Meet the Team: Emily Tuteur

A Q&A with Our Industrial Designer

August 7, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 1.46.53 PMHow long have you worked at littleBits?

I have been at littleBits for almost nine months now. I can’t believe it! Time moves so fast in startup land (and in New York in general).

What led you to the position?

My background is in both architecture and industrial design. After studying architecture in Boulder, CO, I worked for a designer, Jen Lewin. We worked on some architectural projects, but my primary focus was to help her build immersive interactive landscapes and sculptures for the public. These sculptures use light and sound to inspire people to play – part of my job was to go to Burning Man! I really enjoyed this experience.

After working for a couple years, I decided to go back to school and pursue a master’s degree in Industrial design at RISD. It was a good fit as I have always been a maker, someone who enjoys solving problems, and a proponent of the social aspect of design. littleBits hosted a workshop at RISD the year after I graduated, and luckily, one of my classmates attended. She told me she thought I would love the company mission and approach to design. I did! It was love at first sight. I am lucky to be part of such an amazing team of people!

Describe a typical work day.

There is never a dull moment! My days are filled with brainstorming, researching, prototyping, creating content for new product, making projects, and thinking about retail concepts. One of my main focuses is figuring out how littleBits interface with other materials. Sometimes there’s a bit of a jump for newcomers in thinking about how to use the Bits beyond just making circuits. We want to make the transition from circuit to project as intuitive as possible. As a result, we are building a collection of Tips & Tricks for each bit, creating new accessories, and curating bits that work best together.

You have designed a lot of littleBits projects, can you tell us about your favorites? 

Diptic

I have many favorite projects. The Unihorn Bike Helmet is great for adding some flair to a nighttime bike ride. The little workstation is a super functional hack project that elevates an existing object to a new level. I really enjoyed making the Thingiverse dragon, the kissing machine, and the April Fool’s desk hack because they all have elements of surprise and wonder.  I am also very excited about a few new projects that will present themselves in the near future.

How do you come up with all of the project ideas? Any notable sources of inspiration? Processes?

littleBits Pizza Box Phonograph

The littleBits community inspires me every week. I am always eager to check out the project page to see what is new. This week, Ginger Butcher’s Pizza Box Phonograph blew my mind! Typically, weekly themes sprout from our content team. The design team then takes the theme and runs with it. Our team is very collaborative, especially at the beginning of the design process. We will individually brainstorm and then meet to discuss our ideas, and how we plan to execute them. I often draw inspiration from toys around our office (we have a great selection) and robives when thinking about mechanisms

What Bit do you identify with?

RGBLED_1LR

I would say I identify most with the RGB LED. I spend a lot of time mixing and remixing ideas, materials, and projects. The rgb led is customizable and requires a specific mix of colors to produce a desired outcome.

What’s your favorite thing about New York City?

I enjoy the endless variety of delicious food, the people watching, and riding my bike around Brooklyn on the weekends.

Aside from littleBits, what else are you working on?

I am getting married soon, so wedding planning has taken over a large portion of my time. Aside from that, I design various print materials for Transportation Alternatives, a bicycling advocacy group here in NYC.

What are your favorite companies and industry trends at the moment?

Screen Shot 2013-08-07 at 1.41.40 PM

I am a huge fan of companies that embrace ideas of collaborative consumption. I wrote a whole thesis about this idea. I also love DIY and the maker movement. Some of my favorite companies include airbnb, etsy, kollabora, shareable, skillshare, ourgoods, zipcar, and NYC’s new CitiBike bikeshare program.

Any advice for people interested in creating with Bits?

Let the bits inspire you! The more you play, the more possibilities begin to emerge. You will be surprised at what you come up with