Lauria Clarke knew she wanted to be an engineer from the time she was a little kid.
“I heard that engineers got to make things,” she said. “And I thought that was really cool, because I was like, that’s what I like doing.”
Now, Lauria is a valued member of the Public Invention team as a major volunteer on the VentMon project for pandemic ventilator verification. She helped with the physical design and firmware, as well as designing a printed circuit board to be used for the next generation of VentMons—which, so far, she reports, has been a success.
Lauria was initially drawn to Public Invention at the beginning of the pandemic, as she was unemployed and looking for something meaningful to fill her time.
“What I’ve appreciated about working with Rob and Public Invention, and other open-source communities, is that there’s this constant self examination that you don’t find in an industry where somebody’s paying for things to happen and that’s why you’re doing them,” she said. “When you’re working on an open-source project, when you’re volunteering, you’re not questioning why am I doing this—it becomes a lot more important.”
Lauria’s “why” stems from her desire to make a difference, but also from her passion for making things that ask questions and explore new paths. She’s combined engineering with art to reach a new understanding, and is especially interested in how humans “distinguish themselves between the manmade and natural world”–especially as technology plays an increasingly role in our lives.
As for the VentMon, she’s optimistic about the impact it will have on other open-source projects. “On a smaller scale, my hope is that VentMon enables other open-source projects to move more efficiently and more accurately,” she said. “And the larger idea is that of open-source medical devices. Which is hard to conceive of within the normal scope of how medicine works, but VentMon is an important conversation starter in that field.”
Lauria Clarke is an engineer and artist living in Boston, MA. She enjoys playing outside, making things, and computer architecture. Lauria holds a M.S. in Computer Engineering from Northeastern University.