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Ayah Bdeir (born 1982 in Montreal, Quebec) is an entrepreneur, inventor, and interactive artist. She is the founder and CEO of littleBits.

Ayah Bdeir
Ayah Bdeir.jpg
Ayah Bdeir in 2010.
Born 1982 (age 35–36)
Montreal, Quebec
Nationality Lebanese, Canadian
Education MS Media Arts and Sciences, Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Early lifeEdit

Born in Canada and raised in Beirut, Bdeir credits her parents, her late father Saadi Bdeir, an entrepreneur and mother Randa Bdeir, a banker as her inspiration because they raised her and her sisters to love math, science and design and pursue their passions in the field of their choosing. Bdeir would take things apart, break them open to see what was inside.  She was given chemistry sets programming lessons on Commodore64 when she was 12.  Her parents didn't believe in gender differences, championing their girls to be scientists and engineers and push to be career women.[1] Source Her mother additionally, attended  university to get her degree at the same time as Bdeir and her sisters were going to school.[2]

Education and careerEdit

Bdeir earned a Masters of Science degree from the MIT Media Lab and undergraduate degrees in Computer Engineering and Sociology from the American University of Beirut. In 2008, she was awarded a fellowship at Eyebeam in New York City [3] She has taught graduate classes at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) and Parsons The New School for Design.[4] In 2010, Bdeir served as a design mentor on the reality TV show, Stars of Science.[5]

In September 2011, Bdeir started littleBits Electronics, a startup with the goal to “put the power of electronics in the hands of everyone, and to break down complex technologies so that anyone can build, prototype, and invent."[6] The company is based in New York with funding from such investors as True Ventures,[7] Foundry Group, and Two Sigma.[8]

In 2012, Bdeir received the TED Fellowship[9] and gave a talk at the TED conference[10] in Long Beach called "Building Blocks That Blink, Beep and Teach."[11]

Maker Movement, Internet of Things and Gender NeutralityEdit

Bdeir is considered a leader in the Maker and Internet of Things movements. She was named to Popular Mechanics’ 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream in 2014[12] and has spoken at TED,[13] SXSW,[14] Solid,[15] and CreativeMornings[16] about the Maker Movement, the importance of democratizing technology, and the Internet of Things.

Bdeir is a proponent of the Open Hardware Movement, an initiative aimed at ensuring that technological knowledge is accessible to everyone,[17] and co-founded the Open Hardware Summit, an annual conference organized by the Open Source Hardware Association.[18] In 2010, Bdeir was awarded a fellowship with Creative Commons for her work in defining Open Hardware and for co-chairing the Open Hardware Summits of 2010 and 2011.[5]

Bdeir spearheaded the first Open Hardware Definition[19] that was adopted by CERN for its Open Hardware License.[20] As a fellow at Creative Commons, she led the public competition of the Open Hardware logo—now adopted on millions of circuit boards around the world. Bdeir has published academic papers and coined the term "Electronics As Material," which is the idea of "thinking of electronics as material that can be combined with other traditional ones."[21]

Art worksEdit

Bdeir is an interactive artist.[22] Installations include:

  • Elusive Electricity (Ejet Ejet)[23]
  • Teta Haniya's Secrets[24]
  • Les Annees Lumiere[25]
  • Arabiia[26]
  • Random Search[27]

Shows and exhibitionsEdit


  • UFA Projection Mapping – Colors of an old Beirut[29]
  • White – Source Companion
  • The New Museum – Renegade Sculpture
  • Beiteddine Festival – Guy Manoukian


  1. ^ " - Transcripts". Retrieved 2018-02-27. 
  2. ^ "Outside the Box Podcast". WalMart. 
  3. ^ Eyebeam Press Release. "Eyebeam will hold Open Studios for Artists In Residence and Senior Fellows" Archived 3 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. 15 May 2009.
  4. ^ "Ayah Bdeir". Global Portal for Women in ICT. Global Portal for Women in ICT. Archived from the original on 13 February 2015. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Ayah Bdeir of LittleBits". MIT Media Lab. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  6. ^ McHugh, Molly (18 November 2014). "The home of the future is inside littleBits' Smart Home Kit". News article. The Daily Dot. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  7. ^ Lunden, Ingrid (18 July 2012). "Toys Grow Up: LittleBits Picks Up $3.65M, PCH Deal To Build Out Its Open-Source Hardware Vision". TechCrunch. TechCrunch. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  8. ^ "True Ventures and Foundry Group lead $11.1 mln round for LittleBits". PE Hub. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  9. ^ blog, TED. "received"
  10. ^ conference, TED. "talk"
  11. ^ "Building blocks that blink, beep and teach". TED. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  12. ^ Raymond, Chris. "25 Makers Who Are Reinventing The American Dream". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  13. ^ "Ayah Bdeir: Engineer and artist". TED. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  14. ^ "Democratizing the Internet of Things is An Urgency". SXSW. SXSW. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "The Internet as Material: Empowering the Next Phase of Connected Hardware Innovation". O'Reilly. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  16. ^ "Ayah Bdeir Q+A". CreativeMornings. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  17. ^ Griffith, Erin (13 March 2014). "Ayah Bdeir, CEO of littleBits, on the real reason for the hardware renaissance". Fortune. Fortune. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  18. ^ "Open Source Hardware Association/About". Open Source Hardware Association. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  19. ^ Torrone, Phil. "Open Hardware definition". Feb 2011
  20. ^ "Open Hardware License"
  21. ^ "Ayah Bdeir". EyeO+. Retrieved 13 February 2015. 
  22. ^ Ko, Hanae. "Where I Work: Ayah Bdeir". Art Asia Pacific. July 2009. Issue 64.
  23. ^ Ejet Ejet
  24. ^ Teta Haniya's Secrets
  25. ^ Les Annees Lumiere
  26. ^ Arabiia
  27. ^ Random Search
  28. ^ Kennedy, Randy. "Art Made at the Speed of the Internet: Don't Say 'Geek'; Say 'Collaborator'" . 18 April 2010. New York Times
  29. ^

External linksEdit