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Photo via UW/Nao Murakami
Photo via UW/Nao Murakami

UW doctoral candidate Nao Murakami just might be the one to invent the next great Lady MacGyver.

Murakami is one of 12 finalists in “The Next MacGyver” competition, a crowdsourced search for ideas to develop “the first great TV show with a female engineer lead.” She was picked from a pool of more than 2,000 entries that came from around the world to make it to this final round.

According to the statement from UW, the finalists were asked to create a TV show with a female protagonist with engineering skills. Murakami’s “sci-fi/fantasy/crime drama” concept is called “The Mind,” centered around an A.I. expert named Lucy and a female android called ALE-X (a sidekick is never a bad idea).

The two live in a world where “the minds of great scientists and innovators are stored within a supercomputer.” ALE-X will have the ability to download the skills and personalities of the different scientists, helping the duo solve crime.

Photo via the Next MacGyver Contest/"The Mind" Concept/Art by Eric Tortora Pato
Photo via the Next MacGyver Contest/”The Mind” Concept/Art by Eric Tortora Pato

What’s next? Murakami goes to Hollywood to pitch her concept. Five winners will get $5,000 and be paired with TV and engineering mentors to develop their ideas with the goal of selling it to a network.

Murakami’s day job is conducting research on high-power helicon thrusters for human-manned Mars missions and beyond. She says that watching Apollo 13 helped inspire her to pursue her career.

“I never really watched MacGyver because I grew up in Japan until I was 14,” said Murakami in the UW statement. “But part of me wasn’t quite drawn to it because the main character was a guy. So that was one thing that attracted me to this competition — making a TV show that would inspire women to be interested in engineering.”

Very cool and good luck!

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