Makers Stephanie and Elizabeth Vicarte may be young, but the 2016 Maker Faire Silver Spring presenters are not lacking in programming and design experience. Last year, as finalists in KID Museum’s Toy 2.0 Challenge, they presented three of their designs at Maker Faire Silver Spring: a remote-controlled ball, an electronic pin, and a robotic plant. VectOrb, the remote-controlled ball, won the competition. The sisters earned 3,000 dollars and an evaluation from Innovation First International (the company that makes HEXBUGs, who partnered with KID Museum for the competition).
But now the rising freshman and junior at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts are presenting a new invention inspired by their musical backgrounds. “My sister and I are both musicians.” Elizabeth said. “We both play the violin, and we thought it would be cool to combine electronics and music together.”
Their invention is a set of lights that change color when they play their violins. “Music has been a very big part of our lives,” Stephanie said. “We wanted to help people who couldn’t hear feel the same feelings we feel when we play.”
When Stephanie and Elizabeth debuted their invention at the National Maker Faire in June, it was a work in progress. “When we first showcased it, we only had the lights light up due to the vibrations of the strings,” Elizabeth said. “Now we want to tone it so that a certain pitch would light up a specific color.”
The Vicarte sisters want to encourage people interested in making to start young. They believe that age and gender do not limit a person’s capacity to be a good maker. “A good maker is someone who builds something for the prosperity of others.” Stephanie said. Elizabeth added, “As long as you enjoy what you’re making, that’s the most important part.”