Forget Hostessing And Needlework: These Brownies Got A Virtual Reality Tech Badge

    Oh, hostess badge, how far we've come.

    A group of Brownies and Guides in Cornwall have become the first in the world to be awarded a virtual reality technology badge.

    There's an amazing Girl Guides Virtual Reality Badge in the UK! Shout out to the University of Birmingham for supporting Guides interested in VR Technology and STEM. @unibirmingham @Girlguiding @girlguidesaust #GirlsInSTEM #girlguides

    It was awarded to girls from Saltash District Brownies and Guides after they helped researchers design virtual environments for sick children in hospital.

    Bob Stone, head of the University of Birmingham's Human Interface Technologies Team, who led the project, told BuzzFeed News he was thrilled with their work.

    "We had this idea of bringing together this fantasy garden, where we could put children who are in pain into the garden and give them quests and challenges to do," he said. "We've been using some of the ideas from the girls to inspire this virtual reality garden."

    The girls got to try out different VR environments for inspiration, from Japanese gardens to dust clouds on Mars.

    View this video on YouTube

    University of Birmingham Human Interface Technologies Team

    Although it's not an official Girlguiding badge, Stone hopes that the national organisation introduces something similar. He worries that some programmes designed to teach children how to design and code are outdated.

    "After a while they can still be quite dry in terms of challenging youngsters —and it's not just girls — to motivate them, to think 'this is what I want to do'. But if you put them into a Japanese garden, or [on Mars], just looking at their faces really tells it all," Stone said.

    "The great thing was that even the youngsters were asking intelligent questions. It wasn't just 'this is awesome', it was very much 'how does this work?'"

    It comes ahead of the biggest ever shake-up in Girlguiding this year, as the national organisation embraces the fast-moving world of tech with a new range of badges.

    Girlguiding made a big effort to engage girls in politics this year, releasing a badge for the centenary of women's suffrage and asking girls to hold their own elections, complete with political parties and manifestos.

    It's all a far cry from what things used to look like.

    Back when girls were encouraged to aspire to their needlework and knitting badges from their first Brownie promise.

    Yes, there was even a housekeeping badge.

    Long live the Brownie revolution!