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Lisa Seacat DeLuca, IBM Master Inventor for Mobile, reads her newly published childrens’ book, A Robot Story, to her twin sons.

Lisa Seacat DeLuca, IBM Master Inventor for Mobile, reads her newly published childrens’ book, A Robot Story, to her twin sons.

By Lisa Seacat DeLuca

Planting the seeds of curiosity and imagination in kids takes some creativity.

I’m a software engineer but my parents aren’t. Growing up, my father loved gadgets and we had a computer in the house. I taught myself how to type on that computer and eventually how to write html code. I shared my father’s love for gadgets and that led me to applying to colleges for computer science. But when I got to school I felt like I was at a disadvantage. I didn’t know some of the basics that would have made learning the more complex topics a lot easier.

Fast forward ten years, I’m now a parent myself. I am passionate about computers and although still quite young, I can tell my kids are too. Every year there are over 12,000 new computer science graduates in the United States alone. In the next ten years, U.S. Department of Labor statistics project the number of software engineers to grow twice as fast as the average profession.

Without a doubt, my kids will be using mobile computers in some fashion in their future careers. Providing them with the fundamental building blocks of technology and mobile technologies, in particular, early will only benefit them down the road. This is especially true as mobile computing becomes more deeply engrained in business. The IBM-Apple agreement announced this week is a great indicator of this trend and one of the strongest plays to unite business and mobile, with Apple the mobile platform of choice for many, and IBM the global enterprise leader.

So there I was, with another challenge: to find a fun, creative way to start introducing the concepts of technology to my kids. I’ve always enjoyed writing and wanted to someday publish a book. So I lied awake one evening brainstorming a book concept that would be simple and fun. It doesn’t get more basic in the world of computers and mobile devices than learning binary. Immediately my mind danced around a rhyming style book that would show readers how to count to ten in binary.

The idea for my children’s book, A Robot Story, was born.

YouTube Preview Image

And who better to teach binary than a bunch of robots. Publishing a book yourself can be expensive. Since this was very much a project outside of work, I decided to experiment with Kickstarter, a crowd funding marketplace, to raise the money I needed.I set my funding goal admittedly low and reached it in just three short days after launching the campaign. It was a humbling experience to work on an idea from conception all the way through production, collaborating with foreign printers, learning about import processes, and fulfilling orders.

I now am an author of a beautiful children’s board book that I dedicated to my sons. I also created a companion hybrid mobile application, an interactive animated eBook version that brings the characters to life on a mobile device.

"Node.js" and "JSON," from A Robot Story, 2014.

“Node.js” and “JSON,” from A Robot Story, 2014.

I had so much fun that I launched another Kickstarter campaign to produce plush stuffed animals of my nerdy characters. The robot, JSON, even has a transparent pocket that can hold a smartphone so kids can make use of their parents abandoned devices.

There is something incredibly satisfying in hearing the sounds of my kids squealing in delight when they see the characters. That innocent joy and excitement for technology I see in their eyes is the same passion that got me excited about being a software engineer.

As kids today grow up with their smartphones, tablets, laptops and other digital devices, the industry needs to continue to create evermore creative and sophisticated apps that will not only delight but inspire their young minds.

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Nice story. Good way to make a boring topic like Binary, into an engaging conversation with kids and adults (for that matter.)

Posted by: Al Fakhrzad
July 26, 2014
5:24 am

Lisa – I love your your story of robot book.. a wonderful insparation for us…

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July 25, 2014
11:16 am

Wonderful Idea!! Congratulations

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July 25, 2014
8:34 am

Lisa, I will order the book for my grandson’s and am very excited about your whole concept! You are such an inspiration! Thank you & Congratulations!

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July 25, 2014
4:40 am

wonderful !!! very inspiring !!

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July 25, 2014
12:52 am

Congratulations! This is just wonderful and it is inspiring.

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July 24, 2014
7:25 pm

Lisa, your audience, many little ones who are being read to each night, will love the story and the interaction it allows — Congratulations and continued success. P.S. Your little guys are adorable and so is your little dog!!!

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July 24, 2014
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Congratulations Lisa! What an excellent idea!

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July 24, 2014
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Congratulations! Great Idea and the best is that You made it possible!

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July 24, 2014
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Lisa, loved reading this story. Such a great idea to encourage kids to learn about technology from an early age. Congrats on the new book and good luck on the other projects! Your kids are adorable!

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July 24, 2014
8:43 am

Great story Lisa. Congratulations on the book, the ideas and your twins! as a second generation IBMer, this story and your dedication are exactly what we need to propel us forward as a company. Keep Inventing!

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July 24, 2014
5:27 am

This is a brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing this Lisa. Making the world smarter starting from our future computer programmer and scientists!

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July 23, 2014
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Sorry if I’m missing the point, but how does learning the binary code help children with being tech-savvy?

I think learning early is a good idea, but wouldn’t it be more helpful if they played some educational video games or maybe learned about logical operators?

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July 23, 2014
6:16 pm

Hi Lisa,

I am impressed and please keep up these great ideas.

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July 23, 2014
5:55 am

A wonderful deed indeed Lisa. Force us also to think something different.

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July 23, 2014
2:02 am

Lisa, this is beyond FANTASTIC! You always surprise and delight with something magnificent, ROCK on!!

Glad Kickstarter worked for you, keep on your brilliant ideas – and making a difference for folks around you.
BTW the promo video is great, wow! I’m buying what you are selling~, you have made it so so relevant for anyone.

Ohh your kids are so so adorable! Smiles.

Looking fwd to see what is next for you :):)

Posted by: Gergana Markova
July 22, 2014
4:10 pm

Enjoyed reading this blog and your story Lisa. I will be sure to check out the book for my grandchildren!

Posted by: Farida Ansari
July 22, 2014
3:10 pm

This story reminded me of the little Pascal program I wrote for my son 28 years ago. It created random geometric shapes with bright colors any time he touched a key on the keyboard. It’s great to see such sophisticated creativity. Way to go Lisa!

Posted by: Cindy Walter
July 22, 2014
2:52 pm

What a great story. I too will plan to purchase the books for two of my nieces. How nice to be able to say “I work with this lady”. I truly admire you. I always wanted to write children’s story books. My English teachers from 6th grade through college all advised me to become a writer. Unfortunately, I never listened to them. You went out on your own and just did it! It is indeed impressive and I’m thrilled that you made your dream a reality. Best of luck in all that you will continue to endeavor, successfully, I’m sure. How very special for your children to have such a great Mommy, and quite a remarkable legacy set for them so early on in their precious little lives! They are lovely!

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July 22, 2014
1:39 pm

There are 10 kinds of people in the world:
those who know binary, and those who don’t.

Posted by: B. Jones
July 22, 2014
12:33 pm

Lisa – this is FANTASTIC. I will be purchasing the book for my two sons. As a fellow IBMer and a CMU alum, I’m very proud and impressed :)

Posted by: Zeynep
July 21, 2014
10:37 pm

Lisa, Wonderful that you did this for your sons and all kids (parents) to read. My 3 kids are grown now, but I admire what you put together!

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July 25, 2014
8:28 am

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