Limor Fried

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Limor Fried
Limor Fried at TechCrunch Disrupt NY (2013)
Other namesladyada
Alma materMIT (SB, 2003; MEng 2005)
OccupationElectrical engineer
Known forAdafruit Industries
Open source movement
Open-source hardware movement
SpousePhillip Torrone

Limor Fried is an American electrical engineer and owner of the electronics hobbyist company Adafruit Industries. She is influential in the open-source hardware community, having participated in the first Open Source Hardware Summit and the drafting of the Open Source Hardware definition, and is known by her moniker ladyada, an homage to Lady Ada Lovelace.

Career and recognition[edit]

Fried studied at MIT, earning a BS in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) in 2003 and a Master of Engineering in EECS in 2005. For part of the qualification she created a project called Social Defense Mechanisms: Tools for Reclaiming Our Personal Space. Following the concept of critical design she prototyped glasses that darken when a television is in view, and a low-power RF jammer that prevents cell phones from operating in a user's personal space.[2][3]

Fried was an Eyebeam fellow from 2005–2006.[4][5]

During 2005, Fried founded what became Adafruit Industries, first in her MIT dorm room, later moving to New York City.[6] The company designs and resells open source electronic kits, components, and tools, mainly for the hobbyist market.[7] In 2010 the company had eight employees and shipped more than $3 million worth of product.[7] The company's mission extends beyond the adult hobbyist audience to pre-school STEM education.[8] Adafruit is a company based on sharing ideas as well as resources; everyone who works for the company is offered the same 401k plan and they get paid time off for volunteer nonprofit work.[9]

In 2009, she was awarded the Pioneer Award by the Electronic Frontier Foundation for her participation in the open source hardware and software community.[10]

In 2011, Fried was awarded the Most Influential Women in Technology award by Fast Company magazine[11] and became the first female engineer featured on the cover of Wired magazine.[12] In that same issue of Wired she said, "Having websites that sell parts online is a really big deal. It used to be that if you wanted to order parts to make something, you had to dig through a catalog, and they probably wouldn't even send you one if you weren't a professional. Now everything is online. You can just Google the parts to make your submarine."[13]

In a 2012 interview with CNET, Fried said, "If there's one thing I'd like to see from this, it would be for some kids to say to themselves 'I could do that' and start the journey to becoming an engineer and entrepreneur."[14][15] She is also quoted as saying, "There's always something newer and funner and more glossy, but we want to make sure people can actually build stuff, too."[16]

Fried is a member of the IEEE Spectrum editorial advisory board as of 2017.[17]


Open Kinect Project[edit]

In response to the launch of Microsoft's Kinect for the Xbox 360 in 2010, Fried, along with Phillip Torrone, organized a $1,000 challenge to create an open source driver.[7] After Microsoft condemned the challenge as modification to their product, Adafruit increased the prize to $2,000 and then $3,000.[26][27][28][29] This prompted a response from a Microsoft company spokesperson:

Microsoft does not condone the modification of its products ... With Kinect, Microsoft built in numerous hardware and software safeguards designed to reduce the chances of product tampering. Microsoft will continue to make advances in these types of safeguards and work closely with law enforcement and product safety groups to keep Kinect tamper-resistant.[30]

After significant advancements in the open source drivers, spokespeople from Microsoft stated that they did not condemn the challenge, and in fact were excited to see what the community developed.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Fried is married to Hackaday founder, former Make editor, and former Engadget podcast host Phillip Torrone. In 2022 they had a baby.[32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Limor Fried, Founder & CEO, Adafruit Industries | MAKERS". YouTube.
  2. ^ "Research". Retrieved April 17, 2014.
  3. ^ Fried, Limor (2005). Social defense mechanisms : tools for reclaiming our personal space (M. Eng. thesis). Massachusetts Institute of Technology. hdl:1721.1/33151.
  4. ^ "Eyebeam Limor Fried". Eyebeam. Retrieved January 27, 2016.
  5. ^ "An interview with Limor Fried | The Blueprint". The Blueprint. Archived from the original on February 23, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
  6. ^ Monica Rozenfeld (September 9, 2015). "How DIY Electronics Startup Adafruit Industries Became a Multimillion-Dollar Company". IEEE – The Institute. Retrieved September 28, 2015. ...started the venture in her dorm room at MIT...
  7. ^ a b c Tozzi, John (December 6, 2010). "Adafruit Targets Tinkerers With 'Open-Source' Electronics Kits". Bloomberg. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  8. ^ Kumagai, Jean (April 22, 2013). "Profile: Limor Fried". IEEE – Spectrum. Retrieved September 28, 2015. Lately she and her team are out to prove that even the preschool set can appreciate the beauty of the electron.
  9. ^ Fried, Limor (June 13, 2017). "Running an being a good cause and doing good business". XRDS: Crossroads, the ACM Magazine for Students. 23 (4): 32–35. doi:10.1145/3094549. ISSN 1528-4972. S2CID 33653003.
  10. ^ "Hardware Hacker, E-Voting Investigator, and Public Domain Advocate Win Pioneer Awards". Electronic Frontier Foundation. October 6, 2009. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  11. ^ Zax, David. "Limor Fried". 2011 Most Influential Women in Technology. Fast Company. Archived from the original on January 28, 2013. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  12. ^ "Wired Issue 19.04". Wired. March 29, 2011.
  13. ^ "8. Biotechnology's Open Source Revolution", Biobazaar, Harvard University Press, pp. 292–334, December 31, 2008, doi:10.4159/9780674033603-009, ISBN 978-0-674-03360-3, retrieved September 23, 2020
  14. ^ Blue, Violet (December 17, 2012). "Magazine names hacker Limor Fried 'Entrepreneur of the Year'". CNET. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  15. ^ Matheson, Rob (May 30, 2013). "Meet the maker: MIT alumna Limor Fried has become a pioneer of the 'maker movement' with her multimillion-dollar company". MIT News. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  16. ^ Herrera-Charles, Roberto; Alvarez-Sanchez, Teodoro; Alvarez-Cedillo, Jesus A. (2020). "Synthesis of video processing with open-source hardware descriptor languages". In Tescher, Andrew G; Ebrahimi, Touradj (eds.). Applications of Digital Image Processing XLIII. Vol. 11510. pp. 115101W. Bibcode:2020SPIE11510E..1WH. doi:10.1117/12.2568949. ISBN 9781510638266. S2CID 222110327.
  17. ^ Cass, Stephen (September 27, 2017). "Build an Illuminated Halloween Costume With the Wearable Gemma M0 Microcontroller". IEEE Spectrum. IEEE. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  18. ^ "2009 Pioneer Awards". Electronic Frontier Foundation. October 22, 2009.
  19. ^ "The Most Influential Women in Technology 2011 – Limor Fried". Fast Company. January 10, 2011.
  20. ^ Entrepreneur (magazine)
  21. ^ "Champions of Change".
  22. ^ "Limor Fried". Forbes.
  23. ^ "2019 STEP Ahead Honoree". The Manufacturing Institute. April 2019. Archived from the original on July 27, 2019. Retrieved July 27, 2019.
  24. ^ "Announcing the winners of the 2019 Women in Open Source Awards". Red Hat. May 6, 2019.
  25. ^ "Celebrating the GitHub Awards 2023 recipients". GitHub. November 9, 2023.
  26. ^ "The Open Kinect project – THE OK PRIZE – get $3,000 bounty for Kinect for Xbox 360 open source drivers". Adafruit. November 4, 2010. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  27. ^ "Kinect Hack Makes Microsoft Angry, Deny its Existence". PCWorld. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  28. ^ "Bounty offered for open-source Kinect driver". Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  29. ^ Brown, Mark. "$2,000 Bounty Put on Open-Source Kinect Drivers". Wired. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  30. ^ Terdiman, Daniel (November 4, 2010). "Bounty offered for open-source Kinect driver". CNET. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  31. ^ Flatow, Ira (November 19, 2010). "How The X-Box Kinect Tracks Your Moves". National Public Radio. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
  32. ^ "Ask an Engineer 11/9/2022 Live!". YouTube.

External links[edit]