forbes 30 under 30 in 2020 and is one of the European finalists of the 2020 edition of the Cartier Women’s Initiative.
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