I’ve always considered myself introverted.

Back when I was nine years old, my mom would force me to talk to retail clerks so I could be comfortable having conversations with strangers. Even though the interactions would take less than a minute and everyone was extremely friendly, I dreaded each and every one of our trips to the mall. Whenever I was sent to summer camps, I was too scared to say anything on the first day. I always thought that I could just wait for someone else to initiate a conversation with me or for another person to answer the…

(This article was initially published on my personal website in 2019.)

Last summer, I had the opportunity to attend an entrepreneurship camp at MIT. There, I spent four weeks creating my own startup with three other high school students.

While I did learn a lot about a variety of different topics, one of the main aspects of creating products is going out and asking people for feedback on your idea. Essentially, you have to conduct primary market research (PMR for short). You have to physically go outside, find individuals, have conversations with them, and discover who your target customer is.

The term, ‘circular economy’ is starting to be the center of more and more environmental initiatives these days. But what does this even mean?

In a basic sense, a ‘circular economy’ refers to an economy that doesn’t rely on our current model of extracting materials from the environment, using them, and then disposing of them in an unsustainable manner. In this model, economic activity is what’s responsible for continuously building and reinforcing the overall health of our economy.

Now, you might be asking: how do we achieve this? According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there are three core components:

  1. Decreasing…

While many of us might be familiar with the environmental impacts of plastic pollution, there’s still a whole other part of the problem that needs to be addressed: the human crisis aspect.

As it turns out, there is a strong correlation between poverty and plastic pollution. In poorer communities, particularly in developing countries, plastic acts as a valuable material that grants access to basic necessities at more affordable prices (Source). Plastic sachets, for instance, are used by many low-income families to obtain items such as toothpaste, coffee, or shampoo every month. …

So you’re starting TKS and everything probably seems really overwhelming. There’s way too many focuses to choose from, all the returning students have accomplished so much, and it seems like all the new kids in innovate are proficient in coding — how in the world are you going to do well in this program??

Well, thankfully you’ve come to the right article.

As someone going into Disrupt this year, I can say that you don’t need ANY prior experience if you want to be successful here. I didn’t know any code coming into TKS and hadn’t even heard of what…

Artificial Intelligence.

Two words which may invoke ideas of a Terminator-type future where machines destroy and take over the world. And while it may be scary that computers can simulate how the human brain works and learn from their mistakes, I assure you that the present impacts of AI have been much more positive than the stories depicted in movies.

In fact, rather than being the ultimate “death of us all”, AI has been helping and growing so many industries across the world. It makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like…

Now that I think about it, paper and pencil games were my childhood. I still have notebooks full of various rounds of dots & boxes and pictionary. But if there was one game which 6 year-old Ayleen enjoyed playing the most, it was tic-tac-toe (don’t ask me why).

So what better idea is there than to upgrade my previously favourite game into an immersive virtual reality experience?

The game works similar to the classic version and was programmed in Unity, while the visuals and 3D design was created in Blender. The setting of the game takes place in a park…

Everyone has probably heard about Flappy Bird by now; a simple side scroller game of a bird flying through pipes that went viral a few years ago (if you haven’t, the game is sadly no longer available). However, while playing, I always wondered what it was like to experience the game from the perspective of the bird. What would happen if I could be the flappy bird?

I always used to think that my goal of becoming a successful CEO of some billion-dollar company was identical to my goal of becoming a Disney princess back when I was two years old: it was cute, but deep down inside I knew it was never going to happen.

Growing up, the media always glorified famous entrepreneurs to the extent in which I thought they were either a) extremely talented from a young age, b) extremely lucky, or c) extremely rich to the point in which they didn’t have to worry about the costs of building stuff.

In reality, however…

I’m not sure why, but slicing virtual fruit on my phone is extremely addicting. I used to love playing the Fruit Ninja app back when it came out and would spend hours trying to beat my friends’ high scores. As a result, when I started looking into virtual reality and learning about this awesome technology where you can create interactive 3D environments and games, I decided that I would make a spin-off of my favourite app in VR.

Ayleen Farnood

Grade 12 high school student and BCI & VR developer! Feel free to visit www.ayleenfarnood.com to learn more about me :)

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