Art TED Fellows

LittleBits beep and blip from MoMA Design Store window displays

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick May
Kids marvel at a moving shark, powered by littleBits. Photo: courtesy of Ayah Bdeir

Kids marvel at a moving shark, powered by littleBits, in the MoMA Design Store window. Photo: courtesy of Ayah Bdeir

If you pass a MoMA Design Store in New York City today, you’ll notice a slew of entrancing kinetic sculptures in their windows – a giant shark swimming after a lure and a cyclist powering a cardboard ferris wheel. Ayah Bdeir: Building blocks that blink, beep and teach Ayah Bdeir: Building blocks that blink, beep and teach Each of these sculptures is powered by littleBits, the Lego-like electronic toys created by TED Fellow Ayah Bdeir. LittleBits snap together with magnets to beep, light up and power motors. MoMA Stores have been carrying the educational toys since January.

Bdeir tells the TED Blog that her collaboration with MoMA actually began two years ago, when littleBits were featured in the MoMA exhibit, “Talk to Me: Design and the Communication between People and Objects.” When she heard the toys would be carried in the store, she quickly thought about fantastical window displays.

“We are huge fans of MoMA and the MoMA store,” she explains. “So we decided to pitch them an even bigger idea: what if we designed our own window display, entirely made with littleBits … Every single piece of the installation is made with littleBits — not a single external motor, or robotics platform, or programming whatsoever. The largest wheel and the smallest ‘lil guy are all animated with littleBits. It’s so mesmerizing.”

Watch a video of the making of these window displays »

LittleBits featured in the windows of the MoMA Design Store. Photo: courtesy of Ayah Bdeir

LittleBits featured in the windows of the MoMA Design Store. Photo: courtesy of Ayah Bdeir