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Cool “Bitster” Works with Cool Toys – Ayah Bdeir

Our next generation of innovators is now sitting in classrooms designing with popsicle sticks or pipe cleaners.  Or perhaps they are at home with a Lego set, hard at work creating fun.  Or just maybe they are using littleBits, color-coded “bits” that snap together magnetically, building simple circuits and inventive projects complete with blinks and beeps.


Who’s responsible for all of this future-problem-solving fun?  Ayah Bdeir is the engineer and interactive artist leading the open source hardware movement behind the creation of littleBits, a library of Electronics dubbed “LEGOS for the iPad generation.”  Bdeir founded the New York-based startup in September of 2011 and has already achieved distinction as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business 2013 by Fast Company.


Originally from Lebanon and Canada, Bdeir is working to make education and innovation more accessible to all people in the global community, starting from young learners up. Bdeir’s early education included studying Computer Engineering and Sociology in the American University of Beirut.  Bdeir graduated in 2006 with a Masters from the MIT Media Lab.  Still focused on education, Bdeir then taught graduate classes and workshops to stimulate interest from non-engineers, particularly girls, in science and technology.


Meeting needs of a global community is also important when it comes to keeping both hardware and software products operating efficiently.  IT support services are also available to people around the globe.  Third party service providers, such as Rescuecom, are helping to support the spread of international technology.


Bdeir’s business-leading career started early with the founding of Karaj in 2010, Beirut’s first nonprofit lab for experimental arts, architecture and technology.  Later that same year, Bdeir was cofounder of the Open Hardware Summit.  Also in 2010, Bdeir served as a mentor on Stars of Science, the Middle East’s TV reality show promoting science, technology and innovation.  Business IT services are available to support innovation worldwide, also often supplied by third party service providers such as Rescuecom.


Ayah Bdeir, an artist and designer at heart, states that the “light bulb” came on for her while sitting in an MIT Media Lab class.  Using electronics as a material could become the future of play and innovation.  With littleBits, engineering skills are linked to artistic projects.  Some electronic modules are power sources.  Some are light sources.  Some are sources of motion, such as switches and buttons.


Bdeir would invite “Bitsters” of any age to play and problem solve – click, blink and beep beyond the limits of what already exists!  Ayah Bdeir is definitely one of the cool players in the fields of art and technology!



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