SXSW: Software, Apps Still Rule But A Hardware Resurgence Is On | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

SXSW: Software, Apps Still Rule But A Hardware Resurgence Is On

Play associated audio

The task of building your very own toy, or robot, or radio can seem daunting for someone without much background in engineering. But a set of color-coded electronic bits that can be magnetically snapped together called littleBits is aiming to make creating your own electronics easy for everyone. It's like Legos, if only Legos could be connected into circuits that light up, move or make music.

"Circuits in seconds," promises the outside of the box.

LittleBits is the brainchild of founder Ayah Bdeir, an engineer trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "We see a lot of kids who are using these to make their own toys, to learn electronics, to play in groups," she says. "But the thing we are excited about is that it's about really democratizing hardware. And democratizing electronics for everyone — designers, inventors, prototypers of any age."

Amid so much talk about apps and software company launches at the South by Southwest festival in Austin is the "maker movement" and the resurgence of hardware — the physical tools and machines of technology — and how to make "making" more accessible. With littleBits, Bdeir and I made a synth kit together in seconds. They're also used to make art installations or prototype projects.

"This has been brewing for a while," Bdeir says. "We need to remember that we are all makers, and touching things with our hands is powerful and inspiring, and some of our best memories growing up are always around things ... . We want everyone to be comfortable making something without being an engineer, quitting my job, taking a six-month learning process."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Magic Mike XXL' And 'Terminator Genisys' Bring The Testosterone

NPR's Bob Mondello looks at the Independence Day weekend blockbusters, Magic Mike XXL and Terminator Genisys.
NPR

POTUS Weighs In: No Peas In Guacamole

The online debate began after the New York Times published a guacamole recipe that includes fresh peas.
NPR

U.S., Cuba To Reopen Embassies In Step Toward Normal Relations

The White House announced Wednesday the opening of a U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba, which is seen as a key step toward more normal diplomatic ties with the Cold War foe.
NPR

Somebody Is Cutting Internet Cables In California

There have been at least 11 attacks in the San Francisco Bay Area in the past year, according to the FBI. The most recent occurred Tuesday and disrupted service as far north as Seattle.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.