For Maker Faire New York this year, I finally made good on a promise to myself to visit my maker pals in the region. To do so I flew in a couple days early and hit the ground running. First up: littleBits and founder Ayah Bdeir.
The snap-together electronic components maker launched ten years ago at Bay Area Maker Faire. Since then, Ayah has taken the company to great partnerships for littleBit products with Lucasfilm, Marvel, NASA, Korg, and more. Their kits are sold around the world and offer fantastic opportunities in both education and product design prototyping. Plus they’re just fun to play with. (Be sure to read about them in the cover story of the new issue of Make:, vol.65.)
The littleBits office is in Chelsea on the west side of Manhattan, in a recently expanded office overlooking the Hudson river. With its recent acquisition of San Francisco-based DIY.org, the company is now well over 100 employees strong — and already feels like it’s growing past the expanded space. Their office is decorated with Bits and circuits assembled into functional projects and mounted to the walls, along with their swaths of their signature purple. With workshop and research rooms visible, the engineering roots of the company are still palpable, in the playful way that is reflected in their products. Two museum cases show the various early prototype iterations, along with the first product order they ever received, also at Maker Faire.
Ayah and littleBits’ communications head Allie Van Nest toured me around in my quick visit, as we talked about the company, the new issue of Make:, and their plans for Maker Faire that weekend. Then, busy as ever, they had to run to more meetings — and me to my next NY maker visit.