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Female Founders To Watch Building Hardware Startups

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Arduinos, circuits, and… robots? Women entrepreneurs push boundaries of devices, hardware startups.

By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)

There are web startups, mobile startups, consumer electronics startups… Newest yet are the interesting device startups are cropping up at various intersections of previous industries, creating disruptive new technologies and businesses.

We watched Square, the free credit card reader that plugs into a phone or iPad, empower taxicab drivers to Girl Scouts.

To inspire more device innovation, hardware accelerator programs like PCH Accelerator and Haxlr8r, Lemnos Labs and Bolt have popped up to help prototype and scale your device to production.

Last year, Limor Fried graced the cover of WIRED magazine – the first female engineer on the cover of WIRED, in fact. She is one of many women entrepreneurs building, making and inventing devices and hardware solutions for expanded markets.

Here are a list of female founders to watch building new hardware startups:

Amy Sheng (Co-Founder, CellScope)
Mechanical engineer Amy co-founded CellScope to extend the reach of diagnosis with medical microscopy from your smartphone. Follow Amy on Twitter at @AmySheng.

Ayah Bdeir (Founder & Lead Engineer, littlebits)
Ayah created litteBits, an award-winning kit of pre-assembled circuits that snap together with tiny magnets. No soldering, no wiring, no programming. Follow Ayah on Twitter at @AyahBdeir.

Helen Greiner (Founder & CEO, CyPhy Works)
After founding iRobot and taking it public, Helen runs an early stage robotics startup developing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at CyPhy Works. Follow Helen on Twitter at @HelenGreiner.

Julia Hu (Founder & CEO, LARK)
Julia dropped out of business school to take her invention to the next level: LARK was produced thru PCH Accelerator and now in Apple stores. Follow Julia on Twitter at @ourlark.

Limor Fried (Founder, Adafruit Industries)
Limor founded Adafruit to create the best place online for learning electronics, making the best designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels. Follow Limor on Twitter at @adafruit.

Lisa Qiu (Co-Founder & CEO, Lower East Kitchen)
In ShenZhen participating in hardware accelerator program Haxlr8r, Lisa democratizes sous vide cooking with Lower East Kitchen. Follow Lisa on her blog at Q and Abe.

Mary Lou Jepsen (Founder & CEO, Pixel Qi)
The first CTO of One Laptop per Child, Mary Lou founded Pixel Qi to manufacture low-cost, low-power LCD screens for consumer products. Follow Mary Lou on Twitter at @PixelQi.

Monisha Perkash (Co-Founder & CEO, Lumoback)
An iPhone app combined with a lightweight sensor held in a thin band worn discreetly around your waist or lower back, entrepreneur Monisha Perkash co-founded Lumoback to monitor and measure your posture, sending vibrations to your lower back to remind you to sit up straight. Follow Monisha on Twitter at @mperkash.

Rachel Kalmar (Co-Founder, Senstore)
Rachel co-founded Senstore, enabling DIY healthcare with next generation smart sensors. Follow Rachel on Twitter at @grapealope.

Star Simpson (Co-Founder & Electrical Engineer, Canidu)
Star co-founded Canidu, channeling her knowledge of electronics into designing Canidus’s projects to be robust, safe, and friendly. Follow Star on Twitter at @starsandrobots.

Tan Le (Founder & President, Emotiv)
Tan founded Emotiv, a neuroengineering company developing interface technology for digital media taking inputs directly from the brain. Follow Tan on Twitter at @TanTTLe.

As the venerable Vinod Khosla wrote on TechCrunch regarding unhyped new opportunities in Internet and mobile (February 19, 2012), “Makers are enthusiasts who hack and modify the world around them in interesting and whimsical ways. Tools and services that used to be inaccessible to all but large manufacturers are now available to everyone. Foreign factories that were impenetrable before are now an email away. Design software costing thousands of dollars per seat is freely available (or very cheap). Hackers are mixing all of these elements together and re-imagining entire industries from the ground up.”

Let us know about more female founders of hardware startups in the comments below – thanks!

About the writer: Angie Chang co-founded Women 2.0 in 2006. She currently serves as Editor-In-Chief of Women 2.0 and is working to mainstream women in high-growth, high-tech entrepreneurship. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. In 2008, Angie launched Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, asking that guys come as the “+1″ for once. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.