The new 'Lego' for lil inventors

Just as the Atlas mission is to ‘Democratise the Future’, littleBits is on a mission to ‘Democratise Hardware’ by empowering everyone – of any gender, age or technical background – to create inventions with its innovative platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks.

Beirut-born engineer, interaction artist and free hardware advocate Ayah Bdeir is the creative entrepreneur behind the award-winning kit of open source electronic modules (like engines, oscillators and batteries) that snap together with magnets.

“When we were young, my dad got us chemistry sets, electricity kits, and programming lessons alongside dolls and playsets,” she explains. “My sisters and I all grew to be very career focused and never felt that there were any barriers in front of us because of our gender.”

Used by hundreds of schools to teach electronics, they empower kids to invent anything – from an alarm, to a wireless robot, to a digital instrument – and are a favourite tool of designers, makers and inventors when it comes to prototyping. There’s a reason they have been called the ‘Lego of the 21 Century’.

Bdeir’s aim is to inspire young girls and boys to unleash their creativity and embrace STEAM (Science, Technology, Art and Mathematics) through invention.

“May the next generation of ladies be full of confidence, poise and eagerness to change the world, and invent the world they want to live in,” she adds. “And may the barriers facing anyone because of their gender, sexuality, race, or language fall a little more every day. It can and it will happen if we believe it and we work for it.”

And it’s working. Check out some of these creations.

Red Bull Amaphiko has partnered with Atlas of the Future, an online magazine dedicated to showcasing innovative projects with lasting social impact. Given our similar missions, we’ve teamed up to share each other’s stories.