Blossoming hacker wins an international competition with her Arduino-controlled device.
FLORAbrella is the ultimate rainy-day accessory, not only does it quite literally brighten up an overcast day, it can also be adapted to the clothes you’re wearing. Designed by Leslie Birch, it recently won first place in an international wearable technology competition held by engineering community Element14 and manufacturer Adafruit.
The project, which takes it’s name from the Arduino controller FLORA, took Birch an impressive two-and-a-half months to complete the project, especially considering the fact she is a newcomer to the tech scene. A videographer by trade, she first learned about Arduino microcontrollers through The Hacktory, and made her first foray into hackathons at the female-focused Lady Hacks last March.
Birch also built an LED-equipped skirt with lights that follows the orbit of the International Space Station for NASA’s Space Apps hackathon in April. The designer talked with Technically Philly about her new-found passion and how it could add to her growing list of occupations that already includes set decorator, public TV producer and educator:
I’m so in love with open source hardware at this point that it may be another career choice.