On average, we spend over 11 hours every day using technology, but most of us have no idea how our gadgets work and even less have a clue about how to make our own. This “illiteracy” not only turns us into consumers blindly purchasing whatever big companies tell us to, but also scares us away from pursuing our own creativity and ideas. That’s why Ayah Bdeir created littleBits, a series of tiny circuit boards with different functions engineered to snap together with magnets. With over 60 modules that fit together in different ways, these little toys can lead to endless combinations and possibilities. Without having to solder, wire, or program to be create, anyone can be innovative with these little pieces with absolutely no experience with technology. They are the perfect toy to introduce people to electronics and the first step to taking our new generation from blind consumers of technology, to creative thinkers with the confidence to enter the field of innovation.
Ayah Bdeir is using littleBits to further the democratization of hardware, just like computers democratized software and 3D printers production. With nine different kits available, littleBits puts electronics in the hands of entrepreneurs and designers to make prototypes and people afraid of technology to help them get started with electronics. Most importantly, littleBits are used in schools and workshops for kids to get them to put away their tablets and phones and play with friends and family with something that will actually help them learn and foster their creativity. These toys create low risk challenges for kids to play, discover, question what’s possible, and test out ideas that they wouldn’t otherwise without fear of failure, helping them believe in their ability and their ideas. Kids can use littleBits to show, not tell, their ideas and make their thinking more sophisticated.
Unlike other toys kids might have lying around, littleBits help kids challenge what they think is possible, get them thinking out of the box, and find creative solutions to problems, hopefully pushing them to be more confident, innovative, and creative down the line. These toys make technology something that really matters in shaping the minds of kids instead of just another tablet or television or screen to stick your kid in front of. They can be used as a powerful tool in shaping a new generation of kids who understand technology and want to take part in it rather than just consume it.
littleBits are expensive, but Bdeir is determined to make them accessible for everyone. After all, democratizing technology is the goal. That’s why only one person in each city can own a workshop set. After applying for and purchasing your set, you can start a littleBits chapter in your community. Leaders of chapters are expected to host at least 8 events or workshops each year to encourage people to play with their littleBits set and see what they can create.
We’ve got a chapter here in Barcelona and we’re really excited to host on of these events on August 1st. We’re inviting kids between the ages of 8 and 14 to come to Talent Garden Barcelona and see what their creative minds can make with littleBits.
Watch this TedTalk to hear Bdeir share why she started littleBits.