Limor Fried is an MIT graduate and engineer and the head of Adafruit Industries. Her goal is to empower a growing subculture of “makers” (do-it-yourself technology hackers and builders) with products and resources to facilitate their projects. Fried has been featured in The New York Times, Businessweek, Forbes and even graced the cover of Wired Magazine. Currently, she is turning her attention to the LEGO controversy and offering a solution to girls who were not satisfied by LEGO’s latest attempt to appeal to a young female audience. Rather than the puppies and beauty salons presented by LEGO’s Friends line, Fried has envisioned and brought to life a miniature version of the kind of workshop she herself works in. In the following interview she discusses the responses she’s gotten to her product, the future of girls in STEM fields, and what you can do to support her project.
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I’m really not clear on why we need to push this set so hard and act like LEGO is ignoring this demographic. I find it funny that nobody ever mentions that the “Olivia’s Inventor’s Workshop” set has been out a long time now. Not to mention the impact that the entire line of MindStorms and Technic have had inspiring children to build and design. Predating that they had excellent engineering sets in the DACTA line way ahead of the other stuff out there. I did a robotics science fair project back in 1988 in grade school using LEGO’s ISA interface card and LEGO TC Logo.
My daughters really like the inventor’s workshop set: especially the little robot and the chalk board and hand tools. They talk to other minifigs in robot voice and want to make robots. They have helped to assemble some kits like the ESL Egg-Bot and I hope they will be ready to start tinkering with Arduino or Mindstorms soon. I think LEGO is right on target with what they are doing.
hi john, we’ve covered the invention set here on the site too 🙂