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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."

Anyone could become an engineer with her tiny, simple set of tools. Meet littleBits.
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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 by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

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"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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