Meet Dr. Ayanna Howard, One of the Nation’s Most Promising Engineers

Ayanna

If you’ve ever wondered what a Black woman roboticist looks like, shift your attention to Ayanna Howard, owner and chief technology officer of an Atlanta-based company called Zyrobotics.

Recognized as one of Business Insider’s 23 most powerful women engineers, Howard makes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fun and accessible for children with disabilities through educational apps, wireless toys and e-books.

Why focus on children with special needs?

“When you make something accessible and inclusive to kids with disabilities, you make it accessible and inclusive for every child,” Howard explains.

Many children with disabilities face motor limitations. This makes touching the screens of devices like a tablet or iPad difficult, impossible even.

Here’s the wow factor: TabAccess, a Bluetooth switch interface, allows anyone with motor limitations to control a tablet or iPad without touching the screen. Zyrobotics’ products also work to strengthen fine motor skills, timing and visual perception.

At first glance, the Zumo Learning System—Zyrobotics’ newest product—looks like any other stuffed animal, but this turtle, a wireless smart toy, communicates with a combined tablet upon touching its shell.

With Black women making up the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S., Howard utilizes online resources to effectively market her startup. She credits Google AdWords for getting Zyrobotics noticed as it approaches 100,000 downloads.

Read the rest of my story for Ebony.com [here]. 

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