Hands-On — May 29, 2012
Building blocks that blink, beep & teach
Imagine a set of electronics as easy to play with as Legos. In this short video, TED Fellow Ayah Bdeir introduces littleBits, a set of simple, interchangeable blocks that make programming as simple and important a part of creativity as snapping blocks together.
Bdeir is the creator of littleBits, an open source system of pre-assembled, modular circuits that snap together with magnets – making learning about electronics fun, easy and creative. An engineer, inventor and interactive artist, Ayah received her master’s degree from the MIT Media Lab and undergraduate degrees in computer engineering and sociology from the American University of Beirut. Ayah has taught graduate classes at NYU and Parsons and taught numerous workshops to get non-engineers – particularly young girls – interested in science and technology.
In 2008, Bdeir was awarded a fellowship at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center and taught graduate classes at NYU and Parsons. She has lectured extensively and taught numerous workshops to get non-engineers, and particularly young girls, interested in science and technology. Bdeir was a mentor in the regional reality tv-show Stars of Science (initiated by Qatar Foundation) promoting science and technology innovation in the Middle East. She has an ongoing affiliation with Eyebeam as an honorary fellow.
In 2010, Bdeir was granted a fellowship with Creative Commons in recognition of her work, including spearheading the first Open Hardware definition and co-chairing the Open Hardware Summit at the New York Hall of Science in September of 2010 and 2011. Just recently, Bdeir was awarded the highly prestigious TED fellowship, as one of 25 innovators in 2012 from around the world.
Bdeir is also the founder of karaj, Beirut’s lab for experimental art, architecture and technology. littleBits was named Best of Toyfair, has won the editor’s Choice award from MAKE magazine, and has been acquired by MoMA for its collection.
Curious about littleBits but don't know where to start, or what it is? Want to offer a friend a tiny touch of magnet magic, the littleBits teaser kit might be just for you! Tiny enough to fit in your purse or pocket, but still big enough to impress. Each bit has a simple, unique function (light, sound, sensors, etc), and modules snap to make larger circuits. With a growing number of available modules, littleBits aims to put the power of engineers in the hands of artists, makers and children.