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  • This may sound strange,

  • but I'm a big fan of the concrete block.

  • The first concrete blocks were manufactured in 1868

  • with a very simple idea:

  • modules made of cement of a fixed measurement

  • that fit together.

  • Very quickly concrete blocks became

  • the most-used construction unit in the world.

  • They enabled us to to build things that were larger than us,

  • buildings, bridges,

  • one brick at a time.

  • Essentially concrete blocks had become

  • the building block of our time.

  • Almost a hundred years later in 1947,

  • LEGO came up with this.

  • It was called the Automatic Binding Brick.

  • And in a few short years,

  • LEGO bricks took place in every household.

  • It's estimated that over 400 billion bricks have been produced --

  • or 75 bricks for every person on the planet.

  • You don't have to be an engineer

  • to make beautiful houses, beautiful bridges, beautiful buildings.

  • LEGO made it accessible.

  • LEGO has essentially taken the concrete block, the building block of the world,

  • and made it into the building block

  • of our imagination.

  • Meanwhile the exact same year,

  • at Bell Labs the next revolution was about to be announced,

  • the next building block.

  • The transistor was a small plastic unit

  • that would take us from a world

  • of static bricks piled on top of each other

  • to a world where everything was interactive.

  • Like the concrete block,

  • the transistor allows you to build

  • much larger, more complex circuits, one brick at a time.

  • But there's a main difference:

  • The transistor was only for experts.

  • I personally don't accept this,

  • that the building block of our time

  • is reserved for experts,

  • so I decided to change that.

  • Eight years ago when I was at the Media Lab,

  • I started exploring this idea

  • of how to put the power of engineers

  • in the hands of artists and designers.

  • A few years ago I started developing littleBits.

  • Let me show you how they work.

  • LittleBits are electronic modules

  • with each one specific function.

  • They're pre-engineered

  • to be light, sound,

  • motors and sensors.

  • And the best part about it

  • is they snap together with magnets.

  • So you can't put them the wrong way.

  • The bricks are color-coded.

  • Green is output, blue is power,

  • pink is input and orange is wire.

  • So all you need to do is snap a blue to a green

  • and very quickly you can start making larger circuits.

  • You put a blue to a green,

  • you can make light.

  • You can put a knob in between

  • and now you've made a little dimmer.

  • Switch out the knob

  • for a pulse module,

  • which is here,

  • and now you've made a little blinker.

  • Add this buzzer

  • for some extra punch

  • and you've created a noise machine.

  • I'm going to stop that.

  • So beyond simple play,

  • littleBits are actually pretty powerful.

  • Instead of having to program, to wire, to solder,

  • littleBits allow you to program

  • using very simple intuitive gestures.

  • So to make this blink faster or slower,

  • you would just turn this knob

  • and basically make it pulse faster or slower.

  • The idea behind littleBits

  • is that it's a growing library.

  • We want to make every single interaction in the world

  • into a ready-to-use brick.

  • Lights, sounds, solar panels, motors --

  • everything should be accessible.

  • We've been giving littleBits to kids and seeing them play with them.

  • And it's been an incredible experience.

  • The nicest thing is how they start to understand

  • the electronics around them from everyday

  • that they don't learn at schools.

  • For example, how a nightlight works,

  • or why an elevator door stays open,

  • or how an iPod responds to touch.

  • We've also been taking littleBits to design schools.

  • So for example, we've had designers

  • with no experience with electronics whatsoever

  • start to play with littleBits as a material.

  • Here you see, with felt and paper water bottles,

  • we have Geordie making ...

  • (Clanging)

  • (Buzzing)

  • A few weeks ago we took littleBits to RISD

  • and gave them to some designers

  • with no experience in engineering whatsoever --

  • just cardboard, wood and paper -- and told them "Make something."

  • Here's an example of a project they made,

  • a motion-activated confetti canon ball.

  • (Laughter)

  • But wait, this is actually my favorite project.

  • It's a lobster made of playdough

  • that's afraid of the dark.

  • (Laughter)

  • To these non-engineers, littleBits became another material,

  • electronics became just another material.

  • And we want to make this material accessible to everyone.

  • So littleBits is open-source.

  • You can go on the website, download all the design files, make them yourself.

  • We want to encourage a world

  • of creators, of inventors, of contributors,

  • because this world that we live in,

  • this interactive world, is ours.

  • So go ahead and start inventing.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

This may sound strange,

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B1 TED block concrete lego brick transistor

【TED】Ayah Bdeir: Building blocks that blink, beep and teach (Ayah Bdeir: Building blocks that blink, beep and teach)

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    VoiceTube posted on 2013/04/06
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