Jay Silver

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Jay Saul Silver is an electrical engineer and toy inventor from Cocoa Beach, Florida. Silver is the Founder and CEO of JoyLabz and MaKey MaKey and was the first-ever Maker Research Scientist at Intel.[1]

Academic background and early career[edit]

Silver earned his BA in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech,[2] where he was named Engineer of the Year,[3] and was awarded a Gates Scholarship[4] to pursue his Master's from Cambridge University in Internet Technology.[5] Funded by a National Science Foundation Fellowship,[6] Silver earned a Master's from MIT's Media Lab,[7] and went on to earn his PhD from MIT's Media Lab Lifelong Kindergarten.[8] For his PhD on the topic of “World as Construction Kit,” Silver was awarded the Lemelson Prize for Inventiveness[9]

Following his academic career, Silver invented Drawdio,[10] which was named one of TIME Magazine's “Top 15 Toys for Young Geniuses” in 2011.[11]

Makey Makey[edit]

In 2012, Silver founded Makey Makey: An Invention Kit for Everyone – a toy that allows users to connect everyday objects (e.g. fruit, silverware) to computer programs – through a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $500,000.[12] Following its initial funding on Kickstarter, MaKey Makey was written about in Mashable, Wired, and New Scientist, among others, and was named one of Popular Science's 2014 “Best of Toy Fair.”[13]

Charitable works and boards[edit]

Silver sits on the board of directors of Maker Ed,[14] One Day on Earth, and the Transformative Tech Lab. Silver also works with teens at places like Not Back to School Camp.

Awards and speakerships[edit]

  • (2011), TIME Magazine's “Top 15 Toys for Young Geniuses” for Drawdio
  • (2012) Lemelson Prize for Inventiveness[15]
  • (2012) Top 100 Inspirational World Changer by DELL[16]
  • (2014) Popular Science's "Best of Toy Fair" for Makey Makey
  • Silver has spoken at numerous TED events[17]


  1. ^ Making: A Movement Gaining Momentum Worldwide, Intel Backgrounder (May 15, 2014)
  2. ^ "P.8 School Of Electrical And Computer Engineering ECE Connection, Georgia Tech (Spring, 2002)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-10-10. Retrieved 2015-02-24.
  3. ^ Jay Silver: Innovator & Researcher at MIT Media Labs, Eagles Talent Speaker Bureau (2013)
  4. ^ Gates Scholarship Recipient Profile: Jay Silver, The Gates Cambridge Scholarship (2002)
  5. ^ Gates scholars bring two-year award total to nine, Georgia Tech (March 15, 2002)
  6. ^ Can Anyone Become a Hacker?, Ted Radio Hour, NPR (December 6, 2013)
  7. ^ "MIT Media Lab Profile: Jay Silver, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2015)". Archived from the original on 2015-02-06. Retrieved 2015-02-24.
  8. ^ MIT Media Lab Life Long Kindergarten Research Projects: Makey Makey
  9. ^ Jay Silver: Lemelson Prize for Inventiveness Winner profile, MIT
  10. ^ Drawido: A Pencil That Lets You Draw Music, Wired.com (April 30, 2009)
  11. ^ Q&A With Makey Makey CEO Jay Silver, EdTech Magazine (August 12, 2014)
  12. ^ Toybacker Launches Take on Kickstarter Indiegogo, New York Business Journal (February 17, 2015)
  13. ^ 10 Best Toys 2014 Toy Fair, Popular Science (February 19th, 2014)
  14. ^ Maker Education Initiative Board Member List
  15. ^ $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Collegiate Student Prizes Awarded to Inventive Students at Three Leading Universities, BusinessWire (March, 2012)
  16. ^ Kicking Off Inspired Gifting this Holiday Season, Dell Announces the #Inspire 100 (November 20, 2012) Archived October 11, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Hack a Banana Make a Keyboard?, TED Talk Archive (April, 2013)