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Construction sets like LEGOs break down the building blocks of the modern city in a way kids can understand and enjoy. But how do they explore the digital world? Ayah Bdeir applied her engineering background to these "problems of play" and came up with a new kind of toy: littleBits. littleBits make electronics, light, sound, and sensors as easy to play with as LEGOs and Lincoln Logs—combining learning, prototyping, and fun. In this Creative Insights interview, Ayah explains how she created littleBits, grew the toy into a full-fledged company, and learned to accept fame and funding on her own terms.
Speaker 1: The first, very first question we ask ourselves is, is it fun? That's more important than, is it educational? littleBits is a start up based in New York. We make electronics that snap together with magnets for learning prototyping and fun. The goal of littleBits is to take electronics and to empower kids, but also adults, to be able to make things that move and that change and that have programmed behavior. That becomes a whole new frontier that you then discover.
We're big believers and big leaders in the open source hardware movement. Some of the best ideas are going to come from the crowd. They're not always going to come from us. And so we're not a top-down company that's trying to impose how you use the product. On the contrary. We're inspired by our users. We're inspired every single day. We have teachers that are submitting lesson plans. We have designers that are making projects and then putting them online. And we have engineers and hackers that are putting ideas for new bits that we should make. We were able to get inspired from others, and we're sort of bringing this all together in a very collaborative fashion.
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