You never know what a Monday morning will bring–as in the case last week when one rather precocious kid took his basement-built clock into a Texas classroom to impress a teacher. His ‘reward’ was to end up in hot water with both the principal and the police.
In less than a week though, Texas student Ahmed Mohamed went from being an alleged bomb maker to a giant news story–and one who won’t be forgotten so quickly; in fact, who knows–considering the outreach, he may eventually end up with an awesome job in the tech industry, thanks to what police and many others still think was his little ‘prank.’
“I built a clock to impress my teacher but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her. It was really sad that she took the wrong impression of it. (…) They arrested me and they told me that I committed the crime of a hoax bomb, a fake bomb,” the freshman later explained to WFAA after authorities released him, according to CNN.
From handcuffs to a young hero of science, a teenager being profiled due to race and religion is now being lauded and tweeted by nearly every CEO in the high tech titan realm. Everyone wants to be BFFs–from Mark Zuckerberg to President Obama. The student even has his own hashtag, with #IStandWithAhmed trending globally.
And while many in the world, as well as the rich and famous, may be complimenting Mohamed on his talents, there were some out there who said what he created was barely a clock, and barely even a passable science project by the benchmarks of today’s basement science and technogeeks. Well then, how interesting it might be to see what he could do with some real materials!
Microsoft had the correct idea after they saw the rudimentary clock made by Mohamed: let’s give this kid some real tools and see what he can do. Encouraging his future intentions to be an engineer, they’ve sent him a gift box that contains not only a Surface Pro 3, a Microsoft Band, and an Office 365 subscription–but they’ve also sent him a Cube 3D printer and a Raspberry Pi. Now that’s the ticket!
Alia Salem (executive director of the Dallas Council on American-Islamic Relations), who has accompanied Mohamed during press conferences and interviews, had the honors of delivering the ‘box of tech goodies,’ as he tweeted, exclaiming, “Enjoy…we can’t wait to see what you create with it all!”
Not only is this a great idea for Mohamed, but it sends a wonderful message to those in the world who still question a child engaged in science, as well as highlighting the idea that with some great new tools, and especially a 3D printer, clocks are just the beginning. While critics complain that he’s being given too much special attention, this new equipment will open a whole new world of making–as well as integrating electronics–for the teen, who will most likely share with his friends–and media–passing the inspiration along. It remains to be seen what he will comfortable sharing with teachers in the future, but with the entire tech industry on his side, he might be feeling more comfortable on most Mondays to follow.
We all certainly look forward to seeing what types of headlines he should be able to make with a Cube 3D printer at his disposal, allowing Mohamed to come up with an infinite number of designs where he can combine design and electronics–and it’s probably not reaching here to think we might be able to expect some new creations from him soon–especially while he’s still hot in the news. Hopefully this challenge will have only fanned the flames for his interest in engineering, and blaze a path to the 3D printer as well.
While Mohamed’s future career in engineering may have felt a big shaky as he sat being interrogated by himself with a room full of police, the future currently shows a warm welcome for him, with doors opening everywhere, from Facebook to Google, and even a seat at the next science event going on at the White House where the President has asked Mohamed to participate along with other scientists at the White House’s annual astronomy night. By all accounts, the young teen has accepted the invite.
With an outreaching from so many involved in technology, science, politics–and even Mohamed’s dream school, MIT, this is a student who now has even more to work with in terms of inspiration, tools, and technology. Will he be a ‘one-hit wonder’ with first device, or will his new tools inspire him to really show us what’s he’s got, beyond an alarm clock? Let’s hear your thoughts in the Ahmed Mohamed Forum thread on 3DPB.com.