Laura, building robots to change the world, Romania

I’m Laura. I’m 17, and I live in Romania. Ever since I can remember, I spent hours working on my own tech projects, lost in my own ideas. But more recently, I discovered a whole new global community and a world of opportunities has opened up. This is my story.

In primary school, I already have some sort of analytical and problem-solving mindset. I really liked to disassemble my toys and put them back. I spent most of my childhood exploring how things worked, building and creating things, and I soon realised that I could apply some of these skills to solving problems around me.

I discovered that this mindset of problem solving and analytical algorithmical thinking could be very useful also in real life. I had found something that I was really passionate about but it wasn’t until I was 13 that I realised I wasn’t alone.

I joined my local CoderDojo, and it changed my life. I had the opportunity to meet people with the same interests. Everybody was working, exchanging ideas, having fun — every two or three weeks we had a pizza party at CoderDojo! I had met a group of people that shared my love of coding, and together as a team we started trying to solve some of the problems we saw in our home town. We worked together to create an autonomous waste-collecting robot. We built a drone-mounted air pollution monitor. And I started experimenting with mind-controlled robotics.

My favourite one is the mind-controlled robot. I know it may sound very science fiction, but it’s easier than it seems.

In 2016 I was invited to present at Coolest Projects in Dublin. I travelled out of Romania for the first time, and my world suddenly got a lot bigger. The vibe was amazing, all the people presenting their projects and being so excited about this event. I saw the outside world, the opportunities. I didn’t really think that I would win something, and it was a very pleasant and unexpected surprise that encouraged me to continue on this path.

I never imagined that I would have so many opportunities to travel, expand my horizons, and meet so many people. It’s thanks to CoderDojo and Coolest Projects that I’ve been able to build an amazing network of friends, and together we’re ready to take on the world.

I want to bring a change to the world. My biggest dream: I want to have the main quarters of my start-up in Silicon Valley!