"You have to stop believing that the technology is boys or geeks"

"Ok Google, shut up!" This is how Alai Miranda wakes up every morning, with her brother's screams and sent silent to the smart speaker that is controlled by the voice. When brushing your teeth, you may encounter an iPad next to the toilet or you may have no place to leave your cup at breakfast in the morning. The table in the room is sacred, "it's for the project," and no family member dares touch it. The terrace resembles a workshop with hundreds of cables, batteries, plates, LED lights and a small cactus of its mother that adorns as it can.

Luk, the mannequin's head with the animated gaze that Alai created at the age of 13.

Alai is 15 years old, a smile from ear to ear and has been honored with the European Award Digital Girl of the Year 2019. From the age of 10, she is passionate about technology to such an extent that there were days when Fran, one of her favorite teachers at the school, asked her to give her the class. The young woman in Madrid spends at least an hour a day researching different topics and innovations. She enjoys creating automotive robots like Luk, which she is very proud of. It is a mannequin head that, in 2017, was installed screens, controls, sensors and a brain. "He can follow us with the look, blink and his eyes are sensitive, his pupils dilate and contract depending on the light to which he is exposed," he says. Alai has many other ideas, such as apps to walk dogs or to exchange clothes with friends. But the most advanced project it has is Esvuela, a school to teach children how to fly drones. "I want you to understand that technology is a fun thing," he explains as he enthusiastically pulls out a T-shirt designed with the logo of his initiative,

Robots will replace the jobs that no one should do and allow those people to be freed to do something else cooler

"My daughter is normal, she's no weird or ki," says Nerea Lascurain as she walks through the door. Alai leads a teenage life, just like any other. She goes to high school every day, meets her friends, likes to draw, her room is an "authentic leonera" with posters of K-Pop musical groups, has a ritual to take care of her skin and loves Halloween. In fact, if he had to make a costume  he would be from a "stuffed robot" from his favorite video game series, Five Nights at Freddy's.

Alai Miranda with the European 'Digital Girl of the Year' award on the day of its delivery, October 16.

All Saturdays, for three years, he has been attending the two-hour Coder-Dojo course to learn how to program, one of the technology sectors he likes best. Until very recently I was the only girl. "When I saw my new partner arrive the other day, I was very excited," she admits. The girl acknowledges that, despite everything, she feels very comfortable with the boys and that they do not judge or set her apart. "Well, it's true that some kids at school look at me with surprisewhenive when I speak on technical terms or when I'm joining an afternoon of video games," he explains humorously. "It's not very common for a girl," she argues. His favorite film is Hidden Figures (2016) and his idol African-American mathematician Katherine Johnson  who calculated the flight path of Apollo 11 to the Moon in 1969. "I love that fight because all three fought not only to be women but also to be black and got amazing things. You have to change the idea that the technology is boys' or frikis", says

A "on" family

His father, who is a programmer, is his mentor, and his mother, his manager. He gives her the technique, she gives her creativity. Everyone admits that they are a connected family and knows at all times where each one is thanks to a geolocation system. "We're a lighted family," they say. Every morning, after turning off the smart speaker, they turn on the TV and listen to the news lying in bed. "My children have to leave the house knowing what's going on in the world, that there have been 39 dead in the UK or that Franco is exhumed," says Nerea,

I want kids to understand that technology is something fun and not boring

His parents were the ones who enrolled Alai to his first technology workshop, which consisted of creating luminous jewels. Before becoming "the girl tec" at the age of ten, Alai did synchronized swimming. But one day, after a workout, her mother saw her cry silently in the car's rearview mirror. I didn't want to go on, I was exhausted. When they got home, they threw the swimsuit in the trash and took the wires as the reins of a new life. Today, the whole family accompanies the young woman to all her workshops, courses and technology talks. The last one they were less than a month ago was about engineering biomedical. The young lady spent two hours with her mouth open. "I understood there that I could create a hand!" he exclaims. "When I got home, I started designing a prosthesis and printing it in 3D. Now it's my turn to ride it,">continue with joy.

Alai Miranda in her first technology workshop at the age of 10.

Alai is also concerned about climate change and would like to use technology to improve society. "There has to be something we can do with technology. I am convinced that there is a solution and by ten years it would be my dream to find it," she replies with a mature tone for her age. Another of his desires he promises to fulfill in his life is to travel to Silicon Valley (USA), to witness "all the brutal technological advances they make there," and to Japan or South Korea, to discover a more creative and leisure digital world.

Technology is your lifestyle and machines are your allies. According to his point of view, they will never get to eliminate the job and laughs as soon as he thinks so. "Robots will replace the jobs that no one should do and allow those people to be freed to do something else cooler. Human beings can handle unforeseen events and have creativity. He is capable of much more," he concludes with a smile before finishing a drawing on a post.

On other tiny pieces of paper, the mother and daughter eavesdrop on three adjectives that define the award-winning and coincide in two: cheerful and, above all, curious. 

Alai Miranda has been awarded with another Belgian teenager, Anne Maelbrancke, in the category of girls between 15 and 17 years old. The Ada Awards are in its sixth edition and the last ceremony was organized on 16 October in Brussels as part of the European Code Week and the WomenInTech.Brussels Women Code.

These annual awards, founded in 2012 by the Brussels-based Digital Leadership Institute, promote the best girls and women in the digital fields in Europe. The aim is to increase its number in the world of work, and to make it a long-term priority of the Commission.