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Anyone could become an engineer with her tiny, simple set of tools. Meet littleBits.

"Our designs are publicly available so that anyone can see, use, and adapt them to their needs."

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Humans are spending increasingly more time (approximately 11 hours a day!) with electronics.

But do humans spend much time making electronics ?

With littleBits, they just might.


Ayah Bdeir is the founder and CEO of littleBits. They’re a new breed of building blocks — ones powered by electronics, that snap together with magnets, bleep, blink, and move!

And these blocks aren’t just for fun; they make engineering possible for anyone.

Using littleBits, you can make (without any engineering training):

A clapper!

What a classic! GIF via littleBits on YouTube.

A doorbell that texts your phone!

I could really use this with my UPS delivery person! GIF via littleBits on YouTube.

A cat food dispenser!

Whoa. GIF via littleBits on YouTube.

An animatronic hand that makes you coffee when it hears your alarm.


GIF via littleBits on YouTube.

So, how'd we get here?

Well, Bdeir's career and education (she's an MIT-trained engineer) have always been all about making education, technology, and innovation more accessible.

As told to Bloomberg Business on YouTube.

Her business, littleBits, is the result of that.

In 2008, Bdeir applied and was accepted to the Eyebeam Art and Technology Center in New York City. It was through this program that she developed her first prototype for littleBits.

Fast forward a few years to 2011 — through fellowships, professorships, and many, many talks in front of many many people — she created and sold the first littleBits starter kit.

And while littleBits has raised over $60 million dollars in venture capital investment, Bdeir's product isn't ALL about the Benjamins.

It's also all about the sharing, according to their mission:

"Our designs are publicly available so that anyone can see, use and adapt them to their needs."

Bdeir is a proponent of open hardware, which means the designs and plans of littleBits are completely public online.

As told to Bloomberg Business on YouTube. Image via Muse Fablab/Flickr Commons.

Wanna make that cat-feeder iPhone app? You can! You can find instructions for SO MANY projects on the littleBits website. And just recently, the company announced it will host a FREE online summer camp to their 60,000-plus Facebook fans. The team at littleBits also posts new inventions to their Facebook page in GIF form weekly and encourages littleBits owners from around the world to share their inventions, too.

The community of folks inventing with littleBits is global. They upload their own projects. They have monthly challenges. LittleBits even runs monthly calls on the last Wednesday of every month where inventors and experts hang out!

Bdeir and the littleBits team have made teaching tools that educate anyone on how to be an engineer.

Katia invented a skyscraper that's also a lighthouse! GIF via littleBits on YouTube.


As told to Bloomberg Business on YouTube. GIF via Bloomberg Business YouTube.

What's cool about the simplicity of littleBits is they make the possible visible. And doable. And fun.

People from around the world are working together to create new possibilities and new inventions. The possibilities are as endless as the human mind.

Kinda makes me feel hopeful for us Earthlings.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

Pop Culture

John Cena sets new world record with 650 wishes granted with the Make-A-Wish Foundation

He’s become the foundation’s most requested celebrity—and he never turns anyone down.

"I'll drop everything."

The multitalented, mega famous John Cena might hold many titles, but this might be the coolest one yet—and it has nothing to do with wrestling.

The actor and WWE performer just broke the Guinness World Records for most wishes granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. As of July 19, Guinness World Records reports, Cena has granted a whopping 650 wishes. The highest amount any other celebrity granted was 200.

The 16-time world champion first became a wish-granter back in 2002. Since then, he’s become the foundation’s most requested celebrity—and he never turns anyone down.

"I just drop everything. I don't care what I'm doing," he said in a WWE produced video after granting his 500th wish. “I can't say enough how cool it is to see the kids so happy, and their families so happy, I truly want to show them that it's their day.”
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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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