Tech in the Tenderloin welcomes 200 Bay Area students from under-served neighborhoods

It’s where the inner city meets technology. It's called Tech in the Tenderloin.

About 200 students from under-served neighborhoods in the Bay Area came to the Salvation Army in the Tenderloin Friday to learn about technology and have some fun with it. One of the biggest draws was VR, or virtual reality.

"I've never experienced what VR is like or how it is. And I’ve never had one before. It's cool and scary at the same time," said eight-year-old Mechelle Isaac who lives in the Tenderloin.

The event brought in 20 tech companies from the Bay Area. Among them, was Singularity University from Mountain View, which featured what it calls brain computer interface. Someone's thoughts or brainwaves causes plastic hex bugs to move across a table.

"We would like the kids to come out inspired and curious about technology. Hopefully it will inspire them to use technology to make their communities better," said Gigi Reed of Singularity University.

Not all students have access to technology. A big part of that reason is economics. Events such as this, help level the playing field.

"A lot of tech companies in the area want to give back to the community and extend the opportunities to everyone and not just those who live in the right neighborhood," said Tech In The Tenderloin co-founder Julia Beabout.

This may be the students' first exposure to technology. But it doesn't have to be the last. Not if they don't want it to be.

"What we've also done is invite tech non-profits that have tech programs for youth and capture that excitement," said Beabout.

After all, with technology you can make your own art based on movement, and your own kind of music by pushing buttons.

And who knows where all this can take the students next.

"It could help me be a creator in technology," said Mechelle.

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