The build-it-yourself doll's house with working circuits that aims to boost young girls' interest in technology
20:19 GMT, 21 June 2012
Three female students from Stanford University have redefined the doll's house by designing a build-it-yourself version with circuit boards for lighting fixtures, fans and other electrically charged features.
The trio behind Roominate conceived of the idea as a way to draw young girls towards careers in innovation and technology, a field that is currently dominated by men.
Detachable, stackable pieces of wood are attached to create walls and furniture while fabrics, figurines and stickers decorate the rooms and circuit components bring the structure to life.
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More than just a toy: Roominate, a build-it-yourself doll's house incorporates circuit boards for electricity in the hopes of inspiring young girls to pursue careers in the sciences
Innovation: Thanks to easy-to-put together electrical components, lights can be switched on and fans can whir in the rooms
The idea for the interactive doll's house was born when the trio, Alice Brooks, Jennifer Kessler and Bettina Chen, noticed the overwhelming majority of boys in their science and maths classes.
On closer inspection, statistics proved that only 15per cent of female first year college students were hoping to major in what they call STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
Students of mechanical engineering design, business and electrical engineering respectively, they recalled how their own childhood games of Lego-building and solving mathematical equations for fun led them to the sciences as adults.
But when they looked around at the toys targeted at young girls today they saw only 'dolls and princesses'.
Miniature perfect: Tiny stackable pieces of wood can be slotted together to make walls and furniture while decorating can be inventive with fabrics, stickers and tiny figurines
Pioneers: Stanford students Alice Brooks, Jennifer Kessler and Bettina Chen conceived of Roominate after noticing the overwhelming majority of boys in their science and maths classes
Roominate, they believe fills a gap in the market for the kinds of toys that can make 'every young girl an artist, an engineer, an architect, and a visionary!'
The three founders hope to inspire, excite
and build confidence among young girls who might later be attracted to
STEM because of the early exposure to such innovative and creative
So far they have worked with over
200 girls between the ages of six and ten who have experimented and built structures both with and
without adult guidance.
The results have been illuminating,
they explain on a Kickstarter page set up to raise money for
development, research and manufacturing opportunities.
The bare necessities: The three founders hope that by playing with Roominate, young girls between the ages of six and ten will be inspired to learn more about engineering and technology
Research: The students started a Kickstarter page so they could continue developing the project and watching how young girls interacted with the product and have already raised $85,000
Like this: Manufacturing begins this summer and there is already a waiting list for the customers excited to build their own Roominate structures
The wrote: 'Provide a girl
with a buzzer and a motor, and she's decided her room is a restaurant,
with the motor serving as a fan to cool patrons and the buzzer being
used by the chef when an order is ready.
'Provide a girl with a set of animal stickers, and her room becomes a pet shop, complete with dog beds and animal food bowls.'
So far Roominate has raised $61,000 more than the $25,000 its founders felt they needed to keep developing the product and eventually facilitate its mass production.
'Manufacturing will begin this summer,' they told MailOnline adding: 'Since our Kickstarter ended on Saturday, we've been getting constant requests from people who missed the deadline.'