Ayah Bdeir of LittleBits

April 6, 2012


MIT Media Lab, LEGO Lab, E14-4th floor


Media Lab alumna Ayah Bdeir will discuss how she started littleBits, an open-source kit of electronic modules that snap together with magnets for prototyping and play. Bdeir will talk about the LittleBits technical platform, an entirely analog, modular, "object-oriented" hardware platform. On the heels of her recent TED talk, she will discuss the idea of turning interaction into building blocks, and providing the ability to program behavior without having to write any code. littleBits seeks to make electronics accessible to kids, designers, and artists as a material to be combined with other craft and design materials. Bdeir will show some examples of projects that the community has done over the past few months, ranging from an interactive piggy bank, to an electronic version of fooseball game, and lead a discussion on how to create an open-source community of inventors.


Ayah Bdeir is an engineer, interactive artist, and founder of littleBits, an open-source kit of electronic modules that snap together with magnets. Only six months after its creation, litteBits has been acquired by MoMA for the museum's permanent collection, won best of ToyFair, been featured by TED, the BBC , Forbes, and Popular Science, and been called LEGOs for the iPad generation by Bloomberg TV. Bdeir received her master's from the MIT Media Lab, where she was a student in the Computing Culture group led by Chris Csikszentmihalyi. Prior to that, Bdeir studied Computer Engineering and Sociology in the American University of Beirut. After the Media Lab (and a brief stint in Finance), Ayah got a fellowship and senior fellowship at Eyebeam Art+Technology center. She taught graduate classes at NYU and Parsons, 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, promoting science and technology innovation in the Middle East. Bdeir was named a 2010 Creative Commons fellow 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 chosen to be a TED fellow , 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.

Host/Chair: Lifelong Kindergarten

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