My NYC Maker Week: Visiting littleBits and Ayah Bdeir

Maker News
My NYC Maker Week: Visiting littleBits and Ayah Bdeir

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, 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.

Bits and projects lining the entrance hallway activate with various functions as you walk through.
Interactive music display that was originally mounted in littleBits’ NYC pop-up shop a couple years ago.
Meeting space with plenty of natural light.
A full shop lets the littleBits team provide courses to the community.
Plenty of accolades for Ayah and company (and hopefully the new Make: will be joining these on the shelves)
Words of inspiration.
Sales slips from 2011 for the very first littleBits order.
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Mike Senese

Mike Senese is a content producer with a focus on technology, science, and engineering. He served as Executive Editor of Make: magazine for nearly a decade, and previously was a senior editor at Wired. Mike has also starred in engineering and science shows for Discovery Channel, including Punkin Chunkin, How Stuff Works, and Catch It Keep It.

An avid maker, Mike spends his spare time tinkering with electronics, fixing cars, and attempting to cook the perfect pizza. You might spot him at his local skatepark in the SF Bay Area.

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