Founder: Ayah Bdeir
Ayah Bdeir is the founder and CEO of littleBits, an award-winning platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks that is empowering everyone to create inventions, large and small. Bdeir is an engineer, interactive artist and one of the leaders of the open source hardware movement. Bdeir’s career and education have centered on advancing open source hardware to make education and innovation more accessible to people around the world. She is a co-founder of the Open Hardware Summit, a TED Senior Fellow and an alumna of the MIT Media Lab. Bdeir was named one Business Insider’s 26 Most Powerful Women Engineers, a Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Honoree, one of one of Inc. Magazine’s 35 Under 35, one of NY Business Journal’s Women of Influence, one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, one of Popular Mechanics’ 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream, one of Entrepreneur’s 10 Leaders to Watch, one of the CNBC Next List, and one of MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35. Originally from Lebanon, Ayah now lives in New York City.
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- 2004: Graduates from the American University of Beirut with bachelor’s degrees in Computer Engineering and Sociology
- 2006: Receives Master’s degree in Computing Culture from the MIT Media Lab
- 2008: Awarded a fellowship and senior fellowship at the Eyebeam Art+Technology Center in New York and creates the first littleBits prototype
- 2009: Delivers invited talk at TEI Conference in Cambridge, UK and publishes “Electronics as Material” academic paper
- 2009: Exhibits early littleBits prototypes at Eyebeam in solo exhibit “Electronics As Material” (littleBits blog)
- 2009: Teaches graduate courses in “Technology as Identity,” at NYU, and “Making Things Move,” at Parsons The New School for Design
- 2010: Founds Karaj, Beirut’s first nonprofit lab for experimental arts, architecture and technology, with Adib Dada and with support from Creative Commons, Eyebeam.org and Parsons Design Technology
- 2010: Organizes the first “Opening Hardware” workshop at Eyebeam, which gives rise to the first Open Hardware definition, and then leading to the CERN Open Hardware License
- 2010: Co-founds the Open Hardware Summit with Alicia Gibb, which leads to the Open Source Hardware Association
- 2010: Named a Creative Commons Fellow in recognition of her work on the Open Hardware Summit; serves as mentor on Stars of Science, the Middle East’s first reality TV show promoting science, technology and innovation
- 2011: Launches the Open Hardware logo competition for the industry’s “seal of approval,” with the community choosing the winner by popular vote
- 2011: Creates and sells the first littleBits kit
- 2012: Named a TED2012 Fellow and delivers a talk at TED2012 in Long Beach, California, about littleBits and the future of play; subsequently awarded a TED2013 Senior Fellowship
- 2013: Named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business 2013 by Fast Company.
- 2014: Named one of Fast Company’s 1000 Most Creative People in Business.
- 2014: Named one of Popular Mechanics’ 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing The American Dream.
- 2014: Named one of MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35.
- 2014: Named to the CNBC Next List
- 2014: Received “Women of Influence” award from New York Business Journal
- 2015: Awarded Eyebeam Award for Creativity and Courage in Art & Technology
- 2015: Received Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award
- 2015: Named one of Fast Company’s 1000 Most Creative People
- 2016: Named one of Business Insider’s 26 Most Powerful Women Engineers