Skip to main content

The Internet as Material: Empowering the Next Phase of Connected Hardware Innovation

Ayah Bdeir (littleBits)
Location: Festival Pavilion
Average rating: ****.
(4.80, 10 ratings)
Slides:   1-PDF 

The emerging IoT space holds enormous potential for positive social, environmental and financial impact if it is built with the most important node at its center: people. In order for the next wave of innovation around connected devices to happen, people must be able understand the technology, relate it to their lives, and be able to envision and prototype solutions to real-world problems, even when these problems are relevant only for the few. This, in turn, will only happen when the Internet becomes a Material, accessible to non-engineers and non-experts that can grasp and deploy interactions with the Internet in the physical world, as easily as they can with physical materials.

Ayah Bdeir is an MIT Media Lab alum, TED Senior Fellow and the founder and CEO of littleBits, an open source library of electronics that snap together with magnets, for learning, prototyping and fun. In 2008, Bdeir coined the term “Electronics as Material” and since then littleBits has won over 20 awards and been heralded as the most extensive, most easy to use modular hardware platform out there, making electronics accessible to everyone without any engineering, soldering or programming necessary. In this talk, Bdeir will talk about how we can democratize the Internet of Things and enable 8 year old kids, corporate executives and professional engineers alike to understand, recreate and most importantly innovate in their connected world.

Photo of Ayah Bdeir

Ayah Bdeir


Ayah Bdeir is the founder and CEO of littleBits, an award-winning library of electronics dubbed “LEGOs for the iPad generation.” 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. Recently Bdeir has been named no. 33 on FastCompany’s Most Creative People in Business for 2013 and littleBits has been named as one of CNN’s top 10 Emerging Startups to watch. Originally from Lebanon and Canada, Ayah now lives in New York City.