Macinley Butson: Young Female Inventor Changing Lives

Women Love Tech
on 16 March 2019

A growing profile in science, innovation and tech, she is the 2018 NSW Young Australian of the Year. This talented 18 year old is intent on making a difference in the lives of others.

Recognising the need to tackle the impacts of radiation therapy that women face when undergoing breast cancer treatment, she invented “Smart Armour”.

Macinley was in year 10 when she came up with this invention, a shield which protects the contralateral breast (the breast not being treated) from excess radiation. Her Smart Armour invention has shown that it can block out 80% of radiation. Macinley is now a Lenovo ambassador currently using the Yoga C930 to assist in taking her invention to the next stage.

STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics are the fundamentals of understanding the world around us and what makes it tick. Perhaps this is why I have always been attracted to science experiments and inventing.

I am Macinley Butson, an 18-year-old who has been inventing since I was age seven. For as long as I can remember I have been curious about the world around me and interested in finding out what is in every nook and cranny, the secrets of the universe waiting to be discovered. My journey in STEM has essentially been following this natural passion I had for science and seeing where it takes me – which has been some pretty amazing places. Science has taken me to Stockholm, Los Angeles and even The Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a prestigious research program.

Because of my broad love for STEM my projects and inventions have varied quite significantly, from exploring water purification in developing communities to protecting seedlings without pesticides. My most well-known invention would be The SMART Armour which stands for Scale Maille Armour for Radiation Therapy. This is a shield designed to reduce unwanted radiation delivered to the non-treated breast during radiotherapy cancer treatment. I hope to one day soon see this project and many of my others, in the world doing what they were designed to do – help people.

However, my scientific journey hasn’t always been easy. Being a female the male-dominated area of STEM as well as a young person has presented challenges, but also has been more than valuable.

Being a woman and young means I bring a different and fresh perspective to my research whilst breaking down current stereotypes to encourage others to follow.

Diversity in any workplace, whether it be race, gender or class is crucial for enacting change and cultivating innovation.

Balance for better, a key message this International Women’s Day, is so incredibly important to keep at the core of any endeavour in order to provide opportunity for growth – this is why we need to see more females becoming involved in STEM.

I truly believe that embodying a “Different is Better” approach is the key to innovation, and align myself with people and organisations, like Lenovo, that have that mindset too.

Despite these hurdles, when pushing boundaries I have found technology has played a crucial part at each and every stage. Whether this be computers for research and data analysis, tablets for sketching ideas or technology being a part of the invention – I have relied on technology to be where I am today. The integration of technology and science has seen so much advancement and I have experienced this first hand. Although being young, access to these kinds of resources have been an ongoing challenge which is why I am excited to be using Lenovo technology for my future inventing and projects. I look forward to being able to experiment more with technology and seeing how it can help to push the boundaries even further than ever before.  This is where we will see the most rapid change, and I am thrilled to be able to be a part of these exciting times.

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