In the latest Adafruit video (previously) the proprietors, Limor "ladyada" Friend and Phil Torrone, explain the basics of machine learning, with particular emphasis on the difference between computing a model (hard) and implementing the model (easy and simple enough to run on relatively low-powered hardware), and then they install and run Tensorflow Light on a small, open-source handheld and teach it to distinguish between someone saying "No" and someone saying "Yes," in just a few minutes. It's an interesting demonstration of the theory that machine learning may be most useful in tiny, embedded, offline processors. (via Beyond the Beyond)
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Limor "ladyada" Fried (previously) is one of the great hardware hackers of her generation and is the co-founder of the pioneering open source hardware company Adafruit; she's also not allowed on Facebook anymore. Read the rest
I had the pleasure of writing the cover feature, on Limor Fried (aka "Ladyada") and her company, Adafruit, for the latest issue of Make: (Volume 57). Since a lot had already been made about the company's impressive and popular open source product line and Limor as a successful female entrepreneur, I decided to focus on what I think is another rather unique aspect of the company: the fact that the open source ethos that informs the design of their hardware also informs their corporate culture.
There's a openness, a spirit of sharing, educating, and supporting, that is shot through the fabric of Adafruit Industries.
They open-source many of the details of how the company is run and post the details of what they're learning (as a company) on their Adafruit Learning System and in their newsletters. They use the feedback and ideas from their substantial online social community to crowdsource product development. And they're attempting to create a corporate culture where employees feel respected, cared for, and given room to grow. As the Founder Collective put it on Twitter this morning: "105 full-time employees, $45M in revenue, no venture capital. Adafruit is a great case study in efficient entrepreneurship."
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Founded in a dorm room in 2005 by MIT engineer Limor “Ladyada” Fried as an online learning resource and marketplace for do-it-yourself electronics, Adafruit is now a highly successful community-driven electronics company, educational resource, and maker community thriving in SoHo, Manhattan.
Limor sees three keys to the success of the company: “Being focused on others, having an unconditional belief that you can be both a good cause and a good company, and seeing risk-taking as your friend and your only real competition as yourself.”
The legendary hardware hackers speak for two hours about gender, participation and representation in tech, teaching electronics with papercraft, and the joys of open source hardware. Read the rest
"'Disobedient Electronics' is a zine-oriented publishing project that seeks submissions from industrial designers, electronic artists, hackers and makers that disobey conventions, especially work that is used to highlight injustices, discrimination or abuses of power." Read the rest
Previous winners include Edward Snowden, Carl Malamud, Limor Fried, Laura Poitras, Hddy Lamarr, Aaron Swartz, Gigi Sohn, Bruce Schneier, Zoe Lofgren, Glenn Greenwald, Jon Postel and many others (I am immensely proud to have won one myself!). Read the rest
Here's episode 6 of Circuit Playground, a charming show that teaches kids about electricity. It's produced by our friends at Adafruit. In this episode, Ladyada teaches Adabot about electrical grounding.
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Hardware hacking superhero Ladyada explains how batteries work and how to make one from a lemon! "Circuit Playground: B is for Battery" Read the rest
MIT is rightfully proud of alumna Limor Fried, the superhero hardware hacker behind AdaFruit Industries, creators of fantastic DIY, open source electronics components and kits. We're proud of Limor too! From MIT News:
Apart from selling kits, original devices and providing hundreds of guides online, Adafruit works around the world with schools, teachers, libraries and hackerspaces — community technology labs — to promote STEM education, designing curricula in circuitry and electronics, among other initiatives.
The company has released an online children’s show called “A is for Ampere.” On a weekly Saturday night program, “Ask an Engineer,” anyone can ask Fried questions online or show off their original devices.
One of Fried’s favorite stories, from a young viewer of “Ask an Engineer,” illuminates what she sees as the growing diversity of engineering. “A parent emailed us after watching the show with his daughter,” she says. “I had another engineer on the show with me — my friend Amanda — and this parent’s daughter asked, ‘Dad, are there boy engineers too?’”
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The boundlessly wonderful folks at Adafruit are producing an online puppet show for kids aimed at teaching electronics. I could not be more happy about this without that I exploded.
Their new online show, titled Circuit Playground, will teach the essentials of electronics and circuitry to children through kid-friendly dolls with names like Cappy the Capacitor and Hans the 555 Timer Chip. Limor “Ladyada” Fried, Adafruit’s founder and chief engineer (and 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year), will host the episodes, with her team assisting with onscreen and puppeteering duties.
“We’ll have each component have a story, a song and something to do,” Fried says. “We’ll have live feeds in our factory on how things are made. It’s a little Elmo for engineering, a little Mr. Rogers for resistors and a little Sesame Street for Circuits.”
Adafruit is familiar with online broadcasts, hosting weekly “Show-and-Tell” and “Ask an Engineer” shows on Google+ and Ustream for over three years. Circuit Playground was a natural extension for them. “We saw the audience and the participants getting younger with more advanced projects, so we figured there was something there,” Fried says.
Adafruit to Teach Electronics Through Puppets in New Kids’ Show [Mike Senese/Wired]
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Congrats to our friend Limor Fried for winning Entrepreneur's Entrepreneur of 2012 award!
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Recognizable by her signature vivid-pink locks, Fried (or Ladyada, as she is known on the internet) is one of the dominant forces behind the maker movement--a legion of do-it-yourself-minded folks who create cool things by tweaking everyday technology. Last year New York City-based Adafruit did a booming $10 million trade in sales of DIY open-source electronic hardware kits, so-called because project designs are free and publicly accessible, and customers are encouraged to modify or "hack" the final product. In addition to MintyBoost ($19.50), the online catalog includes in-house designs like the iNecklace ($75), a pendant shaped like an Apple gadget's "on" button, complete with a pulsing LED light; and third-party products that have earned the "Adafruit seal of approval," like the MaKey MaKey ($49.95), a device that can turn any object that conducts electricity--a coin, cat, banana--into a functioning touchpad or keyboard.
Phil Torrone sez,
Ladyada's "E is for Electronics" is a coloring book adventure with electronic components and their inventors.
Makers of all ages can learn, color, and share common parts and historical figures throughout history. Explore the world of electronics with Ladyada as your guide!
This is the first ever open-source electronics coloring book! Adafruit's coloring books are manufactured in the USA by a family owned and operated business, we use non-toxic soy based, water soluble and environmentally friendly printing supplies. The equipment used is solar powered! Crayons not included.
"E is for Electronics"
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Our friends at Adafruit Industries just announced FLORA, a new wearable electronics development platform.
For the last few years Ladyada has been thinking about everything she wanted in a wearable electronics platform for Adafruit’s community of makers, hackers, crafters, artists, designers and engineers. After months of planning, designing and working with partners around the world for the best materials and accessories, we can share what we’re up to. The hardware is now in the hands of our staff and testers!
Announcing the FLORA, Adafruit’s wearable electronics platform and accessories Read the rest