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Inspire_Her Feature: Vandana Chari (A Winner in the coderGirls International Video Competition 2018


Briana: Why did you enter the coderGirls competition and what did you enter with?

Vandana: I entered the coderGirls competition because I wanted to showcase how my passion for both music and technology can help solve an issue in my community. I entered with my product: Spectune, a high-tech programmable LED violin bow.

Briana: What did this achievement mean to you?

Vandana: This achievement was truly amazing and I felt honored. I was thrilled that my passion for technology and music were being recognized through the eyes of a non-profit organization.

Briana: What was your first experience with technology and/or coding?

Vandana: My first experience with technology was truly amazing. I was fascinated and curious about how many electronic devices could operate. This interest of mine soon turned into my passion.

Briana: Describe some of your achievements in awards or extracurriculars, especially STEM.

Vandana:

TECHNICAL SKILLS

  • Programming languages:

  • Proficient in HTML/CSS, Python, Arduino, SQL

  • MySQL Database Administration, Django, GitHub

PRODUCTS DEVELOPED/ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Spectune (2016-present) http://myspectune.bitballoon.com/

  • High-tech programmable LED violin bow that creates a visual feedback for the player making it easier for them to emphasize certain notes and soften others, thereby making the piece more enjoyable

  • Programming language used: Arduino, uses low-cost programmable microcontrollers such as an Arduino along with sound sensors (mic) and RGB LEDs. Arduino will pick up the sound signal from the microphone, disaggregate note from noise, and inform the colors and brightness of the LEDs. My goal with Spectune is to accelerate violin learning process and inspire a new generation of young musicians

  • Participated in MIT’s Think Tank (2016)

  • Demonstrated Spectune at McAfee’s Maker Faire (2017)

  • Presented Spectune in front of an international community of educators and researchers as part of FabLearn, conducted by Stanford University

  • Participated in the 2017 Congressional App Challenge

  • Confidante (2018-present) by Codettes

- An app that allows users to be safer as it only allows high school students to sign up in a closed community. People can confess, and allow people to reply to a peer’s confession. This point also allows input from fellow peers which can be helpful if one wants advice. Anonymous responses allow students to empathize with their peers. A closed community allows students to feel safe.

- Co-founder of Codettes

- Built the app using Django, a the Python-web framework, and a MySQL Database

- Competed/presented in the 2018 Technovation Challenge conducted by Iridescent

HONORS

  • Filed provisional patent for Spectune

  • National Center for Women & Information Technology Member

- recipient of the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing/Certificate of

Distinction

VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE

  • Leader, Club: Relay For Life (2016-2017)

  • Volunteered at Maker Faire for Teeny Makerspace, a non-profit organization, and raised $4,000 to be used for imparting/educating the community to create innovative software/hardware products

  • Youth Member of the Federation of Indian Association, Bay Area Chapter

INTERESTS

  • Violin (Carnatic and Western)

  • Singing

  • Tennis

Briana: What is a challenge you've faced, related to coding/technology experiences? How did you overcome that challenge?

Vandana: When I was working on my product Spectune, the LEDs on my violin bow were too sensitive to the outgoing noise, so I had to spend a lot of time fixing that. I finally overcame it by having the determination. I worked endless hours and days trying to perfect Spectune.

Briana: What advice would you have for someone who was interested in technology, but was intimidated?

Vandana: Go for it. Intimidation is the one thing that will keep you back from achieving great things in life. Technology is this whole other world full of opportunities, and the only way to showcase your talent and interest for it is through creating products that are inspired by your passion.