We wanted a woman on the jury of the DesignWinMake contest dedicated to Open Hardware, and we found a great one... An international, super social geek: Barbara Rita Barricelli. Living between Milan and London, she is a researcher in computer science in the position of Leverhulme Trust Visiting Fellow at the University of West London and is an active part of the Sociotechnical Centre for Internationalisation and User Experience (SCIUX) and of the Computer Semiotics Laboratory (CSLab) at the Università degli Studi di Milano. "In the field of human-machine interaction, I work with computer semiotics, semiotic engineering and End-User Development in global communities," explains Barbara.

If that weren't enough, Barbara is also one of the most active "Girl Geeks" in Milan with Girl Geek Dinners Milano, a movement that was developed by an English software engineer, Sarah Blow, who was sick of showing up as a minority at tech conferences where everyone thought she was a marketing manager or something. She founded GGD (Girl Geek Dinners) with a first dinner in London, in 2005, for women who work in IT. Now, GGD organizes events in hundreds of cities in the world through local chapters, for women who love technology, internet and new media more generally. It's a great place to meet smart ladies like Barbara (men, don't get your hopes up - GGDs are mostly reserved to women!).

"For Girl Geek Dinners Milano my role is to search for great female speakers who are experts in the themes we choose for our events. Open Hardware is a theme we hope to deal with soon, to appeal to our nerdiest members :) ."

For the DesignWinMake contest, what is Barbara looking for as a jury member? She'd like to see projects that really use to its fullest the potentials of Open Hardware, or in her own words: "interactivity and personalization are the two aspects that will catch my attention."

With her international viewpoint on the field, we asked Barbara what she thinks about Open Hardware today and she says that "it's becoming economically viable for everyone, which certainly convinces more and more people to deal with it. FabLabs like the London Hackspace or Frankenstein Garage in Milan contribute to the development of a culture of participation and favour the democratization of technology. Open Hardware is a fundamental element in the free circulation of ideas and creativity in the tech field."

GGD's around the world, come forth - let's not let a man win this contest! Sign up today for DesignWinMake contest!


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