"I want to build a robot that will make the streets of Paris happy"
June 29, 2016 9:40 AM   Subscribe

Ten-year-old Eva writes a blog in French about things she does – such as triathlons – and learns – like the symbolism behind hopscotch (Le jeu de la marelle in French). She also writes about programming her fully open-source Thymio robot. She ran into some difficulty coding it, however, and with a usage goal in mind, she applied to the Paris Summer Innovation Fellowship, alongside urban designers, data scientists and hardware specialists. Her application was accepted.

The programme: Paris Summer Innovation Fellows

Hat tip to honey-barbara for showing me the story and her delightful blog.
posted by fraula (16 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
Kat Borlongan's acceptance letter to Eva is incredibly gracious and beautiful.

Dear Eva,

...

I am writing to you personally because your application inspired me. There was nothing on the website that said the program was open to 10 year olds but--as you must have noticed--nothing that said that it was not. You’ve openly told us that you had trouble making the robot work on your own and needed help. That was a brave thing to admit, and ultimately what convinced us to take on your project. Humility and the willingness to learn in order to go beyond our current limitations are at the heart and soul of innovation.

It is my hope that your work on robotics will encourage more young girls all over the world--not just to code, but to be as brave as you, in asking for help and actively looking for different ways to learn and grow. More good news: I wrote to Thymio, the robotics company whose tech you use and asked if they could designate a specialist to personally help you. They have decided that that person will be their President himself. They will also be providing you their latest robot.

Welcome aboard our spaceship, Eva. We’re very much looking forward to meeting you in person.

All the best from Paris,
Kat

posted by honey-barbara at 9:46 AM on June 29, 2016 [28 favorites]


yep. knee-jerk "it's probably all part of the marketing" cynicism aside, boy that's a nice letter and a nice approach and kudos too to Thymio for jumping in from the top.

you left off the ps, tho´:

PS
Please ask your dad to call me :)
posted by chavenet at 9:49 AM on June 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is wonderful. Imagine all that she might learn this summer!!!
posted by Sophie1 at 9:51 AM on June 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thymio is produced by a non-profit, and the Paris Innovation Fellows are run by a non-profit. Do feel free to read the links ;)
posted by fraula at 9:51 AM on June 29, 2016 [5 favorites]


I made the mistake of reading this on the bus home yesterday and had to stop. Must not embarrass self by crying on bus.
posted by maxsparber at 10:07 AM on June 29, 2016 [4 favorites]


*blows nose loudly into handkerchief*
posted by infini at 10:25 AM on June 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


If I had tear-duct response nanobots, I would TOTALLY be deploying them right now! /sniff
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:31 AM on June 29, 2016


I was totally going to post this! It made my day.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:40 AM on June 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


Inspiring, 10 year old with a bit of help should be able to fully automate herself out of a job before graduate school.
posted by sammyo at 10:41 AM on June 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is 10 different kinds of awesome.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 10:43 AM on June 29, 2016 [3 favorites]


There was nothing on the website that said the program was open to 10 year olds

Well, I mean, it does say "all ages" right there on the front page...

So great.
posted by nickmark at 10:59 AM on June 29, 2016


#lyannamormont
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:59 AM on June 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


“So we might reassure that kid, and do something to spur that kid, ‘cause I promise you, all of us up here tonight, we were that kid.”
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:00 AM on June 29, 2016 [7 favorites]


and, roomthreeseventeen, we were 10 years old far too early for all this lovely interconnectivity
posted by infini at 11:20 AM on June 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


EVA T'ES VACHEMENT COOL
posted by gusandrews at 11:59 AM on June 29, 2016 [1 favorite]


“So we might reassure that kid, and do something to spur that kid, ‘cause I promise you, all of us up here tonight, we were that kid.”
Double points for the oblique Doogie Howser reference embedded therein.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 1:04 PM on June 29, 2016 [2 favorites]


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