Our inaugural Forbes Technology Awards recognize the best products, the industry’s most intriguing people and the most innovative companies from a year when a whole new set of tools and apps simultaneously became indispensable and incomprehensible.
Most Disruptive Innovator: Makers
“In early 2020, there was no PPE; there were no masks, no face shields, or fast-track medical devices/sensors, which were needed as the pandemic started and surged,” says Ada Fried, CEO and founder of Adafruit, a popular retailer for electronics hobbyists based in New York City that also has a large online learning platform. Before Apple and Nike turned their resources to PPE supplies, it was these hobbyists and independent 3D-printing companies that organized the resupply of frontline workers in communities across the United States facing dwindling stockpiles. “With 3D printers, open-source designs and manufacturing in the U.S., millions of pieces of PPE were delivered to medical staff,” says Fried.
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.