4 reasons why littleBits founder Ayah Bedir is awesome
Popsugar recently sat down for an interview with littleBits founder Ayah Bedir. We’re all big fans of Ayah here at Adafruit and we love littleBits! Check out our selection of littleBits kits here and be sure to head over to Popsugar to read the full interview.
Somewhere in the bustling Lebanese coastal city of Beirut lived a girl with artistic aspirations. But she was naturally adept at math and science, so her parents said she owed it to herself to be an engineer.
That young lady grew up to be Ayah Bdeir, LittleBits founder, TED fellow, and MIT Media Lab alum with too many accolades to list. She went on to empower people with both technical and nontechnical backgrounds to create electronic art with a company she built herself from the ground up.
Ayah’s company, LittleBits, makes the hottest new tech toy on the market. It’s a next-generation Lego-style set that comes with preengineered “bits” or modules equipped with light, sound, motors, or sensors. Like any building block toy, humans of any age can pick a module up and begin creating without any programming or engineering background. The “bits” are color coded — green for output, blue for power, pink for input, and orange for wire — and use magnets, so you’ll never connect them the wrong way.
Here’s the 4 reasons that Ayah Bedir is a “rock star”:
She grew up with electricity kits AND dolls: It’s a fact: not enough girls go into engineering. But this doesn’t mean we have to deprive our little ladies of girlie toys and replace them with only scientifically inclined playthings.
MIT turned her down — so she applied again: Ayah applied to MIT fresh out of high school but was unfazed by her initial rejection. She tried again at 21 and was successful. “I knew I wanted to go to grad school and was like, I want Media Lab or nothing.”
She funded LittleBits with her own money: For the next three-and-a-half years, Ayah took the extra money she earned from teaching and consulting and put it into the product. Eventually, she was able to go to China and find a factory. It wasn’t until early 2011 that Ayah had a functional LittleBits prototype and thought, “It’s time to start a company.”
She has great advice for female entrepreneurs: “Try not to think about the fact that you’re a woman. A lot of people are like, ‘Because I’m a woman, they’re not giving me an opportunity’ or ‘Because I’m a woman, they’re not taking me seriously.’ I don’t think about it. . . . I just do the best work I possibly can, and I feel like I don’t want to take up any brain space thinking about it.”
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.