What we do
Conducti sells kits and supplies designed to inspire the next generation of inventors. We introduce technology concepts by combining LED’s and other components with crafts and toys. New high-tech materials like conductive tape make it possible to create circuits of all shapes and sizes and install them in unexpected places. Our mission is to deliver engaging kits and programming for adults and kids in museums, libraries, maker spaces, and home school environments.
What you do
Make stuff! Make friends! Make a difference!
Who we are
I’m Rachel Hellenga, President of Conducti. I’m an entrepreneur, educator, designer, inventor and advocate for diversity. I’ve designed interactive science exhibits at museums coast to coast including The Computer Museum in Boston, Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, the Chicago Children’s Museum, and the Tech Museum of Innovation in Silicon Valley. I’ve been making stuff all my life, starting with friendship bracelets and potholders and moving on to jewelry, purses, quilts, and woodworking. I joined the Workshop 88 hacker space in 2012 and started merging technology with my hobbies–with a little, no a LOT, of help from my friends. Now worlds collide as I invent my own wacky projects and makes project kits for families, libraries, and museums. My lifelong passion and mission is to bring out the creative streak of everyone in my orbit.
Bill Brady of BB Designs is an independent consultant who contributes to the product design, packaging and web graphics. He is an interior designer and a Photoshop genius. He pitches in regularly and can be counted on to come through for me even on requests communicated at the last, very last minute. I’ve known Bill since I was two years old and he was four–just think of him as the older brother I never wanted:)
Bronwyn Llewelly is a San Jose-based researcher, free-lance writer, editor, and published author. She contributes to the website content and how-to explanations for Conducti projects. She works fast, catches the tiniest of typos, and bails me out when I have too much going on. We worked together at The Tech Museum in San Jose many moons ago, and were both members of the Ladies Luncheon and Jewelry Making Society which consisted of two or three friends getting together to complete unfinished projects Then and now, I turn to Bronwyn when I need to get stuff done.
Kyle Faruka at Saunders, Inc. is Conducti’s go-to resource for conductive tape AND duct tape—one stop shopping. He is the bridge between the world of manufacturing and the world of creative technology education. At our first meeting he was so conversant in discussing the use of tape for craft projects that I asked him if he grew up with an older sister. He did. And he studied some electrical engineering. Great combination. Saunders, Inc, is in Lombard, just outside of Chicago (a few miles from me).
Brian Steelglove at Twisted Traces is the first technology provider who didn’t laugh at me when I asked for super slim LED’s for use with conductive tape and 3 volt batteries. I thought it was something I could buy, but turns out we had to invent them together. His company makes LED’s for Conducti in Wood Dale, just outside of Chicago (not far from Conducti).
Mead Killion and Gail Gudmonsen of Etymotic, Inc are advisors and supporters. Mead holds 80 patents and has been helping me with intellectual property issues, while Gail has advised on marketing. Etymotic has products in all kinds of high places including Radio Shack and Apple stores as well as online, so they have helped me to understand retail and online sales.
Who you are
You are the hundreds and hundreds of awesome beta testers and educators who have helped to shape the products and ideas on this site and who are continuing to astound me with your creative use and misuse of conductive materials.
That includes the families and educators at the New York Maker Faire (thank you Hana for inventing the electric rose with me(, the all-girl team of Teknistas at the Sewing Goes High Tech summer campe, the inventors at the Chicago Public Library and the Galesburg Public Library, and the teens and makers in at the Rome Maker Faire.
In particular I want to give a shout out to my teenage niece Harper Lee, my tween nephew Jackson and his friend Gwendolyn, my 4-year-old neighbor Jake, who have all put in lots of time testing ideas and making off-the-wall, out-of-the-blue suggestions. Thanks for all the inspiration!