Barbie® I Can Be...™ Computer Engineer* Doll
Last year, Mattel announced that Barbie’s 126th career was voted to be Computer Engineer. When I heard this, I immediately thought, wait, that is me! Although I am technically a mechanical engineer turned software engineer. What exactly is a computer engineer anyway? Not an electrical engineer or computer scientist or software engineer or software developer. Apparently, I am of that generation, where a degree in computer engineering in and of itself was relative rare (and still non-existent at MIT).
According to Wikipedia:
Computer engineering, also called computer systems engineering, is a discipline that integrates several fields of electrical engineering and computer science required to develop computer systems. Computer engineers usually have training in electronic engineering, software design, and hardware-software integration instead of only software engineering or electronic engineering. Computer engineers are involved in many hardware and software aspects of computing, from the design of individual microprocessors, personal computers, and supercomputers, to circuit design. This field of engineering not only focuses on how computer systems themselves work, but also how they integrate into the larger picture.OK this is definitely not what I do (no circuit design or firmware for me). But to the layman, computer engineer still fits. For about six months, I had the PDF announcement of the new career tacked up at work before I finally purchased it for myself last month (apparently the hints to family and co-workers didn’t work for the holidays).
According to the announcement,
To ensure the doll accurately reﬂects this occupation, Barbie® designers worked with the Society of Women Engineers and the National Academy of Engineering to ensure that accessories, clothing and packaging were realistic and representative of a real computer engineer. Looking geek chic, Computer Engineer Barbie® wears a t-shirt featuring binary code and computer/keyboard icon along with a pair of black knit skinny pants. Computer Engineer carries a Barbie® smart phone, fashionable laptop case, ﬂat watch and Bluetooth earpiece. With stylish pink-frame glasses and a shiny laptop, she is ready to conquer the day’s tasks on the go or from her desk.On the Mattel shop page, there is a video of the doll designers. That could be me as a doll designer! Oh wait, I’m the computer engineer.
Barbie has an iPhone of course, and I love Barbie’s outfit, especially the circuit board design on the sleeves and the “black knit skinny pants”. Unfortunately, such pants would violate this computer engineer’s company dress code (my Rock is Dead t-shirt was worn on casual Friday). The box itself is filled with cool geeky graphics like the Linux penguin and iPad? next to it. But the coolest thing is on the monitor.
Do you see the seemingly non-sensical binary bits of 0’s and 1’s in pink on the monitor?
If you convert the binary to text (ASCII) characters, you get: “B-a-r-b-i-e”, Barbie!!! How cool is that??? I can’t believe that Mattel actually went through the trouble of spelling Barbie in binary. How many people did they think would notice? It is most likely the code on her shirt as well (I can’t tell because she’s never coming out of the box).
Dova was jealous that I got myself a new Barbie and I said, why not? She replied, “But you’re 44!” Yes, a 44-year-old who will keep her prized Barbie hermetically sealed in her super cool box.