Anyone Can Be an Engineer With These High-Tech Building Blocks

LittleBits' Ayah Bdeir is democratizing hardware

Become an Engineer With These High-Tech Building Blocks

If you put your mind to it, you could probably build an app. But could you confidently piece together an Internet-connected thermostat à la Nest?

Armed with a set of littleBits, you could, even if you consider yourself mechanically challenged. LittleBits are a library of modular electronics that snap together to form sophisticated circuits. No programming or wiring required.

Ayah Bdeir, the founder and chief executive of the 4-year-old upstart, says littleBits began as a way to give users the tools for democratizing hardware, much as software is no longer relegated to big companies such as IBM, Nintendo, and Cisco. “The electronics industry pretty much remains a very top-down industry controlled by large companies, experts, and engineers,” Bdeir says. By making electronics accessible, she hopes to invite others outside the field to create their own innovative gadgets.

The company recently introduced a $249 DIY kit for those who want to turn their analog homes into Wi-Fi-enabled smart homes. The set extends the use of the recently launched cloudBit, giving users a menu of projects that include a remote bird feeder, a smart air-conditioner, and a garage door monitor. Now people can build their own Internet of Things hardware without having to wait for Nest, General Electric, or Apple to roll out another product.

“There’s no need to go out and buy devices that are being advertised or use them as they’ve been described,” Bdeir says. “You can make your own home solution.” 

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