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Digital Open Winners: Brennon Williams

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Boing Boing teamed up with Institute for the Future and Sun Microsystems to create the Digital Open, an online tech expo for teens 17 and under around the world. Now, meet one of the winners. I'm Brennon Williams, I'm 15 years old, and I live in Burlingame, California. BW Science Labs has been in the making for about 2 years. It started out as just a way for me to document my research and all of my projects and it really just grew from there. Here I have a very old computer that I just bought from my friend for $5. And usually, this would be useless, but the reason why I'm using it is because it will make a brilliant server. As a little project, I coded my own server in Python. I started programming when I was about 10 or 11, in several languages. So, my love has really grown from there. I used microcontrollers like the BASIC Stamp, but now I'm more of a PICAXE programming kind of a guy. I can't live without a soldering station. I use it to wire-- to solder joints together in circuity. If I'm building a robot or just, you know, making LEDs blink, I need my soldering station. It's incredible to me that you can take bits of copper and silicone and plastic and put them together to simulate something that's autonomous, that can think for itself, that can interact with its environment. So this is kind of how I started out, piecing together things. And this is one of my latest robots... There we go. One of the biggest problems with today's generation is that, one, we're not science literate, and we need our generation to be inspired more. Because if you look at the heroes of the younger generation today, they're mainly rappers and musicians, and people who wouldn't really inspire kids to go out and create. If you start out from something basic, and you think, Wow this is a really cool device, or robot, or whatever that I've built, and then you can put the plans out, and someone maybe who's smarter than you or just as curious as you can modify them and make it even cooler and have even more benefits. I mean, if we didn't have open-source technology, [sighs] I have no idea-- well, I wouldn't be here, I would be on Facebook, or worse, MySpace.

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 52 seconds
Year: 2009
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Boing Boing Video
Director: Boing Boing Video
Views: 213
Posted by: boingboing on Oct 15, 2009

Institute for the Future teamed up with Sun Microsystems and Boing Boing to create the Digital Open, an online tech expo for global teens. Here's one winner: Brennon Williams, whose project offers robotics kits to beginners.

The Digital Open competition welcomed entries in 8 categories: Open Code, Community, Discovery, Earth, Entrepreneurs, Gear, Media, and Play. More online:

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