CS Tea: Alyssa Boswell
Building Intuition for How Computers and Electronics Work through Puzzles and Play
Computers and electronics are everywhere, but most of us don't understand how they work. In 2013, Paul Boswell started building a mechanical computer, powered by marbles to teach how computers work. It is called Turing Tumble. Turing Tumble is sold all over the world to individuals and schools (primary grades through college), and it is available in seven languages. Since 2017, when the games were manufactured and ready to sell, Paul and Alyssa Boswell have built a business around the mission of making the abstract tangible. This past year they introduced their newest invention: Spintronics. It is the first mechanical equivalent of electronics ever built. Instead of wires, it uses chains, and every electronic part has its spintronic equivalent. Spintronics makes circuits tangible, irresistibly touchable, and deeply intuitive. Alyssa will tell the story of the development of both products, show some of the surprising things they are able to do, and share how intuition is built and why it matters.
Biography: Alyssa Boswell is an educator, a maker, and a business owner. She started her career teaching Spanish, then worked in non-profits as an educator, and now works as the CEO of Upper Story, which she co-founded with Paul Boswell in 2017. At Upper Story she enjoys being at the helm of a business that creates toys that are deeply educational. She is involved in product creation, outreach and education, and all the processes that get their products into the hands of people around the world. As an educator and a parent of three boys, she has seen the importance for kids and adults to have tools and environments that let them follow their own curiosity by tinkering, designing, creating, and building.