Presented by

  • Kathy Reid

    Kathy Reid

    Kathy Reid works at the intersection of open source, emerging technologies and technical communities. Over the last 20 years, she has held several technical leadership positions, including roles as Digital Platforms and Operations Manager at Deakin University, managing platforms such as WordPress, Squiz Matrix and Atlassian Confluence, technical lead on projects involving digital signage and videoconferencing, and has worked as a web and application developer. More recently, she has run her own technical consulting micro-business, and been engaged on a variety of projects involving data visualisation and emerging technologies workshops. She was previously Director of Developer Relations at Mycroft.AI, an open source voice assistant startup, and President of Linux Australia, Inc, a not for profit organisation which advocates for the use of open source technologies and runs technical events such as Linux Conference Australia. She brought GovHack – the open data hackathon – to Geelong in 2015 and 2016 and in 2011 ran Geelong’s first unconference – BarCampGeelong. Kathy holds Arts and Science undergraduate degrees from Deakin University and an MBA (Computing) from Charles Sturt University, as well as several ITIL qualifications. In 2019, she is one of 16 people from across the world chosen to undertake a Masters Program in a brand new applied science at the Australian National University's 3A Institute.


In Australia every year, around 18,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer [1]. Many will go on to have breast removal surgery, called a mastectomy. Only 12% of women who have a mastectomy will have reconstruction, and will instead opt to wear a silicon-based prosthetic. These prosthetics are "dumb" - they're just silicone. They have 0 USB ports. What a great opportunity for open hardware! As part of her term project in the Masters of Applied Cybernetics at the 3A Institute at The Australian National University, Kathy Reid, herself a breast cancer survivor, developed a prototype called "SenseBreast" - a sensing, smart, mastectomy prosthetic based on an RPi 3B+ and a Sense HAT. This was a "mucking around" project to learn Python, and she didn't expect it to work. Narrator: It worked. In this poignant, funny, challenging, technical, entertaining and irreverent presentation, she explores; - motivations for the project, including a desire to keep sensor data private and personal - after all, who's watching? - hardware design and sensor challenges in open hardware and Python - prosthetic design and how to build a fake breast to contain hardware - lived experience wearing a smart prosthetic - implications for this technology, such as in post-mastectomy recovery - and reflections on the broader landscape of wearable technology [1]