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Code Savvy - Summer Connections #5

Updated: Oct 2, 2020

This summer, we will use our newsletter to highlight a variety of people, organizations, and resources that are doing work to broaden participation and expand equitable and engaging computer science and STEM opportunities. We are honored to work in this space along with so many talented and passionate individuals and organizations and want to help bring attention to their work. 

This Week’s Spotlight: Aneela Idnani -- HabitAware

For more than 20 years, Aneela didn’t know she was struggling with a mental health condition called trichotillomania, or compulsive hair-pulling disorder. Aneela’s condition emerged when she was only twelve years old, as a coping mechanism for her father's battle with cancer. Aneela hid her battle with trichotillomania from those around her because she was ashamed. 

Years later she learned this condition was part of a broader group of mental health disorders: body focused repetitive behaviors, BFRBs and that sister conditions were nail biting and skin picking (dermatillomania). 

In 2013, while on maternity leave, Aneela bravely opened up about her condition to her loving husband, who inspired her to take control of the condition that had been controlling her for so long. This inspired Aneela’s journey to help bring sufferers of BFRB from hiding to healing.

Aneela, her husband and two friends started a Minneapolis-based company, HabitAware, to combat BFRBs. HabitAware developed a patented solution for the BFRB community: Keen. Keen is a smart bracelet worn by those whose “restless” mind translates to “restless” hands in the form of hair pulling, skin picking, nail biting and other BFRBs.  Keen is a tool to help manifest behavior change by bringing awareness to these unwanted behaviors so individuals can replace their compulsive behavior with healthier soothing strategies.

Keen’s technology allows the bracelet to detect and identify repetitive wrist motions that the wearer has recorded. When these behavior patterns are detected, the bracelet vibrates and creates a gentle reminder that the wearer is engaging in their BFRB. Though gentle,  Keen’s effect is more powerful than the average person can imagine: This “Keen” awareness allows sufferers of BFRBs to start their healing process.

Through Keen, HabitAware is successfully bringing those with BFRB from hiding to healing. Keen positively impacts the BFRB community. Wearers are beyond pleased with their ability to heal with the assistance of Keen. For their excellent work, TIME Magazine recognized HabitAware as one of its top inventions of 2018. 

To hear more about Aneela’s own emotional journey and how it inspired her life-changing invention, watch her TEDx talk: Overcoming Trichotillomania: The Power of Awareness.

this week's project inspiration theme: ROSALIND FRANKLIN

July 25th is Rosalind Franklin’s Birthday

Rosalind Franklin was a monumental STEM figure, much ahead of her time. This week, we want to recognize her achievements by honoring her with a CS project! Read about Rosalind Franklin here. After reading about Rosalind Franklin, you can make a list of her achievements using our CS to Go tutorial. Remember, this is just a suggestion; use your own creative genius to create a personalized project!

We hope you create a CS project in honor of Rosalind Franklin! If you do, please share it with us.

share your CS to Go projects!

How to Share: We invite CS to Go with Code Savvy participants to consider sharing your projects publicly with the Code Savvy and greater #MNCodes community via video with Flipgrid. We can’t wait to see what you create! Please be sure to follow online safety guidelines and get adult permission before sharing. You can find our Privacy Policy here.

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