Nigerian Bukola Somide created the first-ever computer science interactive doll. The aim of the 14-inch doll, Somi, is to make playtime not only educational but also entertaining. The doll has 12 voice-overs, which make the learning process more enjoyable while also discouraging cyberbullying.
My passion is to bring computer science awareness to underserved communities while deterring cyberbullying. I’m so excited for everyone to experience Somi, The Computer Science doll!
Bukola recorded all the voice-overs herself after interviewing some kids. She then optimized the vocal recordings to sound age-appropriate to add value and the right personality.
Bukola Somide has a children’s storybook with the title ‘Somi, The Computer Scientist: Princess Can Code’. Somide based the design of the doll on the main character in the storybook. In the book, Somi is a curious, bright, beautiful young girl with a natural interest in learning computer science concepts from her mother.
She connects what she is learning with real-life experiences because of her desire to learn more. Bukola, therefore, created Somi’s character to appeal to young learners who can easily relate to her.
Somi is suitable for anyone from the age of three and above. Bukola Somide first published a children’s storybook with the subtitle ‘Princess Can Code’ in 2018 through Innovant Technologies LLC. It has a five-star rating on Amazon.com.
Bukola also published a Computer Science Activity Book for boys and girls. She then launched the ‘Somi Computer Science Coding Workshop’ for kids. Somide is still working on it, so it becomes an affordable online mini-workshop.
She intends to create more children’s storybooks to build out the ‘Somi, The Computer Scientist’ series. She also wants to publish more Computer Science Activity Books to cover more advanced concepts and develop a mobile application to distribute online materials such as eBooks.
Besides being a software engineer and an author, Bukola is an inspirational speaker, entrepreneur, and project management professional. Her team has completed the prototyping stage. They have a top-tier manufacturer set up to begin production as early as March 2020 for delivery in August 2020. The manufacturing company has a competent team that works to ensure the smooth delivery of the products.
Despite that, it was fun and rewarding to her, Somide acknowledges that, at times, she faced some challenges.
Certainly, it takes much dedication and commitment to a vision to see it through from conception to reality. The process was challenging at times (communicating the vision to various artists, revising drawings etc.) but also fun and rewarding. The opportunity to create something out of nothing is an amazing feat.