July 9th, 2012
12:41 PM ET

Why little electronic blocks are a big deal

Editors note: Ayah Bdeir is an engineer, artist and inventor of littleBits, which is a next-generation, electronic version of the LEGO. With littleBits, Bdeir hopes to change the way kids learn about science and technology.

By Ayah Bdeir, Special to CNN

(CNN) – A few years ago, if you had asked me why littleBits - the LEGO-like electronic building blocks that are the basis for my company - mattered, I would have told you why I thought they mattered. I always thought academic disciplines were overrated and really disliked people who took themselves too seriously. Supposedly, engineers build functional things, designers make objects look pretty, business people market stuff and then consumers are left to do the purchasing. That segmented system has made for tons of bad products and unhappy people. With littleBits, I had a hunch we could throw that all in the air and reshuffle the pack.

Now, if you asked me again why littleBits matters, I can tell you how I know it matters. Every day we receive e-mail from kids, retired engineers, stay-at-home moms and fine-arts teachers saying littleBits inspired them. They say they never thought they were creative or they could be a "techie." They say they dusted off their electronics books, or modded their instruments, or started taking their kids to robotics camps. They send us pictures of projects they've made and share plans for bigger ones they dream of.

Every day I can't believe what's been happening to us. littleBits started as a small set of messy cardboard pieces sitting on a table, and over the past four years has gone from a side project, to an obsession, to a prototype, to a product, to a fast-growing snow ball.

So why not make the snow ball blink and buzz a little bit on its way.

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Filed under: Science • Tech • The Next List • Video
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  2. clare

    We are ameericans first. if we have something to say, and we are not cursing on the net, why do you screen out needed info that americans should know. cnn is famous for not letting info on the bilderberg group get out. daniel estulin .comhas a book out on the plot to destroy america as we know it. we have no rights. pity.

    August 11, 2012 at 8:15 am | Reply
  3. Justin Dirickson

    Who can i get a hold of to input some ideas I have. Or email?

    August 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  4. Peter

    VERY cool

    July 31, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Reply
  5. CJ

    This is sooooo cooool! I am so excited to see this type of idea come to fruition for the next generation of kids (and parents). Congratulations! I can't wait to get some for myself:-)

    July 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Reply

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