Ayah Bdeir

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ayah Bdeir
Ayah Bdeir.jpg
Born 1982 (age 32–33)
Montreal, Canada
Education MS Media Arts and Sciences, Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Known for interactive art, hardware, electronics, digital art
Awards 2007 Eyebeam Fellowship, 2008 Eyebeam Senior Fellowship, 2009 Eyebeam Senior Fellowship, 2009 Maker Faire Editor's Pick, 2010 Creative Commons Fellowship, 2010 INK Fellowship, 2011 Maker Faire Editor's Pick, 2012 TED Fellowship, 2013 Fastcompany Most Creative People in Business, 2013 CNN Top 10 Emerging Startups, 2013 IDSA Gold Award, 2013 TED Senior Fellowship,2014 Inc. Magazine 35 Under 35, 2014 Popular Mechanics 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream, 2014 Entrepreneur Magazine 10 Up and Coming Leaders to Watch, 2014 MIT Technology Review 35 Innovators Under 35, 2014 CNBC Next List

Ayah Bdeir (born 1982 in Montreal, Canada) is an interactive artist, engineer, and founder/CEO of littleBits, an open source library of modular electronics that snap together with magnets.[1] Bdeir is considered one of the leaders of the Open Hardware Movement and was named on Fastcompany's "Most Creative People in Business" for 2013.

Bdeir received her masters 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 Art + Technology Center in New York City [2] In 2010, she was awarded a fellowship with Creative Commons for her work in Open Hardware. She has taught graduate classes at NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) and Parsons The New School for Design. In 2010, Bdeir served as a design mentor on the reality TV show, Stars of Science. In January 2011, in its second season, Stars of Science, initiated by Qatar Foundation, is the first Pan-Arab reality-TV program dedicated to innovation, aiming to shine a spotlight on the next generation of young Arab innovators.[3]

In September 2011, Bdeir started littleBits Electronics, a startup based in New York with funding from Joi Ito, Nicholas Negroponte, Joanne Wilson and others.

In 2012, Bdeir received the highly prestigious TED Fellowship[4] and gave a talk at the TED conference[5] event in Long Beach in 2012 called "Building Blocks that Blink, beep and teach".


A littleBits setup.

littleBits is an open source library of discrete electronic components pre-assembled in tiny circuit boards. littleBits makes prototyping with sophisticated electronics a matter of snapping small magnets together. All logic and circuitry is pre-engineered, so users can play with electronics without knowing electronics. littleBits aims to move electronics from the latter to the earlier part of design process, and from the hands of experts to those of makers and designers.[6] In April 2009, littleBits was exhibited at MakerFaire Bay Area[7] and received wide acclaim from the audience, in addition to winning over 20 toy, education and tech awards. In 2011, a littleBits exhibit was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art for the permanent collection. The littleBits company has received three rounds of investment funding, in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

Open Hardware[edit]

Bdeir spearheaded the first Open Hardware Definition[8] that was adopted by CERN for their Open Hardware License.[9] As a fellow at Creative Commons, Bdeir led the public competition of the Open Hardware logo - now adopted on millions of circuit boards around the world, and co-chaired the inaugural Open Hardware Summit, now considered the premier conference on Open Hardware in the world. In 2008, Bdeir coined the term and published "Electronics As Material", an effort to take electronic components from being a functional piece of technology, to becoming a creative material for artists, designers, and non-engineers in general.

Major works[edit]

As an interactive artist. Bdeir uses experimental media and technology to look at deliberate and subconscious representations of Arab identity.[10]

  • Ejet Ejet: Elusive Electricity (Ejet Ejet) is an interactive neon installation that embodies the immaterial persona of electricity in the Arab world. The piece shines a bright neon light intriguing the passer-by, but as one comes closer, the light flickers, dims, buzzes, and ultimately pops: power is out and the room is dipped into darkness.
  • Teta Haniya's Secrets: A line of electronic lingerie inspired by a Syrian tradition of hacking electronic toys, integrating them into panties, and selling them in the most casual of fashions at popular ‘Damascan’ souks.
  • Les Annees Lumiere: A bird’s eye view of 3 years of violence, strife, and very bright lights rocking Lebanon, remembered and replayed in 45 minutes of proportionally timed light display.
  • Arabiia: A caricature of media stereotypes typically associated with Arab women. The convertible burka is equipped with two servo motors and a switch. It enables its wearer to voluntarily choose which of two extreme representations fits her mood and audience.
  • Random Search: A subtle, reactive undergarment. It records, shares, and analyses the experience of invasive airport searches on behalf of our silent, abiding, fearful bodies.

Shows and exhibitions[edit]


  1. ^ GIRIDHARADAS, ANAND. "The Kitchen-Table Industrialists". New York Times Magazine. 13 May 2011
  2. ^ Eyebeam Press Release. "Eyebeam will hold Open Studios for Artists In Residence and Senior Fellows" . 15 May 2009.
  3. ^ Hancock, Stephanie. "Middle East TV talent show sets out to promote science". BBC. 13 November 2010
  4. ^ blog, TED. "received"
  5. ^ conference, TED. "talk"
  6. ^ Hickey, Matt. "littleBits Fit Together Like Geeky Magic" . Gizmodo. 12 August 2008
  7. ^ Makerfaire 2009, Bay Area, littleBits.
  8. ^ Torrone, Phil. "Open Hardware definition". Feb 2011
  9. ^ "Open Hardware License"
  10. ^ Ko, Hanae. "Where I Work: Ayah Bdeir". Art Asia Pacific. July 2009. Issue 64.
  11. ^ Kennedy, Randy. "Art Made at the Speed of the Internet: Don't Say 'Geek'; Say 'Collaborator'" . 18 April 2010. New York Times

External links[edit]