Kate Jenkins Mercado

Mechanical, inflammable, insufferable.

Marmot Creek
The Glass Banana


In the course of my duties as 2015-2016 student activities chair for IEEE Region 6 and just a general interest in seeing more people experience the emotional catharsis of an unplanned capacitor discharge, I run hardware hackathons in the San Francisco Bay Area and across the Western US.

Central Area Meeting

For the autumn meeting of all the awesome students in the IEEE from U Hawaii - Manoa to U Nevada - Reno, I provided Arduino starter kits for every participating team. It was the first experience for about half of them despite being almost exclusively EE/CE/CS undergrads and all the projects were competing in the theme of STEM Education, so it is one of the concrete times I can point to the IEEE doing real good in the world of young engineers. The winning teams got cash prizes and a free Arduino board, and what did *you* do last weekend??

Third place: Team The Fourth Team

Concept: A weather station module to give to middle school science classrooms using temperature, barometric pressure, and moisture sensors with lesson plans around data collection and pattern matching.

Second place: Team Wonderbread

Concept: An air guitar/theremin based on an ultrasonic range finder for strumming and button input/LED output for chord selection to teach high school math students about musical frequencies, resonant/fundamental tones, and signal processing. Link to project page

First place: Team Started From The Bottom

Concept: A multi-sensor platform for a elementary-school level introduction to a range of inputs and outputs, from a photo cell you can cover and uncover that changes the hue of an output LED, to a buzzer with an adjustable tone where kids can compose songs and vary the speed of an oscillating servo motor. Link to project page

CSU Fresno, November 8, 2014

Silicon Chef

Stripe generously hosted the Silicon Chef hardware (==Arduino) hackathon for women at their headquarters in the Mission. I mentored a few different teams doing serious things (drought mitigation for the Central Valley based on weight sensor to determine irrigation needed after rainfall) and fun things (zombie detection based on temperature and motion sensor and using home built clay models of movie zombies), and it wasn’t too long before anyone without an idea started forming teams around cat projects (an alarm clock utilizing a stuffed animal that you had to pet in a certain pattern to snooze).

San Francisco, September 27, 2014