Ayah Bdeir wants you to be an inventor. The MIT grad knows her way around a transistor, and she’s figured out how you can too.
“The transistor was only for experts,” she says. “I personally don’t accept this, that the building block of our time is reserved for experts, so I decided to change that.”
Bdeir developed littleBits, small circuit boards that snap together with magnets; no soldering, wiring or programming required. Each has a specific function. Inventors hook the littleBits together in different combinations to make their own devices. Examples include musical instruments and synthesizers, small robots and even massage pillows.
Even NASA is on board, offering a littleBits space kit that teaches students about electronics and helps them build a model Mars rover that actually “roves.” So is the Museum of Modern Art, which featured littleBits creations in its window displays.
Bdeir’s is the quintessential American story. She’s of Lebanese origin and was born in Canada. But she studied in the U.S. and built her company here (headquarters in New York City), raising needed venture capital along the way.
Bdeir’s career illustrates the importance of empowering young girls. She grew up playing with programming lessons, chemistry sets, electricity kits and dolls.
She urges women entrepreneurs to focus on the job at hand. “A lot of people are like, ‘Because I’m a woman, they’re not giving me an opportunity’ or ‘Because I’m a woman, they’re not taking me seriously,’” she told PopSugar. “I don’t think about it. … I just do the best work I possibly can, and I feel like I don’t want to take up any brain space thinking about it.”
“We want to encourage a world of creators, of inventors, of contributors,” Bdeir says, “because this world that we live in, this interactive world, is ours.”