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Roominate: Techy dollhouse for future lady scientists

Successful Kickstarter project Roominate gives girls the chance to build, design, and wire their own dollhouses as a prelude to careers in the sciences.

Young girl plays with Roominate
A budding engineer builds her Roominate. Roominate

Recently, the European Commission was roundly criticized for launching an ill-conceived ad aimed at getting girls interested in science. Lego has also stirred up some commentary for coming out with girly toys featuring hair salons and cafes.

Roominate close-up
Roominate includes working circuits. (Click to enlarge.) Roominate

If these attempts are off the mark when it comes to interesting girls in science, architecture, and design, then what is it going to take to really reach them? How about a dollhouse? A DIY dollhouse with build-your-own-furniture and working circuits.

Roominate is the brainchild of three women scientists who noticed a distinct dearth of other women in their upper-level science and math classes. Their idea is to expose young girls to the excitement and creativity of science. Those early experiences can turn into careers later in life.

The basic Roominate is just a little room, but it's stackable and customizable. The wallpaper can be changed. The furniture can be assembled, disassembled, and turned into something else.

The design and build aspects of Roominate are fun enough, but the cherry on the sundae is the wiring. The rooms have working circuits so young gals can play with connecting lights, hooking up fans, lighting up miniature TVs, and installing buzzers.

The Kickstarter phase of the project is over, but you can still get a spot on a waiting list to buy the Roominate when it comes out. Kickstarter backers were able to pick up a basic kit for $49. The project more than tripled its funding goal.

I know Roominate is designed for girls aged 6 to 10, but I really want one for myself. After all, I would likely have become a marine biologist if the siren song of writing hadn't lured me away.

(Via The Mary Sue)