Meet E-liza Dolls, the startup that’s constructing dolls to assist younger women study to code • TechCrunch

E-liza Dolls, a Berkeley-based startup, is aiming to problem the gender hole in STEM by serving to younger women study to code utilizing dolls. The corporate, which exhibited as a part of the Battlefield 200 at TechCrunch Disrupt, builds dolls that embrace programmable computer systems that women can code via an app.

The startup was based in 2021 by Eliza Kosoy, a Ph.D. scholar at UC Berkeley, who is concentrated on the intersection of kid improvement and synthetic intelligence. Kosoy initially got here up with the concept for the dolls in 2017 whereas she was working at MIT in an AI lab that was principally made up of males. Kosoy says she realized that if solely a sure group of individuals have been designing the way forward for AI and expertise, it will solely profit that group, which is when she had the concept to give you a method for younger women to study to code.

Kosoy needed to discover a method for women to study coding with out having to surrender their pursuits, which is why she determined to mix dolls and expertise. No matter what individuals might take into consideration gendered toys, the aim of E-liza dolls is to assist women really feel assured on the subject of exploring STEM by giving them a product that’s designed particularly for them.

The market is full of toys which can be designed and marketed for and by males. After all women can play with these toys too, however a few of them might want to play with one thing that’s designed for them.

“We wish to expose younger women to technological ideas and encourage inventive considering via {hardware} and software program, stopping women from being influenced by generational stereotypes,” Kosoy instructed TechCrunch. “Dad and mom have so few choices; they really feel they should pressure their daughters to play with STEM merchandise designed for boys with the intention to get their daughters on a STEM path. We consider little women don’t must sacrifice their pursuits with the intention to play with instructional STEM toys.”

E-liza Dolls is presently in talks with producers and plans to launch on Kickstarter in early 2023. Kosoy says the group is one prototype away from the Kickstarter launch, because the startup plans so as to add a couple of iterations to the dolls and improve their design options. After the preliminary launch on Kickstarter, the corporate plans to launch the product formally in mid-2023.

The 18″ dolls function by way of a bit of {hardware} embedded in every doll. The machine has a display and is Bluetooth-enabled to obtain code by way of the doll’s companion app. Ladies can plug in several sensors or use the built-in sensors to code the doll to do various things, similar to constructing a safety alarm on your room utilizing a distance sensor or making a fact detector utilizing a heartbeat pulse sensor.

Since launching, E-liza Dolls has acquired $100,000 in funding from AIX Ventures. The corporate is presently within the midst of elevating a pre-seed spherical that consists of funding from a number of angel traders, together with poet Rupi Kaur.

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