Ayah Bdeir

Ayah bdeir is an engineer and an interactive artist, and the founder of littleBits.cc, an open source kit of electronic modules that snap together with magnets. Only 6 months after its creation, litteBits has been acquired by MoMA for the museum’s permanent collection, won best of ToyFair, been featured on TED, BBC, Forbes and Popular Science, and called by Bloomberg TV LEGO’s for the iPad generation

Bdeir graduated with a Masters from the MIT Media Lab where she was a student in the Computing Culture Group. Prior to that, Bdeir studied Computer Engineering and Sociology in the American University of Beirut.

After the Media Lab (and a brief stint in Finance), Ayah got a fellowship and senior fellowship at Eyebeam Art+Technology center. She taught graduate classes at NYU and Parsons and taught numerous workshops to get non-engineers, and particularly young girls, interested in science and technology. Bdeir was a mentor in the regional reality tv-show Stars of Science (initiated by Qatar Foundation) promoting science and technology innovation in the Middle East.

In 2010, Bdeir was granted a fellowship with Creative Commons in recognition of her work, including spearheading the first Open Hardware definition and co-chairing the Open Hardware Summit at the New York Hall of Science in September of 2010 and 2011. Just recently, Bdeir was awarded the highly prestigious TED fellowship, as one of 25 innovators in 2012 from around the world.

Bdeir is also the founder of Karaj, Beirut’s lab for experimental art, architecture and technology.

Ayah lives and works between Beirut and New York.

Session: Electronics as Material

Electronics are everywhere. We now produce, consume and throw out more electronic gadgets and technology enhanced products than ever before. Yet, engineering is mysticized, electronic objects are black-boxed and creativity is limited by the tools and materials available to each discipline.Well, according to Ayah Bdeir, disciplines are dead, engineering is not that hard, and creativity with electronics will only explode when they can be used as, and combined with other traditional materials such as paper, cardboard and felt.In this talk, Ayah will be talking about how she started littleBits, an open source kit of electronic modules that snap together with magnets for prototyping and play. For the first time, Ayah will talk about the technical platform that is littleBits, an entirely analog, modular, "object-oriented" hardware platform. At the heels of her TED talk published in March, Ayah will discuss the idea of turning interaction into a building block, and providing the ability to program behavior without having to write any code. littleBits seeks to make electronics accessible to kids, designers and artists as a material to be combined with other craft and design materials. Also, Ayah will show some examples of projects that the community has done over the past few months ranging from an interactive piggy bank, to an electronic version of fooseball game and discuss how engineers and artists alike can work together to empower a community of inventors.

Meetup: littleBits Tinkering with Ayah Bdeir

After the days lectures come hang out with Ayah to see and play with littleBits, an open source kit of electronic modules that snap together with magnets. Weather permitting we'll be outside on the Bazinet Garden Patio. ( If not, find us in Gallery 8 )