Adafruit Industries

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Adafruit Industries
Industry open-source hardware
Founded 2005
Founder Limor Fried
Headquarters New York City (SoHo, Manhattan), New York, United States
Revenue US$33 million (2014)

Adafruit Industries is an open-source hardware company based in New York City. It was founded by Limor Fried in 2005, in her Massachusetts Institute of Technology dorm room. The company designs and manufactures a number of electronics products, sells a wide variety of electronics components, tools, and accessories via its online storefront, and produces a number of learning resources, including written tutorials, introductory videos for beginners, and the longest running live video electronics show on the internet. All Adafruit products are manufactured in their 40,000 square foot (3,700 m2) factory in SoHo, Manhattan.[1] In 2013, the company took in US$22 million in revenue, and had shipped over a million products in 480,000 orders,[2] and in January 2016, the company accepted its one millionth order.[3]

The name Adafruit comes from Fried's online moniker "ladyada", itself an homage to computer science pioneer Ada Lovelace. The company's goal is to get more people involved in technology, science and engineering.[4] Project kits are designed to deliver practical systems—not simply academic exercises—and to encourage more women into the field.


Limor Fried, then a student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, began selling electronic kits on her website from her own designs in 2005.[5][6] She later moved to New York City to found Adafruit Industries.[1] In 2010, Adafruit offered a US$1,000 (equivalent to $1,098 in 2016) reward for whoever could hack Microsoft's Kinect to make its motion sensing capabilities available for use for other projects. This reward was increased to $2000 and then $3000 following Microsoft's concerns about tampering.[7][8][9] In 2013, the company had $22 million in revenue; for 2014 increased to $33 million.[1]


In addition to distributing third party components and boards such as the Arduino and the Raspberry Pi, Adafruit develops and sells its own development boards for educational and hobbyist purposes. In 2016, the company released the Circuit Playground, a board with an Atmel ATmega32u4 microcontroller and a variety of sensors.[10] It, like many Adafruit productions, is circular in shape for ease of use in wearable electronics projects,[11] along with the FLORA, the companies official wearable electronics development platform.[12] Becky Stern hosted a weekly web show dedicated to wearable electronics for Adafruit on their YouTube channel.[13]


 Adafruit Mini Neopixels
Mini NeoPixels with comparison to a Canadian quarter

NeoPixel is Adafruit's brand of individually-addressable red-green-blue (RGB) LED. They are based on the WS2812 LED and WS2811 driver, where the WS2811 is integrated into the LED, for reduced footprint. Adafruit manufactures several products with NeoPixels with form factors such as strips, rings, matrices, Arduino shields, traditional five-millimeter cylinder LED and individual NeoPixel with or without a PCB. The control protocol for NeoPixels is based on only one communication wire. Adafruit provides an Arduino library to help with the programming of NeoPixels.[14] In addition to the traditional RGB technology, Adafruit manufactures a red-green-blue-white (RGBW) variant of NeoPixel for all products except those that feature a NeoPixel Mini 3535. Those integrate an additional white LED in the package for extra possible color mixes and selectable white color temperature (the company sells single NeoPixels with a 6000K, 4500K and 3000K color temperature).[citation needed]

Feather development boards[edit]

 Adafruit Feather M0 Basic Proto Development Board
A headerless Adafruit Feather M0 Basic Proto Development Board

The Feather development boards constitute Adafruit's new platform of "Arduino-like" boards. The first one, the Feather 32u4 Basic Proto, was released on November 4, 2015.[citation needed] The boards all share similarities in that they have the same form factor, same pinout, similar microcontrollers, feature lithium polymer battery charging and are usually released every Wednesday since the first one on Adafruit's live electronics show "Ask an Engineer". Each board has a special feature in addition to the microcontroller breakout, such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or cellular network connectivity or built-in prototyping space or SD card communication. The name "Feather" comes from the fact that the boards are small, thin, light and easily work with a battery, allowing you to untether your project from the wall or from a computer. In addition to the boards themselves, Adafruit engineers and manufactures "Feather Wings", which are expansion cards allowing the addition of features such as an LCD, a NeoPixel array or DC motor drivers.

Feather boards comparison[edit]

Board name Special feature Flash memory RAM EEPROM Clock rate Mass Dimensions GPIO Release date Product page
Adafruit Feather
32u4 Basic Proto
Built-in protoboard 32 KB 2 KB 1 KB 8 MHz 4.8 g 51 mm × 23 mm × 8 mm 20 (8 PWM, 10 ADC) November 4, 2015 32u4 Basic Proto
Adafruit Feather
32u4 Adalogger
Built-in SD card support 5.1 g November 12, 2015 32u4 Adalogger
Adafruit Feather
32u4 Bluefruit LE
Built-in Bluetooth support 5.7 g November 18, 2015 32u4 Bluefruit LE
Adafruit Feather
HUZZAH with ESP8266 WiFi
Built-in Wi-Fi support 4 MB 32 KB SRAM,
80 KB DRAM[15]
80 MHz 9.7 g 9 (1 ADC) November 25, 2015 HUZZAH with ESP8266 WiFi
Adafruit Feather
M0 Basic Proto
Built-in protoboard 256 KB 32 KB None 48 MHz 4.6 g 20 (20 PWM, 6 ADC, 1 DAC) December 2, 2015 M0 Basic Proto
Adafruit Feather
M0 Adalogger
Built-in SD card support 5.3 g December 9, 2015 M0 Adalogger
Adafruit Feather
M0 Bluefruit LE
Built-in Bluetooth support 5.7 g 20 (8 PWM, 10 ADC, 1 DAC) January 14, 2016 M0 Bluefruit LE
Adafruit Feather
M0 WiFi
Built-in Wi-Fi support 6.1 g 53.65 mm × 23 mm × 8 mm January 27, 2016 M0 WiFi
Adafruit Feather
32u4 FONA
Built-in cellular network support 32 KB 2 KB 1 KB 8 MHz 8.2 g 61 mm × 23 mm × 7 mm 20 (8 PWM, 10 ADC) February 3, 2016 32u4 FONA
Adafruit Feather
M0 WiFi with uFL
Built-in Wi-Fi support 256 KB 32 KB None 48 MHz 6.1 g 53.65 mm × 23 mm × 8 mm 20 (8 PWM, 10 ADC, 1 DAC) March 16, 2016 M0 WiFi with uFL
Adafruit Feather
STM32F205 with Broadcom WICED
Built-in WICED support 1024 KB 128 KB
120 MHz 5.7 g 51mm x 23mm x 8mm 12 (standard; 7 PWM, 8 ADC (up to), 2 DAC) March 23, 2016 STM32F205 with Broadcom WICED
Adafruit Feather
32u4 RFM69HCW Packet Radio (868/915 MHz)
Built-in RF Radio Support 32 KB 2 KB 1 KB 8 MHz 5.5g 20 (8 PWM, 10 ADC) April 6, 2016 32u4 RFM69HCW Packet Radio (868/915 MHz)
Adafruit Feather
32u4 RFM69HCW Packet Radio (433 MHz)
32u4 RFM69HCW Packet Radio (433 MHz)
Adafruit Feather
32u4 32u4 RFM95W LoRa Radio (900 MHz)
April 13,


32u4 32u4 RFM95W LoRa Radio (900 MHz)

Adafruit learning system[edit]

In addition to manufacturing and selling electronic devices, Adafruit regularly publishes tutorials featuring their products. The tutorials show how to build projects, highlighting their products' abilities and strengths. The site hosts close to 950 guides[16] and articles written by a few collaborators, not all of them full-time Adafruit employees. The guides range from teardowns of existing wearable electronic devices to 3D printing projects to overview and introduction of Adafruit merchandise and more.

Presence on YouTube[edit]

Adafruit Industries has a substantial presence on the online video streaming website YouTube.[17] The channel has been active since April 2, 2006.[18] The company was awarded a YouTube Silver Play Button in August 2015 for having surpassed 100,000 subscribers.[19] Adafruit creates different types of videos, all treating about electronics, and most of them featuring one of their products. Each week for at least six years, several live shows are streamed.

Ask an Engineer[edit]

This weekly show was started in 2010 in Fried's living room. The concept was that viewers could ask her any questions about engineering while she was assembling electronics kit and Phillip Torrone, her spouse, was preparing shipments. The show is broadcast on YouTube and Ustream and behind-the-scenes content is streamed to Periscope. The company prides themselves by stating that this is the longest-running electronics live show. Some of the sections of the stream are new products where Fried demonstrates the week's new product that appeared in the shop, Time Travel, where the hosts look back on the world of makers, hackers, artists, and engineers and often highlight a special person or event, 3D Printing, where they showcase a special project or product related to the industry, a Q&A session and a trivia question, where the first viewer with the correct answer wins a product. There also sometimes is a section dedicated to Raspberry Pi and Arduino news and a section where the hosts read a positive email that they have received from a satisfied customer. Every week, a coupon code for a 10% rebate on everything in the store except gift certificates and software is issued and is valid only for the night. The show airs every Wednesday at 8 PM ET on the company's YouTube channel and is still run by Limor Fried and Phillip Torrone, albeit guests are often present. As of February 2016, there have been almost 200 editions of the show, totaling almost 7 million minutes watched, a half million video views and 33 thousand playlist views.[20]


Show-and-Tell is Adafruit's live show where makers from all around the world come in and share the electronic projects that they are currently working on. The show is at 7:30 PM ET every Wednesday, runs for 30 minutes and is directly preceding Ask an Engineer. It is hosted by Limor Fried and Phillip Torrone and is using the Google+ Hangouts platform. Over the four years that it has been running for, Show-and-Tell has been produced more than 200 times, collecting more than 2.8 million minutes watched, about 500k video views and 27k playlist views.[20]

Wearable Electronics with Becky Stern[edit]

Wearable Electronics with Becky Stern was Adafruit's live show dedicated to the wearable electronics industry. It was hosted by the American artist Becky Stern, who was accompanied by a co-host. It aired every Wednesday at 2 PM ET and was produced for 122 episodes, from 2013 to 2016. More than 2.6 million minutes were watched, with over 300k video views and 13.7k playlist plays. The last edition was streamed on February 10, 2016.[21] In the show, industry news, projects, techniques and materials were covered and discussed. Also, viewers could ask the hosts their questions. The show typically ran for 30 minutes.[20]

3D Hangouts with Noe and Pedro Ruiz[edit]

Just as the previous show was dedicated to the wearable electronics industry, 3D Hangouts with Noe and Pedro Ruiz goes over the 3D printing industry (most typically about desktop FDM printers). Every week, on Thursday, a 30-minute edition is released where the two brothers discuss news about the industry, specific projects that they are working on, share 3D printing tips and tricks and answer viewer's questions and comments. They also showcase projects and prints from the online community. A discount code for 10% off (only for the night) on everything in the Adafruit shop except for software and gift cards is given as well. The show was started in 2014 and has been running ever since.[22] It has collected more than 1.6 million minutes watched, more than 250k video views and more than 12.7k playlist views over the course of a little bit more than 75 episodes.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "How one woman turned her passion for tinkering into a $33 million business — without a dime of funding". Tech Insider. Retrieved November 23, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Women Entrepreneurs to Bet On". Retrieved February 22, 2015. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Rozenfeld, Monica (September 9, 2015). "How DIY Electronics Startup Adafruit Industries Became a Multimillion-Dollar Company: IEEE Member Limor Fried started the venture in her dorm room at MIT". Retrieved February 23, 2016. 
  5. ^ "About Adafruit". Retrieved February 22, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Entrepreneur of 2012: Limor Fried". Retrieved February 22, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Kinect Hack Makes Microsoft Angry, Deny its Existence". PCWorld. Retrieved November 23, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Bounty offered for open-source Kinect driver". Retrieved December 9, 2015. 
  9. ^ "$2,000 Bounty Put on Open-Source Kinect Drivers". Retrieved December 9, 2015. 
  10. ^ Horsey, Julian (January 14, 2016). "Adafruit Unveils New Circuit Playground Board To Learn About Electronics". Geeky Gadgets. Retrieved January 16, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Adafruit's best open source wearables of 2015". Retrieved January 16, 2016. 
  12. ^ "FLORA : Adafruit Industries, Unique & fun DIY electronics and kits". Retrieved January 16, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Becky Stern : Adafruit Industries, Unique & fun DIY electronics and kits". Retrieved January 16, 2016. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "An interview with Limor Fried, Founder at Adafruit". Retrieved February 22, 2015. [permanent dead link]
  18. ^ Adafruit Industries's channel on YouTube
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b c d "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 5, 2016. Retrieved 2016-02-22. 
  21. ^
  22. ^

External links[edit]