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I Chose STEM | Applying STEM – a journey to Ikigai


All right, we are nearing the end of a
fantastic day as far as I’m concerned. I’ve learned stuff and we have one
speaker left who is I’m excited to hear it’s Kitty Young. She is a, are you ready
for this list, a physicist, an artist, a maker, a fashion designer and a musician.
That’s pretty heavy all that stuff. She’s based in Silicon Valley right here she’s
a creative technology at technologists I’m sorry I’m getting a lot of T on my
what am I doing here it’s my necklace really oh well
Beauty before function she’s a manager of the garage and Microsoft which is a
really cool organization so her background is in Natural Sciences from
the University of Cambridge and she has a PhD in physics applied physics from
Harvard but she’s kept her artistic flame alive through art and music and
really loves that side of it too so after she conducted research at Intel
for a while she says she discovered how to put all of this together integrating
art and design with Science and Technology which is a wonderful
combination so I’ll let her tell you how that happened
and how her work now focuses on cutting-edge technologies like Garmin
design and manufacturing processing quantum computing in education
yeah quantum computing education she’s gonna take us on a journey to it qug a
geeky guy I had to look that up and I still couldn’t explain it to you which
is why Kitty is going to come and do that right now Kitty young welcome hey everyone thank you for staying here
for the very last talk just to a show of hands here how many of you do like
Natural Sciences physics chemistry type of things and how many of you are doing
more practical like computer science yeah and what about the rest like art
design anything I was like marketing great so I will be talking to you about
my journey combining many different disciplines together so I work at
Microsoft I manage the garage garage is a very interesting place it’s like a
internal startup and we support internal startups is the platform for employee
led innovations so any employee with good ideas they can come to the garage
build prototypes we have ways to help them go all the way into the market so
Gretchen actually mentioned one of our garage projects in the morning is the
farm beat if you go to our garage website you will see all kinds of
projects that’s already in the market and it’s all employee generated so that
that’s a business slide is basically showing you that the garage is a program
that’s engaged with our employees with our business teams and our ecosystem so
we work with universities and we have internship program and we run hackathons
the garage runs the biggest private hackathon in the world last year we have
23,000 people participating or employees from Microsoft and we have thousands of
projects submitted so we usually take close look at the projects and find good
ones that we can help them go forward well I’m an employee at Microsoft so
it’s a platform for employee line innovations to pursue their passions I
have my passions too so for me I love science engineering technology but at
the same time I love Art and Design if you ask anyone in
industry it’s very difficult to combine different disciplines together usually
they’re putting put you in a box and that’s you do one thing until you retire
but there’s a lot of other opportunities and you have to take your chance and
create opportunities for yourself so to me science and are actually not very
different they use similar kind of methodologies they pursue the things
people do not know have not yet done and they inspire the middle engineering and
design so in the very interface that’s where you can create useful products for
people you can create useful things to give you some examples of my projects as
one of my work using machine learning basically embedding a chip in the dress
that can detect your hand motion you can train the chip to remember your gesture
so after the training every time you wave your hand in the correct way a
correct constellation will show up on the dress and it is also using my
graphic novel a page from a graphic novel the scientist and her robot
looking into the telescope and in the sky area it calls the constellations to
show up so I’m demoing the training process after you train them the neurons
you can then call the constellations and embedded for translations using the LEDs
that’s signal you probably recognize some of these and I have Big Dipper
Cassiopeia and Orion this was actually project build on the
in Taos curat chip and that actually is the only physical demo that shows you
how to use these pattern matching engine at the same time
I also run a continent computing study group in our Silicon Valley garage so
you probably hear about of news about common computing in the news they
usually don’t go beyond superposition and entanglement there’s not much the
news articles talk about and rarely do people sit down and study the math and
understand the subject what is really all about and if you really want to
learn you have those textbooks but if you don’t have a degree in Natural
Science is usually very hard to pick up so in order to train people who do not
have a quantum computing background you really have to have some methodology
some grounded material to get people to understand it from concept step by step
so I started this this group in our office to train our employees and
everyone really enjoys it because it’s like a new area that they feel
passionate about and they want to educate themselves on something new take
a new challenge and also to have the opportunity to perhaps go into this area
if they want to in the future this is also build on my my physics background
and this is a super exciting combination that in my day job I can do both science
and art then I know that this is something that I would be doing now I
had no idea so when I was a student I thought that I would just become a
scientist and live happily ever after but life is much more complex there’s a
lot of challenges a lot of surprises but at the same time many opportunities I
have to go back in time a little bit too tell you my previous experiences I
really all what I do now to my study of physics physics let me have a holistic
picture of how the world works including how the universe works and understand
have an understanding about humanity I was born in the northern part of China
and then when I was seeing primary school moved to Hong Kong and Shenzhen
some of you may know that the very developed technologically advanced
region in China I really enjoy reading about science when I was a kid I was
really inspired by the Stars and the universe and the ocean and animals and
everything but at the same time I also wanted to be a musician or artist I had
all these other intellectual dreams as well but so I started thinking how do I
contribute back to the society now I found science to be the most direct way
and I thought if I became scientist I can probably still do art but if I did
art it might be harder to to still do research so that’s I was a little greedy
so I decided to I wanted to do all of them so I chose to focus on science so I
really started my professional journey in University of Cambridge I did my
undergrad and master’s degrees there at the same time I started working in
Cavendish lab since the first year of my undergrad so that’s extracurricular I
found a lab in Cavendish and started working there as a student researcher
since my first year so I did condensed matter physics the group is called
quantum matters so we study the quantum property of materials uni so cool
materials down to really really low temperature and measure
is quantum properties like capacitance resistance you need to cool them down in
something called the illusion refrigerator is a super powerful fridge
that can cool your materials down to 4k using liquid helium and then additional
phase transition can let the environment to cool even down to sub Kelvin that’s
how you can really measure quantum properties of my hero’s noise is always
a problem to showed our measurement so we need to get rid of noise and because
this is super cutting edge research we even had to make those equipment parts
ourselves in the workshop so there are learn how to use the the lathe use the
different components to create to shred make parts from metal that was very
important experience for me later on as a maker and I wanted to do more applied
science so in Cavendish it was more fundamental
so I wanted to see how I can apply my knowledge into actual products so I
decided to pursue my PhD and very likely going to Harvard School of Engineering
and Applied Sciences there are pursued Applied Physics my lab invented a new
type of electronics called plasmonics circuits any of you heard of plasmonics
or plasma oh yeah a couple of you great so plasmonics are a plasmatic waves are
waves that are generated in electron systems if you have a bunch of electrons
put together you can create a wave they have collective interactions so the wave
can propagate in your material you can confine the electron into two dimension
because of the dimensionality you can give the material interesting properties
that you wouldn’t see in 3d 3d so because of the this properties we
could confine them onto the chips create circuit structures on the chip and guy
the wave through the chip and to manipulate the wave so you can propagate
information that way and create structures that can manipulate the wave
to get the effect that you want so I learned a lot in the career room so
basically I did things from scratch coming up with a system theoretically
prove it and simulated it and if the simulation works out I will go into the
clear room and fabricate the materials myself using a beam or photolithography
and then design the experiment measure them then publish paper all the whole
process because of the skills that I learned in grade school was applicable
for silicon photonics so I got into Intel after I graduated silicon
photonics is very similar to plasmonics so instead of using plasma waves this is
using light wave you can confine light unto two-dimensional chips and
manipulate the light propagation where this is use is in the data centers so we
do not touch the Dana Center every day but we if we’re using it all the time
whenever you connect to the internet with your phone with a computer you’re
using data center and in theaters and other memory racks of servers between
the servers you use optical fiber to connect the servers but between the
optical fiber and the servers you need an interconnect that can convert it
electrical signal and optical signal so that’s what we were doing using silicon
photonics is the interconnect that would that would help you send light and
manipulate light and is for infrastructure for data center telecom
data centers optical communication I thought that I will be working on this
for a long time as a research scientist this is super fun and very useful until
I discovered something surprisingly interesting
are you familiar with open source hardware like Arduino the port’s that
you can program you can put sensors and components on the microcontrollers so
enjoy at that time was making these chips that would go on to those
microcontroller boards so I work on the Drule module and the the Curie module so
those are kind of super small microcontrollers and mini computers you
can embed it into all kinds of things so you can you can create your own things
like robots or drones or IOT devices and for me I really like design garments so
I embedded that into fashion design to give you an example that’s using
accelerometer again to detect our motion so it changes the color on the optical
fibers I also made these kind of glasses they can communicate through bluetooth
so they’d come there synced and can change from opt that can change from
transparent to opaque at the same time so imagine you’re wearing one of these
glasses on the street and you see a stranger approaching you’re worried
similar glasses so you may have very similar fashion taste if your heart
rates matches maybe you can change check each other out so you flip from
excellent glasses to transparent you can see the eyes so this is actually
exploration for me to provoke human to human interaction using technology so
instead of human-computer interaction I wanted to see if we can create things
that would encourage human communication with the aid of technology just like if
you have dogs if you your dogs play together and you start talking and also
play with other types of open-source hardware so Intel had those modules but
there are other vendors other brands that create all kinds of small chips
that you can embed into there are ones that are specifically
designed for fashion design you can you can sew them using conductive thread and
I learned to play with them and use all kinds of inputs and output to create all
kinds of interesting things so the democratization of hardware really
helped creatives to get their hands on technology they can apply those in all
kinds of industries so outside of work I created more garments this one uses
brain signal to control the the colors and patterns on the dress the hazard is
from a company called bring code so you can sense the intensity of your thought
and you said to through Wi-Fi you can control the the chip on the dress I have
this earlier version that is not using input it’s just hard coded color change
but all of these are using my my paintings on the fabric this is called
the chaotic earth in a peaceful universe I also had ones that had mechanic
motions this one has like wings that can move and falling leaves simulated by the
randomly blinking LEDs and the last one this is a 3d dandelion because my
painting is the dandelion and I also had this painting of Jupiter you can rotate
the storm of Jupiter by rotating the satellite I on the shirt these are
actually just background backstage recording of San Francisco Fashion Week
in 2016 so I designed twelve pieces half of them had electronics technology in
embedded the other half were multi ways and all of them had my paintings on the
designs and the theme of that that fashion show is called tag drives
fashion I really think tag is the future of
fashion and it’s the future of all traditional industries
at the same time we also used the Intel Architecture to create something useful
I actually form a start-up inside our company with three other friends from
different groups we had this little startup team that we build wearable
devices for health and safety and we won a competition and also God’s traction
and interest from our internal VVC founding and we filed a patent
everything was going really well and I was learning a lot about startups then
inside a big company you can also learn about startups and you can gain
experience you can understand how that it’s like to actually build a startup
well everything was going in the right direction
my happiness didn’t last very long yet I decided not to pursue the make her
direction we’re about directions so the product cut that actually happens that
happens in companies sometimes the upper management they would make decisions
that you may not agree with and this was really hard broken because open source
hardware is also about education so it was really said that we decided not to
pursue this direction so I went back to silicon photonics I could do my job very
well I liked it and is useful but then I realized something take a look at this
icky guy graph and identify yourself see where you lie in which region your life
so for me I was just a little bit below geeky guy so I was missing something
that I love I felt that I was using only half of my brain not the other half
because I had a taste of my dream job and that was gone so I was not satisfied
anymore if that doesn’t combine with my
profession and and love together but I realized that products can be cut groups
can be reorge but no one can take away what I love to
do if the environment doesn’t allow me to do what I want I can Stu do it I will
keep doing that I got a lot of support from the maker community my work was
noticed I kept on doing more designs and I also explore different types of
technology this one is using 3d printing 3d printing can be considered as one of
the most mature new technologies you anyone now can buy or 3d printer not for
very much money or you can use services to get your design submitted and and
print it out so through projects like this I was trying to figure out how I
can scale my ideas how can i reproduce is it possible to make multiples of
these designs so I learned how to do 3d design this is fusion 360 and SolidWorks
and a lot of menu work still I had these parts printed and had to sew these on
two fabrics through this process I was trying to figure out if I can convert
what I was making by hands into something a factory can reproduce so it
didn’t take very long for my work to be noticed by Microsoft and I was then
hired by the garage is really a very helpful environment to support employee
to pursue your passions this one was my first build in the garage is using our
3d printer I made this holder for a solar panel
this you can walk outside and to charge your phone at the same time I actually
walk around he make her fair for whole day and my phone ran out of battery I
put like the rain it was really useful and most of the solar powered jackets
that you can find in the market having the solar panel vertical but you
few needs enough sunlight you need to have this angle so I thought that that
would look ridiculous but then I may as well make it avant-garde so I just
designed this hole at this backpack holder that’s based on the pattern on
the fabric this I wanted also to show that this solar panel is not designed
for fashion it’s just a portable panel you can carry when you go out but if
with clever design you can embed it into fashion design so that goes with any
hardware any technology I can design it into something wearable the eye
opportunities open up I got people sending me their hardware and their
materials this is from my friend who works at sati Institute he has a company
called made of Mars and he works on Mars exploration they want to use this
material from volcanic rocks to produce daily appliances and items these are
volcanic rocks that upholding to fiber and then weave into fabrics they usually
use for very heavy duty industrial applications are wrapping tubes
high-temperature applications but then they want to see if it is possible to
design something fashionable because this much hero is abundant is everywhere
on Mars so you can find on earth in places like Iceland or Hawaii
but if we learn how to handle this material on earth once humans do leave
to to Mars we can know how to build things using the raw materials there and
at the same time I took this as a design challenge but then I thought when and
why should we ever go to Mars is it because the earth environment is
terrible is it because the pollution is too bad that we can no longer live on
earth so I started put to as a concept I put a
optical touch sensor in the front so you can detect the air quality
using a Adafruit circuit playground it has the different sensors including
temperature sensor and buzzer and LEDs I use it to detect the temperature and the
air quality and the sound and the color of the LEDs can give warnings when
something goes wrong so this is a concept to warm people even that we are
doing exploration in outer space in our solar system we should still take care
of the earth environment so this warns you about global warming
and pollution this is my latest build using the EKG heart rate monitor that
can detect my heart rate I put the electrodes on three different parts on
my body and they can link the leds according the heart to the heart rate
you can see the EKG graph on the photo I wanted to show people that for fitness
and health devices we don’t have to stuck on the wrist there’s enough
products that that just accessories why can’t we explore putting that into our
beautiful clothing and daily wear I had a very good education I really enjoyed
my past experiences things that are learning school but there are things
that I only learned after I started working in industry so first thing here
is the environment as I mentioned earlier you get hired for your skill
sets and sometimes you get put into a box that if you have great ideas
creative ideas that may not align with your business group if the environment
doesn’t support you you you will find it very difficult to pursue so having the
environment that allows you to expand your imagination is very important I am
very lucky to be in such in and as a earlier older generation of
Millennials I can relate to a lot of younger talents that they they are so
interdisciplinary they learn all kinds of different subjects but if we as an
established industry do not provide such growth environment people are gonna be
unhappy at their jobs so we have to change some current structures in
establish industry to allow young talents to grow and give them
opportunities the other thing I realized was scaling a lot of things that we did
in the labs our profile concepts we we build things in the lab we do
experiments but then we really need 10 to 20 years to scale it to make things
that we invent in the labs into a real product or something that’s really
useful you need hundreds of engineers to work on and one thing I think would be
helpful is doing open source so when I create my projects I would publish them
all open-source platforms so anyone can learn how to build something similar I
actually learned a lot from the maker community and I wanted to contribute
back by sharing what I know about the materials and the components you can
also find all of these projects online on the open-source platforms and build
something that you like maybe not in fashion maybe being something else but
not all of my friends make her not everyone’s make her I go people ask how
do I actually buy your things bio designs so out of curiosity I was
thinking how does it take to actually produce some of my design to real
garments that can be so in the market so I managed to produce three designs in
the market last year they all have my paintings on them with this one using a
lenticular piece that will change from a Eclipse to a full moon
that’s also my painting but then you asked where’s that where’s the electrons
where’s the hi-tech turnout is not that easy
turn out that the industry is actually not developed enough to produce such
inventions so this was a design that I made for in town two years ago it’s just
a t-shirt with a wearable robot and some soft electronics circuit on the fabric
turned out that the robots are much easier to produce so anywhere with
hardware background it’s very easy to get that done but then these soft part
is actually more difficult we had this I basically build this prototype by hand
how to hand Stitch the conductive thread onto the fabric if we want some factory
to make this we couldn’t quite find good places to do it and you ventually we
could find some makerspace to help us but that will cause us a hundred dollars
per t-shirt so that’s not really acceptable that made me realize the
problem in the industry that actually some of our ideas that we have now is
not quite achievable it goes around in this negative cycle that’s impeding us
to pursue our designs so creative designers they can make things by hand
very easily they can do whatever anything that they they can build upper
hand but then they really rely on manufacturers to scale it to produce
products but manufacturers they refuse to do it until they see market they have
to see that what they are making can make money but mass population would not
generate the mound they would not show market until they see some existing
product that’s already in the market so this is really backward and if then also
shows a couple of problems as in the manufacturing chain so there’s not
enough automation and if we want to put tag in garments that’s currently very
difficult and there’s also not enough made-to-order that’s actually one of the
major problems in fashion is industry so fashion designer
like stools I can attest by doing different artistic endeavors whose
really advanced the arts so music the invention of instruments can help
musician express their emotions their feelings the invention of the modern
piano really helped Beethoven start writing a different general of music
from classical to romantic and I was painting my graphics on the computer
about 10 years ago I started doing that that’s because of the invention of these
tablets that you can plug into a computer and start drawing digitally so
then I could print my digital files or any surfaces including different kinds
of fabrics the technology allowed us to achieve our idea much much easily and
faster the existence of 3d design software can allow us to build 3d
printed structures without going into sculpture so fashion design is left
behind I wanted to understand why how we make things make garments the same way
as how we make electronics with the background of chip design and
manufacturing I could see a lot of parallel in those two manufacturing
processes we always start with 2d design we represent our different materials and
different layers of things using 2d layouts the upper one is what we would
draw to represent the circuit and we send this file to a cleanroom a foundry
we have a couple of Engineers to help but most mostly is fire driven and
automatic the machines know how to read these files and lay out different
materials and then you can produce chips you cut you can produce the wafers and
you cut them into chips and then solder them onto PCB boards
the PCP bar is also again design file driven as long as you can draw these 2d
files you can get things produced easily and then you can package the
packaging is also by design by those files Wow four garments you also start
with a design representing a 3d structure in 2d you draw out the
patterns and then you give this to pattern makers but then in this process
it goes back and forth so many times first time the usually fit is wrong
there are a lot of human error in it and you have to correct the fit and then the
second time the fabric is wrong because the first time they don’t use the actual
fabric so if you change the fabric there will be mistake the third time when
those things are corrected is missing details it’s missing buttons and you
already would tell them at the very beginning you show them the design but
still many many back and forth a lot of exchanges and waste of time and effort
is not this as streamlined and efficient as the electronic manufacturing and
eventually you can get your design your prototype into a factory and people
working in terrible conditions eventually you produce things like that
that’s super cheap and not creative no one wants to buy them you go discounted
sounds I still in the shop is lying there no one wants them guess what
eventually those goods gets burned we actually produced a lot of waste and
pollution in garment industry so just by you can just search online
the pollution generated in karma industry is well understood and one of
the problem is the overproduction why do we need to make so many pieces of
clothes if Noah wants them and that’s the problem that I really want to solve
that’s where I can see how technology can help resolve this issue right now
I’ve showed the collaboration between research things that you invent
from research centers in labs you can make them open-source and creative
people when they get it they can make things that actually people want you can
make functional things and aesthetic things and then you use education to to
educate more people younger people in school educate the market anytime you
introduce anything new into the world you have to convince more people so this
ecosystem these different communities they have been working together but what
we are lacking is a way to help creativity and neat driven manufacturing
right now that’s not there that’s a very big problem and is not letting creative
people to achieve their ideas and the technology has been not available not
democratized for anyone to use for anyone to produce something from a
initial sketch to a 2d file and then into an actual government is got a lot
of processes but we can really help this whole chain of production using all
kinds of technologies in your design you can have things like 3d avatar of
yourself so you can get your fit before you you know how the garment looks on
yourself you can use mixed reality platforms to do that and there’s
computer vision that you can apply in fashion right now a lot of the ideas
have been looking at a picture and then referring you to existing product and
then recommend what you can buy but what if we can take a picture of a existing
garment someone on the street that you really like you take a picture that will
automatically be generated into those 2d patterns that could be sent into the
factory and get produced much easily so we shouldn’t be making things that over
produced we should only be making things when someone wants it you can make the
platform the 2d pattern available for people to choose I
want this kind of color this kind of bodies this kind of sleeves and I want
my own combination at the factory level all these files should be driven
automatically and letting people tap into this manufacturing and they could
produce a lot of similar color similar bodies and sleeves but then eventually
you have a different combination according to people’s orders so you
shouldn’t be produced things on you someone already orders them already
backed by an order and at the same time in those processes we can then think
about how do we put those electronics those microcontrollers functional
electronics into the fabric right now I showed things that we were using
open-source ports to do but then we really need to scale it to shrink it
down to very small sizes and make it flexible make it part of the fabric to
be able to make it comfortable so there’s a lot of problems in the
industry and is really a engineering problem I feel like this is not this is
a hard thing to do because of all these different parties in the ecosystem you
have to combine them they’re each individual technology that’s out there
but we really need to combine them link them together to solve this vertical
industry but it’s also not that hard because it’s just engineering we just
have to turn a few engineers into fashion designers so that’s what
essentially a platform company would do we need to empower everybody we need to
empower the creative the designers give people the technology so they can they
can decide what to use the technology for and this will help creativity to
drive production rather than profit driven or volume driven that’s producing
many waste and pollution so what I found out through my journey
is basically knowing what I really like to do and applying different disciplines
together by the same time scale it to something bigger to something more
impactful and don’t wait for anyone to give you your dream job if you want to
work on something just go for it even if your day job is not allowing you
to do it eventually you find your audience there’s also not enough
discussion about later support of women’s development in tech industries
so what if you are going to have a baby what if you your partner is moving to a
different place there needs to be enough support to allow a woman to stay in
their industry stay in their field pursuing their jobs and while staying
with their loved ones it shouldn’t be a either-or to choose between your career
and the family there should be environments that allow us to pursue all
the things that we treasure in our lives the environment is very important when
you want to decide your future and also what we contribute to the society should
be intellectual there’s a lot of noise in social media all those platforms that
we engage every day but we find out that if we look back into history is the
intellectual value that distilled and passed down generations we always listen
to the best music read the best literature from the past the noisy
things in contemporary world would not pass down what I found very important is
that when we generate our content is very important to stay intellectual I
sometimes look into our own world like an alien from outer space
to understand the beautiful and ugly in our world when we are in our 20s we
probably would look around and trying to find all kinds of opportunities trying
to get as many experiences as possible in our 30s we kind of learn how to focus
we find the vertical that we want to spend the rest of our life but sometimes
people in their 30s some of them become the most world’s most famous bigots and
some people they regret they haven’t become the world’s most bigots but what
I’m hoping is that more of us most of us will stay true to ourselves whenever we
look back deep down into our hearts with we can find a child inside ourselves
thank you I don’t know if there’s question time or anything the things
that I presented or something that I missed you my presentation yes thank you
for your presentation it was fantastic to see all your different work and I
really like the chart that you showed about you kid guy and I’m curious how
often you like revisited that or how often you go back to looking at it and
making sure that what you’re doing throughout the years was I I think I
only look at it once so far only when I if I will revisit it it’s probably when
I’m not happy so when I’m unhappy I can look back into their chart and reanalyze
my situation yeah fantastic presentation thank you
when is your quantum setting study group is only internal and we hosted
other week usually depends on my schedule because yeah right now is me
leading it but then through this this workshops more people are interested so
they volunteer to teach so we are doing like beginners track we cover those
fundamentals and then we would do some more difficult algorithms like using the
concept that we learn in actual programming and also we will invite
external speakers to talk about maybe hardware experiments that they do to
give us the industrial flavor of the field we are making some tutorials and
hopefully we can we can share it with the public in the future but right now
the Q sharp team the Microsoft team they have publications they have their
different aspects of quantum computing already on the website so you should
look it up yeah yeah you can feel free to chat with me during that work thank
you

Yvette Parker

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